Are you using press releases as part of your marketing and PR strategy?
Press releases are great SEO builders. When you distribute one using a press release distribution service like PRWeb (there are other services, but I have a long-time love affair with PRWeb and they know it), it sends your release to dozens of news and niche websites. On each of those pages where your press release lives, there’s a link back to your website. Google thinks your website must be pretty awesome to have so many links from other sites, so it ranks your site higher in search engine results.
Here are my top 10 tips for getting the most out of your press releases:
1. Start with a gripping headline. Headlines are what draw readers in. If yours isn’t engaging and exciting, it’ll get skipped over. But on the other hand, if it’s something that stops you in your tracks, like “Fancy Underwear: Coming to a Mailbox Near You” (a headline I just made up for a pretend online lingerie store), you’ll get the clicks.
2. Use keywords. You want your press release to be found when people search for certain keywords that relate to what you do. Use tools like Wordtracker’s Keywords to find out what keywords in your industry people are searching for. Try to incorporate words that don’t have too high a competition level but are still getting a fair number of searches. Use them in your press release (but make sure they sound natural).
3. Include the basics. Thinking back to second grade grammar, remember who, what, when, where, why and how. These are the questions you need to answer in the first paragraph of your release. Assume people read nothing more than that first paragraph. It should provide all the basic details they need to know about your news.
4. Use a quote. People like quotes. I don’t know why. But having a polished quote that doesn’t say “I’m so excited about blah blah news” can enhance your release. Include a quote from the head of the company or someone involved in the news. Try to provide something useful (other than their reaction to the news). We know they think it’s great. Tell us something else.
5. Use a template. People think writing press releases is a lot harder than it is. Bill Stoller, The Publicity Guy, has some great info on what should go into a release. In looking at his or other templates, remember that you’ll be inputting it into a distribution system like PRWeb, so it won’t look like that. You can see how press releases look on PRWeb in this screen shot:
6. Include contact info. Seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many releases there are without Web links, emails, phone numbers or social media links. Include all of them.
7. When emailing releases, focus on Tuesday through Thursday. Never email a press release on Monday or Friday. The reasoning is: On Friday people cut out early, so they’re in no mood to read your release. On Monday, they’re recovering from their weekend and are in no mood to read your release. Aim for midweek, between 10:00 and 2:00, for the best chances of getting read.
8. Never, ever email attachments. Attaching your release when emailing a journalist is tantamount to PR suicide. Nobody likes getting attachments from people they don’t know. I’m not even a fan of sending the whole press release. Instead, I give the outline of what it’s about and link to it (hyperlinking words like this). If they want to read it, they can click.
9. Check your stats. It’s easy to go into Google Analytics or any other analytics program and see what sites people are clicking from. You should be able to easily identify those sites that hosted your release. See how much traffic your releases are sending you and determine whether it’s worthwhile to build into your long-term strategy.
10. Keep the momentum. I recommend distributing one release a month. One release won’t drive tons of traffic and sales to your site, but over time, it will help you rank higher in search engines and get more traffic.