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February 7, 2013
Why Do We Send Out Press Releases, Anyway?
I know what you’re all thinking (“We really need to discuss this?” and “Aren’t press releases dead?!”), but give me a moment to explain. Earlier this week, I had a newly formed non-profit client tell me that even though their website isn’t up and running yet (after six months), they still want to send out a press release, but (wait for it) NOT to the media, just for SEO purposes. Okay, you can all stop laughing now, because I laughed enough for all of us.

I explained to my client that we do not post press releases to the Internet for SEO purposes. (Well, we used to, but not anymore; it doesn’t really work and screws up any chance of a proper Google ranking.) Why don’t we post press releases on the Internet for SEO purposes only? Allow me to list a few big reasons and explain why this is a BAD idea:

1. As mentioned above, it will screw up your release’s Google listing (Google, PRWire, and PR Newswire confirmed this for me directly), which is why we also don’t post releases on every free press release website known to man either.

2. Press releases are to be used to disseminate newsworthy information to the press, not because you need the info to show up on the Internet due to lack of a website or any other reason.

3. You don’t know if a member of the press/blogger has a Google Alert about your company set up to troll the Internet looking for new information.

4. Should a member of the press/blogger get hold of said press release, you will likely have to answer questions about the release (as journalists often want more info than you’ve actually put in, if they’re going to write about it), and then further questions, such as why the release didn’t go out over a wire or directly to the journalist. (Do you really want to have to deal with the potential fallout here?!)

Need I go on with even more after the above?! Bottom line: The main purpose of writing a press release is to let the media know about a newsworthy piece of info (an event, a personnel change, a new partnership…100 reasons) about your company, nothing more. And, not to belabor this concept, it MUST be newsworthy, or it won’t have a chance of being covered in the media.

So, when your client comes to you with this hair-brained bad idea, let them know why it’s not good strategy for PR or business purposes.

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Jocelyn Brandeis is an accomplished and award-winning communications professional with more than 15 years experience in the entertainment, consumer, new media, B2B, Hispanic, and nonprofit industries. She is responsible for securing interviews and media placement and creating full PR campaigns. Since co-founding JBLH Communications, the client roster has included: National Lampoon Comedy House, Doggy Tug, Mandinez.com, Play Clay Factory, The Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation, and The Child Center of NY.

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