10 SEO Press Release Writing Tips: Optimizing For Search Engines And Media Influencers
Many people remember the press releases of the past; announcing quarterly earnings or that new-hire over in HR. That was a long time ago! Today's press releases are often an integral part of a business' online marketing campaign. When written properly, an SEO press release can often rank extremely well in the search engines for the terms you are targeting. This means they are ideal for attracting the attention of journalists, bloggers AND customers.
Business owners can easily use an afternoon to create and distribute a press release that will:
- Secure front page visibility on Google News
- Place your news in front of new customers
- Live in search results indefinitely
- Generate hundreds of backlinks
- Begin establishing your role as an industry leader
- Potentially secure an interview with a blogger, magazine or newspaper
David Meerman Scott on the new rules of marketing & PR at SES New York 2010
David Meerman Scott, Author of 'The New Rules of Marketing and PR,' talks about the power of publishing content in today’s online world
By following these 10 essential tips, you will have the ability to write and publish a strong SEO press release!
#1: Choose a Newsworthy Press Release Topic
It is easy to assume that your business is too mundane to have 'real' news to announce. This couldn't be further from the truth! In reality, most businesses have plenty going on that would warrant a press release. The key to writing successful SEO press releases is to remember that you are releasing news with a different goal in mind. The goal is to rank well for your targeted keywords. After all, journalists use Google to find sources just like customers do!
Here are a few questions to help focus your topics:
- Have you redesigned your website, adding features or enhancements?
- Do you have any sales numbers to release?
- Have you added a new service or product to your current inventory?
- Have you received any press lately -- such as being featured or quoted in a blog, webinar, newspaper, or magazine?
- Have you published any new content recently (new article, case study, e-book, video)?
- Are you offering any special promotions or sales?
- Have you or your company recently earned any awards or accolades?
- Has your business entered into any new strategic partnerships?
- Have you recently hired any new employees or staff that will allow you to better serve your customers?
- Will you be attending or speaking at any upcoming industry trade shows or events?
- Have you launched (or are about to launch) a contest?
10 Press Release Angle Ideas You Can Use To Gain Online Media Visibility
#2: Press Release Headline Writing
A successful SEO press release headline must contain two very important items:
2. A News Angle
Why Keywords are Important:
When press releases were sent out through a newswire service, journalists held the keys to whether or not your news was published. "Smaller" news stories (like staff changes or awards) were often only published in local newspapers.
Instant online publishing and search engines, however, have completely eliminated the need for these information gatekeepers. Businesses can now publish their news online through online press release distribution sites -- making it accessible to the world market.
This is exactly the reason why it is important to choose keywords wisely and include your main keyword in your press release title. Having your keyword in the title will increase the likelihood that your PR will rank well in the major search engines for that term.
The Importance Of The News Angle In Headlines:
Today the web abounds with various tools, like Google and other search engines, to help both journalists and the general population identify sources for information, stories and inside "scoop." Online press releases provide an excellent way to get your big news recognized by the search engines and delivered to members of the media seeking an inside topic or industry expert.
One of the main ingredients to creating powerful press release headlines is ensuring that they include the news angle as well as one of the main SEO keywords. It’s important to note that pun and quip certainly have its place when attempting to grab a reader’s attention. However, keeping your headlines straightforward and newsworthy will better ensure that you entice journalists and other viewers to stop skimming and take the time to click on your piece.
#3 Utilizing Anchor Text With Keywords
Anchor text links are a critical part of a website's SEO strategy. Many PR distribution sites will offer to provide these links embedded within your release for you. Always say “yes” to this service! These backlinks to your site are one of the fundamental principals in successful SEO strategy.
Despite the importance of the easily created backlink, we too often find businesses using generic terminology like “Twitter” or “blog” to link to their site instead of the key terms they should be striving to target. Linking to widely used industry phrases like “real estate” or “freelance writer” may seem tempting, but these are all very common, highly competitive and, at times, misleading terms. Consider really honing in on your target with very specific phrases like “California short sales,” “New York copywriter,” etc. Using too broad of keywords could be actually making your press releases invisible.
