Even if you never publish it, thinking through the process of creating a press release will reveal the strengths and weaknesses of your digital marketing strategy.

And it will force you to answer four critical questions that will clarify what to improve.

Not long ago, we wrote a press release for a client about their category relaunch. It was all pretty straightforward. The client had news to share, strong positioning, solid social proof, and a well-thought-out homepage. Consequently, we struck a chord with news agencies and their readers. Several significant media sources picked up the story. And the client had an excellent public relations piece to share and reshare.

We’ve learned that not everyone needs or should even attempt a press release from trial and error. But we also know the four elements above help outline a successful digital marketing strategy.

  1. What’s the story?
  2. What’s your take?
  3. What’s the client’s take?
  4. What happens next?

What’s the story?

A good marketing strategy will incorporate story element. When it comes to thinking about your story and that of your business, picture a grumpy old newspaper editor asking you two questions:

What’s the angle?
And, so what?

Your company may not have a breaking news story or one that will break the internet. But it’s always helpful to consider what you’re doing to differentiate yourself from your competitors. What’s your angle?

One way is to demonstrate your expertise by keeping current – and keeping your followers current – on what’s new. So, if you run a plumbing company, it might mean sharing what’s great and not so great about the latest tankless water heater on the market.

What’s your take?

A good press release includes a quote from the main subject or the story’s hero. Whether a business owner or an Olympic Gold Medal Winner, a personal quotation adds a unique perspective to the story.

April Dunford, who’s an expert on the topic, offers this definition:

Positioning defines how our product is different and better than alternatives for a particular set of customers.

A good question to ask yourself is, what would it sound like if a press release quoted you and your positioning statement?

What’s the client’s take?

A good news story includes the input of others to validate the account. We call this social proof in digital marketing strategy terms, and it’s powerful.

It’s the reason why 83% of consumers say they’re more likely to purchase a product or service recommended by friends or family.

What happens next?

A well-written press release can serve many purposes, such as promoting an event, announcing an award, or leadership changes. But the priority for most businesses is to convert prospects to customers.

So, the question is, once you have their attention, how will you make the most of it? For most companies, it will involve your website – specifically the home page. And when the client arrives there, you want it to be a soft landing. In other words, you’ll want them to know they’re in the right place.

They should be able to tell quickly what value you have to offer and how they can take advantage of it. Make it easy. Make it clear. And make sure there’s a clear call to action.

Most businesses don’t need a press release

But they can still benefit from the press release marketing strategy.

Even the best press release won’t compensate for lackluster marketing. It could even prove a disaster if you’re ill-prepared for the consequences of success.

The reality is a successful press release is subject to the whims of news outlets and readers. Therefore, timing can also be a critical factor.  But most businesses need a solid digital marketing strategy that includes your unique angle, positioning, social proof, and a well-designed website.

Consider the press release marketing strategy as a way to improve your marketing.