One way of streamlining your business’s news and events to the press is through press releases (PR). As defined by the Oxford English Dictionary, press releases are official statements that brands or entities issue to the media that provide information on an event or a specific matter.
Press releases usually come in written format (print and digital), but you can also publish them in audio (podcast) or video format. For leading brands who will conduct an event or are nominees of an awarding body, the best way to tell the people is to grab the media’s attention quickly.
In other words, press releases are pieces of content that you distribute and publish to news platforms to inform people about your events or updates.
Aside from that, press releases also play a vital role in search engine optimisation (SEO) that many brands do not know. Along those lines, here’s all you need to know about press releases and their relevance to SEO.
The relevance of PR for SEO
Press releases usually follow a specific process:
- An event or update happens
- You write a press release for your brand
- You distribute the PR to news publishers
- News publishers acknowledge and pick up the PR
- They will then publish your press release
The moment your PR is out in the open, it will start contributing to your SEO. A press release has massive indirect value for a brand’s SEO. And in today’s search landscape, PRs are as valuable for SEO as those with a direct cost.
On the other hand, you can also enjoy direct SEO value from PR only when its URL ranks high on Google SERPs. For instance, if you posted a press release on your brand site, and it shows up on Google News, you can drive organic traffic to your site and improve brand awareness.
The real value of a successful PR is its indirect value to your brand awareness and SEO. Suppose you’ve managed to create a PR that’s eloquent, relevant, interesting, and engaging. In that case, likely, a news authority, media outlet, or blog site will publish and champion it.
As a result, your brand will gain more product mentions, referral and organic traffic, golden link, and citations from various sources within and out of the news site. Besides, you can also enjoy other SEO benefits by submitting a cunning press release, including:
- Natural inbound links from authoritative sites
- Brand recognition and social media mentions
- Brand awareness and visibility
- Referral traffic ultimately leading to sales
Why PR should be part of your SEO strategy
Press releases, as discussed, have indirect value for SEO. But it’s not an out-of-the-box element that you can act as a plug and play to your site.
A lot comes into crafting amazing PR content that makes it beneficial for your SEO rankings. That said, here’s why you should include press releases as part of your SEO strategy:
Press release distribution is free
You can publish a press release on many new websites for free, or at very low costs. Before, businesses needed to print their releases physically and mail them to news authorities and blog companies ━ not anymore.
For starters, you can streamline press releases as part of an email subscription and marketing campaign. The only resource you’ll spend is time and workforce to write the content and build an email listing to send it.
Furthermore, you can also use your automated email platform to streamline your PR distribution and follow-ups. Sending out a machine-generated email saves you considerable amounts of time and writing juice than writing out follow-ups from scratch for every single email address.
You can use automated email platforms for your press releases as they let you:
- Organise mailing lists into unique categories (i.e., location, reach, etc.)
- Schedule when you’ll send out your press release emails
- Monitor who received your email messages and keep track of results
Control over your content
Probably the most significant advantage of publishing a press release is the fact that you have absolute control over your messaging. That’s because you can decide on elements and things such as:
- Who provides relevant quotes and slogans?
- Which product information is the most crucial?
- And how many words will the press release have?
For starters, you need to use quotes that explain your brand or product’s impact on your consumers. Otherwise, you can simply use them as your call-to-action or, but make sure you’re posting up-to-date and valuable information.
And since you’re the one controlling your message, you need to ensure that all information you provide will achieve your desired goal.
PRs can reach a targeted audience
Since publishing press releases lets you spread the word on a broad range or a targeted audience, it only makes sense to include it in your email marketing plan. Depending on your goals, you can stir up hype for new business expansion, product launch, or media coverage for an event.
Regardless of your intention, journalists will refer to press releases for vital information such as your brand name, staff and personalities, and other relevant facts.
Plus, with the advent of virtual meetings and online conferences, newsrooms decrease in size, and many journalists expect to cover more news with less effort. Hence, publishing press releases will save significant time for both your brand and understaffed press organisations.
So whether you’re posting for a reporter or another company, you can customise and tailor-fit your press release to reach your target audience. Also, crafting the winning formula for effective PR includes key components such as:
- Understanding your target readers
- The catchphrase and hook
- An exciting and powerful story
- Attention to detail
Crucial ways PR can be used for SEO ranking purposes
Even if you did everything right up to this point, capturing the media’s attention can still be challenging ━ especially for a tightly competitive niche.
News editors receive numerous PR topics from different sites every day, including your competitors. Editors and journalists also need to curate every article before posting to ensure that they only publish the best and most exciting topics and news for their readers.
Hence, if you’re still in the process of writing your press release topic, here are three crucial pointers to keep in mind when leveraging PR for SEO and backlinks:
Write newsworthy topics
Newsworthy doesn’t necessarily mean massive and phenomenal. You can start writing about an event hosting or market research that your readers will need.
