How Do Press Releases Affect SEO?
How do press releases affect SEO?
This is a guest post by Laura Barnes from Palaver Maven. Laura blogs about copywriting and branding, and provides a press release writing service.
Something important has changed in recent years of press releases.
Sort of comparable to the way phones changed from being a device on which you sat comfortably in your home, and spoke to another human doing the same in theirs; a press release has undergone an impressive rebrand. Their original purpose was to act as a prompt for journalists to create a related article. These days, in many cases, a well-crafted press release is published as an article in its own right. Of course, some major publications will make changes to the original content, but when it is a well written piece, it will often be taken by trade magazines and included verbatim as presented.
Essentially, the modern press release is different because through sites such as Cision, PRWeb and PRLog, what you write can instantly be uploaded as news. This means it will be seen by thousands of journalists and regular web browsers: often within half an hour. Instantly, articles become content, which tracks back to your website; giving you links. The key is to try and get this posted on sites which create valuable SEO links, such as major news sites, and those leading your industry.
I read the news today
These days, a mere announcement about the launch of new product, event or service won’t quite cut it. It needs to have a newsworthy angle; something of real value for editors to consider publishing it. Find some exciting stats for journalists to get their hands on, or an expert opinion in direct response to a recent event.
People aren’t engines
So, we all know that keywords belong in your headline: be it for a blog, a press releases or even a newsletter. But that’s almost where it should end. Write for people: not machines. I’m not saying don’t include a well-positioned anchor. Of course, this is one of the best forms of generating effective and meaningful links to your site; optimising your search engine ranking. So, aside from hiring a copywriter to write the thing for you, how can you, as a company, write newsworthy press release? I’ve created some guidelines below:
I hate to repeat myself but this is the first thing people will see! So aim for a punchy title with at least one keyword in it. Essentially, a distilled version of the key newsworthy angle of your release will win, hands down, over trying to implement puns. Tread carefully with humour, as it can often come across cheesy!
I often see companies whip off a press release, having directly lifted content from their About Us page. One golden rule, please: a press release is never written in the first person. So instead of saying “We’re pleased to announce…” talk as if you were external to the company. “The company have achieved success…”
The only place for the first person is when quoting
Quotes are also the only part of a press release that journalists can’t change, which gives you the ideal opportunity to exploit them and get your key message across. These will be attributed as direct quotes from the CEO, MD or whoever you choose them to be. As such, they can include a summary of your ethos, idea or news in your own words.
Take care with presentation
There’s nothing journalists find more off-putting than editorial which needs excessive correction or editing. A rogue apostrophe, inappropriate use of CAPS or spelling simply make the decision to delete your press release easy.
Easy on the sales speak
The very idea of creating and distributing a press release is to generate free advertising, and gain exposure. Although it is a tricky balancing act; anything too sales-y will be considered advertorial and therefore be rejected. Primarily, a press release must be engaging, newsworthy and factual. Avoid hyperbole and false claims, focusing on presenting an amiable and trustworthy company image. For advice or assistance on creating a successful press release, call Laura for a chat on 07729263818
Author bio: Laura is the founder of creative copywriting agency Palaver Maven. Nestled by the sea, ink stains her fingertips and she has a penchant for words, chocolate and beards. Drop over to palavermaven.co.uk to say hi or connect via twitter @palavermaven.