Ten Steps To Effective Online Press Release Optimisation
By Annemarie Hunter – Search Marketing Speclialist
With an ever growing audience turning to the web for their daily source of news and information, it has become increasingly important to ensure your news content stands a chance of being found.
‘Press release optimisation’ is the process of enhancing your news release so that it will be visible to the audience you want to reach online – whether they’re journalists, editors, reporters, bloggers, analysts, suppliers or online influencers.
- Maximising your media coverage both on and offline
- Expanding your reach to highly qualified and targeted audiences
- Increasing the overall online visibility and brand exposure of your company
- Strengthening the online reputation and image of your company
- Increasing targeted traffic to your website
- Increasing the number of leads and/or conversions on your website
- Building quality links to relevant content on your website
- Increasing your company’s visibility in the major search engines
- Increasing your company’s search engine rankings
Writing press releases for the online medium requires a different approach to their offline counterparts. Online press releases need to be written for both your target audience(s) as well as the news search engines.
Steps to effective press release optimisation include:
1. Define Your Audience
Your target audience needs to be clearly defined. Who are you targeting and why? What is the main objective of your press release in reaching this audience?
If you have multiple audiences, the release should be re-released with changes made to the title, headline and introduction that will appeal to the different audiences.
2. Keyword Research & Selection
Selecting the right keywords and phrases is the most important part of the press release optimisation process. Research keywords carefully to ensure they’re highly relevant to the information you want to convey, as well as the audience you want to reach.
Get into the mindset of your audience, think about the types of words they’d use to search for what your release is about. Avoid using jargon and industry speak unless this makes sense to the audience you’re targeting.
Where relevant, use the keywords identified in your company’s search engine optimisation (SEO) keyword strategy. Ideally, your press release will support the keyword phrases you want your organisation to be found for.
Focus on just 2-3 keyword phrases per release.
3. Content Optimisation
Creating useful, quality, keyword-rich content is key. This will help to ensure your release is picked up by the search engines, found by your audience and encourages authoritative inbound links.
Keyword placement is critical. By emphasising the keyword phrases in prominent areas of your release, you can effectively communicate the theme to readers and news engines alike. Map keywords to the press release as you would to a web page – use your declared keyword phrases in the title, heading, sub headings and in the body copy of the release.
The headline of a news release is the single most important aspect of your copy. Optimised sub-headings offer opportunities to target secondary keyword phrases, as well as reinforce the main heading.
Aim to repeat your keyword phrases within the introductory paragraph of the press release and again in the body copy. Try to repeat your key phrases 2-3 times throughout the content of the release.
But be careful not to ‘over optimise’ the release at the expense of quality copy. Writing press releases for the search engines without writing engaging content for readers, or an appealing hook for journalists, simply won’t produce desired results.
4. Text Links
Text links carry additional weight for search engines. Include relevant text links within your release to on-topic pages within your website. Consider including at least 2-3 links in the body copy of each release. These links can be embedded in the text within the copy, and/or repeated at the close of the release as related links.
Use the declared keywords as the anchor text within your links. Avoid using ‘click here’ which provides no context to the search engines. Tagging your links will enable you to track how many people have followed these through to your site.
Be careful when linking out to third party sites. Links are seen as ‘votes’ in the eyes of the search engines, so cast these votes wisely, for example, to reputable online partners only.
5. Add Media
Including images, videos, podcasts or pdfs within your release can help to enhance it while also helping to garner attention and generate inbound links.
6. Calls to Action & Landing Pages
Where possible, create a strong call to action or incentive to click through from the release to destination content on your site.
Think beyond the press release and about the landing page you are directing your audience to. Consider creating a unique page containing additional information with white papers or lead generation forms. This is a great way to qualify your audience while acquiring new leads.
7. Leverage Social Media
Social news and bookmarking sites such as Digg, Reddit and Delicious can be powerful tools in driving targeted traffic to your site. Include social media buttons on your release to encourage syndication of your content.
8. Contact Information & Media Kits
Ensure your contact information is clearly displayed on your release. Create access to an online media kit on your site to include additional resources such as access to high resolution photos, executive biographies and links to video streams or podcasts etc.
9. Syndication & Distribution
The distribution of the release is considerably important. There are numerous news wire services and syndication providers available, some free and some paid – and all vary in their dependability and distribution capabilities.
Many journalists and reporters subscribe to RSS feeds of search results on news and blog search engines. Ensure your news is available as part of a RSS feed to heighten opportunities for media coverage.
10. Tracking & Measuring Success
And finally, determining the primary objective of why your press release was created in the first place will directly impact how you will want to measure its success.
Press releases using the right mix of writing style, content optimisation and distribution efforts can deliver measurable results in generating traffic, media coverage, inbound links, social bookmarks, search rankings, enquiries and conversions.
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