I used to run a PR firm, and I still do a good deal of PR writing. Press releases are naturally something I come across a lot with my client work. While there are plenty of mistakes businesses can make when drafting or distributing their press releases, one of the most common mistakes I’ve seen is just downright silly (and easily fixed). Businesses don’t post their press releases to their own websites.
The biggest excuse I’ve gotten about why a client doesn’t post their press releases to their own site is that they’re afraid of being penalized for duplicate content. When I hear this I feel like an old schoolmarm wanting to smack their hands with a ruler or make them sit in the corner with a dunce cap for a little while. It’s a bad excuse. It’s a terrible excuse. It’s a stupid excuse!
Why Duplicate Content Doesn’t Matter
The duplicate content fear only happens when someone puts SEO above their readers, customers, and image. That’s not smart business. Yes, SEO can be important. I won’t argue that. But if you’re doing something newsworthy enough to warrant a press release in the first place, then you’re well beyond SEO alone.
The point is that having your press release on your own website can provide more than enough benefits to outweigh the (debatable) downsides of duplicate content on your company’s website.
Benefits of Posting Your Press Releases to Your Website
Here are five of the biggest benefits of keeping a copy of your press releases on your own website.
- Serves as an archive – One of the most basic benefits of publishing your press releases to your company website is that you’ll have an archive of your releases in one place. You can look back at past news quickly and easily before drafting a new release. You can pull them up to convert them into blog posts. You can access all of your company news without having to search third party sites or dig through files on your local machine.
- Offers background to journalists and bloggers – Even if your early press releases don’t get much coverage in the media, they can still be a worthwhile resource for journalists and bloggers conducting a later interview for a story. They can go to your site and view all of your past news without having to search for it. They basically get a timeline of what your company has done.
- Allows control over comments – While you can’t “control” the content of individual comments necessarily (or perhaps I should say “shouldn’t” instead of “can’t”), you do get to control whether comments are allowed or not directly on the release. Even more importantly, you can eliminate spam comments without hoping a distribution service does it for you, and your own responses to comments will be available directly on your site for future visitors to see as well.
- No risk of “expiration” – While some press release distribution sites leave your releases live indefinitely, others do not. I recently came across one which removes releases after three years. It makes sense on their end I suppose — pull irrelevant stories down the road to conserve resources. However, it goes back to having an archive. You should have some record of your releases available. While it might be tempting to just create a news page where you link to off-site releases, you never know if your distribution site will change, lose data in a hardware failure, merge with another, shut down, etc. Having your releases on your own site ensures they’re available as long as you want them to be.
News goes directly to your own audience / customers / readers – Should your own regular readers, customers, or visitors have to rely on a news engine to find news about your company? Ideally, no. Even if they might come across your news that way, they have a relationship with you already. It would probably be nice from their perspective to get the news right from you as soon as it’s released and not have to leave anything to chance. Even posting your releases to your blog can be a good option if you don’t have a newsroom area on the site. It just keeps your audience in the loop and makes them feel a little bit more important.
If these benefits aren’t reason enough for you to overlook your duplicate content concerns, here’s a suggestion — post it to your own site first. Let it get indexed (which can happen in a few hours) so it’s clear your site is the original source. Then go ahead and distribute the release to a wider audience. You’ll get the best of both worlds.