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Linking Strategies

Posted on 9.05.2005

The Rise of Optimized Press Releases
PR As An Online Promotion Strategy
 
Search for an obscure key phrase at any popular search engine and what you find may surprise you. With greater frequency, websites that enable companies to post and distribute press releases are appearing in the search engine results pages.

While search purists are shaking their heads, many users are finding these results helpful and this can generate free, pre-qualified traffic to a website when the releases are indexed by search engines - and this pleases many website owners. While there are hundreds of ways to promote your website, using press releases is an approach many site owners have yet to discover. Below we have outlined some important guideliens to drafting, distributing and measuring the response from a modified search engine public relations and press release campaign.

Drafting The Release:
Press Releases are used to announce newsworthy events to the media. If we consider search engines media outlets (and many media experts do) then it is necessary for companies that use press releases to anounce corporate news and business developments in line with the formal guidelines that public relations experts have found work best to garner media attention.

All Hail The Inverted Pyramid
Anyone that has studied the basics of public relations has come across the term "inverted pyramid," which is the practice of putting the most essential information at the top of a press release. This practice comes from the days when newspapers would run press releases verbatim but cut the text at the end of the release if space was limited. This forced PR practitioners to put their most important information at the top. Amazingly enough, this holdover from bygone business days applies to the modern world of Internet promotions. Drafting a press release with a title, summary and lead paragraph with the most essential information will ensure that readers will see, what else, the information you want to convey first. As many online media outlets will only provide snippets of your release, it is essential you follow the inverted pyramid rule.

Including Keywords Is Like Cold Calling Reporters
If you have ever called a offline reporter and tried to secure media placement you realize how many individual factors come into play in generating offline media placement. Timing, reporter interest and general value to readers all play a part. Including a limited, select number of relevant keywords and drafting a release that utilizes those terms to express the newsworthy nature of your release increases the chances of being indexed by search engines and that your listing is selected from the search results page instead of your competition.

Instant Survey: When was the last time you sent a press release about your web-based business?

Distributing the Release:
Hands down, there is no better way to distribute your release than to send it directly to the media you are seeking exposure from. Creating a list of influential media is vital to your businesses' development and so building relationships with those media is crucial. Since securing regular mention in respected online media outlets is not an easy task, you have to make it easy for primary media outlets (search engines) to access your releases. This is when distribution services play a helpful role. Services such as PRNewswire and BusinessWire are expensive to the average website owner and limited in scope in that they distribute primarily to offline media outlets. Fortunately, there are other services which provide similar, if not better, services for website owners. Companies such as PRWeb.com, PR.com and PRLeap.com enable website owners to set up an account and have their releases distributed to online properties at a much more affordable rate than either BusinessWire or PRNewswire.

Measuring Release Response:
While seeing your press release in print or in a respected online weblog or news site is easy to measure, the value of public relations (and in turn press releases) is in some respects difficult, but not impossible, to measure. If you are looking to measure the amount of traffic sent to a website it is essential not only that you include a URL in the release but that you append that URL with some tracking mechanism in order to differentiate traffic from the release from other traffic. If the increased number of links pointing to your site is what you are after, determine the difference in quantity before and after the release to see the impact. It very interesting to see what outlets pick up your release and are actively linking back to you. In many instances, well crafted releases will make their way into Google News, Yahoo News, Topix.net and Moreover.UK which in turn is disseminated and provided to those sites affiliates or partners.

 

 

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