The CEO of a company I once worked for decided that the way to get more business was to distribute two press releases every week. I thought he was kidding. He wasn’t. I asked him, “What if there isn’t any news, then what?” His response? “Just gin something up.” I had to look away, quickly, so he didn’t notice me rolling my eyes.
Wasted days and wasted nights.
I couldn’t help but think of all the time I was wasting, time I could be devoting to marketing activities that might actually do some good. We all know that there’s a lot of low-quality content out there, and press releases without actual news are just contributing more noise to the landscape. The inbound marketing philosophy was conceived because of thinking like that CEO’s. You’ll need quality content to generate quality leads, not “news” that no one reads.
The thinking behind the millions of press releases businesses produce each year is that they’ll get placed on an external site when picked up, and the coverage will come with an inbound link. Also, you know, to get press coverage. But there’s a big problem with that kind of thinking…
You’re not getting press coverage.
Why not? Consider that according to Greentarget, seven in 10 journalists spend less than one minute reading a press release. And that great quote you spent so much time crafting? Well, 31% of the journalists surveyed say they rarely use the quotes, and 13% report that they never use them.
That’s why almost all of the press releases getting churned out of marketing departments are not landing any actual press coverage. And the releases that are picked up? Those aren’t exactly valuable inbound links when they’re getting funneled out to low quality sites.
They’re not reading the news on your website, either.
At least visitors are reading your press release on your website, right? Wrong. Spending time writing a press release that will only see the light of day in your News section is a waste of your resources. I always wondered why businesses felt compelled to post their press releases on their own site. I couldn’t imagine why anyone would seek out news that way. It turns out that my suspicions were correct: your News section is a waste of real estate.
Chris Scott wrote an analytics report for a top UK university, and he found that less than 1% of visitors view a news release.” We can see by looking at landing pages for visits that include a news release that, when a visitor lands on a news release page, it is typically a dead end with most of those visitors leaving the site from that page.” So it turns out that journalists aren’t reading your press releases and visitors to your website aren’t interested, either. Maybe it’s time for B2B marketers to kill the press release.
Coca-Cola gets it.
Coca-Cola announced that it was completely doing away with the press release by 2015. Instead, the company is embracing brand journalism. The project, called Coca-Cola Journey, was designed to tell the company’s story in a new and interesting way.
When I first started learning about inbound marketing, the advice I kept hearing was, “Just create good content.” Well, here’s what that looks like.
There are better things to do with your time.
Instead of writing another press release about nothing, create some high-quality content. Write an eBook. Add some visual interest to your website. Ramp up your social media presence.
Just cut it out – of your marketing mix.
Stop trying to weave an amazing story out of something relatively unamazing just so you’ll have PR fodder. It’ll just make journalists get really used to ignoring you, and your writing time is better spent on other types of content — like blog posts, for instance — that attract qualified readers and quality links.
Have you ever wondered if there are other things about your marketing strategy that might not be worth the time or cost? Click the link below to download the free eBook, Cut It Out: 10 Useless Things to Cut from Your Marketing Efforts.