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Five Fundamentals for Press Releases

Like print, press releases are sometimes laughed off these days as a marketing tactic whose time has come and gone. The problem with this perspective is that factually, press releases are, in many ways, more valuable than they ever have been before. The most important new benefit of the press release is that as they get published online, either via sites like PRWeb or on industry publication websites, they can provide much needed fuel for your website’s Search Engine Optimization. The trick, as with any marketing tactic, is to do it right. With that in mind, here are five important fundamentals to consider as you decide how to approach  your press releases in 2013.

1. Use SEO-friendly keywords

Have you done keyword research for your website? Do you know what words your audience uses to find your website and what search terms are most commonly used to find companies in your industry? If so (and we hope the answer is yes!) make sure to use those keywords in your press releases. If your release is going to be published online, try to use your keywords as anchor text for links that will drive traffic back to your site. Associating your company name and website with SEO-friendly keywords is a good way to make the most of your 21st century press release.

2. Use links to interior pages of your website, not just your homepage

Whether or not your news release will be printed online, make sure that you give readers ways to learn more by going to your website. That means not just leading everyone to your homepage, which they could find on their own anyway. If your press release is on a product or service, link to those pages as you mention them. If you want to make sure your audience understands all of the terminology you’re using, don’t be afraid to link to an FAQ on your site if you have one. As long as the links you use are legitimate and contextually sound, you can’t go wrong.

3. Make it interactive

One facet of press releases that should be overhauled is the one-way conversations press releases represented in the past. Think outside the box as you work on your press release. If you are describing a new product, incorporate a QR code and/or link that will lead to a video of the product in action. Instead of simply incorporating a quote from the company, use a video showing different people explaining the benefits of the product. Not only will this help make your press release more interesting and more interactive, but it will also allow you to repurpose some of that video content to a Facebook page or a blog site where simply republishing a news release is frowned upon.

4. The release should be about your customers, not you

Another reason press releases have gotten a bad name is that many companies use them as platforms for bragging. “We have a new product.” “We just did this.” “We just did that.” While this kind of content has traditionally been what press releases are all about, the new press release should stray away from being too promotional. Focus instead on how this news will affect your customer or potential customer. Will the new product make their jobs easier? Will your new facility make it easier for you to get products out faster? Will your new hire mean your customers will get better service? Busy people do not want to take the time to read about how great you are. Busy people will, however, take the time to read about a potential solution to a problem with which they are struggling.

5. Make sure you measure

It’s easy to think that sending out a press release and getting it published is as far as you need to go. However, it’s important to track how your PR efforts are performing. In addition to tracking traffic back to your site from the links you included in the release, you can also watch your Google Analytics keyword dashboard. Did certain keywords trend higher shortly after you sent out your news release? That means your release was effective – even if people did not click a link, they may have remembered something about your release and conducted a search to learn more. You can even assign a special landing page to your news release, which would give you an even better idea of how the press release performed. Don’t just send out your release and assume that it was seen and read. Get proof.

These are five tips we feel are going to be increasingly important in the coming months. If you have any questions or anything to add, leave a comment and let us know!

Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cyberslayer/338311046/ via Creative Commons

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