I discovered the power of PR media releases for search engine optimization about 15 years ago while working on some client websites. Not only can PR media releases–also called press releases–provide you with excellent backlinks to your website, but sometimes you’ll even have a story picked-up by local, national, or international media outlets. Over the past ten years the team at Triple Canopy Media has written hundreds of PR media releases. These releases have ranged in topic from the sinking of a ship in Cuba to illegal DNA testing by a major university to a client’s response to tornadoes in Mississippi and Alabama. But an online press release needn’t be so novel or even as newsworthy as these examples in order for your company to derive substantial value.
News outlets are what “economic maximizers.” This is a polite way of saying, “lazy.” In our 24-hour news cycle, the media are starved for content. After all, content is king! So they don’t much care if your release is particularly newsworthy. They just need “something” to fill their many pages. In fact, they subscribe to services that aggregate your self-submitted news and often simply regurgitate it on their websites. Of course, it’s always a good idea to couch your company or organization in as positive a light as possible. But don’t make the mistake of waiting for something to happen. Here are a few tips for using public relations to enhance search engine optimization:
1. Get on a schedule. Commit to doing regular online press releases. Once per month may be sufficient, but if you have multiple brands or business units, you may think about a more frequent schedule. This helps to ensure that procrastination doesn’t set-in. Don’t let laziness derail your search engine optimization efforts.
2. Ask your colleagues for story ideas. You needn’t be hypercreative. There’s a lot of stuff going-on in your company or organization. Ask them for story ideas. You’ll be surprised what they come up with.
3. Use standard press release formatting. Press releases that adhere to standard formatting are more likely to be picked-up by the media. It’s pretty easy to do, so make sure to read up on writing press releases.
4. Keep it short. Keep your press release to about 400-600 words. This will help ensure that your story gets picked-up by the press or other websites and blogs.
5. Use links with anchor text. I can’t express how important this is. If you want to optimize your site for the search term “hot water heaters”, then make sure to include links from this anchor text back to the most relevant page about hot water heaters on your website. Otherwise, you’re wasting a huge opportunity to capture value from your PR efforts.
6. Include images, movies, pdfs, and other rich media to the greatest extent permitted. Attaching or embedding images, videos, and documents can help you to get the word out about products as well as to help you secure additional coverage.
7. Don’t make it too “sales-ee.” Press releases that look like advertisements are less likely to get coverage. So resist the urge to be an e-barker, and keep the tone as editorial as possible.
Well…that should give you a good start. Of course, writing good, effective press releases can be daunting for the uninitiated or the otherwise disinclined. Triple Canopy Media offers a variety of public relations services for your business or organization to help you to gain an edge over the competition.