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5 SEO tips: writing press releases

Almost every organization writes press releases but the success of achieving desired results varies a lot.

If your goal is improved search engine rankings, then you can achieve this goal by using press releases. But: only 5% of the press releases sent are actually posted.  How can you ensure that your message reaches the lucky few?

You will find some practical tips below. 

For those of us in a hurry, this is an overview:

  1. Maintain your left ATI network
  2. Show, don’t tell
  3. You don’t have to be original
  4. What’s hot
  5. What’s not

You won’t find the basics about writing press releases here (Google Is Your Friend). I do assume two basic principles:

  • it must contain a link with a good description of the page to which it refers;
  • that page then contains interesting material that is actually worth linking to.

We immediately move on to the SEO tips.

The Tips

1. If you build it, they will come to maintain your linked network

Just like building a website, ‘if you build it, they will come’ is not enough. If you just write a press release and maybe even post it on your own website, that is NOT enough.

Your press release is posted on your site and is therefore seen by prospects and existing customers. If the press release can also be found elsewhere, this may result in links. If a PR distribution service is then used, you even have the chance of high-quality links and further distribution and of course also social media sites. 

You must first lay a foundation before you can start building. For this, you can use your own networking skills. The success of press releases, in addition to the press releases itself, drives on your network. How does that look?

The first step is to create a list of names, job names, email addresses, interests, URLs, etc. of your so-called linker (‘those who have the power to link’, see also SEOmoz ). 

This takes time but is just the first step. Without this step, your campaign will not be half as successful.

The second step is to maintain good relationships with these people. No, you are NOT going to ask for links/posting! Be helpful in their forum, post good, substantive comments on their blog, provide feedback on their site, help them with problems if you can help them with that. If you’re in their sights and you have something interesting to report, they’ll see and don’t mind if you point it out anyways.

You get what you give. Do you think that’s too much trouble and would you rather score quickly without effort? Good luck!

If you want to read more about this, read Sugarrae’s clear post about it on searchengineland.

2. Show, don't tell

The previous tip was more strategic, but it is very concrete.

Don’t tell us how good your product is, show it. This goes beyond naming the USPs of your product. Show why your product is so fantastic and worth mentioning. Show examples, screenshots, testimonials, charts, surveys, anything to prove your point. Use your site to collect even more background information.

What you should use is ‘ News style ‘. Here the ancient 5 W’s emerge: Who, What, Where, When, Why and How. You answer these questions explicitly in the lead of the text. Then follows the further explanation.

Every reader, be it a journalist or a regular reader, looks at a text very pragmatically and constantly asks: ‘ What’s in it for me? ‘. If you can answer this question convincingly (with every sentence), then you are on the right track.

3. You don't have to be original.

There is something to tell about EVERY topic and from EVERY site that others find interesting. So you don’t necessarily have to come up with something ‘new’.

Why not?

Because you often already have extremely interesting material. The products or services you sell will always be of interest to someone (I assume that for the sake of convenience;)).

Of course, it helps if you are enthusiastic about a product or service and let that come back. That sells better than dry information anyway.

4. 'What's hot

Apart from the choice of a subject, the packaging is, of course also important. This is not rocket science. In fact, if you walk into a library and look at old tabloids, you can already see what works: ‘5 ways to improve your sex life within a week!’, ‘Flying saucers kidnap the Dalai Lama!’, ‘Headless body found in a strip joint! ‘, that kind of nonsense. This is really no different on the web.

You don’t have to walk into a library, by the way. The online variants of tabloids are the regular ‘what’s hot’ pages of general social media sites. In addition, large portal pages such as MSN or news aggregators such as Google News are an excellent source to see what kind of information is popular and how it is presented.

5. 'What's not'

Just as important to know what to do is to know what NOT to do. There are also plenty of examples of this.

But how do you find it? You can find them on the same kind of pages, so I’ll be brief about that. 🙂

Conclusion

You may have gold in your hands with press releases, but you have to be smart about it. The great thing about press releases is that you can use them for all kinds of purposes. There is also free publicity on the web. In the case of SEO, however, you need to link it with good textual links.

None of the above tips is ‘quick fixes’. They always mean a lot of work and research, but that’s actually the most important lesson in them. Press release success is (usually) not a matter of luck, but of hard work and thorough preparation.

Ravi Chauhan
Ravi Chauhan
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