In line with the shift to all things internet, the press release has evolved beyond its traditional use between PR pros and press to become a tool for direct consumer communications online, says Tamaryn Smith.
This has key implications for clued-up communicators and clients. In addition to PR ‘Pitch’ activities, distributing and pitching releases to journalists, we must incorporate ‘Attract’ activities, designed to drive visibility so your news is easily found by consumers that search for and subscribe to content that interests them.
This is how we’re creating evolved releases at Chillibush PR:
- Put the brand/client name in the headline. Be smart with headlines, but not obtuse.
- Focus on a storyline/angle. Be concise and don’t overpromise. Too much info will dilute the message for both news search engines and readers.
- Write it like an engaging article. The classic release is written as a factual info tool for journos to tailor content. Now, we need to write in a consumer-targeted style to trigger more editorial pickups.
- Employ keywords as a portal. Your release should be a portal to additional information, driving traffic to your website. Link your important search keywords to deep relevant pages in your site. If they don’t exist, create them and populate with relevant content
- Break content into sections. Sections can be more easily scanned and used by journalists to glean story ideas. Use formatting, including bold text, bullets and subheads to make the page easier to read and enhance SEO.
- Incorporate pictures, graphs, sound and motion links where possible. This works well for SEO, and traditional publications you may syndicate to also have online versions with links to rich content.
- Link to the release in a conventional download format. Create a PDF version of the release optimized with keywords and links and embed images/media.
- Incentivise the reader to click. Provide opportunities like white paper downloads, free trials, special offers, podcasts, webinars, reports, email newsletters and consultations.
- Link to an interactive landing page.Convert those readers to prospects.
When you’ve properly optimised a release, you can use these techniques to spread the news…
- Post the release to the company media room online. Your media room should be blog-enabled, searchable, show press releases chronologically and by category with links to downloadable photos, audio and video. It’s good highlight previous coverage in PDFs or links. An RSS feed will facilitate subscriptions to updated news for journos.
- Distribute to targeted media and appropriate blogger contacts.
- Use progressive wire services to get news content into popular news search engines.
- Syndicate a blog post version of the news to relevant social media sites
- Use social bookmark sites as a clipping service. Bookmark pickups of the release using social bookmark services as further search engine links.
The ways in which our consumers and media access and consume information continue to evolve rapidly. Communications professionals need to make sure we keep with the pace!
Tamaryn Smith is managing director of Chillibush PR.