Wednesday, March 25, 2009

8 Components of a search engine optimized press release

(click on the mind map image to see a bigger view)

Last February, I shared about a 2-hours briefing for a public relations firm on the importance of making a search engine optimized (SEO) press release. Noticed further that interest on SEO has captured the attention of media outfits where editors are asked to learn about it as well.

Althoug it is easier said than done, press release writers should learn the following to make their work more than just SEO-friendly:
  • Call to action headline
    Oftentimes, headlines are written to inform (for your info style). I believe that it should be more of a call to action. Whether you are encouraging people to join a conference, take a stand, buy products, among others, a headline must be intriguing enough for the reader to take notice. They could either agree or disagree with it and pass it on to others. Or do what you want them to do which can be to register, buy a product, among others.

  • Create variation
    Do not limit yourself to one-canned press release and strike everyone. Ideally, it must have different versions that caters to various media targets. The more segments you can gain exposure, the better.

  • Think international
    Press releases are often written for the local market. But note that if they are written interesting enough, with innovative or novelty aspects cited, it can also gain international exposure that has a benefit all on its own. Especially if your target audience may also reside in other countries.

  • Target news networks
    There are news media or distribution online outlets whose stories also gets picked up by news pages of search engines. They should be tapped because majority of your Internet users today have access to these news sources and also appears prominently on search engine results.

  • Go beyond text
    A press release, ideally, should be accompanies by a logo or photo as readers also want to see the face behind a product or service. However, it will also be of value to include audio and video nowadays as most online news site want their news content to be rich media.

  • Add social networking and bookmark features
    At the minimum, give users the option to share your press release to StumbleUpon, Yahoo Buzz, Facebook, Twitter, among others.

  • Punch line
    Not the comedy one but a powerful quote that will strike a chord with users. Something that pops-out strongly to the user and will prompt them to share it.

  • Keyword-rich
    Create 2 words, 3 words, 4 words anchor text in your press release that links to various pages of a website or parts of a page. Use a keyword research tool to have an idea on popular search queries by Internet users today. This will help a lot in identifying the keywords you desire.
Oftentimes, writing a press release is undertaken within the company or tapping a 3rd party press release services entity.

Regardless which path you will use, I hope the above will be of help.