Love press releases? I do too. To my mind, they’re an essential part of any content marketing strategy.
I’ve often told the story of how I got into copywriting – via press releases. At the time (1980s!) I was running a business which was spending HUGE amounts on display advertising in Sunday newspapers. Since press releases cost us nothing except a few postage stamps, I sent out ten press releases to various media outlets.
Hey presto – we got fantastic coverage: radio, TV, magazines…
Yes, those days were different. However, the underlying marketing is the same now as it was then.
To get publicity, you need:
- A hook – a good story – for media attention;
- A belief in yourself, and the worth of your business;
- A little creativity.
All these years later, the media isn’t what it once was. However, publicity is just as powerful now as it was then. And it’s basically free. All you need is a story that’s attention-getting.
You may be wondering about a press release’s value in these days of Hummingbird.
The death of SEO press releases?
Yes, and not before time. Google’s Matt Cutts rained on the SEO parade:
With this new mandate, what Google has done is kill off the SEO press release. Google is now requiring that URLs and anchor text within press releases be converted to no follow links.
Here’s the thing. If you get media attention, you WILL get SEO value, because you’ll gain lots of links. However, you shouldn’t use press releases just to get links.
Let’s look at five simple press release tricks.
1. Make your press release newsworthy.
Anything you say it is.
Truly. Your press release might have a hook related to: timeliness, public interest, conflict, tragedy, humor, sex, money, human interest, the future, or animals.
Any one of those themes will do. Combine two of them, and you’ll hit the publicity jackpot.
Take a look at a newspaper, and you’ll see those themes every day. They’re news.
I tend to use the terms “press release” and “news release” interchangeably. All press releases must contain news.
2. Tell your story: attract media attention.
You’ve got a newsworthy theme. Your next step is to find the story within that theme. TV Tropes could be a happy hunting ground for your story; check out the Rags to Riches trope, for example.
Whatever your theme, there’s a story buried within it. Think about it.
Tell yourself the story. Start with “once upon a time, there was…”
Stories in news release are publicity gold. Find yours.
3. Have a strategy: help your audience to discover you.
You can post your press releases online of course, however, consider making press releases part of your overall content strategy.
Press releases are content. Post your releases into a Media, or Newsroom section of your website. Over time, those releases tell the story of your business.
Many of your site visitors have never heard of you, so several years’ worth of releases on your website increase their trust in your business.
4. Turn on the glamor: add images and video.
Glitz up your press release. Add images from your media kit, as well as images you’ve created for your current content campaign. You can also add a video, and a downloads like a white paper, or a report.
These items increase the likelihood that people finding the release will click through to your website.
5. Yes, use links in your releases (for traffic, rather than SEO)
Finally, of course you can use links in your press releases. You want traffic. If you’ve been hammering several keyword heavily in your online activities, avoid using them. Use other words as anchor text.
Your aim is to get traffic from your press releases, and if you include a newsworthy theme and story, you will.
So there you have it – five press release tricks to help your small business. Now, go and get some publicity – you deserve it!
Need some help? I create press releases for clients. My aim is to find a theme, and tell your story.