As companies continue to embrace search engine optimization (SEO), they can add press releases to their arsenal of long-term tactics that amplify online visibility. Public relations or PR SEO leverages company news to generate a buzz around a brand, product or service, do damage control or gain media mileage for a business – and powerfully so, if it’s done the right way.
Doing it the right way means ditching tactics that no longer work, chief of which is spamming press releases with irrelevant links. In 2013, Google saw to it that SEO practitioners would be unable to abuse PR backlinks in the future by issuing a nofollow policy. The new rule stripped optimized links of their influence on a site’s performance on the search engine page results (SERPs).
Fast-forward to 2020, it won’t hurt to distribute optimized links on popular news sites, but they will be ignored by Google’s bots. Some high-authority sites will apply a nofollow attribute to links to avoid getting penalized by Google. Unlike dofollow, nofollow links have no impact on search engine rankings.
That doesn’t mean you should write off PR SEO as a tactic entirely – you can still leverage these links to drive traffic to your site, which can translate to shares and sales. But it depends on how you execute press release optimization. Don’t worry if you’re not sure where to begin, because in this article we will provide you with timely information and simplify the process of press release SEO. Let’s explore:
• How to create and send a press release in five steps
• How to optimize a press release for SEO
• Three of the most excellent press release examples
• How to maximize visibility with press release marketing
How to Create and Send a Press Release in 5 Steps
Businesses will want to share what’s going on internally because it helps them connect with consumers and build credibility. Press release SEO allows you to leverage optimization and social interaction, bolstering the chances of your company news appearing at the top of search results for keywords your target audience is using.
Still, while PR SEO amplifies the possibilities, it won’t work if you ignore the basic principles of crafting and sharing press releases. Let’s break down the process for you in five simple steps:
1. Find a Newsworthy Angle
News stories have a hook that makes people care. It’s the element that determines newsworthiness, which you should develop an instinct for if you’re going to deal with journalists often.
Let’s say you’re writing an event press release. You need to highlight its importance versus simply stating that it’s happening. If you’re launching a new product or service, relate its features to your target market’s needs.
Here’s an example from New York-based menswear fashion brand HIROMI ASAI, announcing its debut at the Paris Fashion Week.
Your announcement doesn’t have to be lengthy, but you should mention what makes you different. HIROMI ASAI capitalized on its unique offering: modern Japanese Kimono.
2. Know Your Audience
When creating an SEO press release, follow content marketing rules. Specifically, tailor the message to your expected readers. In this case, you’re targeting journalists first while keeping in mind that the media outlet’s user base, your potential customers and a general audience should also find your message interesting.
Use language that your target demographic understands. Take inspiration from this PR marketing campaign for a product launch, aimed at men and children.
The first paragraph provides facts and figures with no flowery language, so it is bound to capture reporters’ attention. But it also manages to describe the product in a manner that is easily understood by prospective buyers.
3. Write for Your Readers
Press release SEO is written in a particular way using a style and structure familiar to your number one reader: the journalists. Here are a few tips that come in handy when you’re drafting a newsworthy digital press release that your primary audience won’t skim:
• Craft a catchy headline, which 100 percent of your readers will read.
• Answer the 5Ws and 1H: Who, what, where, when, why and how.
• Lay down information in an inverted pyramid, telling the reader the most important facts in the intro or lead. Add your source, quotes and other details of moderate to least importance to the body and closing.
• Briefly describe your company in a boilerplate, which is found at the bottom of your press release. This is where you also place links to your social media channels.
• Keep it to 500 words maximum.
• Avoid fluff.
Pro-tip: It may take time and effort to nail SEO press release writing. Journalists maintain high standards in publishing stories, so anything subpar just goes directly to the bin. If it is the more practical choice for now, why don’t you hire press release writing service professionals to ensure you’re meeting journalistic requirements?
4. Reach Out to the Right Journalists
Research the people you’re about to send a press release email to. It will save you and your media contacts time if you ensure they’re writing in the field your business belongs.
You increase the chances of your press release getting picked up if it falls under their beat because they’re pursuing these kinds of stories all the time. Now, you just have to make yours newsworthy.
If your database does not have what you’re looking for, you can use tools like BuzzSumo and Help a Reporter Out (HARO) to search for the ideal journalists and bloggers to connect with.
Pro-tip: If you don’t know how to do it, find an SEO PR service provider that can write SEO press release articles as well as align press release email recipients with your objectives.
5. Share via Distribution Channels
Not all distribution networks are created equal. But those offering better services usually charge higher. As for which one you should choose, we suggest a channel that does press release optimization effectively so that you can maximize your investment.
