The humble press release always has been a powerful medium for distributing information to journalists, publications, and news outlets. However, with the rising influence of online media channels (and social media in particular), press releases also can be used an effective tool to increase your business’ general online visibility.
If used well, press releases can amplify the reach your internet marketing campaigns and get your message in front of new eyes. But even with this fairly new window of opportunity, it’s important to walk a fine line when using this type of media for your online presence.
Press Releases Aren’t Just For Offline Promotions
Press releases can be effective when it comes to strengthening your brand awareness, building your social presence and increasing your community outreach. Sites like PRNewswire, BusinessWire, and Marketwire have helped to increase the ability of press releases to target valuable traffic and lead them to your business’ website.
Although it’s important to note that press releases don’t add much actual SEO value to your site, there are some other the advantages to using them as part of a comprehensive online marketing strategy:
- Natural Link Building Tool: Your site will earn new inbound links each time a news outlet picks up your PR piece, which fits well into a natural and robust backlink-building strategy. When your release is picked up and syndicated, news sites will include your links using a no-follow tag, which has some very nominal SEO value (i.e. the links don’t pass any “SEO juice,” but all sites need to have a healthy mix of no-follow and “do-follow” links). These links also can generate valuable referral traffic to your site and increase credibility with your audience.
- Keyword Optimization:Using keyword research when writing your press release will help your press release appear in related search queries. This can increase your brand’s name recognition among potential customers and allow you to occupy more real estate for high-value keywords in search engine results.
- Referral Traffic Generation: With each news media outlet that publishes your press release, you potentially can increase the number of fresh eyes for your brand and clicks to your website. Since each news outlet has its own dedicated readership, an effective press release will also help your business increase exposure to targeted audiences.
- Online Reputation Management: Press releases are very efficient when it comes to building and managing your brand’s reputation. Since you control the content of the release, it will also give you some control over what Google users see when they search for your brand.
PR and Raising Your Online Visibility
To effectively leverage your press release as part of your online visibility strategy, it’s important to keep the following in mind:
- Be Newsworthy: Don’t cry wolf with your press release. Instead of flooding the internet with self-promotional garbage, make sure your release actually is newsworthy. If it has no value, it won’t interest your audience, and news outlets won’t opt to pick it up. Newsworthy topics can include reaching significant milestones, major industry awards and accolades, opening new offices, expanding your service area, releasing new products/services, and sponsorships of events or charitable organizations.
- Don’t Over-Link: As good as it sounds to use your press releases for inbound links, make sure not to include more than three links per release. If you include too many links, it will look spammy and probably won’t pass through editorial filters. And even if you do manage to get through those filters and the outlet fails to add a no-follow tag, keep in mind that Google penalizes links that exist solely to increase SEO value. Thus, you only should include links to content that is relevant, informational, and useful.
- Format Correctly: Even though the purpose of press releases has shifted, their format has not. According to PRNewsOnline, your release should have a clear headline under 22 characters, and contain two to three targeted keywords in the headline, subhead, and the first paragraph. Your release should also always include your logo, and it should never go over 600 words (or exceed two pages in length).
Making it Work For Your Local Business
As you can see, press releases are a valuable way to promote your local business in a number of channels. They help you gain brand exposure and share relevant information with your target audience. And while they aren’t a meaningful SEO strategy, well-written press releases will add value to your online strategy by increasing visibility and referral traffic.
Looking for help? The Mediagistic internet marketing team can coordinate your website content with your PR agency’s efforts, allowing you to maximize the value of both. Get in touch today to get started discussing your online marketing needs.
Jamie Alcantara is a social specialist on the Mediagistic social media team. She’s in love with social media marketing and PR, and she’s passionate about helping businesses connect with their audiences and grow their online presences. Connect with her on Linkedin.
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