The Internet’s impact on public relations is twofold: You get more outlets to target with your press releases, and more ways to contact those outlets. (It also lets you directly measure the effectiveness ofa press release, but that’s a whole other topic.)
Online, you send out electronic press releases via email, instead of the traditional paper press releases. An electronic press is more than just a digital version of a traditional press release; it’s targeted at a different audience, with different expected results. How you get that electronic press release to your target audience is also different from what you’re used toin fact, the whole process is something that PR professionals need to adapt to.
Writing a More Effective Electronic Press Release
The main difference between an online press and one meant for old media consumption is the target audience. It’s the difference between a media focus and a customer focus.
As you know, a traditional press release is targeted at editors and journalists. The intent is to interest these media professionals in writing an article about or basing a broadcast segment on the content of the press release. That’s what we’re all used to.
In contrast, an online press release is targeted directly at the end consumer, not at the middle man. Websites, blogs, and online publications will link to your press release, which will then be read as-is by prospective customers. It’s not about getting someone to write about your product or company; it’s about getting news about your product or company in front of prospective customers.
You might think this isn't a big change, but it isparticularly in the message you deliver. When the target is the end consumer, you have to tell that person precisely what benefit this new product or initiative will have for him. It's not so much talking about the product's features as it is stressing its benefitsthe same way you approach ad copy.
Knowing that you’re talking directly to consumers, you also need to include a strong call to action in your online press releases. You want readers to click through to your website, which means giving them a reason to do so. That may be a simple admonition to click for more information, or it may be a unique incentive of some sorta special discount, a free guide, or whatever.
With this call to action in mind, you need to embed your website URL in your online press releases. While you want to mention your site’s main URL in the copy, the link in question should probably be to a unique landing page that follows directly from the content of the press release. You want the movement from press release to website to be seamlessand trackable.