Press Release Writing Experts Answer YOUR Biggest Questions About Online PR
By: Tara Geissinger and Christine O'Kelly
Here's a content marketing riddle for you:
What can you publish instantly that will:
· Help you increase your website's search engine rankings
· Serve as a sales page for your company
· AND gain front-page rankings in Google News for your target keywords?
Answer: A press release!
Press releases have been our online marketing "secret weapon" for more than six years. They have consistently proven to be the most powerful online content marketing tools available — and yet many business owners never include them in their marketing strategies. Many have confessed to us that they don't know how to write a press release or they feel as if they don't have anything worthwhile to announce. (If that sounds like you… don't worry, that's what we're on a mission to change!)
A press release (or news announcement) tells the world that something new is happening within your company. There are two main reasons for publishing news announcements online:
1. You want to attract the attention of your target audience (customers, potential strategic business partners, influential bloggers, journalists, etc).
2. You want to earn more visibility in the search engines.
"But Press Releases Are Only For Big Companies… Not People Like Me…."
There is a misconception that a press release is something that only big companies with earth-shattering news are "allowed" to do. Nonsense! Do not sell yourself short! If what you are doing is important to your target audience, then you have every right (and responsibility even) to submit a press release.
One of our awesome blog readers said it best when he commented:
What traditional companies without a lot of web experience don’t realize is that press releases online are not the same as press releases in print. They don’t realize that when you’re doing online PR you want to think of every possible reason you can to submit a press release.
If you are trying to gain more visibility with regards to search engine rankings, publish away! Publishing press releases for SEO is an extremely solid game plan.
"…But I Don't Have Anything Newsworthy to Write About"
It is common to feel as if you don't have anything big enough to write about. But, it simply isn't true! Here are 10 press release angle ideas that you can use to jump-start your writing:
1. New product or service
2. New blog or website
3. Product or website enhancement
4. Publication of new content
5. Award or accolade announcement
6. Upcoming Event
7. Contest announcement
8. Promotion or sale announcement
9. New strategic partnership
10. New team hire
"I'll Need To Hire A Professional Writer To Write My Press Release"
If you are writing a blog for your business, you can write a press release! Every press release is different — and as you continue to write them, you'll find ways to make them creative and find the 'voice' of your company. There is a consistent pattern, however, when writing most basic press releases:
· Title announcing your news
· Summary expanding on your news
· Opening paragraph reiterating your news again and providing additional details.
· 1-2 quotes from company representatives
· Middle paragraph talking about your company in general
· 'About' section at the end talking about your company — this is your elevator speech.
· Contact Info should always be included so media and potential customers can easily request more information.
Press releases often contain opportunities for multimedia embedding too — which is a huge opportunity! The more dynamic your press release, the more readers (and journalists) are apt to click and remain on the page. This is the stage in PR writing where your press release has the potential to become a true sales landing page!
"Are There Rules To Press Release Writing?"
There are a handful of things to keep in mind when writing a press release to ensure your PR is accepted by online publishing sites — and not discarded by journalists. First and foremost is tone. A press release should be written in an objective tone, similar to a newspaper story. Many new press release writers make the mistake of writing a press release like an advertisement. We call this the 'used car salesman' tone.
It is also important to keep the length of your press release in check. When publishing online, this is always a good rule! Paragraphs should be short and the overall length of your release should be under 700 words. You can always send the reader to a website, whitepaper or blog post for additional information.
"But I Don't Know Anything About SEO…"
When you publish your news announcement on a website tailored for SEO, you often have several opportunities to plug in your keywords (and have your press release rank well for those keywords!)
What is a keyword? In the most basic of explanations, a keyword is a word or phrase that a person types into the search engines when conducting research. Ideally, you've done some research to identify the words or phrases that pertain to your niche that are typed the most into Google. These are the words or phrases that you want your website or published content to begin ranking high.
By placing your keywords in your title, summary and throughout the body of your press release, you increase the likelihood that your PR will rank well in search engines and be easily found by journalists, readers AND potential customers.
"Okay, I Published A Press Release — Now What?"
It used to be that when you wrote a press release, you sent it in the mail to a local or national publication, and then you waited. You never knew whether or not it would be picked up. Well, with online publishing, that wait is forever over. When you submit a news release for publication (and you've followed all the rules), it will be published!
Even though most distribution sites will share your news with media outlets, there are still things that you can do to boost your visibility:
· Post a link to your press release on social networks
· Post a link to your press release on your website
· Email your press release to local news outlets or Editors with whom you've already established a relationship.
About the Authors: Tara Geissinger and Christine O'Kelly are Co-Founders of Online PR Media — the place where traditional media press releases are supercharged with multimedia, social media, and search engine optimization, to give you the most visibility for your news releases. Our SEO press releases, multimedia press releases, and newswire press release distribution put your news in front of the right people at the right time.
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