How about product launches? If you’re brewing something big for the next season, you can give out easter eggs or early announcements to your customers through press releases.
Regardless of your purpose, make sure it’s newsworthy, and always give your all to writing it.
Write a compelling PR
Keeping your audiences’ attention to your article is crucial if you want to convert them in the long run. Therefore, you need to kick off your PR with a catchy title that will hook them into reading the entire post.
Consider your readers’ attention span and make sure your article is short and engaging. If you wrote it as if from a magazine feature page, editors would then copy and paste it directly to their site when publishing it.
Here are also some essential tips you can use when writing a press release:
- Always write in a third-person perspective.
- Keep your article short and concise (around 400-500 words)
- Feel free to add images and videos
- Kill the fluff and cut the jargon
Attract journalists who care about your industry
Whatever your PR topic will be, you must avoid sending it to hundreds of local and national journalists in hopes that many of them will approve and publish your content.
Just like SEO, you need to conduct research on relevant news sites and journalists for your brand before anything else.
Say you’re a leading tech retail company in Sydney that wants to spread the word about your newest smartphone release or a software update. Instead of distributing your PR to every email address in your list, finding journalists who write tech blogs can save you more time and resources.
Press Releases and NoFollow Links
For brands and businesses involved in SEO longer than press releases, you might wonder whether backlinks in PRs will be useless.
If you’ve already read about our post on everything about nofollow links, then you should already know that nofollow links won’t be useless for link building.
Moreover, you will only use nofollow links within the news or blog sites that published your press release. Other links that you acquire as a result of an effective press release will be both dofollow and nofollow links. But all of that still depends on the news site’s policies and rules about whether or not they’ll link to you.
Nofollow links are also safer to use for PRs as they further reduce your risks of getting penalised. Reiterating Google’s policies on backlinks, the search engine prohibits sculpting or buying your backlinks from other sites.
As a result, Google Webmaster Guidelines require inbound links from news sites and PRs to be nofollowed. For leading brands to successfully streamline press releases for their SEO, nofollow is the right way to go.
Press Releases and Google Trends
Aside from nofollow links and other elements in writing an effective PR, Google Algorithm updates and search trends will also impact your overall press release strategy.
Speaking of trends, as long as people search for information and updates online, publishers will always need interesting news topics to post. So if your brand isn’t writing press releases for the public, you won’t have any chances to improve your brand awareness.
Furthermore, your press release can also drive more traffic to your site, not just with backlinks, but also with brand mentions and engagements in social media platforms. But if you’ve been publishing PRs for a decade, you might wonder why it’s not as popular as it was back in 2008 to 2010.
A lot of the changes have to do with webspam. As the internet grew more popular, more and more brands competing for search rankings have resorted to black hat practices, spamming news editors and journalists with articles and press releases.
To protect news sites from getting penalised, editors started curating and filtering news stories more thoroughly. That makes it a daunting channel for many businesses to leverage in terms of accessibility.
The second reason why press releases are deemed inferior for SEO could be Google’s penalties.
In the past, press releases were widespread because you can easily add a backlink from news outlets, bringing clicks from those links to your site. But with Google cracking down against these link building tactics, press releases became less popular.
However, if you look at the benefits of PR for brand awareness and distributing accurate information, you can still find it worthy even in 2020 and beyond. Those benefits being:
- Improving your brand awareness
- Building hype on a future product launch
- Branch opening announcements, job vacancies, etc.
You also don’t need to spam hundreds of journalists for one of them to notice you. You only need to focus on a relevant news outlet and grab their attention. By having your content published on a renowned site, other channels will eventually follow suit.
By conducting your research and remembering Google’s guidelines, you can increase your chances of getting a target news site to publish your PR. But even if you fail, you can always message them on their social media profiles or post on your site using exciting and engaging types of content.
Unleashing your press releases’ full potential means leveraging them for information dissemination and SEO. By far, press releases are still worth looking into, but they’re not as authoritative and dominant as they used to be.
As part of a comprehensive SEO strategy, press releases are essential components to feed your audience accurate and up-to-date information. However, don’t make them your core aspects of SEO and think that a single PR publication can turn tides in your favour.
In other words, use press releases moderately and reasonably. With a reliable SEO agency in Sydney, you will have no problems adding PRs into your robust content arsenal.
With relevant data and a best-in-class SEO Strategy, Red Search will help you realise your long-term brand objectives and dominate your digital niche.
At Red Search, our team of search specialists uses results-focused and data-driven SEO strategy to secure and maintain your spot on the first page of SERPs and local search packs.
For your questions and enquiries, feel free to call our SEO experts at 1300 101 712 and drop a message in our contact form.
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