#4 The Importance Of Full URL Links
While many PR distribution sites include anchor text within your release, some will not. Even sites that do provide this service can’t guarantee that reprints of your press release on various other platforms will always include the original anchor text and most of the time those links will be clickable. To help avoid these search engine gaps and maximize your ability to drive traffic back to your business website, always include at least one URL that links back to your homepage in every press release. If your piece includes details on a specific service or product, add a URL link to that particular page on your site as well.
#5 Sell In The Summary
Many distribution sites offer a section to create an open text summary for published press releases. Avoid ho-hum pitfalls like simply pasting the few lines of your piece directly into this section. Instead, seize this perfect opportunity to truly pitch to readers the content of your release. Oftentimes, this summary is shown below your already newsworthy and keyword utilizing headline and will act as a means to entice readers and media members to view your piece to find out what happens next. Even though the section is usually open text, there is often a limit on character/word length. Keep it succinct, clear and, whenever possible, no longer than 2-3 sentences, tops. As always, sprinkle in some more of your keywords for best results and impact.
#6 Don’t Make It Personal
A press release should be written in proper press release format. One of the most common mistakes people make is to write in first person. First person writing often come across like a self-promoting advertorial. This can immediately deter journalists from reading further. Much like other objective pieces, a press release should always be written in third person perspective. Unless penning a direct quote, always use your business name instead of the informal “we” or “I” and remember to never refer to the reader as “you” or “your.” Simply stick to the facts and relate the news and information as objectively as possibly to entice journalists to utilize your piece in their next story.
#7 Quote It Up
Keep in mind that direct quotes provide an excellent tool to get your point across in your own words while still maintaining third person perspective objectivity. Talk about what makes your business unique and top-notch and why customers should come to you before your competitors. Go ahead, do a little boasting and shamelessly self-promote away!
#8 'About' Section (Boilerplate)
The 'about' section or boilerplate is one of the few places where you don’t want to necessarily discuss your news. Instead, this section is a great way to provide the reader with some additional details on your company and what you do. Provide some of the basics about your business as well as a few points on why you stand apart from the competition. Also, try to add one of the two URL links used in the piece here whenever possible.
#9 Press Releases – Utilizing Multi-Media
The multimedia press release has revolutionized the way press releases are crafted before distribution. As the name implies, a multimedia release incorporates videos, photos, supporting resources, additional materials, etc. in every piece. Both journalists and general readers enjoy the dynamic way that data is presented.
Additionally, providing as much supporting material as possible will not only enhance the aesthetics of the release, but it will also provide “one-stop shopping” for journalists looking for a comprehensive article while one a tight deadline. For a great example of this breed of press release, check out natural health expert Larry Cook’s multi-media press release to announce the launch of his new YouTube video.
#10 Maximizing On Your Press Release Distribution Outlet
Always utilize a distribution site that also offers SEO press releases. This will ensure that your selected distribution outlet focuses on SEO strategies and principals (such as optimized title tags, social media buttons, Google News, pages that never expire, included anchor text links, meta descriptions, etc) and the site itself has been customized to maximize these SEO efforts. Press release sites that allow videos, files, embedded images and other multimedia material will even further enhance the readability of your press release. This will ultimately help entice more viewers to click onto your news.
When armed with the proper tools and information, creating an effective and newsworthy SEO press release can be a source of both fun and pride for the writer. Once the finished product has been published, don’t forget to use social media networks like Twitter and Facebook to further promote your big news!
Robyn Levin's Online PR 101 video shows how to go even further with great tips like pitching story ideas to magazine and newspaper publishers
We welcome any and all questions for businesses on a press release marketing journey. Please feel free to post them in the comments section so we can help answer them for you!
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