Much as we would like to pretend otherwise, the news pages of most B2B sites, and a great many consumer ones too, rely on press releases to sustain them. When you run a press release, writes James Evelegh, take a minute to thank the PR. It pays dividends.
Three years ago, when we set up a news service on the InPublishing website, I got some advice from Sylvia, a freelance journalist who worked in PR. She said, simply, in relation to processing press releases, ‘thank them and send them a link’.
So, what did I do? I ignored her.
Time was short. We spend enough time editing, reformatting, inserting links, cropping and resizing pictures. Emailing a link for every press release we ran would be an unnecessary hassle. And what good would it do anyway? Besides, they would surely check themselves, wouldn’t they?
Well, almost a thousand days after being give that piece of advice, we have now starting thanking the PR. In terms of time overhead, it takes us about two minutes a day, so I think we can cope.
There are three reasons why it is a good thing to do:
1. It’s an important relationship, which needs working on.
Without them, your news pages would shrivel and die. At the very least, you want them to continue sending you news items. So, let them know that you receive their stuff and act on it. There will also be times when you need their assistance in other areas, such as providing images for articles or setting up interviews, and they are more likely to give you the help you need if it’s an active ongoing mutually beneficial relationship.
2. Drive traffic to the site.
At the very least, your thank you email is likely to add one to your unique user count. In all likelihood, it will add more as the link might well be forwarded on by them. If you also have social media sharing buttons on your articles, and most publishers now do, then that single email could well multiply up to multiple visits to your site, and that traffic can be monetised.
3. Improved prospects for advertising.
Where the PR comes from industry suppliers, then it is doubly important to remind them of your central place in your industry’s ecosystem. PR is but one arm of a supplier’s marketing budget; advertising is of course another. Whilst the two budgets are often separate, the target audience (ie your readers) remains the same and when decisions about advertising come to be made, you want to be on their radar.
Of course you need to continue to be robust in the way you handle press releases. If the release is not newsworthy or relevant to your audience, then clearly, it can’t be run. And, the puffery still needs to be edited out.
But, by taking a few seconds to email a link to the PR for those press releases you do publish, you will help sustain an important relationship, drive incremental traffic to your website and improve your advertising prospects.
Thank you Sylvia, got there in the end.
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