Our Free North Carolina Press Release Distribution Site At 2.5 Years Old
We launched our North Carolina press release distribution site, NC Headlines, two and a half years ago. We thought it'd be fun to take a look back at why we launched the service to begin with and how it has done.
To help publicize our website launches, new team members, client news, and more, we had always used a service called Carolina Newswire. It was a free service supported by advertising that let local businesses submit press releases that were vetted and added to the site. We were even a brief advertiser on the site. I don't know the exact traffic to that site, but there were reliably at least a dozen releases and we had several future clients get in touch with us based on seeing our release there. It was a nice, free way to publicize our work and also see what was happening in the community.
In late 2011, Carolina Newswire folded (it's now just an aggregator of different news release sites). We immediately felt the void and decided to launch a side project to help meet our needs and those of the community. The goal was to make it easy to submit articles, have moderation in place to make sure the articles aren't SPAM, to make the articles as SEO-friendly as possible, and to let them easily integrate different social media elements. We enjoyed building something that we could use and could provide the community value for free.
While we knew we would use it, there was no way to know if others would be interested.
I'm happy to report that after 2.5 years, the project has been a (relative) success:
- There have been more than 4,800 legitimate press releases posted to the site by organizations from around the state
- Last month, there were more than 2,000 visits to the site and over 3,400 pageviews
- The average visitor spends 2 minutes on the site
We have never advertised the site, so the success has all been through word of mouth and people finding the site through search engines. Additionally, since the original build out of the site, the only work we've really had to put into it is an occasional code tweak and making sure that SPAM doesn't get posted to the site.
While NCHeadlines certainly isn't going to replace the News & Observer anytime soon, we're very happy to have been able to provide a useful and free solution to organizations around the state who want to publicize the great work they're doing. If you haven't checked out NCHeadlines, I encourage you to read some of the releases, submit your own press release, subscribe to the daily email, or follow us on Twitter.