Press releases and blogging are two complementary tools to build brand awareness.
As the methods of professional communications continue to evolve, there has been recent discussion around how channels like blogs may one day serve as a replacement for the press release as part of an organization’s communications strategy. Traditionally, press releases have proven themselves as an effective method to promote new products, partnerships, awards or customers, etc, and while some may see the blog post as a more cost-effective way to achieve this, it is worth considering the value of what a press release can do for a company.
Patrick Armitage, in his article, Why the Blog Post is Killing the Press Release, suggests that the blog post is becoming more important than the press release and that a blog provides the same benefits as a press release, but cheaper.
A blog is an important communication tool to build brand awareness and one that we strongly encourage all of our clients to leverage. It is a part of an overall SEO strategy to help drive traffic to your site through targeted keywords, and it allows your company to more effectively reach your target audiences via online search. However, a blog’s greatest value (particularly in a B2B environment) is to educate a company’s prospects about specific business issues and how you can help solve them, not necessarily to communicate company news.
In his article, Armitage used Basecamp as an example of a company that only blogs. He says that Basecamp has 24k people following the company blog, and suggests that Basecamp can reach more people through its blog than it can if it were to distribute press releases over the wire.
While this strategy might work for an established technology company like Basecamp (for the record, we are fans of Basecamp and its solutions and use them regularly), for more entrepreneurial, early stage companies, the traditional press release is a more effective communications tool. Larger companies often have media and/or industry analysts and consultants specifically assigned to cover them (Basecamp’s 24K followers likely includes key media), so releasing company information via its blog potentially gets that information into the hands of some of those influencers. But as we know all too well, publications change, journalists’ beats and jobs change, and that would certainly impact the quality of the list of blog followers.
Some media simply will not agree to follow a corporate blog as a means of securing company news and information. They want to receive the content on their own terms and for many, the wire services meet that need as a more convenient, centralized source of information. Additionally, I have had more than one journalist tell me in no uncertain terms that any news not important enough to go on the wire isn’t newsworthy enough for them to cover.
For newer companies, in particular, that are competing with larger ones for editorial consideration, a traditional press release distribution strategy remains a more effective approach to establish that foothold. Press releases provide an additional benefit as well in that, in the eyes of certain media, analysts and investors, it signals a level of professionalism and corporate viability that can influence how your company is perceived in the marketplace. In fact, during our years in the industry, we have heard firsthand from key influencers that have made determinations about companies based not just on whether they issue press releases, but also, on which particular wire service they used.
Reach your target audiences quickly through media outlets
When a press release is distributed via a wire service, it has the capability of reaching more than 89,000 media outlets in 169 countries. You are expanding your reach to multiple media platforms such as print, online, T.V. and radio. The media outlets your press release is reaching are credible sources that prospects go to every day for news about the financial industry. Those outlets, in turn, provide inbound links that help drive SEO results. When Google sees that other credible sources are linking back to your website, Google ranks your site higher in search engine results. It tells Google that you are a credible site, which is a key factor when determining website page rankings. Blogs are more limited in that they typically only reach your established network of followers and prospects who are searching for a specific solution to their problem.
So are blogs a threat to kill press releases? Likely not – at least for the foreseeable future. The truth is that, when leveraged effectively, they both provide complementary benefits to drive brand awareness. For fintech companies working to gain market share in the financial services industry, a well-crafted press release still provides value as an effective awareness tool.