28 Apr, 2010

Using press releases (PR) for marketing and SEO

Posted by: drobs In: Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Press releases are a very useful way to inform the market of your product or service. Not only are they useful for distributing news or information, press releases are also very useful for search engine optimisation (“SEO”) and internet marketing.

Normally press releases are written and distributed by public relations or marketing professionals but anyone can write and issue press releases. They can be posted on your own site, but it is worthwhile posting your press releases on other sites, particularly press release sites.

Press release sites often redistribute press releases amongst its readership. Some sites charge you for press release submission, others allow free submission.

If you decide to produce your own press release, you should ensure that it looks and sounds professional. A poorly produced press release can have a very negative effect on your company.

Below I have detailed some useful tips that you should consider when producing and publishing press releases.

  • First paragraph is most important. It must be catchy and to the point. You want to grab the reader’s attention so that he reads the rest of your press release.
  • New. Why would someone want to read your press release? It should contain new information to capture and stimulate the reader. What is your new product? Why is it great? How could people benefit from it?
  • Concise. The press release should not waffle or drag on unnecessarily. Keep it as short and concise as possible, whilst including all the relevant and necessary information. One page of A4 or less is best, but definitely no more than two pages of A4.
  • Contact details and credit. Ensure that the reader is clear who wrote the article and what company it’s in respect of. Always include your contact details at the bottom of the press release. As a minimum this should include author name, company name and website url. I always make sure that the website url is an active hyperlink to make it easier for visitors to click through to your site and help with SEO. You may wish to also include telephone numbers, postal and email addresses although I miss out email addresses to minimise spam.
  • Quotations. A good way of engaging readers and giving your press release some personality is by including quotations that communicate your key messages in a lively manner. The quotes should sound exciting and interesting.
  • Multiple proof read.  The cardinal sin of press releases is to publish something that is littered with spelling mistakes, typos or grammatical errors. Get someone else to proof it too; if you wrote it, you may become blind to obvious mistakes. Then print it out and proof read it again. I find it often easier to spot errors when the article is printed on to paper. You could also try reading paragraphs in different orders.
  • Don’t email as an attachment. If you email your press release to media or public relations companies, do not send the press release as an attachment because it might not even get opened let alone read. Make sure that the press release is included in the main text of the email and include a catchy concise description in the email.
  • Don’t go over the top. You should keep your press release balanced, accurate and not misleading. By all means be positive about your product or service and give it some spin, but you do not want to come across as too biased or blatant.
  • Keep language appropriate. Remember what you’re writing for and your target audience. Do not fill your press release with unnecessarily complicated or flamboyant words for the sake of it. Remember your mission is to get your message across quickly, accurately and in an interesting manner. You’re not trying to prove that you know fancy words that readers may not understand.
  • You are not actually selling in the press release.  Remember you are delivering a message to inform the media and public of your product or service. It is not a direct sales pitch so refrain from sales talk or jargon. Whilst you are drumming up interest in your product that you hope will lead to a sale, do not treat the press release as an advert. If it comes across too much as an advert, it might not get published.
  • Include a hyperlink or two. Make sure you have one or two active hyperlinks within the body of your text if publishing on to a website. This will help with SEO, particular if the content is copied by a bot or copy and pasted by other users on to other sites.
  • Images and photos. If the site you are submitting your article to allows it, add a few photos or images. These can draw the visitor in and make the readers connect more with the press release.
  • Use press releases wisely. Ensure that the press release contains information that people will actually want to know about and is of use. If you publish press releases with old, useless or boring pieces of information, you may create a bad reputation for your company and make people less inclined to read future press releases.

    David Robinson – Gator Web Design, part of Gator Industries, purveyors of fine websites, web hosting packages and SEO services in Berkshire, UK.

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