Online Marketing Blog

How Too Many Press Releases Can Damage Your Credibility

As an online PR consultant, there are a few questions I repeatedly get from webmasters and online entrepreneurs. One of those common questions is how many press releases a company should send (weekly, monthly, more?). I always give the same answer: Send a press release whenever you have something newsworthy to say.

Because press releases are increasingly being used for their SEO benefits, many business owners assume that more is better, or that they should be on some kind of set press release distribution schedule. That’s generally not the case.

Sending too many press releases can actually damage your company (or site) reputation and credibility. Here’s why:

  • You’re very likely targeting a similar, if not the same, audience with each press release you send.
  • Sending multiple newsworthy press releases over time can help to keep your company’s name fresh in their minds.
  • Sending too many press releases just for the sake of sending them (as opposed to disseminating real news) will also keep your company’s name fresh in their minds… just probably not the way you’re hoping for.
  • If you put enough garbage in front of people, you’ll end up with a sort of “boy who cried wolf” syndrome when you have real news. Members of your target audience will now recognize your name, and immediately attach it to images of “fluff” instead of news, and you won’t get the coverage you otherwise might have. You’ll put yourself on the fast track to being ignored.

That’s not to say that a schedule won’t ever work; only that you shouldn’t send out a weekly press release just for the sake of doing it. In some cases it does work. Here are a few examples of cases where regular press releases may not have such a detrimental effect:

  • Regular contests – If your company runs a monthly contest, and it’s big enough to be newsworthy (giving away a $10 prize each month really wouldn’t justify a press release each time), then there’s nothing wrong with sending a regular press release for each one.
  • Regular product launches – I used to work with a company who released a new product every Monday. They would issue a release for each product launch, because each product (in this case new t-shirt designs) was directly tied to something relatively newsworthy that would appeal to their target audience.
  • Regular research or reports – If your company conducts research and issues public reports on industry issues, and you tend to do this on a regular schedule (as in serious research, and not something like a casual Web poll), then you shouldn’t hold off on announcing your findings through a press release just to avoid regular distribution. It has news value, and in this kind of case, a regular schedule may even give people something to anticipate if you become known for their quality.
  • Regular charitable efforts – If your company is involved with a long-term charitable endeavor, and you’re making significant progress (such as in raising funds for an organization) on a regular basis, it might be worth mentioning repeatedly (for example, if a company raised $10,000 for a charity in January and then $15,000 in February, sending a release each month probably won’t hurt).

The key is to know your audience. Know what they’ll care about, and try to issue press releases that will appeal to them – remember, you want them to help spread the word. The trick isn’t to send a lot of press releases for results… it’s to actually make yourself newsworthy. As long as you do that your press release distribution schedule won’t become an issue.

If you find yourself almost never having something newsworthy to say, start putting some thought into things you can introduce to fix that (get involved with a charity, run contests, participate in important events, etc.). Every company (or website, organization, or individual) has the capability of becoming newsworthy. Don’t let your chances pass you by.


  1. avatar
    Daryl Clark Says:
    January 25th, 2008 at 3:24 pm

    I think what happens is management tells their PR firm or staff, “we need our information out there,” so the staff marches to whatever tune management plays. If weekly press releases is what management wants, then that is what they get! Quality vs. quantity should be the guide though just as you suggest.

    The other problem is newbies in the SEO field are telling their clients they will get them links from press releases and want to have something to show for their efforts. Not realizing if the content doesn’t have good link bait then it is a worthless exercise.

    Thanks for another great post Dave!

    Reply

  2. avatar
    Erick Says:
    January 26th, 2008 at 5:21 am

    I agree with this blog, our agency believes that press releases should be timely and have meaning… Posting too many tends to lead to desensitization of the public towards your product… good blog.

    Reply

  3. avatar
    simon Says:
    January 26th, 2008 at 5:17 pm

    On the web its all about link building, most readers wont be interested in what you are saying anyway, unless you are sending direct to your users, the web is for everyone, put it out there as many times as you can

    Reply

  4. avatar
    Miguel Salcido Says:
    January 26th, 2008 at 5:53 pm

    Thank you so much for writing this post! I could not agree more. I have been trying to convey this message to clients and it is difficult to convince them, especially if they do not have much understanding of PR. I feel that one a month is way too spammy, unless of course you really do have alot of newsworthy info to get out there. But that will typically not sustain itself on a monthly basis.

    That being said, save the money you would spend sending one PR per month and when you do get some newsworthy content pay for a really targeted high end distribution with a company like BusinessWire ($1000-$2000). This way you really get the full effects of a “better” distribution, as opposed to one a month for $100-$200 from PR Newswire.

    Many SEO firms push press released becuase they are grasping at straws to find good ways to build good links. And this is one of the only ways that they know of to get authority links. Its a bit sad that the online press release community has to suffer from this. But links will always be a very important piece of the ranking factor. The firms that build links in the most natural and consistent manner will stand the test of time and out perform the competition.

    Great Post!

    Reply

  5. avatar
    pay per click Says:
    January 29th, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    It should start with a clear OBJECTIVE why we are releasing a press material. Aside that it is news worthy, it should be strategically and creatively PLANNED (media wise). It should be online at the right time at the right place targeting the right people.

