Without question, press releases are losing their impact. Coca-Cola, which once sent out several news stories every month, is phasing the standard press release out entirely. The reasons are many but at the top of the list is the fact that editors of publications just are not that interested in them any longer. In fact, the overwhelming majority of releases never even see the light of day.
Today, the only real benefit of a press release, which is supposed to be a news story, is if it gets picked up on Google News or some of the other major online news sites. At least when this happens, the new may get notice but primarily, it can help enhance search engine optimization (SEO) for the organization that sent out the release.
So, if the press release is taking its last breath, what is replacing it? How can B2B companies get their news out the door and to their end-customers? What we have to do is what Coca-Cola is now doing. They have created a media site just for their news. And while you may think they can get away with this because they are such a well-known brand, think again. What they are doing can and is helping big and small B2B firms as well.
A media site is your news center. Here is where you post your news. Press releases may be included on the site, but you should also think beyond the press release. Post an industry advisory; comment on an issue that might impact your industry; discuss one of your products or services; or invite others to add news content to your site that relates to your industry or company.
While you can make a media kit part of your company website, an alternative that can prove very powerful is to create a separate “microsite” for this purpose. Starbucks is in the process of doing this right now. It appears they too have determined the media site is the wave of the future.
Here are some tips on how to make a media site work:
Optimize your news stories. Whether you add a “media” or news section to your own company website or create a microsite, everything must be search engine optimized. This does not require an elaborate electronic dashboard system or similar device. Here’s a simple way to do it: select your keywords before writing your news story; repeat those keywords in the title and first paragraph of your news; repeat them again about every 100 words into the story; always add an image to the news story and label it with the exact same keywords. Usually the image feature of your site will have an “ALT” category for the image. That is where you place the keywords.
Add new content regularly. Many B2B companies send out a news story every few weeks or every few months. With your own media site, that will not work. At a minimum, two news stories should be posted every week. This will require at least one person to be in charge of the media site. That person will have to be briefed on what makes an effective news or blog post and ensure that your media site is updated regularly. If this is not possible, consider hiring a digital media or B2B content marketing agency.
Imitate the competition. Finally, find other B2B media sites and watch what they are doing. This will give you ideas for yours. And if you see a media site that really appeals to you that includes features you believe will help your organization, there is no harm in replicating those features. In fact, you might go a step further and improve on them where you can.