Increase the Effectiveness of Press Releases with SEO and Social Media

Traditional PR has involved a public relations firm dropping your press release on the wire and hoping somebody picks it up. Sure, they may have conversations with analysts prior to the drop, but in this Web 2.0 era even you can make a huge splash on a ‘Net, grab the attention of thousands, and, perhaps, even get some conversions or sales out of it, all for no added cost to you. All it requires is a little elbow grease and the right kind of thinking.

Ensure that your title, header, and first paragraph include your targeted keywords.

The title of your press release needs to include your biggest keywords, and these keywords should be emphasized within the introductory paragraph of the release as well. The introduction can be normal paragraph length, but do make sure that you have a headline between the title and the introductory paragraph that sums up the piece in 100 characters or less. And don’t over-saturate your press release with your keywords, either. You lose valuable search engine points for that.

Utilize headers to their full potential.

Headers benefit you in two ways: one, it breaks up the content and makes your press release much easier to read, and two, they’re an easy SEO tweak. <h1> tags are the strongest rated by search engines, and they go down from there. Remember, though, to only have one <h1> tag in a release, otherwise they are likely to be disregarded by the search engine spiders as trying to mess with the crawling system. Plus, it looks juvenile, and is not pleasant on the eyes.

Use descriptive, keyword-rich text anchors for links to your website.

You cannot expect your appearance in Google searches to improve dramatically if the links to your site just look like URLs. Ensure that links within your press release have appropriate, keyword-rich anchor text. This way, wherever the press release is picked up on the ‘Net will link to your site with the keywords that are important to your company. ‘Tis far better for people to link to you with “online PR tips” as the anchor than it is with “www.yourcompanyname.com/products/newamazingproduct.html.”

Also, never waste these links by directing them at your home page. Guide clickthroughs to an informative, valuable inner page, even if it means creating a landing page from scratch. This way, the meat of your web site is what gets viewed, rather than the superficial, oft-bounced-from home page.

Allow viewers to share the content easily.

Through RSS feeds, links to social bookmarking sites, and email subscriptions, your press release’s message can travel further and be seen by thousands more people than it otherwise would by simply dropping it on the wire as in the days before social media. Of these thousands of people, Justin Levy, author of That’s Great PR! Blog, says, “Many will click on the link to your website to see what you’re all about. Some of those will even buy from you. So rather than putting all your eggs in one basket with the … major media channel of your choice, you do better to diversify and let larger numbers of people in smaller, under served niches find you.” When you post your press release to your web site, ensure that you have links to various social media outlets. Insert a means of allowing readers to subscribe to your feed, thereby allowing them to automatically view any new press releases you may have in the future.

Perhaps most importantly, set up a Google alert to let you know when your press release is being discussed by outside sources, and be sure to submit these articles to social bookmarking sites. It is important to note that straight press releases are Dugg or Stumbled-Upon far, far less than the commentary surrounding it.

Provide a straightforward call to action.

You have the most incredible news story in the world. People will read your press release, no doubt about it – but then what? Conversions come from giving visitors a single path to the information they desire, and they’ll continue along that path provided each step gives them information or content that is a little more valuable than the stuff before. Thus, drop the press release with a paragraph that details a new whitepaper that is available on the same subject, or link to a free trial of the product you’re launching.


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Categories: Communications/PR, SEO, Social Media, Syndication and RSS
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