    Though a press release can stand on its own, it is not sufficient if you are planning to campaign a real online communications plan. That is why I always research — hoping to find — online about a consumer’s online usage, attitude and interests (UAI).

    Thanks for the information. I will bookmark this site on my browser.


    Dorie Ellwell
    Venturing interactive marketing efforts…

    Reply

  6. avatar
    Plumbing Course Andy Says:
    January 31st, 2008 at 10:50 pm

    You make some excellent points, but your post can be summed up succinctly in the one piece of advice you gave at the start: “Send a press release whenever you have something newsworthy to say.”

    Too many clients are too in love with the idea of a press release. I have to have the same battle regularly: No no you don’t need a press release, you need to wait till something actually happens. No, surviving in business for another year is not press worthy. No, voting yourself a big bonus is not press worthy.

    Ah yes, landing a big deal to supply Boots the Chemist, yes, that IS press worthy!

    Reply

  7. avatar
    Jennifer Mattern Says:
    February 1st, 2008 at 4:33 pm

    @Simon – You’re right. Go ahead and put out as many press releases as you want. You’ll make yourself (or your client) look like an idiot to anyone that matters in the long run, but more power to you.

    @Miguel – Honestly, SEO firms that push press releases for “good” links are nothing short of clueless. What they’re really doing in most cases that I’ve seen is telling the client they’ll get quick links and a lot of links.

    Just yesterday I saw some ridiculous line from one telling prospective clients they’ll get “thousands of links” from a cheap press release. What folks like these neglect to tell their clients is that most of those links (assuming you even get that many – most don’t) are complete garbage. That’s because the links come primarily from PR sites themselves (so they’re buried quickly in archives and on irrelevant sites) and from scraper sites / splogs or just poor quality sites that no one knows (or cares) about.

    The real quality links come from that legitimate coverage of the news. One big pickup can lead to a lot of other relevant pickups with a trickle-down effect, which gives quality links on relevant sites with a highly targeted audience that actually cares about your company / site / release subject matter. Why so many people fail to grasp this will always be beyond me. I just take solace in knowing that those after short-term results rarely make it in long-term business efforts. ;)

    Reply

  8. avatar
    SEO Visions Says:
    February 15th, 2008 at 8:11 am

    I would tend to agree. Most companies also simply do not have enough ‘real’ press-worthy material to release. Much like ‘ad blindness’, users can get inundated with too many release from one company, which tend to negate the effects of the biggest of those press releases.

    Reply

  9. avatar
    Email Marketing Man Says:
    February 27th, 2008 at 7:51 pm

    Great post, and some great comments – especially Daryl. Newsletters are a great example of KRAs trumping common sense (which is usually a mix of laziness and a lack of ‘big picture’ vision).

    I like to take that philosophy of “send a newsletter when you have something to say”, but keep the frequency of my sending very much in mind. Knowing you haven’t had good reason to send a newsletter for a few months makes for good incentive to get cracking, as a benchmarking tool.

    Reply

  10. avatar
    Brandon Says:
    March 18th, 2008 at 7:05 pm

    Might there be instances where any news is news?

    For example, a small firm who is growing may make changes which would truly be “so what” material to large firms but to the small firms short list of clients could be a big deal.

    Additionally, might it make sense to “get the word out” when you are in the infant stage of growing then transition to just releasing information about big events?

    Just thoughts, good post.

    Reply

  11. avatar
    Jason Pearson Says:
    March 20th, 2008 at 7:49 pm

    You make some really good points. It’s like the person who is constantly sending out new pics of their kids and going on and on about the newest thing they have accomplished. You start to despise the parent and the child. Just save it for the Christmas letter!

    Reply

  12. avatar
    Nyoman Says:
    March 22nd, 2008 at 8:07 am

    Good post! I completely agree. PR is meant to be a media of something we say big or newsworthy enough. I know it’s a bit subjective but what I mean is we have to be sincere. We always have to remember that the audience is not stupid. They’ll know whether it’s a real PR or just another routine choir.

    In online business, building credibility and reputation should be our priority. “Overdo” something often results in damage reputation. Once our reputation gets down, it means a lot more work to do and we surely don’t want it to happen.

    Reply

  13. avatar
    Andrew Says:
    March 31st, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    Nice post. I think anywhere more than 1 press release a month is to much. Especially for small companies. For big companies one a week is fine. Being in the news to much can work just as bad as it can, good.

    Andrew

    Reply

  14. avatar
    Anie Says:
    April 8th, 2008 at 5:59 am

    Yes I agree, Too many press releases is just be a repititon of information and it could be quite monotonous for the readers without any fresh and interesting information.

    Reply

  15. avatar
    Selena | Bluetooth Says:
    May 2nd, 2008 at 10:30 am

    Yes its true but still you can improve it. If you want to publish too many press release then merely change the category because generally visitors are not viewing each category.

    Thanks
    Selena

    Reply

  16. avatar
    Jeremy Says:
    May 21st, 2008 at 1:26 am

    I have found that the exposure of submitting numerous press releases can really help in terms of branding and overall saturation.

