How does a great press release work?
What is Press Release?
A press release is a written communication reporting specific, but brief information about an event, circumstance, or other happening typically tied to a business or organization. The concept behind press releases is that they should be used to share newsworthy content with interested parties. Press releases can also be used to complement your existing SEO strategy which may already include a social presence, blogger outreach programs, blogging, or content marketing.
Concisely written and targeted, press releases draw media attention to newsworthy events. Mainly used by public relations specialists, press releases are written to gain free publicity and contain enough information required to write a compelling news story.
Examples of press releases include:
- A company opens a local branch, bringing new jobs
- A nonprofit organization sponsors a nationwide service project
- An author publishes a new book on a hotly debated topic
- University scientists announce study results
- A theater group performs its new play
- An automotive manufacturer announces a new model with high-tech features
The biggest SEO benefit of a press release is indirect value!
In today’s SEO world, press releases will provide more indirect value than direct value. Direct value comes when the press release URL itself is ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs), which is possible, albeit rare. For example, a press releases that appears in the “News” section of a Google search can drive organic traffic to your website, generating buzz and brand awareness.
The real gold of a press release lies in the indirect value. If your press release is unique, eloquent, valuable, and attention-grabbing, a newspaper, media outlet, or other blog is more likely to pick it up and champion it. When they do so, your company gets that golden link, mention, citation, buzz, referral traffic.
Other SEO benefits that come from a press release include:
– Natural links from outside sources — builds back links and site authority
– Brand / Name recognition
– Referral traffic
The basic goal of a press release is to attract journalists with a specific news, announcement, event etc. It should spark a conversation resulting in – most cases – media coverage. There are various factors that decide if your press release succeeds or not, but usability is the most important one.
A press release is not for you nor for your brand. It’s for the editor you’ll send it to. It should be useful to them. Start with a clear subject explanation – that’ll help them decide if they want to run the story or not (that’s important – if they need to spend too much time at this point, most of them will drop it before actually reading it). Provide key details as well, but save something for later – let them come with questions or interview requests.
The format is important, too. Full-text press releases will work for some business editors, but others will love informal video announcement recorded with your CEO’s smartphone. Just make sure it’s available online. There’s this old habit of sending press releases attached to emails. It worked in the past, but today we use multiple devices in multiple places and everyone’s used to the online – post your press releases on a branded & responsive newsroom so that people can find it from any place and using any device.