Most people who email me with questions about how to write press releases ask the least important questions:
- How many words should my release be?
- What’s the best free press release distribution service?
- Can you take a look at my release and tell me if it has the right “tone”?
- Should my name and phone number go on the top or at the bottom?
All good questions, actually. But no one has ever asked the most important one: “How do I research and use keywords in my press releases so the search engines can find them and bring targeted traffic to the release, and then, to my website?”
Most press release writers have a vague understanding or no understanding of how to use keywords. They think a tantalizing headline, scrumptious sub-head, enticing copy, kick-butt quote and even a call to action will pull traffic and convert to sales.
Problem is, if their press releases don’t include the same keywords that people are typing into Google when they want a problem solved, those people might never find their releases. That’s the biggest mistake I see in press releases that people ask me to review.
How press releases have changed
Press release specialist Janet Thaeler, an expert at optimizing releases for the search engines, says most people don’t realize that the world of press releases has changed considerably.
“The press release, as a way to reach the media, is essentially dead,” she said. “There are far better ways than sending out a press release to get traditional media coverage.”
Most of that includes responding to inquiries and building relationships with journalists. Online, you can get visibility through social media, your own blog and by using online distribution services to spread the news.
“Where online releases really shine is in getting you noticed online in search engines where it’s easier for people to find your news and therefore your businesses…Many time the coverage you get online will take you much further than a great story in a newspaper or magazine. You can trace sales directly from a press release.”
Learn more about keywords Oct. 21
Janet will be my guest during a teleseminar at 3 p.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday, Oct. 21. She will discuss “How to Use Keywords: The ‘Magic Magnets’ That Pull Consumers and Journalists to Your Press Releases.”
Did you know, for example, that another big boo-boo in press releases is mentioning your company’s name in the headline? That’s the most valuable piece of real estate on the release, and one of the first places search engines look for keywords.
If you sell environmentally friendly baby clothing, and somebody is looking for what you sell, they won’t type your company’s name into a search engine unless they already know about you. They are more likely to type “environmentally friendly baby clothing” or “green baby products” or “organic kids clothing.” Those keywords should be in the headline, and throughout the press release.
5 tips for optimizing press releases
Here are only 5 of the many tips we’ll discuss during the Oct. 21 call:
- Before you write, do keyword research to learn what words or phrases relate to your news, industry or brand. Wordtracker and Google’s Wonder Wheel help simplify and arrange search results.
- Identify from one to three different but related keyword phrases to use, and include them within your release.
- If your business serves a local area, use regional keywords. For example: “Los Angeles yoga studio.”
- Don’t assume you must use your company name in the headline. That’s one of the first places the search engines look for keywords. People who are searching for the type of product or service you sell, and don’t know about your company, won’t type your company name into the search engines. Use the same keywords they’d use, based on your research.
- Use keywords in the first paragraph of your press release.
Hope to see you on the call Oct. 21!