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4 Tips for Getting PR Approval on Optimized Press Releases

Posted on Mar 17th, 2009
Written by TopRank Marketing
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    [Editor note: Please welcome Senior Account Manager Jolina Pettice with this guest post that addresses a common issue with Search Engine Optimization engagements: Getting SEO recommendations implemented!]

    Optimizing press releases can be an important part of any Search Engine Optimization (SEO) program. It’s usually pretty easy to convince clients of the need to optimize news content since these kinds of releases can reach journalists and bloggers as well as consumers. One common question I often hear involves getting optimized press releases approved by the Public Relations department. PR approved news messaging and SEO keywords are often not in alignment.

    An additional consideration is that optimizing press releases often crosses over into different departments, creating an additional group of people who need to be convinced of the benefits of SEO.

    Making sure that Public Relations team is bought into the SEO process early is the first step. This can be accomplished by helping PR practitioners understand the benefits to their own media relations initiatives, by leveraging SEO. Read this previous post by Lee on optimizing news content on how to benefit media and public relations efforts through news content optimization.

    Once you have company public relations staff convinced, or at least willing to acknowledge SEO, then follow this checklist to ensure your optimized press release makes it through to the newswire for online and email distribution.

     4 Tips to ensure your optimization edits sail through the PR department and impact your SEO program:

    1. Maintain the PR Goal: Write for the audience first
    Whether the target audience includes journalists or prospects, make sure your SEO changes don’t change the objective of the release.

    If the copy doesn’t compel the audience to action, the SEO benefits will have less impact to the organization over all.

    2. Identify relevant (and popular) keyword phrases in the DRAFT phase
    One of the best ways to make sure you can optimize a release is to talk to the PR department first and make sure your objectives are in alignment.

    Start the optimization process while the release is still in DRAFT mode and be willing to compromise. Do this by leveraging keyword phrases the PR team already has in mind.

    For example, if the release rolls up to a ‘search engine marketing’ campaign, don’t go in and optimize the release for ‘search engine optimization’.

    3. Optimize what’s important, don’t fret over what isn’t

    When optimizing, strive to place keyword phrases in the most important places including:

    • Headline
    • Subhead
    • First and Second paragraphs (hyperlink the keywords)
    • Boilerplate (hyperlink the keywords)

    If you over optimize, a PR person will catch this straight away. Connect the dots between the keyword phrase in the headline and the keyword hyperlink in the first paragraph.

    If that’s all you get in the final release, it’s a start. 🙂 A keyword phrase in the 5th paragraph is not a battle worth fighting.

    4. Work together to stretch the newswire dollar
    Help your PR department get the most bang for its buck from the newswire by leveraging additional features the wire may offer.

    Some features, such as those below, can stretch the newswire dollar by impacting PR and SEO efforts.

    • RSS feeds
    • Keyword tagging
    • Trackbacks
    • Attachments (word docs, images, videos)

    Features like RSS feeds can help PR initiatives by expanding the reach of the content, specifically to journalists who continue to increase their use of RSS feeds to monitor specific topics.  

    Companies that leverage these 4 tips will help align public relations and search engine optimization for improved search visibility of news and the company as a whole. If  PR and marketing work together as a team, both lead generation and media coverage objectives can improve significantly.