Do you know the fastest way to get on page one of the search engines and drive hundreds (possibly thousands) of qualified visitors to your website? The answer: submit a high quality, keyword-rich online press release.
While traditional public relations is still an important and relevant strategy for your company, creating an online press release can be a good way to get immediate exposure and traffic to your website. Additionally, the best press releases will offer you the possibility to be quoted or have your company’s name mentioned on many other websites as well as create dozens of backlinks (links from other websites to your website which help with search engine optimization).
Here are five tips to keep in mind when developing your small business's online press release campaigns:
1. Plug into a current conversation
People are actively searching the Internet for solutions to their problems (i.e.: how do I get more traffic to my website?) or to research a particular topic or product (i.e.: is direct mail still effective?).
One of the best ways for your website to be found online is to create a timely press release around that topic. For example, using the once trending topic on presidential candidate Rick Santorum’s sweater vest, we created a press release entitled: “Rick Santorum’s Sweater Vest Contains a Million Dollar Lesson for Entrepreneurs.”
The release was distributed using an online press release distribution service, and was read by thousands of people, shared on social media, picked up by bloggers, posted throughout several media channels around the world and instantly drove hundreds more targeted visitors to our website.
2. Do not overtly promote yourself
Media is a tool to share newsworthy information that educates, informs and entertains the public. Advertising is for promotions. It’s important not to confuse the two.
If you want your press releases to be widely distributed and liked by the press, do not overtly promote your products or services. Instead, offer timely information that is relevant to your readers. Your commentary will position you as a thought leader and an expert in your field. The result will be that prospects will visit your website to find out more about your company and its offerings.
Press releases give you the opportunity to add a quick “About” section at the footer of your release. This is your opportunity to tell the reader about you, your company and how to get more information.
3. Optimize your releases for search engines
Once submitted, press releases are instantly distributed to the search engines; however, if your press release isn’t optimized, it doesn’t matter how good the content is, nobody is going to find it.
Be sure to use a keyword rich headline. In the example above, the headline for the article “Rick Santorum’s Sweater Vest Contains a Million Dollar Lesson for Entrepreneurs” helped the press release to rank well for the trending search query “Rick Santorum’s Sweater Vest.” Have a solid headline and tastefully incorporate your keywords inside of the release as well.
Using a keyword tool such as Google Trends will help you identify what topics are trending.
4. Be credible
The best press releases include a quote from you or the public face of your company (usually in the second paragraph, the first paragraph details why the press release is newsworthy). It also makes relevant use of statistics, survey results and applicable studies to establish additional credibility and enhance your position as an authority.
It’s important to note that online and offline press releases have different purposes and produce different results. Online press releases are designed to rank high in the search engines with the intent of directing readers to your website. Offline press releases are distributed directly to media outlets with the purpose of getting a phone, radio or television interview for a larger (possibly featured) story about you or your company. Credibility is key for either approach.
5. Stay in front of the media
The more frequent and consistent your press releases, the more the media will recognize your name and begin to pay attention to your message. Submitting a press release with an ideal goal of once per week (or a minimum of once per month) is a good general guideline.
Once you submit a press release, contrary to what you might read elsewhere, you do not want to follow up with reporters unless you already have a pre-existing relationship with them. Reporters are busy people and can receive upwards of hundreds of press releases in a single day and phone calls are often seen as a disturbance than a welcomed gesture.
There are many online distribution services to consider when submitting your release. The most popular fee-based distribution services are PR Newswire, PR Web and BusinessWire. They will offer you the widest distribution to thousands of journalists and will increase your chances of additional distribution through national online and offline media. Other free services include i-Newswire, PR Log, and 24-7 Press Release.
Remember, reporters are always looking for stories that are interesting and engaging to the public. If you help the media by creating good content for their readers, they will help you obtain additional exposure. It’s a win/win for everyone.
OPEN Cardmember Charles Gaudet is a provocative marketing expert providing business and marketing strategies for entrepreneurs and small business owners wanting to out-think, out-market and out-earn their competition. He can be found at PredictableProfits.com.
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