As a company or startup, you want your company name, website, app or product to become known to the public and stand out from your competitors, with the goal of making a lasting good impression in the minds of (potential) customers. This is in a nutshell what we call "Branding".
Without branding, customers or visitors will not recognize your brand, something that can be very important in the customer's final buying process. But how do you get people to recognize your brand?
Quantity wins over quality?
This all depends on your objective. If you are a small business owner, say a florist, and you want people in the few streets surrounding your store to get to know you. Then you can have flyers printed for a few bucks, and put them in everyone's mailbox.
If you want national or even international fame, you can think of newspaper ads, TV commercials and of course place online ads through, for example, Google ads or social media.
But just like that one flyer from the florist, one time an ad on TV will do little for your branding. Repetition is a necessity in order to be recognized. The more often you see a logo or company name, the faster you will associate it with that company's product. It all sounds very logical and it actually is. You probably know it when you're on vacation somewhere, and at the tourist stores there is often someone trying to lure you in. The one who yells the loudest usually has the most people inside.
Research has shown that with a large SOV (Share of Voice) you simply have a larger SOM (Share of Market). The louder you are, or the more you advertise and are visible, the bigger your market share will be.
Performance & Conversion vs. Branding
I would like to warn you not to put your entire budget on branding, or increase your marketing budget just for the sake of better (online) brand awareness. Branding should be seen as something for the longer term, whereas if you want to close a sale right now you should look at your performance and conversions. See for example the billboards at a sporting event, hardly anyone will go to that brand in the stadium or behind the TV to order something. But the brand will stick around the next time someone does want to buy something!
So in an online branding campaign, we settle for impressions, and the focus is not directly on conversions. This is something you need to take into account when creating a marketing campaign.
Use press releases to increase online brand awareness?
As I wrote above, repetition of your message is important for your branding, and therefore your ultimate sales. Newspaper ads, online ads, TV & Radio are all very good options to increase your awareness, only these all have a very big disadvantage, and that is the cost. Especially for beginning or smaller entrepreneurs it is very expensive to advertise these days.
With a press release you send a message to journalists, but also to bloggers, vloggers etc. They come through your press release to know about your new products, services or website. The main reason for sending a press release is to generate "free publicity" for your company, event or website. This is publicity for which you do not have to pay as with an advertisement.
The advantage of a press release is that it is free, you can write it yourself and send it to journalists. And if it appears as an article in a media publication, it is of course extremely good for your reputation.