Press release marketing can be a pretty good strategy for building links if the application is correct. However, determining the effectiveness of these campaigns is not always cut and dry.
Setting Expectations with Press Release Marketing Campaigns
Let's face it, not every press release that you put our is going to hit the front page of the New York Times or even the front page of Google News. Unfortunately, there's too much going on in the world for most companies to efficiently get that kind of exposure. So why do it? Well, link building is one good reason. A simple, keyword-rich and fairly interesting press release can easily build a least a few new links for your website. While this strategy shouldn't be the basis of most companies' marketing strategies, it should at least be PART of the online marketing strategy.
Where to Market Your Press Releases
Now that we've established the fact that your press releases probably aren't going to start a media frenzy, lets talk about where you can submit them, at least for starters. We'd recommend submitting to PRLog.org and PRWeb at a minimum. At the time of writing this post, both of these sources still have a fairly good influence on both the search engines and websites that may possible republish your press release. Keep in mind:
- Submit a slightly different version of your press release to each network
- Include a link (keyword-rich if possible) to the most relevant page of your website
Measuring Press Release Marketing Results
Aside from looking at stats like press release impressions and views, measuring the number of links created is important. Once you know the average number and quality of links that your efforts will yield, you can compare this link building strategy to your others and hopefully make better decisions with how to spend your SEO time.
A quick way to count the number of links generated from a new press release is this (this strategy works best if your website currently has fewer than 1,000 links according to Yahoo Site Explorer):
- Go to Yahoo SiteExplorer and search for your domain name (dont forget to include www.)
- Click Inlinks and then Export to TSV
- Using Microsoft Excel, open the TSV file (use "Tab Delimited") - At this point, you'll have an excel spreadsheet which contains most of the backlinks to your website that Yahoo is counting. The first column in the spreadsheet shows you the title tag of the linking page (we'll use this in a minute). The second shows the linking url and last two columns you can ignore for now.
- Sort the data in the spreadsheet by column A, the Title column. Once data is sorted by title tag, you can review the list of title tags, looking for titles that match the heading of your press release. As you find title tags that match or are similar to, copy and paste the URL associated with that title tag into your browser. You will most likely see that the URL contains your press release with your hyperlinks still in tact.
The logic behind this method for measuring new inbound links assumes that:
- The website reposting your press release utilizes some or all of your press release heading in their title tag
- Yahoo has found the link
What this doesn't tell you:
- Which websites have picked up your press release but have not used your heading to build out their title tag (We find that this is actually a good thing because many websites will display RSS feeds from the major news wires just to create content on their sites. These sites don't typically give a link back to the original poster)
- Links that yahoo has not yet found
As I said, not a perfect method but definitely a quick way to see some of the results from your Press Release Marketing campaigns.