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.