Here are the top options based on the factors we mentioned (in alphabetical order):
• Business Wire
• PR Newswire
How to Optimize a Press Release for SEO
In the previous section, we discussed how to develop and distribute quality content. But we also learned earlier that PR backlinks found in authority sites cannot improve your search rankings – at least not in the way they used to. Having high-quality external links is not enough to earn you points for relevance and trustworthiness from Google.
So, how do you maximize the potential of your beautifully written press release and optimize your press release for SEO? Start by treating it less as a one-time SEO tool and more as a long-term optimization tactic.
But according to Claudia Cruz, Thrive’s link building manager, don’t overdo it either.
Overly optimized press releases are a no-no. Structure your message to reach your audience and optimize for Google but always keep your message relevant for the reader.”
With that in mind, improve your digital press release by following these guidelines:
Create shareable content
Indirectly, you can put those PR backlinks to good use by crafting content that people will want, or can’t resist, to share. This ties into what Cruz said about relevant messaging. She also said:
Press releases create backlinks at scale, with the added value of increased brand visibility in highly trafficked websites such as news outlets – print and online – and even social media. This is a great tactic to speak to your audience with a brief message. Write about newsworthy happenings and shareable news that are relevant to your industry but ultimately to your audience.”
Format your headline
Search engines truncate titles and descriptions, so challenge yourself to work within the character limitations. Place the important keywords in your headline while keeping it to 70 characters. Remember to write for humans before search engines, though, and ditch titles that sound awkward or unnatural to induce real, profitable click-throughs.
Use natural links
Remember the SEOs who abused SEO press release tactics? They did it by adding hyperlinks to all the keywords they stuffed into the text. Now their actions serve as a cautionary tale. If you choose to add a hyperlink, make it flow naturally. Integrate it into an anchor text that makes sense and directs readers to relevant content on your site.
Leverage long-tail keywords
In search engine parlance, search terms and phrases are categorized into short-tail and long-tail. Short-tail keywords are broad terms that contain three words or fewer, such as “healthy food”. On the other hand, long-tail keywords are precise terms that deliver more targeted results, such as “where to shop for healthy food in Arlington, TX”.
Answer long-tail keywords in your press release to improve its relevance on the SERPs, while providing value to your audience. And, make sure to include multimedia such as photos and videos, as both are proven to enhance conversion. In this way you spice up your press release marketing with visual storytelling using multimedia elements.
3 Examples of Excellent Press Releases
Whether you’re starting from scratch or enhancing your existing press release templates, it’s always a good idea to learn a trick or two from the best PR marketing examples.
1. Apple’s Event Press Release
This digital press release was picked up by dozens of media outlets and blog sites, although you could argue that any news from Apple would naturally be on the radar of tech reporters. Still, the company delivered a compelling and engaging announcement through this event press release. Its highlights are:
• Attention-grabbing headline and subtitle
• A feature-esque, journalistic style
• Several multimedia elements
2. Peapod’s Partnership Press Release
Grocery delivery service Peapod announced its strategic partnership with Nurture Life, but it didn’t dwell too much on the business backend, which could have caused consumer-readers to drop out. This is what the online grocer did right with its PR marketing:
• Natural links
• Accessible language
• Product photo
3. Thrive’s Achievement Press Release
As an internet marketing agency that offers press release writing service, we don’t just write SEO press release tips. We apply them to our PR submission and syndication efforts.
Recently, Thrive Agency was mentioned in the Inc 5000 as one of the top fastest-growing companies for the fourth time in a row this year and donated a building in Kiva West Africa. We combined both news into a message that received top-notch coverage via a press release,” said Cruz.
Maximize Visibility With Press Release Marketing
We have just walked you through the process of crafting and sharing press releases, as well as leveraging press release optimization to improve your online presence and SERP rankings, although indirectly. Through the knowledge, tools and techniques provided in this post, you can turn your company news into a message that gains a wider audience and greater conversion for your business.
Tapping into the remarkable potential of press releases to improve your SEO efforts requires focus and consistency. If you’d rather have a team of experts handle it for you while you start or transition, Thrive is here to help. We are a trusted digital marketing agency, with a press release writing service to boot. Our integrated solutions supplement SEO PR service with link building, email marketing and local SEO that lead to outstanding results.
Even better, we believe in our tactics because we, ourselves, have proven that they work. At Thrive, we have specialists who write SEO press release pieces and craft press release email strategies. Cruz said:
We offer our clients the same winning formula we apply for our own news releases: content-based, newsworthy releases that can help maximize coverage in news outlets.
We are also emphasizing distributing press releases that send the right signals for search engines, such as including Google My Business (GMB) listing or Maps’ Customer ID Number (CID) in the press release contact information and boilerplate. We want to maximize our client visibility with ranking impact and backlink profile in mind.”
Do you want those results for your business? Your first step to partnering with a top-rate SEO PR service provider starts here. Feel free to schedule a consultation with us or give us a call at (866) 908-4748.