How to Write Press Releases: Best Practices for Content  That Can Be Found (& Shared!) Online
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How to Write Press Releases: Best Practices for Content That Can Be Found (& Shared!) Online



UPDATED 6/13: Best practices for writing press releases that can be seen in search engines and shared on social networks. Learn how to craft messages and fine-tune content to deliver ongoing ...

UPDATED 6/13: Best practices for writing press releases that can be seen in search engines and shared on social networks. Learn how to craft messages and fine-tune content to deliver ongoing visibility for your organization.



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  • Across the board the advice from experts is focusing on quality content.
  • Internet searchers are looking for content that is subject-specific. If you want your content to be effective it needs to be focused.
  • This dummy release was based upon real release (from a different industry). Not sure if you have too many themes? One red flag – if you’re struggling with the 2-link anchor text rule, you may have a focus problem on your hands.
  • This headline and lead take an unconventional view of a problem, showrooming.
  • Interactions create signals that indicate to search engines that this *is* quality content and that people value it. Key signals include time on page, exit path (did the reader click on something or back away) and social sharing. Developing great content is part of the trick, but formatting can help readers fulfill their mission (and send positive signals about your content.)
  • These are examples of exact keyword links. DO NOT do this. It’s spammy and unnatural and something Google is really on the lookout for.
  • Examples of correctly linking from relevant phrasing, not exact match keywords.

