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Why PRWeb might go out of business

PRWeb.com is a great web site and used by many to distribute press releases. The problem with most people doing press releases is that they have a misconception that all you have to do is write a press release, submit it to a press release site (such as PR Web), and sit back and wait for journalists to call them. It has happened, but it is RARE that it happens that way. I will give you several reasons why your press release may not have given you the record sales day that you expected:

1. Wrong Outreach. Most seasoned journalists don’t get their news from online press release sites. That’s not to say that can’t, but you are FAR better off developing media contacts within your industry, or the industry that you are trying to promote your product or service in. Your message will also go much farther when it is received by a key journalist or media contact in an industry, rather than by small time bloggers looking for content. The ultimate is to get major press coverage from the all coveted Wall Street Journal.

2. Mixed Messages. Your press release has to target your market in its copy (clearly) without sending mixed messages.

3. Poorly Written Press Release. Enough said. Few solid editors or journalists will take time to read a poorly written press release; it most likely will get overlooked.

4. Unedited Press Release. Get an Editor. Even if it’s a non professional editor, a second set of eyes can do wonders. You can also ask them if your message is clear or ask them to summarize what they think they just read.

5. Not Compelling Enough. You need to use a compelling headline (title), as that is often all the chance you get to make your point. When writing a press release, what I have done is take time and write out my message and then think of several ways to present it. For example, my message here is “you can’t just write a press release and submit it to a press release web site”. So I came up with the following headlines, which I have rated on a scale of 1-5 by controversy & curiosity factors and also made a notation as to “why someone may or may not care”.

1. PR Does Not Stand For Press Release – 2 (it actually does, right?)

2. Press Releases Don’t Work – 3 (not for most people)

3. Press Releases: What are you missing – 1 (will I really learn something new here?)

4. Never Send Another Press Release Without Reading This – 0 (yawn…)

5. How to Get Journalists to Read Your Press Release – 2 (I don’t believe this, I’ve heard this before)

6. How to Get Massive Web Traffic from Your Press Release – 1 (yeah, right)

7. Does your Press Release Suck? (If no one called you, it did) – 2 (how unprofessional, he used the word “suck”)

8. Why Didn’t Your Press Release Work? – 2 (I don’t care anymore)

9. My Press Release Made ME a Million Dollars Did Yours? – 1 (I am sure you are going to sell me something)

10. How I made $50,00 with ONE Press Release – 2 (I don’t believe you)

11. This could put PRWeb out of Business – 3 (I doubt it… you’re trying to bait me)

12. Why PRWeb Might Go Out Of Business – 4 (well, I am curious.. tell me)

I have numbered them in the event that you want to let me know which one you think my have worked better.

The best part of this is that I actually changed the Title AND the message after doing that exercise. To do good PR, you don’t have to make controversy, but boy it can get you some attention – perhaps the attention you don’t want. In fact, I will let you all know if PRWeb contacts me.

Truly, I don’t think PRWeb will go out of business, because not enough people will take the time to do the work to make their PR campaigns effective. They’ll keep playing the “PR Lottery”, and most won’t have the knowledge… unless you send them this blog post 🙂

I will close with my original title and say that “PR doesn’t stand for press release”, it stands for Public Relations. Relations are about relationships not press releases (that’s worth money if you get it).

Have a safe and Happy 4th, and Happy belated Canada Day to my friends up north.

– OldSchool

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2 Responses to “Why PRWeb might go out of business”

  • Hey there OldSchool,

    I’m with the product team over at Vocus/PRWeb and was definitely intrigued by the title of your posting 🙂 Just wanted to mention that our core propositions are to boost the visibility of our client’s news, improve their search engine rankings and drive traffic to their website.

    With regard to mainstream media pick-up, PRWeb is a tool that PR pros can use to help get pick-up but it must be complimented by strong media relations efforts, as you point out although I would like to note that we have a great team of editors over at PRWeb who work tirelessly to ensure that our customer’s press releases hit all the marks you mention in your posting and comply with our own editorial standards.

    Regards,
    Jiyan

  • oldschool:

    Thanks Jiyan,

    I am a huge fan of PR Web, but I am also a spin doctor. I am glad it got your attention and I think it proved my point. None of the other titles would have prompted you to comment (well, maybe #11).

    I should have pointed out that using PRWeb can certainly give you a boost of inbound links as your release is indexed and picked up by online publishers, both large and small and I have personally benefited from that. I even had a radio station pick up a release I sent through PRWeb about a new site launch and nominate the site as their “site of the day” which got some good regional coverage.

    I could have chosen any other company to “pick on”, but you guys now get the free publicity. Maybe you can hook me up with a credit to my PRWeb account? 🙂

    -OldSchool

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