What exactly is a brand and how does it contribute to the success (or detriment) of your business? And how can you use press releases to help build your online brand?
Technically speaking, a brand is like a “trademark”: a name, term, design, symbol or other feature that distinguishes one seller’s product from those of others. But what a brand really is – and what it should mean to you – is what people think of when they hear your company or product name. It could be factual (“it comes in a purple package”; “delivery takes only two days”) or emotional (“it makes me feel attractive”; “they’re great people to work with”).
Today’s Press Releases Facilitate Conversations
Not too long ago the objective of a press release was to make an announcement – about a new product, executive appointment, etc. Now, in addition to reaching target media with your ‘hard news’, press releases are about facilitating the ongoing conversation in an always-on multi-channel world. They can be very effective as direct-to-consumer content marketing assets and are a great tool to build relationships with people who can influence how your audience perceives your brand.
From embedded multimedia to social sharing links to hyperlinks that provide supportive information, press releases are a great vehicle to send your content to a wide number of people as well as to hyper-targeted audiences with a single click.
How to Turn Your Press Releases into Branding Tools
Through press releases, you can regularly get your content in front of the people who matter to your business and helps demonstrate your organization’s credibility and value. To make your releases work as effectively as possible as online branding tools, follow these rules of thumb:
Know your audience
Before you craft your message, take time to gain an understanding of your target audience – people who will read and care about your news and share it with others. There are a host of paid and free tools to help you accomplish this. Twitter Search is a free tool you can to search for topic keywords or hashtags that reveal ongoing Twitter conversations about breaking news and personal perspectives. Through Twitter Advanced Search you can find more in-depth information such as what your potential audience thinks about a competitor’s service or product, and even zero in on people who are looking for your type of product or service by geographic area. These insights will guide you in presenting your content in a way that resonates with people.