Written and Submitted by Gabriel Chapman, Business Wire
Almost every PR and marketing professional has crafted a press release at some point. While the main goal of generating attention and coverage for your desired audience has not changed, methods for optimizing the release for the best chance of coverage are always updating. Here are some quick tips to remember when crafting and distributing your next release:
Write a clear, concise headline that is no more than 70 characters long
Writing a compelling press release headline for a human, not a search engine is crucial. The headline is often the deciding factor in whether the reader will click on your release or not. The goal is to entice the reader to click on the headline, read the release, and share your content across their social channels. Avoid concentrating on SEO keywords and focus on concise writing that reinforces the theme and relevance to your story.
Place descriptive information in the first paragraph
The first paragraph of the press release is the most important. Think of this space as your opportunity to state a bold point that captures the reader’s attention. Most recipients only see the headline and first sentence of your press release so make it count. The press release that anticipates questions that reporters and readers will be the most effective.
Focus on link quality over link quantity
The main focus of links within a press release is to enhance the user experience with the ultimate goal of getting shared. With the recent changes, Google does not positively weigh links within your press release in its search engine anymore. What they, and other search engines do, is react positively when links are shared or included in third-party references to your content. The search engines deem your release successful and boost its ranking when it generates news coverage, blog posts and social media sharing. Make sure you include quality links that have a call-to-action that makes the reader want to share your content (links to your website, blog, and other social media outlets). Remember, links in a press release will not help SEO unless people find them useful.
Always Include Multimedia
For your press release to rank well in search results, as well as engage users, it is essential to include multimedia. The search engines weigh multimedia differently than text based releases, and with the proliferation of smart phones and tablet devices, they’re making this an SEO necessity in 2015. Including compelling imagery in your press release improves the likelihood of achieving a positive response and pickup by journalists, analysts and consumers.
Use Social Media strategically to your audience
Nearly every organization uses at least one form of social media in 2015 and this is no longer optional for including in an effective press release. Search engines are now weighing social engagement in their search algorithms. The best strategy is to listen where your target audience is having a conversation online and build a strong presence on that particular social media platform (Twitter, FB, Linkedin, Pinterest, etc). Remember, this strategy takes time, but it is an essential way to communicate with an audience that’s interested in your news.
*BONUS Tip- A great way to build better relationships with key reporters and bloggers is to share their coverage on your social media outlets to increase traffic to your news.
Finally, think of your press release as a term paper being evaluated by the search engines. The more of these tips you include, the better your release with perform in the search rankings. Good writing is still the key to any effective release. Content sharing is huge, and if you can produce content that answers people’s questions, then you’re on the right track.