While the public relations industry continues to evolve and shift from traditional to digital tactics to a calculated mix of both, the power of the press release continues to show strength and agility when used strategically in a public relations campaign. Business Wire, an online distribution service for press releases, decided to quantify the actual impact of the press release in a yearlong 2011-2012 study. They addressed and tracked the results of the following three questions:
- What is the best day to send a press release?
- What is the return on marketing investment (ROMI) for a given set of press releases?
- Does a press release campaign have measureable effect on website traffic?
Here is what they found:
- According to the research presented in this white paper, the best day to distribute a press release is either Tuesday or Thursday, depending on what goals you are trying to achieve and what metrics are used to measure impact. If you are measuring results by the number of times the release was viewed or the number of clicks on links within the release, then Thursday is the best day to distribute. On the other hand, if you are aiming to increase the number of visits and the number of leads generated by a release, then Tuesday is the optimal day for distribution.
- Over the course of a year, 10 different releases were distributed and tracked for the number of overall visits, goal conversion rates and leads. Referral traffic was relatively easy to link back to some news sites and blogs that had written stories about one of the press release announcements, including links back to the company website. Other referrals, such as those with untagged links within a release, were harder to attribute to the PR campaign.
Social media referrals were almost impossible to pin down. While Facebook generated 225 visits and two leads, LinkedIn generated 114 visits and seven leads, and Twitter generated 33 visits and zero leads, it is hard to decipher how many of these leads and visits were generated by the PR campaign.
However, when tracking the Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI) of this campaign, they measured a 2.4X increase in the amount originally spent in creating and distributing the 10 releases. So, while social media and untagged links within a release are difficult to attribute directly to a PR campaign, the ROMI numbers suggest otherwise.
- When comparing website traffic between two quarters (one without a defined PR campaign and one with one), they concluded a 25% increase in traffic from the quarter without a PR campaign to the quarter with one. In other words, the quarter with a PR program recorded 80% higher visits from tagged links within a release, 74% higher leads, 31% higher referral traffic, and 5% higher organic search traffic.
In conclusion, as stated in the research, “the three research programs demonstrate the effectiveness of press releases. This brings back to life a traditional public relations activity that some mistakenly thought was dead.” To download this white paper, visit the Business Wire website Linking Press Release Output to Outcomes