So, you want to publish an online news release that gets thousands of views and sends hundreds of referral visits to your website? One of the easiest and most cost-efficient ways to do this is by using PRWeb. For why you might choose PRWeb over other news release services, check out Rae Hoffman’s “PRWeb Review.” Having myself written/edited and submitted nearly 100 news releases on behalf of clients on PRWeb, I have learned a few tricks for SEO and online visibility. For a quick look at the common elements of the most successful PRWeb news releases, read on.
Work the headline the way a supermodel works the runway
You’ve got to OWN your headline to attract people’s attention–and Google’s attention. The more competitive the keywords you’re vying for, the more important the headline will be to ranking on the 1st page of Google’s search results. If you don’t know how to write a headline, try Copyblogger’s “How to Write Magnetic Headlines” or “10 Sure-Fire Headline Formulas That Work.” Get keywords in your headline, unless you DON’T want your release to rank for them. When needed, a generic description of your company that uses keywords can be used when no keywords match your subject matter. Example:
- Keyword phrase: online marketing
- News release topic: Fathom’s new website
- Keyword-lacking headline: Fathom Unveils New Website
- Keyword-including headline: Online Marketing Leader Unveils New Website
Pro tip: PRWeb says the ideal headline for Web distribution should be no more than 80 characters, including spaces.
Hit the hyperlinks
Use your links freely. Pony up the $200 to take advantage of anchor text along with other SEO goodies. Use strategic keywords where appropriate, and don’t be afraid to link several times to the same page, especially an internal page on your own website related to the topic of your release. PRWeb strongly recommends a maximum of 1 hyperlink for every 100 words, which it claims is the limit for inclusion within Google News. Before submitting, test your links in the preview mode to make sure they are formatted correctly and pointing to the right websites. After your wildly successful launch, check your website’s analytics to see how many visits you get from PRWeb or its syndication partners. I have seen certain releases bring steady streams of referral traffic years after initial publication.
Pro tip: You can put hyperlinks in the introductory summary, the italicized sentence(s) preceding the release body.
Give your audience something good
This may sound elementary, but if your press release topic does not resonate with a broad enough audience, your ability to draw qualified attention in mass numbers will be limited. Consider what you could announce that taps into the current cultural and economic climate. Tying in your products/services to current events or killer statistics can be easy ways to garner mass appeal. Releases about new products/services, special events, free stuff and/or price cuts also tend to do well.
Pro tip: Google Trends, Google Suggest, and Twitter’s “trending topics” use up-to-the-minute search data to show you what people are talking about and searching for.
Use the Tweetit Twitter tie-in
Speaking of Twitter … You need to have a Twitter account in order to use this function. Enter in your account name, password, and a preview tweet to describe your release. Don’t forget to hit “save.”
Pro tip: Customize your tweet by going beyond the scripted sentence (“See my press release here”). Add a descriptive phrase or two about the subject matter, using keywords if possible. Remember, your goal is to entice people to read the release after seeing your tweet. Accounting for the automatically-added release URL, you have space for 100+ characters in the box: use it.
Put keywords in the URL
Found in the “advanced features” is another reason to go for the $200 “SEO visibility” level. For a double dose of keyword relevance, include the most important keyword(s) in the URL as well as the headline. There is a 25-character limit on each side of the designated slash, so experiment until you get the ideal combination.
Pro tip: Be sure to place underscores or hyphens between words.
Show us your pics! A picture (embedded) is worth … $200. Images can be included as attachments (hello, company logo) and embedded in the release body as part of the “SEO visibility” level along with anchor-text hyperlinks and keywords in the URL . Do you have a video on YouTube, Yahoo! Video, or Google Video? Provided the budget, go all-in for $360 and embed it in your release for some real sizzle.
Pro tip: Use the “preview” mode before the final submission to see what your release looks like on PRWeb’s console. The image may break up certain paragraphs awkwardly or disrupt the text alignment; go back and adjust the text accordingly or use a different (or re-sized) image.
Keep it clean
Clean writing not only creates a positive impression, but good grammar, punctuation, and spelling prevent giving the impression of being careless, uneducated, or unprofessional. A news release may be self-promotional, but don’t make it a pure advertisement. Stay away from marketing hyperbole and excessive CAPS or punctuation!!!!. Nothing says “spam” or “teen-texting-on-a-mobile-phone” more.
Pro tip: PRWeb offers various press-release-writing tutorials. Also, a gratuitous link to my previous tips for things to clean up in your online copy.
Show me the money (quote)
Solicit a quotation from somebody important to speak with authority about the press release topic. Be sure the box in the “advanced features” is checked so you can have it stand out.
When you’re in preview mode, just as with embedded images, check for the highlighted quotation breaking the text alignment. There are two ways to fix a rampaging quote:
- Change the selected quotation (provided there are at least 2 sentences) by toggling back-and-forth from the “advanced features” page to the preview mode.
- Go back to the release body and edit the copy with extra line breaks or make other formatting adjustments.
Pro tip: If a company authority person is too busy or otherwise incapable of providing the quotation, write it yourself with attribution and ask the person to review/tweak it for their approval.
Now start spreadin’ the news.
Photo courtesy of Nicholas Kennedy via Flickr.