Do you remember when the Sunday newspaper was so big and heavy that you needed all morning to read it? I always looked forward to sitting down in my favorite chair and reading the newspaper with a hot cup of coffee. Today, the online edition has replaced the printed paper and we can no longer debate the future of newspapers. Their shrinking size and distribution tell the sad story.

Press releases, on the other hand, can still be one of the most powerful marketing tools available to businesses today. Submitting electronic press releases will not only generate publicity for your company, they will build powerful links to your website.

You should seek out a professional to draft your news release because they will understand how to optimize the content for search engine optimization (SEO) and know what is considered newsworthy to editors. Most all print publications have online editions and will upload newsworthy content to their website. TA-DA….instant natural rankings, traffic and links to YOUR website!

Press releases should not be treated like advertisements. If your news is really interesting and newsworthy, the press will publish it. Events or industry awards that you think no one would be interested in are really newsworthy. So are special sales, symposiums, trade shows, grand openings, new equipment, employees, an updated website or a product launch. The most important thing is to keep top of mind awareness with your target audience.

Start a list of local media contacts with their email addresses so you can easily send your electronic press release to them. You can go online and Google your local newspapers, radio, television stations and trade publications to find out who the editor is for each. Keep your list updated regularly because things change quickly in the news industry.

There are also a few popular online press release distribution services for electronic press releases that will require upfront memberships fees. The two most popular ones are prweb.com and prleap.com but unless you submit a lot of releases, the membership cost may seem too high.

Print, radio and television have all extended their coverage online to include blog posts, Facebook and Twitter. That means that the traditional press release has become viral and messages will become broader using social media. Social media will continue to evolve and more companies will adapt to the technology as they see its influence and reach.

Someday, search engines may become smart enough to know the difference between broadcast news releases and rank them lower than the listening platforms of social media. For now, the backlinks that are generated by press releases are still very valuable in terms of ROI for your company.