5 Ways an Online Press Release is Better Than Facebook Advertising

Matt Ulmer
Matt Ulmer VP of Operations & Client Relations

Online Press Releases Better than Facebook AdsFacebook advertising is a hot topic right now. Everyone wants to know if it can generate direct clicks and conversions.

I’ll make it easy for you: no. Facebook advertising, like television advertising, should be viewed as something that can build brand awareness. If you want direct traffic, your best bet is still Google.

But online advertising with Google AdWords isn’t your only option. An online press release is a powerful and criminally overlooked marketing tool that actually works better than Facebook ads to generate traffic. Here’s why.

1. An active audience

Yes, Facebook has an enviably wide reach. But Facebook users aren’t thinking about ads when they’re commenting on family photos. Conversely, when someone searches on Google, they are specifically looking for whatever it is they searched for. If you optimize a press release for key phrases your audiences search, they could find your article at the exact moment that they’re looking for information on your type of product or service. That makes them much more likely to take action.

Tip: Select three keyword phrases and be sure to fit one into your headline, two into your first paragraph, and one into your final paragraph, at the minimum. Long-tail or specific phrases like “Journalism graduate degree in New York” will get better results from more engaged consumers than broad and generic phrases like “grad school.”

2. Room to deliver your message

Facebook ads are purposely designed to look like Facebook posts and are consequently just as short. When you post a press release online, you have an entire article to tell your story. You can quote your executives, provide testimonials from clients, include photos or even video. If the release is written well enough, you can deliver all your key talking points in one marketing piece.

Tip: Keep your release between 250 and 500 words. That’s good practice for the search engines and your readers.

3. Doesn’t look like advertising

One of the best things about online press releases is that they are press releases. They don’t look like ads, because they aren’t ads. Sure, they highlight your company and link to your website, but they do so while providing actual useful information.

Tip: Technically online press releases give you the power to bypass journalists and deliver your information straight to the public. But still write them to interest journalists — still make them compelling and provide new, useful information to those who read it. Feel free to include a call-to-action, but keep in mind that a direct sell defeats the purpose of a press release and serves as disingenuous public relations.

4. Improves your SEO

Because online press releases pack several paragraphs of tight copy into a single page, they are more likely to appear at the top of the search results for important keyword phrases. And because they link back to your website, they are also an excellent way to improve search engine optimization (SEO) for your site. It’s an added bonus that the releases themselves gain visibility and potentially increase your site’s visibility.

Tip: Include at least one link to your homepage and no more than three links total to interior pages (avoid stuffing excessive links within the body copy). The link anchor text should be your keyword phrases, and they should go to different interior pages that are relevant to the copy (never link to the same page more than once).

5. It’s affordable

Facebook ad budgets can quickly balloon into big dollars for high impressions. Online press releases cost you as little as $200. Considering the level of online exposure these releases provide, and the potential traffic that comes with it, online press releases are one of the most cost effective marketing channels available.

Tip: Most online press release distribution services such as PRNewswire, BusinessWire, and PRWeb will give you discounts for packages, so consider creating a schedule in advance. One press release a month is a good frequency.

The wrap-up

Facebook is a great platform to develop long-term brand awareness. But if you’re looking to generate direct visits to your website, online press releases are the superior option. Cheaper than Google ads, more effective than Facebook ads — it’s a great untapped marketing resource. Until now.

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