June 25, 2008
There used to be a lot of hype about online press releases. Recently it has died down a little bit. We are still finding that it works well for clients. But there are some very definite rules to follow.
When done properly press releases are a great way to generate publicity, drive traffic and boost search engine rankings.
The key to a successful press release is to have a clearly defined purpose.
Why are press releases important?
- More consumers than ever are reading press releases online and consumers may be interested in a topic that the media may not be. So, there are releases where the target audience is the consumer and then there are releases were the target audience is the media. The releases targeted at the media are usually bigger news and more likely to be something that the media will run with and create an article out of.
- Keep in mind there are journalists that have columns about websites; they cover what’s new, what’s hot, what’s popular on Blogs and sites. So, something that may not have been newsworthy to the “regular” media may be considered newsworthy to these new crop of journalists.
You should start by defining your target audience. Is this a story for the public, something that is potentially good for the mass media or something for the web reporters out there?
No matter who you target, your press release really needs to be creative to catch the interest of the chosen audience.
Press releases need to be stand out among a sea of thousands of other press releases that are being released every day. So, you’ll need to create an interesting hook. How do you do that?
Ask yourself these questions:
- Who will care about what I’m saying and why will they care? In other words what is the focus of the release, what is the part that will excite, anger, interest people?
- Is it something that is unique in your industry?
- What are the benefits of the product/service/news you are announcing?
- Is there anything controversial about this? If so, playing it up is a great way to get attention.
Next you’ll want to define your keywords for the release:
Doing keyword research will help you use keywords within the release that you know people are looking for.
Next you will make sure that you write a compelling title. Ideally it will include one of your keywords and it will pique the curiosity of people scanning headlines.
Since the launch of Google’s Universal Search and Blended Search from Yahoo, images are fast becoming another way to make your content stand out, so make sure you use an image with your press release.
It never hurts to have an SEO Firm take a look at your release. Have them go over your press release for any recommendations for better optimization. A fresh set of eyes, especially ones that are specifically trained in optimizing content can go a long way in helping your press release be found in the search engines.
So, there you go – a quick lesson in press releases.
Jennifer Horowitz is the Director of Marketing for EcomBuffet.com. Over the past 10 years Jennifer’s expertise in marketing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has helped clients increase revenue. Jennifer has written a downloadable book on SEO and has been published in many SEO and marketing publications. Jennifer is the editor of the popular Spotlight on Success: SEO and Marketing newsletter. Follow Jennifer and stay current on SEO, marketing, social media and more. http://twitter.com/EcomBuffet