By Camella Lobo
Content & Social Media Strategist
Using an online newswire to distribute a press release is an effective way to promote awareness of your company and drive website traffic. But before you spend hundreds of dollars sending out digital releases, you should tailor your tactics to garner the most exposure.
By determining your objectives for the release ahead of time, you can concentrate your efforts (and your funds) to meet the right marketing needs, whether it's SEO, brand exposure or targeting a specific region.
Do Your Homework
An imperative part of getting the most out of a press release online is knowing what features come along with each service's standard newswire release. If your objective is SEO, it's even more important to know which template features a service (PR Web, Marketwire, PR Newswire, etc.) offers.
In this case, it would be helpful to email or call a newswire associate and run down the following checklist:
How many embeddable links does the service allow in a release?
The more the better. Link building has been called the "holy grail" of SEO. The more links to your site you send into the Internet, the stronger your site. But quantity isn't necessarily quality. A point below will explain that further.
Can you create links with anchor text within the release?
This is the most important question you should ask. Creating anchor text with targeted keywords linked to your site is a great tactic to boost your SEO efforts. There are several newswires that offer this feature but others that don't at all. Make sure you go with a service that allows you to embed targeted links into anchor text. Also, the same rules for using keywords on web pages apply to press releases. So think about what you want to target before you write.
Where is the release syndicated?
Your press release will get picked up and published on other relevant websites. But the strength of the link within your press release is dependant upon where it is aggregated. For instance, getting your release picked up by Yahoo! News is more optimal than syndication on a tiny news site. Get a list of their top syndicators.
Is it possible to target specific industries and regions?
Most online newswire services will allow you to target specific cities, states, trades, etc. You want to optimize your release distribution to include the industries and regions that are most applicable to your content and keywords. Find what kind of targeting the service offers and if your content fits those criteria.
Releases, Web Style
Once you've decided on a service that fits your SEO needs, you can focus on writing great web content that people might actually read. Look, press releases are boring. Try to not fall into the pattern that everyone else does. Find something interesting to say. Here's your chance to say something different -- something people might actually want to share.
Find a news angle.
First rule here - don't be lame. You know what is news related and what is not. For instance, you are a nonprofit that has been working with water conservation for years and there is a drought. This would be a good time to put out a press release. Here's a bad time - You sell bicycles and a movie was just released featuring a scene where someone is riding a bicycle. Use your best judgment.
Write content for the web.
Your press release is on the web. Write to fit the way people read on the web. You know the drill - short sentences, bullet points, direct language. Brush up on web writing and tailor your content accordingly.
Write to your audience.
Press releases on the web are no longer filtered through editors or reporters. They. Are. On. The. Internet. People can Google them. If you're releasing a new product for kids, why are you talking like a sedated robot? It's a fine line. At the end of the day, you want a journalist to write about your product and get the info they need, but you should use the press release to extend the tone of your brand, not kill it.
* * *
Camella Lobo is a content and social media strategist with Internet Exposure, a Minneapolis web design agency.
* * *
"Pimp My Keywords" is a blog covering all things Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Social Media and Pay Per Click. The blog is written by Purple Trout, LLC, a Cincinnati Search Engine Optimization firm, now celebrating its sixth-year in business!