Press releases have been the primary tool for communicating company news to the media since the first release was composed in 1906, disseminating news about a train wreck in Atlantic City. Originally, a press release was exactly what the term says: a release to the press. The purpose of a press release was to get the media to write about you. Now, in addition to the fact that most print media are available digitally, buyers have the ability to read your press releases directly, assuming that you post on your website and/or blog. In addition, journalists are actively searching online for news and information. According to the 2006 Middleburg/Ross Survey of Media Professionals, 92% of journalists went online to find story ideas, with 73% specifically researching press releases. Those numbers have undoubtedly increased since that study was done. If the media are looking online for news, then you need to be sure that your company news is also online.
The key to writing a successful press release that will bring traffic to your website is including keywords and links that will improve the chances of the information being picked up by the search engines. Keywords are the words or phrases that people typically use to search for information on the Internet.
Before writing a news release, you want to determine the keywords that best apply to the information in the release, and then use those keywords strategically throughout the text. There are numerous keyword tools available on the Internet. When you enter the word that best describes what your press release is promoting, the keyword tool will find related words and phrases that are actively being searched. When you include those keywords that people most frequently search on to find your product or service in your copy, you will score well in the search engine results, and more people will find your information. Once your release is posted online, a good way to check your results is to search on the keywords that you intentionally included in the release and see where your post comes up in the search results.
In addition to looking at keywords, search engines also consider the quantity and quality of both outbound and inbound links. Inbound links are important because most websites won’t risk losing credibility by linking to a site that does not provide value. The more links from other sites to your site, the greater the likelihood that your site is considered valuable by other human Internet users. You also want to link out to high quality, highly rated sites.
There are numerous online companies that will distribute your releases to appropriate outlets for very reasonable prices. In addition to distributing your search engine optimized press release, businesses should add a press release section to their website. The press release center can serve as a home for supporting material, such as videos and pictures that journalists can easily access.
Don’t miss this opportunity to “level the playing field” between your small business and ”the big guys.” Do your research first. Look at national and local newspapers and magazines. Read what the large corporations are doing. Locally, what your business is doing may be just as important. You have news. Broadcast it.