These days, press releases are an underutilized marketing tool. A lot of business owners tend to think of the old-fashioned news releases, which involve a lot of legwork to distribute to local newspapers and publications. Now, a press release can be sent out to thousands of media outlets at the click of a button. Online press releases can not only get much-needed exposure for your business, but they will also boost your SEO rankings and organic website traffic.
A good online press release will contain some of the same strategies that go into writing an effective blog post. The difference is your story (or parts of your story) will be featured on other sites, which provides more credibility and additional inbound links to your site.
Let’s take a look at some helpful tips you should consider when preparing and distributing an online press release.
1. Make Sure the Story is Interesting
Unlike your blog, which may contain smaller stories about your business and informational posts about services you offer, a press release needs to be based on a topic that has more substance. You want media outlets to pick up and share the story, and you want readers to be interested enough to read it.
2. Craft a Good Headline
Some press release experts will say you should spend as much time (if not more) on the headline of your story than the content. It is what will grab the attention of media and consumers. And, it is also vital for SEO. Incorporate keywords and search terms most relevant to your business.
3. Pay Attention to Word Count
The old rule of thumb for paper press releases is the story should fit on a single page. The same is true with online press releases. We recommend writing the story in a standard Word document (or whatever word processing software you use) and make sure it fits on a single page. Usually, it will be around 300-400 words.
4. Incorporate Keywords, Links and Visual Elements
Where an online release differs from the old hard-copy format is that you need to incorporate keywords and search phrases in the body of your story. Don’t overdo it. The story should still flow and the SEO terms should not feel too “forced in.” There is an art to it. Also, make sure there are links throughout the story. This is another advantage of the online format. Include multiple links to your website where relevant in the story, and also link to your social media pages if applicable. Last but not lease, make sure to include photos and a video, if possible. Good imagery can really enhance the appeal of a press release.
5. Understand Your Distribution Options
There are many online PR distribution options out there. Some are free. Some are rather expensive. Research the differences and find an option that fits your budget while accomplishing the distribution goals you want.
6. Think Locally
Even though the goal is to spread your story across as many media outlets as possible, do not consider press releases as a “shotgun” marketing method. Make sure the distribution is focused locally and the SEO elements in the headline and body of the release also touch on local terminology. This point is primarily focused on small businesses where most customers are local. If you have a larger business or wider geographic reach, then you may need to spend more to reach a larger audience.
7. Track the Results
Nearly all online distribution services will provide reports and data that you can easily access. Study the results and see which releases are getting the best response. Learn from your successes and any failures, so you apply the most effective practices for future releases.
These are just some of the key strategies to consider when writing and distributing online press releases for your small business. If you have questions or want to discuss a press release campaign for your company, contact NextGear Marketing today for a no-obligation marketing consultation.