Practical Ecommerce

Writing Social Media Press Releases: 3 Tools to Help

More than 3,000 press releases are issued each day. However, unless you have a public relations firm following up — making phone calls or sending emails to journalists and bloggers — it’s almost impossible to get your release read by the media.

But there are three ways press releases can be benefit an ecommerce merchant, beyond informing the press. They are: (a) a tool for search engine optimization, (b) direct marketing, and (c) social media engagement.

Press Releases Can Help Your Ecommerce Business

Press Releases for SEO

When it comes to online marketing, practically everything revolves around being findable via Google and other search engines. There is no reason press releases can’t serve that purpose, too.

“A press release written with search engine optimization in mind can do much more than originally intended if the right keywords are used, links are included that point the corresponding page on your site, along with an image or video for universal search results,” said search marketing expert Brian Bille, president of Kinetic Marketing. “You’ll not only share news to make your PR department happy, but accrue even more value via inbound links to your site.”

Press Releases and Direct Marketing

As author David Meerman Scott explains so well in his bestselling book, New Rules of Marketing and PR, we are no longer beholden to media gatekeepers. Thanks to syndication via Google News and Yahoo! News, blogs and via RSS feeds, we can now go directly to the audience we want to reach with our message.

I am not suggesting that mainstream and trade press are irrelevant. Getting a story picked up and published in a trade publication still has value. But, why not take the short cut and go directly to the consumer rather than the long way around via the media?

Press Releases and Social Media

I want to introduce you to a new concept called the “social media release,” or SMR.

The traditional press release was born over one hundred years ago at a time when “all the news that’s fit to print,” as The New York Times put it, was published in newspapers. Those days are long gone. The social media release is born of the time in which we now live, an era where newspapers, radio and TV are faltering and the web is predominant.

This new format enables users to incorporate video, audio, images, PowerPoint slides, and any other form of multimedia content that can easily be shared via the social web using blogs, social networks, microblogs, RSS and more. SMR’s don’t completely do away with the traditional release format. It’s just much more findable, flexible, sharable and conversational than the old text-based release ever could be. It was born from social media and is native to it.

With that in mind, here are three tools you can use to build a social media release.


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Pitch Engine is a platform designed to use with social media.

Pitch Engine is a platform designed to use with social media.

PitchEngine is a social-media-release-building application that enables users to embed video from YouTube and other video-sharing platforms, PowerPoint slides using SlideShare, and images uploaded from your computer’s hard-drive.

The application is as easy to use as completing a form. The interface includes fields for 140-character Twitter pitches, summary information, bullet-point news facts, and the full release. Links can be added to related websites, PDFs, or other files. There is also a field for keyword tags. And PitchEngine even has its own ULR shortener. Company boilerplate information is included in the right-hand column.

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At PitchEngine, a simple one page form is used to create the release.

At PitchEngine, a simple one page form is used to create the release.

PitchEngine uses the “freemium” model in that releases are free, though only housed on the site for 30 days. Premium services — such as archiving of releases and the creation of a branded newsroom — are available at rates that range from $19 to $99 per month.

Though PitchEngine does syndicate releases to Google News, is not a wire service in the traditional sense, but relies on social networks and word-of-mouth for viral spread of the message. There is also a real-time “pitch feed” on the PitchEngine website searchable by industry and keyword that journalists and bloggers will find helpful. Promoted Stories

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Promoted Stories from syndicates content to social media, trade publications, blogs, search engines, and through RSS feeds.

Promoted Stories from syndicates content to social media, trade publications, blogs, search engines, and through RSS feeds.

Content syndication service recently released a new product called Promoted Stories. Not only does it facilitate delivery of content to social media channels, but also to blogs, trade publications, search engines, RSS feed subscribers, and mainstream media.

Similar to PitchEngine, Promoted Stories’ content can include text, images, video and other types of media files. One unique differentiator is that, based on its proprietary technology, all needs to pull in content for use with its distribution platform is a URL from a previously published press release.


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PRWeb optimizes press releases for search engines.

PRWeb optimizes press releases for search engines.

A third option that is a bit more mainstream is PRWeb. While it contains some of the same features as PitchEngine in terms of sharing with social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook, PRWeb’s emphasis on more in the release itself, which takes on a more traditional look and feel.

PRWeb also provides SEO benefits. Part of the user-interface incorporates the inclusion of keywords, and keyword-optimization is built-in. Plus, it is a wire service in that it syndicates releases to news media and online news sources like Google and Yahoo!.

According to PRWeb Direct: “We are heavily invested in search technologies. Search engine traffic plays a vital role in the success of your news release. Journalists increasingly rely on major search engines for their research. Consequently, every press release distributed through our network is optimized for maximum organic search engine inclusion. Search engines can then crawl naturally and efficiently to index your press release. Our exclusive technology and unmatched infrastructure provides the best available search traffic directed to your news items.” PRWeb is so confident of its service that it guarantees inclusion of press releases in major search engines.

Unlike PitchEngine, PRWeb does not offer a free option. Prices range from $89 to $369 per release, with service offerings scaling the higher the price point. I usually settle for the $199 Advanced option release, which is the one best suited to SEO. Due to the cost, if you create a large number of releases, you may wish to reserve PR Web for those that merit the greatest exposure.

Paul Chaney

Paul Chaney

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  1. Sig Ueland June 25, 2012 Reply

    Great resources, Paul!

  2. Paul Chaney June 26, 2012 Reply

    Thanks for the encouragement Sig. These tools are perfectly suited to the needs and budget of smaller ecommerce merchants. In the past, I’ve used both Pitch Engine and PRWeb in tandem. One compliments the other. PE is more social media oriented, while PRWeb gives me an edge with SEO. I’m anxious now to incorporate’s new Promoted Stories feature into the mix, as well.

  3. Bill Flitter June 27, 2012 Reply

    Paul, thanks for the review of Promoted Stories! The great thing about Promoted Stories is they can be used for ANY content, not just Press Releases. A merchant can take their blog posts and promote specials for example. Here are a few stories: and

    Bill Flitter

  4. Elizabeth Ball June 28, 2012 Reply

    What a great new service – and reasonable too! I was paying PRBuzz upwards of $200 a year for the honour of including links in my releases and then switched to PRLog which is free, and has more people opening the release anyway.

  5. Ron July 7, 2012 Reply

    I’m an owner of a small business. We’ve been around for 8 years and lately I’ve noticed that we have lost some of our Google "LOVE" for some of our keywords. I don’t have time to do a lot of backlinking and I ran across PRWEB. I was wondering if anyone has used their services and also if this is a good source for obtaining QUALITY and RELEVANT links back to our website.

  6. Moriam Hassan Balogun July 27, 2012 Reply

    "I want to introduce you to a new concept called the "social media release," or SMR"

    The social media release isn’t at all new. Its been around since 2006 but only since the last few years has it started to really boom. We developed ours in 2009 and relaunched this year.

    "why not take the short cut and go directly to the consumer rather than the long way around via the media?"

    This is a tricky point because you actually want journalists to pick up the story and convey it in an objective way to their audience, your end user. Also, you want to help journalists help you so going straight to the end user with your release might do more damage than good and may look too commercial in the eyes of a consumer. Think about the backlinking as well as many bloggers have a high google ranking than a company or service might have themselves. In short the benefits of social media press releases are many coupled with the publications you can get via bloggers and journalists. The two need to be used in tandem so relying only on your press release being spread via social media wouldn’t be half as effective.