Should Press Releases Be a Part of Your Firm’s Marketing Strategy?

There are big firms that seem to issue a press release every other day. They are usually rather monotonous and highlight inconsequential events within the firm like the opening of a satellite office location or one of their partners speaking to attorneys at a local conference. And while these press releases won’t likely be picked up by the major media outlets, and few clients or referral sources will read and retain the information, firms continue to devote thousands of dollars each year to drafting and releasing these communications. With little tangible return, you may ask yourself if press releases are a worthwhile expense in your marketing campaigns.

When considering any new marketing strategy, it’s important to clearly define your goals. Are you looking to drum up new business? Do you want to increase visibility in your community or are you hoping to gain some traction in the media and be featured in local papers or news interviews?

If your goal is to get featured as an expert on the Today Show, a press release is not the way to go. Most news publications and television programs receive thousands each day and chances are yours won’t even be read by a human. If you have something like a free community event or high profile case that should be reported by local news outlets, pick up the phone and reach out to specific reporters. Social media is a great way to connect and engage with reporters.

Many advocates of press releases cite search engine optimization as a benefit, but having links to you website from a press release won’t directly help your site’s rank in the SERPs. While this may have been a benefit years ago, Google’s algorithms have evolved and it does not recognize links from sites like PRWeb as a positive endorsement of your site. It’s important to note that press releases can, however, show up in the search engine results should someone search by your name or a case that you are involved with. If you have a new site which is not yet ranking well or you’re finding that many search engine results are antiquated and include your name associated with your last firm, you might consider publishing a number of press releases with your new information. Since search engines like to provide users with timely, topical content, it’s likely that your new press releases will show up before older ones.

As with all marketing initiatives, it’s important that any investment results in a positive return for your firm. Press release distribution can be a costly endeavor with a single distribution costing several hundred dollars and can easily dwindle down a small firm’s marketing budget. In developing a comprehensive SEO strategy for your firm, the integration of press releases isn’t a bad strategy but it shouldn’t be the cornerstone of your campaign. Instead, reserve press releases for big announcements and high profile cases which reinforce the practice areas you are focusing on with your optimization efforts. Generally speaking, a quarterly or even semi-annual press release should suffice.

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Dolores Obrien

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