According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 50 million Americans get news online on any given day. In comparison, only 27 million Americans watch network TV news on a typical evening. The Internet is quickly becoming the preferred news source over television, magazines, and trade publications.
News web sites like Yahoo News, Google News and MSNBC Searchbot receive millions of visitors every day. If fact, Yahoo News ranks ahead of MSNBC.com and even CNN.com, while Google News ranks ahead of USAToday.com and the NYTimes.com.
You can tap into these massive traffic sources through the use of press releases. Additional benefits of distributing your press release include possible media exposure, pickup of your release in online publications, increased link popularity to your web site, additional search engine rankings on your target keywords, and increased traffic to your web site.
However, there’s much more to press release marketing than simply whipping up an article and sending it out to the world. You must take time to optimize your press release properly.
Press releases should be optimized in much the same way that search engine optimization specialists optimize ordinary web pages to achieve higher rankings. In doing so, you will receive much higher visibility.
For example, one press release from MarketingExperiments.com resulted in 2,200 visitors and 5 interview requests by journalists. This is the power of a highly optimized press release.
Listed below is an outline of how to create an optimized press release for your own website and how to distribute it for maximum exposure.
The first and most important element is to search for keywords and phrases that are likely to deliver qualified leads to your website. A good press release combines targeted keywords with creative writing that makes for a compelling read.
To find these lucrative keyword phrases, begin brainstorming what people would search for when looking for your products. If your products or services are targeted to a particular geographic area, you might want to include these locations in your keyword phrases as well. It is best to target up to 3 keyword phrases.
Once you have done this, you can head on over to http://www.digitalpoint.com/tools/suggestion/ to do some additional keyword research. Simply type in your list of potential keyword phrases and this tool will give you a list of related keywords and how many times they are searched for per day. This information can aid you in choosing which keyword phrases will bring your press release the highest amount of exposure.
Now that you have chosen the best possible keywords, it’s time to integrate these targeted keyword phrases into your press release. You should include your keywords in the headline, the title, sub-headings and the first two paragraphs. Search engines place much of their emphasis on the title and the beginning paragraphs.
Your title should reflect your strongest keywords, not the name of the company. Include local modifiers if possible. Although it’s often nice to see your company’s name in print, it’s unlikely to bring you the exposure you deserve. Instead, use targeted search phrases that are likely to be used by your potential customers.
You should also optimize your press release by integrating targeted links within the content. Many press release distribution services and news wires now offer the option of purchasing a hyperlink. You simply convert a keyword phrase within the release into an active hyperlink. This will increase search engine visibility for that keyword phrase and also drive additional traffic back to your website.
Where to Send Your Press Release
There are a wide variety of places that will allow you to syndicate your press release. However, there are only a select few that you really need to focus on. Here are some distributors that will help you get the exposure you deserve.
In addition to press releases, you can also get your content into Google and Yahoo news directly. If you publish frequent news and articles, your site may very well qualify as a news source.
You can submit your site for inclusion to Google News at http://www.google.com/support/news/bin/request.py . However, keep in mind that Google is looking for sites with an editorial review process and multiple contributors. If you are accepted, Google Newsbot will hit your site very frequently and you will receive an extra stream of quality traffic to your web site.
You can also suggest your news site be added to the Yahoo News index. Simply go to http://add.yahoo.com/fast/help/us/news/cgi_submitsource and fill out the form.
Besides syndicating your press releases online, you should also seek exposure offline. You do this by building a media list of local newspapers, trade journals, magazines, web sites, radio and television shows.
If you want media coverage, you must identify target publications and their editorial calendars. Send journalists and editors personal emails with pitches on your story.
You can begin building your own media list at http://www.mediapost.com, http://www.afr.com, and http://www.abyznewslinks.com.
I have one last tip on getting into Google News. To quickly get your articles into the Google News search engine simply perform a search on Google News for relevant keywords, take note of the sites that are getting picked up and find out if any of them allow you to submit articles or press releases. If so, you have found a direct pathway to getting your content into Google News.
One of these places can be found at http://www.americanchronicle.com. Simply visit the site and scroll down to the very bottom of the page and click on the link that says “submit work”. From there you can sign up to be a contributor.
If accepted as a contributor, you will then be able to submit articles along with your picture. Many of their articles are syndicated on Google News and are available to the millions of searchers who go to Google News each and every day.
Now that you know how to optimize your press releases and articles for maximum exposure, I urge you to begin an aggressive press campaign to increase exposure to your brand, gain quality inbound links, and increase your website traffic.