What is the goal of a press release? You’re probably thinking, ‘It’s obvious, isn’t it?’ The hope is that your press release gets picked up by your media of choice and you get free advertising. Marketers dream their press release will wind up as the main headline on the front page. And it’s true: The value of being on the editorial pages of the media is priceless. But what some marketers don’t consider are the hidden advantages, the less obvious but equally powerful benefits of P.R.

1. Improves Internal Communication And Messaging
Communicating effectively to employees is more than good H.R. – it’s essential to retention and relationship building. Employees don’t want to learn about their company’s accomplishments over the news or online. They should hear it first from the source: their employer’s communications department.

Making your press release accessible to employees — via a company newsletter, corporate intranet, or company website – is effective internal communication and plays a valuable role in professional development. Furthermore, when written properly, the press release is chock full of corporate messaging, and serves as a “key message” document, which employees can use when speaking with clients and prospects. It’s a great way to build consistent messaging throughout the organization.

2. Boosts Search Results
The content in press releases is by nature rich with key words, making it high-value content for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Press releases increase the value of your website in the eyes of search engines, as well as encourage other sites to link to yours. This inbound linking is also highly valued by search engines and can lead to much higher organic SEO ranking.

To get even more back-links, submit your press releases to free PR submission websites. A live link from the press release back to the website owner’s site will be posted on most of the syndicated places that the press release shows up. The more channels you reach out to, the better chance you have of getting picked up in the search engines.

The residual online benefit for the press release publisher is the coveted fresh content that is so hard to come by on the Internet today. Your website stays relevant and up-to-date with the latest news.

3. Defines Your Company As A Leader
When journalists use your press release to write about your products, they provide an independent review that creates credibility. When consumers read press releases, it strengthens their perceptions of your brand. Included as part of a company’s integrated marketing program, the press release reinforces branding, boosts loyalty and contributes to sales results.

4. Works In Your Marketing Tool Kit
Get double duty from your press releases, by including them in collateral, or information kits. Too often, salespeople starve for tools that will support and improve their sales efforts. A well-stocked arsenal of sales materials—the marketing toolkit—is crucial to successful sales efforts. When left with prospects, along with case studies, fact sheets and other collateral, the press release is a fundamental tool for arming salespeople with materials they can use to “get in the door,” ensuring the right message is delivered and keeping your name in front of the client long after the initial sales call.

5. Broadens The Net To Prospects
A release can be distributed to a range of publications through paid news services, sent directly from your communications department to targeted members of the media, and can be posted on your company website for potentially thousands of people to view. You broaden the audience who learns about your company – and ensure that your brand is well-known in your industry.

Put together a P.R. plan that includes distributing and posting press releases on a regular basis and you will start reaping hidden benefits of a press release.

–Source: Media Brains May 2008 issue

Additional Reading
Grow Your Network And Make Your Contacts Work For You
SEO: The Elusive Target
Free SEO and Blog Rank Tools
SEO Design Tips – Part 1
SEO Design Tips – Part 2