The Top Twenty Press Releases of 2011

by Phil Dennison, Senior Marketing Specialist, Business Wire/Cleveland

At Business Wire we pride ourselves on our consultative approach to offering our services — we try to give you the best advice on how to make your press releases successful and get the most for your money. From press release tips to measurement facts to targeting options, our account executives and editors help you execute your strategy in the most effective way.

I recently took a look at the twenty most-viewed press releases on BusinessWire.com from Jan. 1, 2011 to Dec. 4, 2011, to see what kinds of trends and facts might be inferred from them. What types of releases garner a lot of views? Big brand names? Photos? Raw content? Headlines?

Ultimately, each company has to decide for itself what the strategic purpose of each press release is, and how best to achieve its goals. Among these releases, here are some facts and figures:

  • Cumulatively, these twenty releases account for 1,216,513 views, or an average of 63,076 views per release.
  • Fifteen of twenty included their company logo (a free service of Business Wire). Seven included at least one photo, and one included a video.
  • On average, 59% of readers found the release directly on BusinessWire.com (while browsing headlines or via RSS feeds or headline delivery emails), 34% found it on another site, and 6% found it via a search engine. Less than one percent of traffic, on average, came via social sources.

traffic sources graph

  • Links are a key factor in engaging readers with your news. Thirteen of the twenty releases included at list one hyperlink in the body of the release; but those thirteen releases got an average of 7,798 link clicks.
  • But don’t underestimate social, especially the top sites. For the traffic which did arrive from social sources, 65% came from Facebook, 29% from Twitter, 5% from LinkedIn, and the remaining 1% from all other social networks.
  • In terms of user engagement and sharing, on average, readers shared each release on Facebook 147 times, on Twitter 103 times, and on LinkedIn 88 times.
  • Business Wire readers are very interested in news about Apple and ExxonMobil.

It’s not easy to discern any clear trends, but two facts do stand out:

1. BusinessWire.com and its list of websites and other online sources carrying our news feed continue to be a crucial part of the news distribution process, getting companies tens of thousands of views, leading to user engagement, photo downloads, news coverage and more.

2. For all the growth in social, search is still a major driver of traffic for companies working online, which is pretty much everyone. Compelling, search-optimized content continues to be key to getting your press releases in front of your audiences.

So, without further ado, here are the twenty most-viewed press releases of 2011. Take a look and see what tips you might be able to get from them to make your own press releases more successful.

AT&T to Acquire T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom

Cyber Monday:  The Season’s Best Deals – No Fighting for Parking. No Waiting in Line.  Just Lean Back, Put Your Feet up and Shop.

Statement by Apple’s Board of Directors

Statement by Steve Jobs’ Family

Adobe Delivers Technical Communication Suite 3

Comic Sans Pro Typeface Family Makes its Debut

ExxonMobil Announces Three Discoveries in Deepwater Gulf of Mexico

HP Confirms Discussions with Autonomy Corporation plc Regarding Possible Business Combination; Makes Other Announcements

ExxonMobil Speedpass Customers Can Save 15 Cents Per Gallon

The Alliance for Consumer Education Names Senator Herb Kohl Honorary Chair

Clear Channel Radio Announces Acquisition of Thumbplay’s Cloud-Based Music Business

Letter from Steve Jobs

Fisher Investments MarketMinder Re-released

Steve Jobs Resigns as CEO of Apple

Exxon Mobil Corporation Declares Second Quarter Dividend

Heinz® Dip & Squeeze® Ketchup is Available Nationally! Heinz and Chick-fil-A® Invite You to Celebrate with Free FryDay

Exxon Mobil Corporation Declares Fourth Quarter Dividend

Exxon Mobil Corporation Declares First Quarter Dividend

FDA Approves YERVOY™ (ipilimumab) for the Treatment of Patients with Newly Diagnosed or Previously-Treated Unresectable or Metastatic Melanoma, the Deadliest Form of Skin Cancer

Google to Acquire Motorola Mobility

9 Responses to The Top Twenty Press Releases of 2011

  1. [...] • Here's take on the Top 20 press releases of 2011. [...]

  2. jim says:

    Great post thanks for the info- I cant wait for the top 20 press releases of 2012. I am sure it will be a lot more interesting with all the new tech companies out there now.

  3. [...] this particular release place number six on the list of top 20 most-viewed press releases for BusinessWire.com during [...]

  4. Marc Harty says:

    Here’s my takeaway: if you’re a big company you can get away with a simple announcement-driven press release.

    Of all the examples presented above, the ONLY one that tries to hook people with an interesting headline is the Cyber Monday release.

    Now if you’re a small or medium sized business, what’s the takeaway? In my opinion, the non-BIG companies need to be more imaginative with their press release creation. They can’t rely on just who they are to get attention. And they certainly don’t have the budgets the big companies do.

    I’d be more interested in a list of top press releases of those mid-sized companies. My speculation is the content would be a whole lot more interesting.

  5. Joe says:

    I’d actually prefer to see a top 20 list that takes out some of the usual suspects, like Apple and Exxon. Those will naturally garner huge readership. How about a top 20 list of B2B news releases? That would take the usual suspects out of play.

  6. Phil Dennison, Senior Marketing Specialist, Business Wire says:

    Marc and Joe, thanks for your comments – based on the popularity of this post, it’s probably something we’ll do annually going forward. (Or maybe semi-annually!) Your comments both provide some good ideas for sifting through the data beyond just raw viewership numbers.

  7. [...] is the Businesswire article on the Top 20 Press Release of 2011 so you can see for yourself. (You’ll notice my spirited [...]

  8. [...] those of you interested, BusinessWire recently released its top 20 press releases of 2011. Take a look and see if you can find a common thread among [...]

  9. […] those of you interested, BusinessWire recently released its top 20 press releases of 2011. Take a look and see if you can find a common thread among […]

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