Press releases haven’t counted for much. But in the past year, they’ve emerged as a cornerstone of local online marketing via Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and even formed the basis of entire local and vertical sites, such as The Empire Page and yourhub.com.
“Press releases are for customers, not journalists,” said Anne Holland, the leader of Marketing Sherpa, whose eyebrow-raising new SEO study tracked the current role of press releases. In a conference call, Holland noted that local merchants have begun to fully leverage press releases, packing them upfront with SEO-triggering terms and links, and timing them for seasonal search interests.
Another trend involving press releases is their aggregation into mock news sites. The Denver Newspaper Agency’s Yourhub.com, for instance, is now in California,Colorado, Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. In Annenberg’s Online Journalism Review, author Tom Grubisch shows how yourhub’s backers are offering a quick-and-easy outlet for community journalism.