Creating and distributing press releases is an effective digital marketing strategy to convey a brand’s message and its online identity.
Many people are familiar with press releases, but they typically don’t recognize them as a marketing tool that benefits Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
In many cases, folks think a press release is something a company or news agency sends out to journalists if something bad is about to happen.
Actually, press releases are official statements describing brief but specific information about a newsworthy event.
Companies often issue press releases to announce a product launch or a circumstance that positively affects a business.
A good press release will interest readers with beneficial information, and if a company or organization does it right, a media outlet might pick it up.
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about press release and SEO. Why they are a valuable asset to your strategy and how you can use them to generate “buzz” around your service, product or brand.
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Press Release SEO: The Value of it to Search Engine Optimization
A well-executed press release is a valuable search engine optimization tool.
If you create an eloquent, unique and attention-grabbling press release, you can generate internet marketing gold in its indirect value.
The power of a strong press release lies in its organic capabilities — which is typically described as traffic that comes to a website or blog through earned media channels like search engines or a referring website.
However, if nobody picks up and looks at your press release, it won’t get you any results.
Some internet marketers think it’s good enough to create a swarm of low-quality press releases and put them on platforms to get as many backlinks as possible.
The end result is a flood of spammy press releases stuffed with long keyword phrases that people can’t read.
So, how to get real value using press releases?
If you want great results, you can’t flood the market with spam to get a few backlinks pointing to your landing page, website or blog.
➤ First, Google will penalize you for this approach, so your site or blog won’t get a boost in its page rank.
➤ Second, nobody is going to see or let alone read your press releases.
You want reputable journalists, news organizations, media outlets or blogs to pick up your press release and talk about the information — and that’s not going to happen if it doesn’t have valuable content and is stuffed with keywords.
The value in press releases and SEO lies in creating and distributing newsworthy information.
You should treat press releases the same as other types of content writing — highly valuable content written for people and optimized for SEO using techniques like strategic keyword placement.
How to Create Press Releases for SEO
In today’s digital marketing landscape, SEO goes much further than creating text filled with specific keywords.
SEO includes proper use of citations, links, image descriptions and alt tags.
However, quality content still remains a force in generating quality backlinks from high-authority, reputable sources — and press releases are a valuable resource to distribute this content.
Here’s what you need to know about creating this type of content:
Write Your Press Release for Your Readers
Many digital marketers write their content for machines, algorithms or search engines.
The same is true for press releases. However, most people skim this type of content (or don’t read it at all), and people are who you want to read your press releases.
So, it’s important to follow these tips when crafting a press release:
- Write an irresistible headline — everyone will read the headline.
- Answer the “who” and the “what” in the first paragraph — what your company does and who the press release is for.
- Set the scene and present facts from a position of authority.
- Include valuable background information on the subject, but avoid tidbits or boring facts about the company.
- Keep the content helpful and concise.
- Keep yourself and your organization honest — let others read your press releases.
- Ideal press releases should be between 400-600 words.
Before you can implement these rules in your press releases, you must know your audience.
Write to your target demographic using language they understand. You also want to find a hook that makes your target audience care.
Caring is the component that governs newsworthiness.
For example, if you’re writing a press release to highlight an event, you need to include why the event is happening versus just stating the event is happening.
Press Release Optimization and the Role of Keywords
Now that you know some basics of writing your press release, you need to know how to optimize it for SEO.
Optimizing press releases often include researching and selecting keywords and formatting your headlines.
Let’s look at each one:
Researching and Selecting Keywords
Keyword research and selection are a vital part of optimizing any content — including press releases.
You should have a minimum of one primary keyword, and it should appear in your headline, first paragraph and summary section.
However, avoid stuffing your press release with keywords. We’ve discussed what can happen when marketers use this tactic.
When you conduct keyword research, think in terms of what people are looking for and how it can grab the reader’s attention.
Also, think about keywords that reflect current events, news or hot topics.
Additionally, consider using branding keywords that include your tagline or any trademarked phrases or words.
Remember, though, to avoid using tidbits of information about your company or your company’s history in your press releases.
You want to write a catchy, newsworthy press release headline that “knocks your reader’s socks off” and compels them to want to read more.
So, how do you do this while working within character limits and awkward keywords that don’t sound natural?
Let’s find out:
1. Write your headlines for people and not search engines
Don’t use unnatural-sounding headlines.
2. Use appealing data in your headlines when you can
If you’re writing a press release to highlight how your product reduces a problem by 50 percent, highlight the data.
3. Your headline should paint your reader a brief picture
Use strong language that adds sizzle to your headline.
4. Get to the meat of your story by answering a reader’s question in your headline
5. Transition from explosive to artful by using the power of punctuation
Dashes and colons are great from transitioning in headlines.
Here is an example: “Sports Teams Unite: A Call for Advocacy and Leadership Among Players To Management.“
How to Distribute Press Releases
Creating a well-written press release is only half of your press release SEO marketing battle.
Once you finish producing your press releases, you must distribute them to the right sources and platforms.
You can publish your press releases on your website or share them with your social media connections.
But, to get the maximum advertising value, you should follow steps that include:
Use Distribution Channels
When you think of distribution channels for your content, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and TikTok may come to mind.
Although these platforms are a good way to communicate your press release to an audience, they might not include your target audience.
And that could mean poor results.
Fortunately, several press release services exist with targeted distribution. Newswire, PR Distribution, eReleases, EIN Presswire and PR Newswire are a few examples.
These services target your audience and your industry, and several of these companies have nurtured relationships with influencers, publishers and media outlets.
Reach Out to Journalists
Focus on finding journalists who cover your industry.
You can start by sending them personalized messages and show them why your press release intertwines with what they cover.
Avoid sending mass emails to the address of any journalist you can find.
Take Your Press Release Offline
Since many journalists have piles of messages and emails to read, you can try reaching out to local media outlets.
Local TV stations, local newspapers or your local chamber of commerce are great resources to draw attention to your press release.
Wrap Up: Are Press Releases Good for SEO?
Press releases do work for SEO.
However, if you’re creating spam content hoping to get a link from a reputable media source, then the answer is no.
If you’re writing engaging press releases using high-quality, relevant content and sending them to trustworthy sources and platforms, the answer is yes.
If you would like to check the maturity of your search engine optimization campaign, please feel free to use our SEO Maturity Assessment tool!