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Press Release Optimization Refresher

Posted on 8.01.2007

As an editor of a magazine about 'website success' I receive hundreds of press releases each week from companies looking for coverage - not all of which are relevant to our readers. This gives me a unique perspective when it comes to telling people what it takes to get media coverage in addition to the challenges of using Web press releases as a means to optimize your site in search engines.

One of the first articles I wrote for Website Magazine was Linking Strategies - The Rise of the Optimized Press Release wherein I provided guidance on how to write a press release which would appeal to those potentially writing about your newsworthy event, and how to use that content as part of your overall online promotion strategy for long term SEO success - that's code for building links. Written at the end of 2005, it's still very relevant and I continue to direct people to that article that are looking for insights into the art and science of great press release writing and even SEO. If press (or media) releases are part of your promotional strategy, here is a quick 'best practice' refresher on using them for long term benefit:

Use the Wire Services & Build Relationships: To be taken seriously by the old guard media, you'll still need to (or should) distribute your content through wire services such as PRNewswire and PRWeb. This step however should not replace the actual process of building relationships with the writers, journalists and bloggers in your industry. Before you distribute any release, develop a list of 'influential media' and send your release to them pre-launch. They will appreciate the tip - take my word for it.

Use The Inverted Pyramid Style, Then Tell A Story: Everyone wants to hear a great story, but the story should never get in the way of, or supercede, the newsworthiness of your press release. The inverted pyramid style of writing dictates that you should include the most important information at the very top of the release. That way writers can get the idea that you are trying to get across right away without having to dig too far down. Tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them and tell them what you told them. Keep it simple and tailor story angles and specific ideas to individual journalists and keep these in your email or phone pitches.

Include Keywords, Include Keywords, Include Keywords: It should almost be a rule to include the keywords and keyphrases in your press release. For example, if you work for or on a website about dogs and cats, you would certainly include the word "dog" and not "those furry things that bark". The reason is that when people search, they search for 'dogs' and not 'those furry things that bark'. Keywords should ideally be placed in the title of the release, the summary and of course in the actual content of the release. Some wire outlets such as PRWeb even let you 'tag' content with keywords related to the release. Using your primary keyword is important but also use derivatives of the keyword as they relate to what you are announcing through the press release. For example, if you are selling dog food, write 'natural dog food' not 'chemically free ground up pieces of animals and corn sold to owners of those furry things that bark".

Do you have a press release that you think would be interesting to the readers of Website Magazine, send it to me, the guy that prints that collection of individual sheets of paper with articles on Web success, er, the Editor.

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