The way we read has changed, so it follows that the rules of corporate writing have altered as well. Getting your press releases read by as many interested parties as possible remains a challenge for every organization. Fortunately, there are a number of exciting new ways to improve search-engine optimization, thereby increasing website traffic, ensuring your news has a longer lifespan, and making sure you’re “found” online more often.
The power of the press release has never been stronger. While traditionally thought of as a media relations or disclosure tool, now, thanks to the advent of the Internet, press releases can be considered direct-to-consumer pieces as well.”
To harness the power of press releases, the goal is to make them as web-friendly as possible. Thousands of press releases go out every single day. If you want yours noticed, it is time to start embracing technology, while incorporating links, photos and other materials into press releases in order to enhance the story and help it live online.”
There are many ways to amp up your press-release presence online. First, you can “portalize” your release. People receive information in several ways: as Word documents, as audio files on their iPods, and as jpegs on their smartphones. Rather than trying to tell the entire story solely with text, think of the release as a webpage in miniature, a portal to other information. Ask whether you can illuminate your story using multimedia content.
A tight and targeted headline is also critical. Headlines are often the only part of the release readers will initially see online, so be sure to make your headlines keyword-rich. Also, Google search-engine results can only display the first 63 characters of a headline, so keep them short and sweet.
Consider which words and phrases are most likely to be searched by people looking for information in your release. Use keywords and phrases multiple times throughout the release: Search engines will recognize the repetition and use it to determine which keywords or phrases are the most important. Some good, free resources for determining commonly used keywords and phrases are available on Google and KeywordDiscovery.com.
Studies have shown that during Google searches, more than twice the number of people will read the headline of a “smart release”—one that contains a logo or photo—than the headline of a simple text release. Be sure to include your corporate logo on every press release; search engines such as Google and E*TRADE will reproduce it, which helps brand recognition and augments search-engine pickup.
Link keywords and phrases not only to your company homepage but also to specific pages that reference people, products and services detailed in your release. Link judiciously: A maximum of one link per 100 words is recommended because an overabundance of links may get your release flagged as spam.
Be sure to coordinate with your company’s webmasters and online marketing department to ensure that keywords used in ad campaigns, websites and paid search engines are the same ones being used in your press releases.
Search-engine algorithms interpret formatting options such as bold, italics and bullet-pointed text as more newsworthy content. Apart from making press releases more visually pleasing, using these formatting tools can help increase website traction.
Be sure to write your press releases with archival purposes in mind. While wire distribution generates a short spike in page views, the web ensures that content lives in cyberspace for a long, long time. Consider the huge percentage of consumers searching for content long after the initial appearance of a traditional news release.
The Internet has ushered in a tectonic shift in how we process information. While good storytelling will never become obsolete, companies should appreciate that press releases can no longer be considered simple text documents. If finding information in cyberspace has been described as following breadcrumb trails, it’s good to know the recipe.