    The larger sites such as PR Web already do a great job getting the releases out there, but the smaller venues tend to help further with branding when a company types in specific company brand names (and see thousands of instances returned)

    I could not agree more with a very well-planned, targeted and objective press release.

    Reply

  17. avatar
    loans Says:
    May 23rd, 2008 at 8:10 am

    yeah u are rite, too much press ppl will take it as spam, for me i wont check all the press, get bored easily…

    Reply

  18. avatar
    House Training a Puppy Says:
    June 2nd, 2008 at 7:55 pm

    I too agree. It’s hard to know just what people are reading. Sometimes a little goes a long way!

    Reply

  19. avatar
    House Training a Puppy Says:
    June 2nd, 2008 at 8:01 pm

    Too many press releases can have the effect of not being read at all. Each case is different.

    Reply

  20. avatar
    Robin Ashley Says:
    June 11th, 2008 at 12:21 am

    Jennifer, what is the best service or source to use to distribute press releases? I have looked at PRWEB, PRNEWSWIRE, and eReleases…it can be kind of expensive but I am unsure of which to use. Any advice or direction you can provide?

    I really need some insight as to the myriad of choices out there and what about the free sources or is it a matter of you get what you pay for.

    Reply

  21. avatar
    Andrew Flusche, Fredericksburg Lawyer Says:
    June 17th, 2008 at 4:44 am

    Great post! I worked at a non-profit where the goal was to issue at least one press release per day. We were supposed to be getting our name. As you explain, it gets the name out, but not in the correct way. People realize that you just talk for talking’s sake.

    Reply

  22. avatar
    Web Marketing Services Says:
    June 19th, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    That’s a very good point about not putting out press releases just to get ranked high in SEO. Quality content seems to be the foundation of a good reputation whether it’s with press releases, articles, blogs, etc.

    Reply

  23. avatar
    Hochsprung Says:
    June 22nd, 2008 at 8:20 pm

    less is more! One press release a month is enough! For SEO (Suchmaschinenoptimierung) quality content is useful for a good reputation.

    Reply

  24. avatar
    Martin Says:
    October 19th, 2008 at 9:06 am

    Great Post! Good advice, where do you draw the line regarding news articles via feeds to Google news though? Search iphone in google news and you’ll find thousands of articles being released daily. These so called news stories jump straight on to the first page of Google. Try it. they call it blended search, vertical search and universal search. To me it looks like spam but Google seem to love it.

    Reply

  25. avatar
    Brad Says:
    October 21st, 2008 at 1:38 pm

    I do think that there is some backlinking value in a well thought out press release, but I think Jennifer’s got a valid point about targeting your audience versus just sending a release out about everything your company or website does.

    I’ve had a number of requests from people to create a press release for events or “news” that just weren’t newsworthy (IMHO).

    I think your time (and money, in some cases) is better spent utilizing press releases for truly newsworthy items.

    Reply

  26. avatar
    Nick Stamoulis Says:
    October 24th, 2008 at 1:53 pm

    I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer to this, to a degree. It comes down to what the goal of the online PR is for that particular company. If you are doing it for SEO and rankings, fine. If you are doing it to get eyeballs to land on it and you really don’t care about your rankings that is also fine. Or maybe you search result look like swiss cheese and you want to flood them with new press regardless of what they say. It just comes down to a companies goals and what they are trying to achieve with their online PR. marketing could be different to each company.

    Reply

  27. avatar
    Andy Johnson Says:
    October 31st, 2008 at 10:59 am

    That’s right, it’s the old adage: If you haven’t got anything important to say then don’t say anything at all. Bombarding news organisations and media outlets achieves nothing other making your press releases seem like spam (I always really, really like it when the same press release is sent on different occasions as if that it itself will make it more newsworthy)

    Reply

  28. avatar
    John Says:
    December 14th, 2008 at 4:10 am

    press releases are for “newsworthy” content. Too many releases suggests a spam campaign

    Reply

  29. avatar
    SEO Company Says:
    January 17th, 2009 at 10:33 pm

    Thanks for this great post. i would agree that too many press releases in short time can have the effect of not being read at all.

    Reply

  30. avatar
    Scot Burns Says:
    January 29th, 2009 at 8:56 pm

    Jennifer (or anyone else), I can agree with your argument for dilluting impact (the cry wolf effect) but what about sending the same press release to multiple distribution services. One school of thought says it’s goof to build links, the other says it’s bad because it spams. What is your opinion?

    Reply

  31. avatar
    simons Says:
    February 15th, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    Nice post, just subscribed to your feed, are you on twitter?

    Reply

  32. avatar
    seo usa Says:
    May 26th, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    I totally agree with you, if you submit too many press release in just a week, it can hurt your SERPS.

    Reply

  33. avatar
    Brenda | Trade Marks Says:
    September 17th, 2009 at 7:52 am

    I have to agree with all on this one there is nothing worse than too much press for a company, one has to pick the right time and not over do the press releases as this could irritate your potential clients. Good post again.

    Reply