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Lowdown on Press Release Optimization

Posted on Oct 24th, 2005
Written by Lee Odden
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    Working with client PR firms to optimize press releases often generates some interesting discussion and education about writing style and keyword usage. A lot of press releases seem to be written by budding poets or ex-ad copywriters trying to be clever with the reader. This does not always bode well for keyword based ranking in algorithmic news and search engines.

    On the other hand, press release spam is on the rise and many releases are being distributed with a bare minimum, if at all, editorial review. Both gimmicky and keyword stuffed press releases reduce the credibility of the wire service and the chances of your news being taken seriously.

    So, what to do? Write a plain jane release that does not stand out, or stuff that sucker like a turkey with keywords galore? A talented writer should be able to incorporate keywords into a press release as well as satisfy any creative requirements for a compelling read. This is the “art” of press release optimization and also of web page optimization.

    The distribution source of the release is also an important consideration. The number of “free” news release distribution services has grown so it is important to decide whether you pay or use the free service – noting what type of service you want your release associated with. If a wire service sends out lots of press release spam, do you really want to be associated with that?

    The objective of the press release should guide how aggressive you are at “optimizing” it for relevant keywords and what news wire service you use. PRweb is great for building links, and if actual press coverage occurs, that’s icing on the cake.

    It also matters how newsworthy your release is and how well it’s written. If you have important news, definitely consider having a professional write your release.

    PR News wire and Business Wire are two “traditional” and more expensive news wire services to consider for your most newsworthy announcements.

    If you want media coverage, then do some homework to identify target publications and their editorial calendars. Send journalists personal emails/pitches on your story. Be succinct and include a url to the full release. Don’t put the whole release inside the email. I can tell you, that is annoying!

    Post an online media kit on your web site, particularly one that is managed with a blog content management system. That will make it easy for interested parties to subscribe to “what’s new” about your company. Include links to past releases, past media coverage, contact info, high res photos, executive bios and links to notable employee blogs.

    Keep in mind, that journalists receive an abundance of emailed press releases every day. Discouraged by the deluge of press release spam and by the sheer volume of poorly written email pitches by PR interns and recent college grads, many journalists, freelance writers and prominent bloggers are keen to search for news stories and sources in other ways.

    A smart strategy for getting press coverage is to help journalists pull themselves to you by making sure you have relevant visibility in the places where they are looking. What’s becoming a more efficient way for journalists to monitor topics for stories is to subscribe to RSS feeds of search results on news and blog search engines. Here are some examples:

    News search engines:

    Blog search engines:

    Tag based engines:

    Visibility on News search engines and bookmark sites from a keyword and tag standpoint does support the effort to gain editorial coverage, at least indirectly. Make sure your news is available to these sources and that every article or press release distributed is available as part of a RSS feed.

    Other than press releases, another way to get into sites like Google news is to write articles and submit them to publication web sites and also blogs that are already getting picked up by Google newsbot. Perform a search on Google News for relevant keywords and note the sites that are getting picked up. Find out if they accept articles and press releases and submit.

    Post your articles and press releases to your own site, ideally using a blog content management system, and then bookmark these articles using social book marking services and tag them with keywords. When your articles are picked up by other news sources, be sure to bookmark those pages as well using, and similar services.

    If you publish frequent news and articles, your news area or site might qualify as a news source for Google News. You can request Google to add your site as a news source. Keep in mind though, that Google News wants you to have an “editorial review process” and more than one person writing content. You should be adding news weekly if not daily and NOT republishing news. If you get in, Google Newsbot will hit your site very often.

    Content syndication is no doubt the future for better search engine rankings and traffic to your web site. The best linking strategy is to create excellent content. Combine creative and optimization skills to create compelling, keyword relevant articles and press releases. Understand where your target audience and circles of influence get their information and be there. Make sure your content is easy to find and to syndicate by using a blog content management system to host articles and releases.