Imagine you are in a foreign country and you are thirsty. You could be adventurous and try the local soft drink in a wonderful new flavor. Or you could pick up a Coca-Cola or Pepsi to be sure the water in the soft drink won’t ruin your vacation.
Most people would take the safe bet. That’s the value of branding. We make snap decisions on what to buy every day by the power of branding. Would you rather drive a Mercedes or a Kia? Would you rather buy an Apple computer or a discount stor brand? Would you eat Cheerios or knockoff O’s?
Your prospects are asking the same questions and making the same decisions based on the quality of your brand.
Whether it be professional services or cars, the value of the brand is increasingly important in this era when the average person is bombarded with hundreds of advertising messages each day.
There remains one constant in building a successful brand. Getting media attention can increase your business. In fact, a press release can help you build your brand—with very little effort or cost on your part.
For those of you who have never seen or heard of a press release, here is a simple explanation. Companies have been issuing press releases to the media for more than 100 years! The goal of issuing a press release is to get reporters to write about your company. In today’s Web-centric universe, the goal of a press release is to introduce your company to new prospects who find your press release via search engines, media sites or on your own Web site.
A press release is a document that contains interesting news about the company, such as new executives, new contracts, awards, speaking opportunities, convention appearances, new products, new services or information. Press releases can also be statements of opinions on current trends in your industry, or “how to” information that helps the reader do a task better, such as leading an organization, complying with a new tax form, or motivating employees. If people think the information in a press release is interesting, then you’ve done a good job. You’ve helped build your brand.
A press release is about 300-800 words. People don’t have long attention spans these days. You have to get to the facts fast and cut all fluff. Finally—and perhaps most important—press releases today contain the keywords or phrases that people look for on a search engine like Google. The use of keywords can help your press release and your entire Web site be found more easily by prospects if you do it correctly.
You can see sample press releases for many industries and news angles at www.PressReleaseSender.com.
Press releases can be written by the company, a public relations agency or a publicity or marketing consultant who understands your industry and the media.
Many credible media sites want to print press releases on their Web sites so they can give their readers access to original company material. They do this as a public service. This is big change from the old days when newspapers and magazines had a limited amount of space to write the news. The Internet is the world’s largest printing press and the media can print as many press releases as they want to help inform their readers. This is a real benefit to small businesses because it is now easier than ever to get media credibility and visibility, thanks to press releases appearing on media Web sites.
Now let’s look at 10 ways press releases and the media can help you build your brand.
- Branding – Just the act of seeing your name helps improve your brand. People need to see your name many times in order for them to realize you exist. Old research shows that number to be seven times. More current research shows that number to be 21 times. Whatever the number is, just think back to the last ad you saw for Coke or Pepsi or Hertz or Avis. They advertise every single day on every media possible to keep their name in front of consumers. You don’t have the budget to advertise 24/7, but press releases give you a way of building your brand in a cost-effective manner.
- Visibility – Getting your press release printed on a media Web site is a great way to be seen by tens of thousands (maybe even hundreds of thousands!) of people. Many Web sites will print links to your Web site so you can gain many new visitors.
- Credibility – One benefit the media has over advertising is credibility. People believe what they read online and in newspapers and magazines. When the media prints your press release, people will trust what they see. When people see claims in advertising, they distrust it to some degree because the company can say anything it wants to. Today’s younger generations are more distrustful of advertising than any group to date, according to reports. “Transparency” is a key phrase that many people want from companies.
- Calls from prospects – Publicity helps you make selling easier. When prospects contact you after reading a press release, article or news report, they are pre-sold on your business. You merely have to answer questions, allay any fears or doubts and sign them up.
- Calls from investors – Publicity can help you find investors for your business or idea. Everyone wants to jump on a bandwagon that is heading in the right direction. Again, with the credibility of the press behind you, finding investors could be a much easier process than before.
- Calls from new job applicants – Wouldn’t it be a much nicer process if your HR department received inquiries from people who knew about your company and wanted to work there? That can happen with publicity. Think of the time and expense you’d save from hiring a recruiter or weeding through unqualified applicants who respond to every classified ad listing even without having a clue as to what you do.
- Boost employee morale – Press releases are not just about getting new customers. Press releases can help you keep the employees you currently have —and motivate them to do a better job. People want to work for companies that are in the news. They have a certain amount of bragging rights when their friends and relatives know they work for a company whose name they recognize. Consider the cost of retaining an employee versus recruiting, hiring and training a new employee and you might realize that press releases are a great HR tool that pays for itself.
- Block out competitors – Many companies have issued press releases to show their intentions to enter a market or create a new product or service just to stifle other companies from entering their space. This was a favored tactic by many high-tech companies in the early days of personal computing.
- Attract more prospects online – More and more people are using search engines today to find companies just like yours. Press releases are a great way to attract prospects. Whether the press release is printed on your site, your blog or a media site, they all work together to get more visitors to come to your site.
- Search engine visibility – Search engines use a secret formula to determine which Web sites to show as a result of a search. While many factors are kept under wraps, the people who spend 24/7 figuring how to work effectively with search engines consistently report that one key factor is the number of media Web sites that link to your Web site. The more articles and press releases that appear on media sites, the higher your own Web site will be rated and more people will see it.
Working with the media to get press releases printed on their Web sites is a great way to build your company’s brand, which can help your small business profit in many ways.