It’s no great secret that press releases can boost a Web site’s rankings. SEO Consultants have been using them for years to syndicate links throughout the web.
I often disseminated press releases on major PR sites like most of my counter parts. Not one time did a press release that I wrote result in a link from a newspaper.
At an SEO conference, one of the speakers was talking about link acquisitions from nytimes.com and other major news outlets. I thought it sounded great, but not really feasible for most businesses and bloggers.
Soon after that, I landed a large SEO client. This was the first client of this size for me, so it was completely a new experience. I discovered that they were not very pleased with my press releases and focused much of their energy on maintaining a strong brand name. They felt the low-quality, keyword- based press releases were not good for their brand.
I wanted to bring in someone more experienced with press releases and brand management. A quick post on craigslist brought in dozens of emails. I sorted through the mire to find someone with twenty years experience.
We had a quick conversation about press releases. I brought up the subject of SEO. She responded by asking me at what company I was a CEO. She had never heard the expression nor even remotely knew what it entailed, even after I explained it to her.
We started doing real press releases and depended on someone with no SEO experience to write them. Our goal was to create press releases that were actually press worthy. I never put forth any SEO requirements. I simply made sure that there was a link in the text.
In the end, we ended up with links from high-authority sites. The impact of these links was instantly felt by our clients, and they thought we were geniuses. Even though it was much more work, the payoff was much higher.
During the process, I learned three main things:
#1…Write about something press worthy
Instead of focusing on a specific keyword phrase, focus in on something that the local news media would find worth sharing. For example, a drive for a local children’s charity was featured in one of our press releases.
#2…Rely on human contact, not just PR services
Although, we still use press release syndication services and still see value in them, we now directly contact the newspaper editors and reporters. Once the first contact is made, we will send over our press release. We wait a week and follow up with them to see what they thought. More often than not, they are very helpful and will even give us advice on the type of stories that they want to feature.
#3…Do multiple press releases
It’s just like any other form of marketing—repetition works. The more a reporter or editor sees your content, the more likely they are to feature it in their publication. We found that it would take three good press releases before we started getting the exposure we wanted.
It’s important to remember that the local news has the same challenge that bloggers have—creating interesting content. If you can figure out how to get them that content and make their jobs easier, they will shower you with what you want: exposure and links.
Jason Capshaw is founder of an Atlanta Web Design Company and has been providing SEO services for more than five years.
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