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Press releases are good for one thing – links. If you really, really want to build some inbound links to your website and hope that your public relations campaign takes off, then submit a few press releases to the press release distribution websites. But what if you really want to power up your PR campaign?

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t submit press releases. Submit them. You’ll get your inbound links and if you optimize them well you’ll likely see some inbound traffic when searchers find your press release in the search engines. You may even get a call from a reporter or see your press release re-printed somewhere – maybe even off line. But don’t expect your press releases to do all the work. Public relations goes beyond a mere press release.

Good public relations involves some level of relationship building. You need to find out what publications cover your industry. Make a list. Then find out who the person is in those publications who reports on topics that are important to you. Again, make a list.

When you’re ready to start your public relations campaign, contact those people on your list and make a personal pitch. The personal pitch is a lot more effective than a press release. It shows that you have the ambition and the incentive to go an extra step. Most of your competitors are submitting impersonal press releases. But you will be more direct, more personal, and more effective.

When you make a pitch, tailor it to the specific needs of the person and the publication you are pitching to. Is it a lone blogger in your niche? Find out what he likes to write about (you should subscribe to his blog and read it every day) and pitch to that.

Are you pitching to a national news magazine in your niche? What kind of stories do they run? What are their biases. Play to those.

Public relations is about more than building links and sending press releases. If you really want it to be effective, make it personal.

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