How to Write Press Releases: Best Practices for Content That Can Be Found (& Shared!) Online Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Public Relations & SEO: Better Together Press release optimization tactics you can use right now Sarah Skerik VP Content Marketing, PR Newswire
  • 2. Search engines are continually changing how they rank web sites. (These are headlines from last month.)
  • 3. SEO Experts are Focusing on PR
  • 4. Why?
  • 5. Because earned media counts. Search engines evaluate content in terms of how much people like it, as indicated by things like: • The amount of time readers spend on the page • User behavior – do they click on a related link on the page, or back away and go elsewhere? • Whether or not they share the content It’s always high quality & credible.
  • 6. Earned media mentions are extraordinarily valuable: – They trigger highly relevant social mentions – Which in turn deliver interested readers – Who in turn read, act upon and share the content with peers – … powering search rank Does anything look familiar here? Earned media generates desirable user behaviors.
  • 7. The factors search engines value have changed too.
  • 8. SEO = Good content that people like, read, share, tweet and +1.
  • 9. That‟s it. Really. (Don‟t believe me?)
  • 10. Let„s go straight to the authority.
  • 11. Guidelines from Google for webmasters:
  • 12. How do press releases fit in? Earned Media (Journalists, Bloggers, Social Mentions) Owned Media (Your web site, blog, & other channels) Paid Media (Sponsored messages, advertising) EVOLVED When people glom onto your content, no matter its origin. Press Release
  • 13. Press release tactics that matter now. • Focus. One key theme per message, please. • Writing for the audience. It‟s about what they want to hear, not what the brand wants to say. • Encouraging quality interaction. – Getting reader attention – Getting them to read – Encouraging them to share – Smart linking • Drive discovery. Make getting your message into the hands (or consciousnesses or news feeds) of connected & relevant enthusiasts & professionals a priority.
  • 14. What? No optimize-y, tech-y stuff?
  • 15. FOCUS Clear & focused messages are more effective.
  • 16. Focus. Press releases should focus on a central theme. Unfocused content leads to: Keyword confusion Conflicting calls to action Long and wandering content Reader drop- off Zero social shares Ineffectiveness. Wasted resource Risk of search engine penalty
  • 17. A dummy version of a real release with too many stories It starts off talking about an event. Now we’re on to wooden furniture and renewable materials…. And furnaces, automation, entertainment and storage systems. This snippet touts the benefits of wooden furniture in terms of flexibility in décor. Company history and heritage, preservation of resources in manufacturing. Discussion of environmentally friendly finishes and emissions in the home . Wrapping up with a paragraph about a home storage product.
  • 18. WRITING FOR THE AUDIENCE Frame the brand message within the context of the audience‟s needs and interests.
  • 19. Writing for the audience. No reads = No shares No visibility No results. Nada. Zip. Zero. Make the headline & lead about the story the audience wants to read, not what the brand wants to tell.
  • 20. Put the audience first. Literally. • Highlight the aspect of the announcement that is important to readers: – The problem the new product solves – The opportunity the new app lets people capture – The time saved or efficiency gained by the new service
  • 21. PRODUCTEEV BY JIVE BRINGS SOCIAL TASK MANAGEMENT TO BUSINESSES & TEAMS OF ALL TYPES & SIZES – FOR FREE New App Spans Devices To Transform The Way Work Gets Done Across Networks “Social Task Management” is a search phrase. “Free” is very compelling! The whole headline is short (105 characters) & the key phrase is within the first 65 characters Subhead adds important detail – it works across devices. Bonus: After the first paragraph, Jive embedded a link offering direct access to the free download.
  • 22. Another good headline Short headline, features a buzzword & unconventional POV Reference to data by using digits instantly communicates credibility
  • 23. Common elements of these great headlines • The headlines appeal directly to the audience • They are about things the audience cares about, not the issuers‟ businesses. • Both are short, within the 80-110 character „sweet spot‟ • Both include recognizable terms/buzzwords • Subheads add detail and perspective, and the focus remains on the audience.
  • 24. ENCOURAGE INTERACTION Make it easy for your readers to scan, tweet, share, like, +1 and otherwise share your content with their friends and peers.
  • 25. Encourage Interaction: Plain Text is Boring! • Images catch the eye (and the search engine algorithm.) • Social buttons engage and encourage sharing. • Bulleted lists, bold subheads hold the attention of people who are scanning the page • Links provide distinct calls to action • Create a pathway for different potential audiences. • For media • For prospects • For enthusiasts
  • 26. LINKS ARE FOR READERS, NOT SEARCH ENGINES Use embedded links to provide calls to action or easy access to more information for your readers.
  • 27. Link from relevant natural phrases, not exact keywords. NO! Source:
  • 28. Examples of linking from relevant phrases. Source:
  • 29. Some other linking tips: • Use links to guide readers to the logical next step, not for SEO purposes • Use 1 or 2 anchor text links per story. • Don‟t link to a URL more than once. Repetition = spam, not emphasis. • Don‟t link to the home page. Create a deep link to a relevant product page. • Provide the full URL for one really important page (e.g. the landing page to which you want to direct readers) within the release. Some sites don‟t render anchor links, so this will ensure readers still know where to go for more information. Too many links!
  • 30. DRIVE MESSAGE DISCOVERY Think in terms of getting your message to more of the right people.
  • 31. Driving Message Discovery Distribute your content. • Syndication increases footprint. More people will see your message. • Social reaches relevant audiences Result: More high-value user behavior that search engines notice & more valuable earned media.
  • 32. Blogs PRN Widget National News Sites Local News Affiliate Sites Portals & Databases Trade News Sites Mobile App Partnerships Mobilized Websites Your Website MediaRoom Video Portals Multimedia Release PRN Mobile Site & App Earned Search Results PR Newswire for Journalists Media Outlet News Feeds “The Wire” Twitter SocialPost Email Microlists / Media Lists
  • 33. Driving discovery: Employ multimedia • Visuals have their own distribution networks • Visuals draw eyeballs • Algorithms value visuals • Better results accrue
  • 34. Summary: 4 Keys to Building Online Visibility: Content quality is the priority. • Focus the message. • Create content for the audience. • Encourage interaction. • Drive discovery.
  • 35. Thank you! Sarah Skerik Vice president of content marketing, PR Newswire • @sarahskerik • Stay up to the minute with our advice for content discovery best practices: