If you’re going to take the time and effort to write and distribute press release, it just makes sense to ensure that they are firing on all cylindars — packing all the power they can for your online visibility campaign. You can technically write a “so so” press release and find an online press release site to publish it on, but you may not get all of the results you anticipated. If you’d like to establish yourself as an industry expert, attract positive media coverage, and build a growing portfolio of links pointing to your site, there are a few key guidelines to follow:
The Nine “Dos” Of Online Press Release Distribution
The purpose of the nine tips below is to make sure your news announcements stand out from the crowd and generate the attention they deserve. If you can accomplish those two goals, your other goals will all but fall into place.
1. Do give proper attribution. If you’re going to state an opinion, make sure you attribute it to a third party. Otherwise, it comes across as too promotional. Calling yourself the “best small business accountant in Dallas, Texas” is self-serving. By contrast, attributing the claim to a client builds your credibility.
2. Do have unique news to announce. The amount of buzz your press release gets is directly proportional to the value of the announcement. If you announce that you’ve added a new tarp color to your inventory, you might find that it doesn’t achieve much viral attention. However, if you are hosting a live webinar that demonstrates 6 ways to build an emergency shelter out of a standard tarp right before the beginning of camping season, people may feel inclined to share that link with others. Remember, people’s reputations are on the line when they share information on their social networks. Give them something unique and interesting to share!
3. Do focus on your headline. A good press release headline pulls readers into your message. If it is boring or vague, it won’t matter how engaging your body copy is. Your PR could contain winning lottery numbers and still lack readers if your headline is poorly-written.
4. Do prioritize a single keyword. Each press release you write should focus on two or three keywords. But prioritize one of them. Place it in the headline, summary, and body copy. Sprinkle the others around it.
5. Do use proper anchor text for links. The anchor text of your links is what informs Google about the theme of your site. It plays a major role in ranking. Assuming your keywords are consistent with that theme, use them for your anchor text.
6. Do incorporate multimedia options. The online press release distribution service you use should give you the option to embed videos into your PRs. Take advantage of it. It’s easier to engage people with video and multimedia options than text. According to a study by PR Newswire and CrowdFactory, the engagement level of multimedia releases is 3.5 times higher than text only.
7. Do ask for action. Your news announcement should end with a call to action. That doesn’t mean telling readers to buy your product. In fact, doing so would be considered overzealous. Instead, invite readers to visit your site for more information and special deals.
8. Do reach out to bloggers, journalists, and website owners and alert them about your news. If you have something interesting to announce that you think others will want to share with their audiences, don’t wait for them to find you — go to them! Editors are very busy people and don’t have time to read long emails. Give them a short and intense overview of your news in an email and then link to you press release that includes colorful videos and images. Even if the news doesn’t fit into their current editorial calendar, they may still be inclined to share the press release on their social networks.
9. Do promote your press releases on social media. The same study referenced above shows the power of social media when it comes to press releases. Ruling supreme as the top social media channel for driving traffic from press releases is Twitter.
Like this image? Thank M Poudyal and Flickr.
Five PR “Don’ts” To Avoid At All Costs
It’s possible to get everything right with your press releases, and still shoot yourself in the foot with a single mistake. Here are five to avoid:
1. Don’t over-optimize. Your keywords are clearly important for ranking your press releases in Google. They form the core of search engine optimization. But take care not to go overboard with them. Sprinkle them throughout the body of your PR (including the anchor text for your links), but don’t drown your copy. Not only will over-optimization make your press releases unreadable, but it may attract a ranking penalty from Google.
2. Don’t rely on hype. Hype is one of those things that is difficult to define, but you know it when you see it. For example, claiming to be the best at what you do, or claiming to sell the best products in your niche, borders on advertising. Leave hype for carnival barkers and used car salespeople. It has no place in your press releases.
3. Don’t neglect to proofread your copy. This should go without saying, but we continue to see press releases that are submitted with spelling and grammar errors. These types of mistakes will affect your credibility in the eyes of your readers. Before hitting the “Submit” button, read through your PRs one last time. You may be surprised at the mistakes you find.
4. Don’t get too wordy. Just because you can write 1,000 words doesn’t mean you should, even if you have a lot to say. The ideal length is approximately 400 words. If your press release significantly exceeds that threshold, edit it down.
5. Don’t wait to get to the point. Journalists are trained to use a concept known as the “inverted pyramid” when they write their pieces. The base of the pyramid – the biggest part – represents the most salient information, and is included as early as possible. Follow the same formula in your news announcements. Give your readers the important details upfront to engage them, and compel them to keep reading.
What other dos and don’ts do you personally follow when writing and distributing your press releases?