Online press releases are something I have been asked about a few times recently, so I decided to get some thoughts down in a blog post as a starting point.

ereader_news_400_clr_8849Firstly, you might want to think of them as a media release these days.

Secondly they are not just text any more – it is possible to include pictures, videos & links.

But before we get into some details, why would you want to send out a press release ?

What are the benefits?

Some benefits to think about would be:

  • Increase awareness & interest of your business / brand / product
  • Its another piece of optimised content to add to your ‘platform’
  • Its another piece of optimised content that someone can find in search engine results
  • Its another place to build links
  • Its another way a different audience can learn about you and find your stuff

But they are certainly not a magic wand… to delve more deeply into this, an excellent blog post from Hubspot earlier this year (2013) details how press releases do and don’t help with marketing, and there was a number of useful comments posted as well.

What would make an interesting press  / media release?

Typically people use a press release to make an announcement of something interesting that they have done. It shows you are a living business which continues to stay active.
Some ideas would be:
  • New product or services, special offers, changes or updates to existing products
  • Release of a new ebook, report, video series, podcast, art series, training course
  • A speaking engagement, or interview, or special event
  • Client success stories, new partnerships, achievements or awards

Part of your online content distribution strategy

As ever, we like to get the most leverage out of everything we do, and a press release should be no different. So think about what else you can do with that information, to spread the love !

The content of the press release can be re-purposed to create related content suitable for turning into a blog post, social media postings, post to social bookmarking sites, extend the detail and tone and create an article,  and so forth.

Either, a press release can ‘trigger’ off a series of related optimised content
One of those activities suggested above would spark off a series of online marketing & social media activities, so DONT FORGET to add an optimised press release into the mix. See what additional results it brings to you.

Follow the press release rules!

A press release is a press release–not a blog post, a sales letter or an article.  There are specific rules about the format, the tone, the presence and / or number of links, to name a few. Absolutely no call to action ! The quality press release sites check all submissions and will reject those which do not follow their rules.

To get help on writing a press release here are a couple of great resources:

they have some very useful FAQ’s and posts about different aspects of writing (and optimising.. will come to that next) a press release.
they have some excellent resources, posts, whitepapers and guides

Paid or Free?

The main advantage to paying for a press release service is that the press releases ‘are alive’ for a long time. We definately see that powerful effect for a particular client, where 6 months to a year after a release was made, the views of the press releases keep climbing, so, if they are well optimised they really are another excellent source of content & links.

With the free submission sites, this long life effect doesn’t seem to happen.

Optimising Your Press Releases

customised content word_arrows_11201Same kind of  ‘rules’ / ‘suggestions’ regarding optimising anything seems to apply to a press releases also.

Make sure your best keyword is in the title, at the start.

Include keywords in the opening paragraph, closing paragraph and where natural in the text.

Don’t stuff in keywords, or any unnecessary words and waffle … remember the point of a press release is to be succinct, to get out a message of ‘what happened’ !

You will be allowed to specifiy a specific number of tags / keywords – make sure you do so.

Link Building

You will be allowed different numbers of links, in different places, depending upon the service you decide to use.

I always make sure to build a link which specifically goes back to somewhere on line relevant to the press release.

For example:

the text ‘in this expert interview’ would go back to the particular podcast page / hangout link

the text ‘in this latest video’ would go back to a specific video that was being referenced

the text ‘at this presentation’ would go back to an event page or wherever a recording or information about the even was.

Yes, its nice to build a mix of links, but these are specific to link the ‘what happened’ in the press release with the thing that has actually happened.

Success Story

For one particular client we use press releases as a standard part of our online content marketing & distribution process, twice per week. He is a definite thought leader and renowned expert, whom people within his profession follow.

We use a paid distribution service, and consistently note  that every press release lives ‘forever’ and also that the views continue to build over time, typically each one will have an average of 600 or 700 views, sometimes more than that.

When I last looked, 134 press releases had generated over 48 thousand views.

So if you haven’t yet starting including strategic & optimised press releases into your online marketing processes…. it’s time that you did!