Saturday, September 24, 2005

Utilizing Online Press Releases

The value of doing a press release is the exposure of your newsworthy items to a large crowd that would otherwise not know about your efforts. The phones are not going to ring off the hook, but as our analysis below show, there are benefits.

The secondary value is the improvement you gain in composing your thoughts about your company. Writing about your company is important. Blogging is one thing, but when you issue a press release, you are literally saying "PUBLISH THIS" and it has caused me to be more aware of my message.

The Trial Balloon

Using my release Trends, Taste & Travel Goes Podcasting as an example, let's explore the experience of these two different services and the overall advantage of doing a press release.

PRWeb - - tracks the performance of your release via "views". I submitted my release on 9/14/05. I spoke with someone at PRWeb and the term "view" was defined as the combination of page views from the web site, views from the various RSS feeds, and views from their network of emails. They also track the "Printer Friendly Version" and "Email this story to a colleague" buttons on the release. PRWeb offers an upgrade for a minimum contribution of $10 and on up. I was pleased with the $30 level because my release showed up in Yahoo! News and Google News within a few hours of the release time. - - free business registration and submission of press releases. I submitted my release on 9/17/05. However, I found their site to be a bit cumbersome and have a long laundry list of items they wanted completed. The benefit is that apparently they have many subscribers. I was able to find my release through them coming up in search engines with a few days - and not just on their site.

The Results

As of this writing, 9/24/05, I am seeing decent results in the search engines. When I type in the phrase "Travel Goes Podcasting" in quotes (necessary because of the ampersand special character), I received 583 results in Google, 6 results in Yahoo, 133 results in MSN, and 12 results in Altavista. reports the press release was viewed 115,539 times. 550 of those views were by what they estimate as "Pickups" which tracks media outlet views. I would guess they do this by email address or known IP addresses. The release had 7 prints and 1 forwarded email (which was me).

I could not find statistical data on

My business site typically gets about 25 hits a day (average over the last few months). This went up to mid-40s right away and did go into the 50s per day (I put out another release on this past Monday). Both sites ( and both experienced a temporary surge in link popularity as the release went out. As of this writing, the link popularity has returned to previous levels on Cy's site. Also, my hit count on my business site has returned to the mid-20s.

We did see a 10% gain in podcasting views and subscriptions, which at the end of the day is a payoff. Neither of us got a call from a potential customer or a writer, but we were both able to use the press release in three different sales calls (1 for Cy, 2 for me). I see this as another payoff. Finally, I was encouraged enough with the perceived value of the release to my sales team, that I issued another. The feedback I am getting is that it is good to have these to refer to as almost historical data. There is also some level of legitimacy perceived by potential clients when your article is showing up on Yahoo! News and such outlets.

Darryl Parker is the founder and President of Internet marketing and Charlotte web site design firm Parker Web Developers. This series on web marketing is intended to present useful tips for business owners and decision makers. The series precedes an upcoming book compiling these topics. Your feedback is greatly appreciated.

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