We talk a lot about SEO and social media on the Church Marketing Online, but one thing I haven’t talked much about (if at all) is press releases. Often times I think people think of press releases as being something for businesses or politicians or that something has to be amazingly spectacular to be worthy of a lofty press release, but that isn’t the case, especially in the Internet age.
Why Should Churches Send Out Press Releases?
I came across an article by Kenny Jahng which reminded me of the value of press releases and how under used press releases tend to be by churches. Kenny points out three benefits from churches using press releases:
- Gets your news out on the web.
- Alerts your local news outlets about what your church is doing
- It can insert your church into an active conversation
His central theme is that press releases can put your ministry in front of new audiences. I would also add to this that press releases are a great way to build inbound links to help your search rankings. You can put links into your press releases and any articles that are written by the press or bloggers may also have a link to your site.
Press Releases Cost Too Much
Press releases can be expensive. Depending on who you use, how long your press release is, how wide a distribution you want, and how many links you put in the release, it can indeed get expensive. But it doesn’t have to be. There are plenty of free press release options, like:
The free options from these services are bit more limited, but you can get a link and decent distribution for well under $100.
When To Send a Press Release
So, what really is worthy of a press release? Pretty much whatever will interest people. Do you have an upcoming event that people would be interested in? Send a press release. Did your church do some community service? Send a press release. Are you going to be preaching about a popular or controversial topic? Send a press release. If you think people would be interested, or especially a reporter would write about it, then you can send a press release.
3 Tips For Effective Press Releases
- Have a compelling title. Journalists are looking at hundreds, if not thousands, of press releases, you have to get their attention. Use a compelling or provocative title and, if possible, throw in a popular keyword or two. When I say keywords, I don’t mean for SEO purposes, but attention purposes. For example, I’ve noticed that if I include “Facebook” in a title to my posts, I tend to get more readers.
- Don’t be self promotional. Write the press release like a non-biased observer reporting about an event. If you want to get a more self-promotional point across, put it in a quote. If your press release sounds too self-promotional, most journalists will move on.
- Send the press release out early. Most journalists are looking at their press release sources first thing in the morning. So, try to get your release out by 7am – 8am. Also, if your writing about an upcoming event, journalists may need a few days to get the story published. So, it’s best to send the press release out a couple of weeks in advance of the event.
Especially as Christmas approaches, consider sending out some press releases about upcoming events or ways your church is serving the community. They are a great way to reach more people and get more links.
What do you think?
Does your church use press releases?
If so, what tips do you have about what works best?