7 Tips to Get Online Mileage Out of Your PR

by Renee Shallis, Director of Communications for eNR

Public relations is all about making contact with members of the press, freelance writers and anyone else who influences your target audience. A good PR strategy will attract attention to your company, create a buzz with a viral effect and ultimately drive more traffic to your site or store. It's easy to incorporate public relations into your email marketing strategy. Our friend and online public relations expert, Renee Shallis, gives us some great tips!

7 Tips to Get Online Mileage Out of Your PR

by Renee Shallis, Director of Communications for eNR

You've written your press release, printed copies onto stationery and started licking those stamps. Stop to consider other ways of getting your news out. That release doesn't have to begin and end in the postman's hands.

Reporters and editors are Internet savvy, too. They go online when they want to research their stories or simply communicate with their sources. It makes sense that they welcome online press releases and emailed news into their offices and homes as well. Understanding this can serve you well as you develop relationships with your favorite media contacts.

Expand your press release distribution through the Internet with these 7 tips:

     

  1. Email your release to your media contacts. Emailing your release is the cheapest and quickest way to deliver your news. You also benefit by not having to worry about missing fax pages, or whether the media contact received your release at all.

    When putting together a media database, ask the media contact their preferred method of receiving press releases. Based on our research, a substantial number of reporters prefer to receive press releases via email. It means fewer hassles for them in the long run. Creating a good relationship with the media by communicating with them via their preferred method may mean they'll have an open mind when they do receive your release.

    The vast majority of media contacts also ask that the release be sent, not as an attachment, but in the body of the email itself. There are many reasons for this:

    • Email attachments often carry viruses,
    • Cutting and pasting the release from the email itself is easier than opening an attachment, and
    • You can never be sure what programs each media contact has available to them.

    Email marketing services with press release templates can send your release in the body of the email. They can make your news graphically appealing and ensure that the recipient will see the release in the best format possible.

     

  2. Include your release in an email newsletter.
    Email newsletters have become a fast, inexpensive alternative to direct mail pieces. Press releases are appropriate content for a newsletter. Your employees, shareholders and customers will appreciate hearing your news. The same goes for media contacts who have opted into your email newsletter. Do make sure that your newsletter allows anyone to subscribe or unsubscribe at any time.

     

  3. Post to email newsgroups.
    Sometimes, you have a press release so timely and provocative that it seems a great match for your favorite online newsgroups. Before you post away, match your company and release topic with the special needs and interests of the newsgroup. If it fits, type a short introductory paragraph about the news and why you thought the members would find it of interest. Paste the text of the release into your message, or insert its URL. Most importantly, keep track of any resulting online discussion. You can help moderate by answering questions or responding to negative comments.
    Do keep in mind that newsgroups - whether they're special interest groups, associations or even alumni organizations - have specific rules about spamming. You may honestly want to share information, but always avoid a sales pitch. The newsgroup moderator just might block your message or, worse, boot you off the group.

     

  4. Post your release to an online press room.
    Make it easy for anyone to find your press release online. An online press room will organize releases and press kit materials by date and subject, making the material especially easy for the media to find. Journalists may even bookmark the site for future use. We have seen this in action so, starting January, eNR will post all recently distributed releases in a separate press room called FeatureXpress.

     

  5. Make your release ready for robots and spiders.
    No, this is not science fiction. Several search engines use small pieces of code called "robots" or "spiders" to periodically scour the Internet. They electronically review your site to collect information such as keywords, metatags and commonly used words. This information gets catalogued for the online searchers' use. While coding the press release, don't forget to:
    • Include a page title,
    • Create a metatag, and
    • Add relevant keywords.

     

  6. Submit your release to top search engines and website directories.
    Some search engines don't incorporate robots or spiders but require you to manually submit URLs to them. They'll ask to categorize the site according to topic and provide a short description. For example, Yahoo! reviews the site and compares the information you supplied with the site's actual content. This approval process can take time but is well worth the investment.

    Online surfers regularly search keywords on only a handful of search engines. Press releases often show up on these sites' results. You can find a list of the previous week's or month's top sites on Nielsen/NetRatings. For the month of September, the top 5 were all popular search engines: MSN, AOL, Yahoo!, Google and Terra Lycos. Starting January 2003, eNR will post all of its customers' releases on the Yahoo!Business news site under the FeatureXpress name.

     

  7. Use an online distributor of press releases.
    Sometimes you just don't have the time to distribute press releases yourself. You can build the media list, double-check its accuracy, make sure the contact wants to receive it by email, distribute it, and then assure its safe delivery. That's a lot of time and money to get your news into the media's hands. Online distributors of press releases work fast and cost-effectively to distribute news. There are many providers of this service, including eNR, and their services and prices can vary. If you choose to outsource your news distribution, choose a provider with experience, references, technical capabilities, and constantly updated media contacts.

Renee Shallis is Director of Communications for eNR, a unique news distribution and public relations services company located in Norwalk, CT. eNR provides up-to-date media contacts, news distribution and managed publicity programs to businesses, public relations companies, non-profits, associations and other organizations.