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Do Optimized Press Releases Work?

Posted on May 5th, 2006
Written by Lee Odden
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    My co-worker and public relations goddess Karen Sams has posted a nice list of press release optimization tactics over at Media Relations Blog. She covers:

    • Keywords
    • Headlines
    • Text links
    • Landing pages
    • RSS feeds

    A question that often comes up when I talk to public and media relations professionals about optimizing press releases, is whether or not an “optimized” release can actually perform double duty as an effective communicication tool with journalists as well as search engines.

    My response is that a really good writer can optimize a press release that does TRIPLE duty. What I mean by that is, a release can use keywords in the right places and frequency and form on a press release in a way that is engaging and effective for the journalists and bloggers that will receive them in their inbox or find them as they search for story ideas.

    Optimized releases will also help news search engines such as Yahoo News, Google News and as well as mainstream search engines like Google and Yahoo to categorize and rank the release in the search results.

    The third function an optimized release can perform is as a direct to consumer communication tool, particularly through syndication via RSS. Whether folks like Steve Rubel buy into this or not is irrelevant. Wire services like PRWeb have engaged this aspect of press release distribution wholeheartedly with impressive results for their clients. In the end it is the behavior of end consumers that matters.

    While news releases are meant to be a mechanism for announcing company news and/or financials to news media and journalists, the use of RSS to syndicate releases to news and blog websites places that content directly in front of consumers. This bypasses the media filters and search algorithms and allows companies to get their announcements directly to an intended audience.

    Understanding all of the possible outcomes of a well written release can improve the productivity you get out of it. Make no mistake though, it is a impressive level of creativity needed to write such a release. In many cases, a release’s purpose is designated to one of the three applications I mentioned above. But if a release can serve all three, you’ve hit a home run.