Once one of the most effective tools for brand building, public relations, or PR as it is known, has undergone something of a transformation during the digital age. However, many businesses are using PR and press releases purely for the purposes of search engine optimization and creating back links. When a PR campaign is carried out properly, there is no reason why it shouldn’t provide SEO benefit, as well as the publicity the brand wants to have to expand its reach. Let’s have a look at some best practice techniques to help you achieve just that.
All PR Needs To Have A Newsworthy Element To It
Understanding the purpose of a good PR will tell you exactly why press releases should be newsworthy. Press releases are targeted at editors and journalists, whose job it is to find content that are relevant and useful to their target market and readers. When you write a press release, your target prospects are not consumers, they are media professionals.
This means that a press release about a product promotion or special is highly unlikely to get publicity. If you can motivate why the product or service is so important to the end-user, you might have a better chance at being published.
Of course, the biggest culprit here makes use of optimized anchor text to link back to a website and this is what a lot of media professionals will go out of their way to avoid.
Let us have a look at what HubSpot has to say about optimized anchor text in press releases to boost search engine optimization:
SEO should really all be about user experience. Think of it as search experience optimization rather than search engine optimization. It’s not simply about getting found in search engines; it’s about optimizing for users so they actually click through to your content.
So that doesn’t mean you can’t have any links in your press releases. You should not just cloak them with keywords or optimize them. Your link needs to be obvious and self explanatory, making use of a “click here” to show that you are placing value on the user experience and not just the link.
Online PR should be considered a means to an end, meaning you need to seek out the appropriate publicity so as to be able to get the right coverage to support a business’ strategic objectives.
Your goals could include things like attracting funding or investments for a business, maximizing the number of downloads on a website or mobile app, generating x number of leads, or building a brand making the most of expert content.
Brand Messaging And Positioning
To make a PR campaign truly effective, you need to ensure consistency in your messaging. Your messaging should relay what your business stands for and how it is positioned in your market. Is your business targeting upper, middle or higher income earners? Moz.com offers the following advice for the online PR sequence:
Once the goals are determined and the target markets are identified, then the PR team can determine the positioning (how will you brand the company/individual/product/content to the target markets) and messaging (what text, images, and more will you use to communicate the positioning).
Creating Media Lists
Your next step is to identify all the media your target audiences read, watch or listen to. To create a really “useful” media list, you should include:
– the publications that are being read by your target prospects
– the writers, journalists and editors most likely to be interested in your pitches
– media and writers that are active on social media networks.
– online publications with high domain authority.
Writing And Pitching Press Releases
Once all the research and groundwork have been done you can start writing and pitching your press releases. You should use your discretion when it comes to deciding whether it is best to re-use and resend the same press release to your target media, or whether to rewrite it differently to suit the different media and readerships.
Learning About Twitter For Help With Pitches
A lot of media professionals, including writers, journalists and editors use Twitter regularly and when you use it correctly, it can be a very effective tool for pitching your press releases to the media. Why? Well, journalists and editors are usually inundated with emails and telephone calls, where Twitter gives them the option to scan through lots of content quickly to find the kind of content they need for articles.
Remember to check the person’s profile before you send any news; their profile will usually tell you what the writer would like to receive (and similarly what he or she does not want to receive). Include a link for the journalist to follow to find the press release if he or she is interested in your pitch.
PR Is Not For Backlinks Alone
There is value in using a good press release to its fullest potential, because you can take advantage of its SEO value, but that should come second in your list of priorities, according to Search Engine Journal:
A well crafted press release, targeting truly accurate niche recipients can lead to legitimate journalists, bloggers and social media influencers contacting a site’s owners, or doing their own write-up on the subject, and potentially even generating their own links.
If you consider Google’s current focus on quality over quantity it is quite obvious that there is more value having one press release published on a high authority domain than 20 press releases on lower grade websites. That goes for both SEO value and publicity opportunities.
The other consideration worth bearing in mind is that all publications are power houses when it comes to content. Unlike years ago when magazines had limited pages and broadcasters had limited airtime, today websites and blogs have unlimited storage capacity for content. They want the good stuff to use on their sites and to attract more readers in their demographic. It only makes sense that you should only dish up the highest quality content to them.