The best traffic driving press release I’ve seen in a LONG time

I remember how press releases during the bubble could make stock prices jump like crazy. Once, a press release went out to announce that SkyMall was partnering with MyFamily.com. Dick Eastman noticed the stock price jump immediately. Here is an excerpt from my personal notes database:

“Our goal at MyFamily.com is to help families use technology to bridge the distance between their various members,” said Curt D. Allen, chief executive officer of MyFamily.com. “Sending and receiving gifts is an important family tradition made easier by the addition of the SkyMall catalog to MyFamily.com. The breadth and quality of the SkyMall catalog merchandise, coupled with the MyFamily.com gift registry, gives our customers a simple, welcome way to remember those they love, regardless of where they live.” SkyMall is the largest in-flight catalog company in the United States. If you have flown recently on a U.S. airline, you probably found a SkyMall catalog in the seat pocket in front of you. The company also sells products via traditional mail order and via its website.

Here is a short excerpt from the press release issued by the two companies:

MyFamily.com offers families and other close-knit groups a free, private place to share and distribute family information on the Web. The personalized MyFamily.com websites are accessible only to invited visitors, providing ways for families to securely share news and photos as well as audio and video clips. A multi-user calendar on each MyFamily.com website helps track family events, and an e-mail reminder service helps people remember important family dates. The MyFamily.com gift registry allows family members to record their personal interests and gift preferences.

“We are excited to be a part of the roll-out of MyFamily.com and to offer its members quality, unique gifts from the nation’s leading merchants,” said Robert M. Worsley, president and chief executive officer of SkyMall. “MyFamily.com is providing families a new way to stay in touch, while at the same time capitalizing on a powerful marketing opportunity. We believe partnering with MyFamily.com and providing gifts through their gift registry and event calendar are excellent ways to expand distribution of SkyMall’s shopping programs.”

Mr. Worsley had a good reason to be excited. The stock price of SkyMall Inc. (SKYM) jumped 50% in extremely heavy volume after announcing that it has placed an online catalog on MyFamily.com. When asked, a SkyMall spokesperson said that it appeared that the announcement of the tie with MyFamily.com was responsible for investors’ interest. The company was unaware of any other reason for the big jump in stock price. Apparently investors were impressed with the amount of advertising the company would receive.

SkyMall’s stock was at $4.00 a share before the announcement on Tuesday morning but went to more than $6.25 by mid-afternoon. Some profit taking occurred during the rest of the week; the stock closed on Friday at $5.06 a share.

The amazing thing to me was that the MyFamily.com site had not yet launched. The deal was announced before the launch of our web site. Of course Ancestry.com had a lot of traffic, but the SkyMall deal’s success would depend on how much traffic MyFamily.com attracted after it launched.

It’s just that back then, during the bubble, any dot com-oriented press release could create fortunes overnight.

So, today I found a press release that went out on Business Wire on Oct. 17th that seems to have generated a huge spike in traffic to Hotsoup.com.

Check out this Alexa chart on Hotsoup.com.

The press release was smartly written. Check out all the prominent names in the title of the press release. The Clintons, Mitt Romney, Bon Jovi, etc.

Because Google News and Yahoo News index Business Wire press releases, and this release was stuffed with so many big names, tons of people would have found this while getting their daily news fix, and so would have clicked through to Hotsoup.com.

Stuffing a press release with the right keywords and doing it appropriately will get you far more exposure and traffic than using the wrong keywords–words that no one is searching for. I say appropriately, because in this case, all the people mentioned in the press release are presumably really going to be posting messages on the site.

The Alexa spike also happened because Hotsoup.com is now live and open for business. But I believe this press release had a lot to do with the spike. (I’d love to get someone from Hotsoup to comment on this and let us know how effective their recent pr effort has been.)

I just found the editor in chief of Hotsoup.com on LinkedIn.com, so maybe we’ll be able to get someone visit here and comment.

6 Comments

  1. I haven’t used press releases too much but the few time I have I have been very happy with the results. It makes sense to try to “optimize” your press release to try to get traffic from search engines news services.

    I have used prweb.com in the past for press release distribution. Do you know of any other services that are worth looking into?

  2. My experience with press releases has been that they just give a spike of interest and after that its back to business. Its true that a well-written piece can really do 20x better. Thanks to Dave Bascom for sharing other PR options. Yes, spam is catching up. I think the time is coming where we can have industry-focused press release companies that also add value by offering online PR copy creation with their industry understanding. This post may still be fresh after few years.

  3. Aaron Campbell

    Because rural newspapers are always looking good stories, small businesses with national markets can get a huge boost by using press releases. Just use MS word, excel and a simple fax software to create custom mail-merged press releases for small town newspapers – it works miracles.

  4. john keller

    Since PRweb raised their prices I have been looking for good ways to organic traffic from press releases. I’ve tried digg and slashdot but only local newspapers have ever shown newsworthy results. Any ideas how to increase the adoption and propigation of my press releases?

  5. Dave Bascom

    A couple other low-cost or free alternatives to PRWeb for distributing press releases are PRleap.com, PRZoom.com, Clickzoom.com, OpenPR.com, and several others. Most are just PRWeb clones, and appear to offer a very similar service. I’ve mostly used PRWeb with good results, but I hear the other lesser known services might even be more effective than PRWeb for SEO puposes–maybe because PRWeb gets slammed with so many spam releases, Google and friends are catching on. I’m sure that’s part of the reason behind getting rid of the free distribution option at PRweb. It’s only a matter of time before the other free services filled up with spam, if they’re not already.

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