The Blog, the Article, and the Press Release: What is the difference?

When it comes to promoting your business on the web, there are as many opinions as there are experts.  One guy says to start a blog.  Some other guru tells you to write articles and submit them.  Still another thinks a press release is the best thing you can do. You probably think to yourself, “It seems like these guys are just saying the same thing in different ways.  It’s all about semantics, right?  Au contraire mon frere.  Blogs, articles, and press releases are quite a bit different.  Come along and see what I mean.

We will first tackle the blog. A blog, or web-log if you want to be technical, allows you to share with others your wit, wisdom, and a wealth of information.  From a business standpoint, your blog can be invaluable.  Use it to post videos relevant to your site.  Link your customers to independent reviews of your products or services.  Write exciting and interesting articles that will thrill the masses, or at least keep them interested enough to take a look-see at what you have to offer them.  Your blog can reel in customers like tweens to a Twilight movie.  The more inventive you are, the more likely your blog is to spark interest.  That spark produces a flame, and that flame can be fanned with a great article.

An article is a piece of writing that has many purposes.  It can inform, entice, entertain, or all three.  Its purpose is to share some knowledge, disseminate information, or look at things from a different angle.  This is not the place to toot your own horn, except at the very end of the article. You can submit your article to a submission site where more than just customers on your site can view it.  What you are looking for here is for others to pluck your article from obscurity and put it on their own site.  You allow them to do this in exchange for linking back to your site.  This will increase your page ranking with Goggle and other search engines.  The great thing is, you pretty much have control of who gets to use your article and what you “charge” them for it.  Now, what do you do if you have something new or exciting you want to let the world know about?

The press release is your golden opportunity to trumpet your own success, tell the world how great you are, and announce new products or services to the masses.  Press releases are written in a pre-determined format, and sometimes require a professional hand to strike that delicate balance between newsworthy and promotional.  The press release sites are savvy and snuff out a glorified ad in a second.  To combat this, you must find something worth reporting and craft your promotion piece around that.  It could be a blurb about how your product or service made someone’s life easier.  You could also tout how this groundbreaking new product is a must-have for everyone (think the Ipad).  Now, I would be remiss not to offer this one word of caution.  Once your press release is “out there” it is out of your hands.  You have literally released it and other news media may take it, change it, and shape it anyway they like. Sometimes that is a great thing, and sometimes it isn’t.  You will have to make that decision for yourself.

Okay class, so ends today’s lesson.  The blog, the article, and the press release are all excellent tools for boosting the content of your site.  Each of them is unique in style, form, and substance. No matter which you choose, they will have positives and negatives.  Use one or use them all, whatever strikes your fancy.  The most important thing is that you use them.

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