Thursday, July 9, 2009

Optimize Your Press Releases!

Optimize Your Press Releases

When people consume news offline – in newspapers, magazines and broadcast media - their relationship with the material is usually transitory. After the day of publication, a newspaper is thrown in the trash can while a broadcast story can fade from memory very quickly.

But that’s not the case online – and therefore a different approach is needed for online press releases.

Online news stories tend to stay put and they can still generate fresh readers for months or years after their original date of publication. So a consumer thinking about buying your products, groups of users discussing your company, a journalist researching a story or a consultant preparing a report can all find your story at any time. That can bring long
term publicity benefits as well as links from authority sites as a search engine bonus.

But to get those benefits, your story has to be found – and to do that it must contain popular keywords.

The normal rules of press release writing still apply online:

• Make sure your story is newsworthy – if it’s not, don’t send it.
• Keep it brief and to the point, but provide opportunities for follow-up.
• Use quotes from real people in your release – journalists are more likely to use direct quotes
than anything else.
• Use the first paragraph to summarize the whole story.
• Make sure you get your release to journalists who are genuinely interested in your subject

However, when you write an online press release, make sure that in addition to all of the above, you:
• Focus the press release on a primary keyword and make sure you include it in the press release headline, in any quotations and throughout the copy (but don’t overdo it).
• Make sure your summary contains the primary keyword as well as a couple of secondary keywords.
• Keep it even briefer – and link to further resources that journalists can read if they are interested.
• Don’t just use press distribution services to blast your story to thousands of journalists – do research to find a handful of journalists or bloggers who are genuinely interested in your subject area.

Online publicity is still an emerging discipline and the potential for spectacular results is real. Here are some important pointers:
  • Use news channels that exist only online. These are often related to the major search engines and you need to be on them–for example, Google News, Yahoo News and MSN News.
  • Niche information sites publish editorials. As well as recognized news channels there is a huge number of niche information websites that publish editorial material. These range from large general websites to many hundreds of small sites that will be specific
    to your area of business and will be read by a high proportion of your prospects.
  • Journalists use the web for information. Journalists now use the web as a primary source of information. They will use it both to generate story ideas and to research, to check facts and to follow up stories that they are working on.
  • News stories online get an almost instantaneous reaction. Many blogs have built up a strong following, and getting your business covered positively on them can be very beneficial. You need to be aware of reaction and comment and take an active part in the discussions that your press releases generate.
  • Press releases are available to everyone. Your press releases can be found and read by members of the general public. So unlike traditional public relations, issuing a press release can be a way of reaching (and selling to) the public directly.
  • Finally, don’t forget social media sites such as and bookmarking sites such as The links you get from such sites can drive fantastic levels of traffic.

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