Press Releases - are you getting bang for your buck?

28 Oct 2014
Perhaps your company is working with a Public Relations agency, perhaps you’ve got an internal Public Relations department or perhaps you’ve got a really skilled – or just really enthusiastic – product manager, any of whom is writing press releases for your business, product or service. But unless you’re harnessing the power of these press releases by using a robust online distribution strategy you may well be missing a simple yet effective way to improve your brand exposure.

Even if you’re already distributing your press releases electronically, by emailing it to your distribution list and media contacts and publishing it on your website, you’ve still only scratched the surface of the power of online press release distribution. By developing a robust press release distribution strategy, you can not only greatly increase your brand awareness but potentially improve your organic search engine and social media presence as well. Here’s how.

Ensure your press release is crafted for the web
When it comes to online press release content there are a few tricks of the trade, particular to web publishing, which must be followed. An experienced digital agency can work with your Public Relations or Subject Matter Experts to optimise your press release for online distribution to ensure it doesn’t get rejected by your chosen distribution hubs (see below). Some of the common bloopers inexperienced publishers make include erroneous capitalisation, inaccurate HTML formatting, inclusion of special characters and poor grammar.

Additional watch outs, including unique content, wholly owned content, content licensing and copy length can all be vetted and corrected by an experienced digital distribution partner.

Identify, and incorporate, keyword opportunities
Over and above the potential for increased brand awareness that online press release distribution can deliver, is the potential for improved SEO rankings for selected keywords. Incorporating relevant highly searched keywords within your press release's title, subtitle and body copy can greatly increase the chances of your site being not only indexed for these keywords but potentially found in the highly visible 'News' results. This in turn drives organic traffic from the search engines and referral traffic from the various press release hubs where your press release is published, not to mention direct traffic as a consequence of the brand exposure.

Identify, and incorporate, linking opportunities
Whilst 'link building' has evolved over recent years, and the term itself has become somewhat tarnished as a black hat SEO activity, it is still a recognised, necessary and effective strategy. However it’s vital that it’s done correctly and ethically by experienced practitioners. In recent years there was a spike in the use of anchor text linking - those which link from a keyword to a relevant page within your site - from low quality press releases so Google updated their webmaster guidelines regarding the use of press releases to build links. They now equate press releases with advertisements and advise that all links within press releases should be nofollowed. Consequently, it is necessary to only use press release syndication hubs that nofollow the links within the press releases they carry. While this does reduce the amount of direct SEO benefit passed to your site from any links included within your press release this strategy can still drive site visits and remain compliant.

Identify appropriate press release hubs for distribution
Now you’re ready to publish. Key to your distribution success is identifying the most appropriate hubs to which to submit your press release. The right, carefully selected hubs can result in your release proliferating across the web, with thousands – if not tens of thousands – of sites picking up your release for publication.

Creating a quality press release distribution list requires experience and time, entailing extensive searching, site evaluation and ongoing maintenance. Sites evolve, close down or change their fee structure and consequently their value to distribution strategies. Many companies therefore choose to engage an experienced online press release distribution partner to manage this vital component and provide bespoke distribution recommendations for every press release.

Complementing your existing press release activities by implementing a robust online press release distribution strategy will:
1. get your site in front of key bloggers, reporters, editors and potential clients;
2. improve brand awareness;
3. get new site content indexed quickly;
4. deliver additional organic site traffic;
5. provide fresh site content; and
6. suppress older, less flattering results in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

If you'd like further information on how to develop and implement an online press release distribution strategy to support your brand awareness and SEO objectives then we'd love to hear from you, contact us today.