Online press releases have evolved and yet they still have a lot in common with the traditional press release. The main difference is that an online press release can target a much wider audience than just journalists and the media. It is sometimes referred to as a news release rather than a press release for that reason.
Because you can directly reach your desired audience, instead exclusively targeting the press, you have more options in what to include in your news release. A press release targeting the media needs to include more details for journalists to use in writing an article or story. An online press release is therefore generally shorter than a media press release.
With an online press release, anyone who is searching for keywords that are in your news release can potentially be your audience. With that wider audience comes a broader range of subject matter that an online press release can cover.
1. Target Your Audience
Announcements of all kinds, including opinions, can be newsworthy topics, as well as the more typical topics like receiving an award or a contract, or launching new products and services.
If you have something to say, or advice to share, you can write it up as a tip sheet and offer it in a news release. However, you must write to your target audience. If your main points differ between buyers and journalists, you may want to write two press releases.
2. Focus On Facts
Like a media press release, the online news release is written in a factual, journalistic style, focusing on the 5 W’s: who, what, when, where, and why.
Your headline should convey the main message of the press release, and be followed by a subheading that summarizes the topic in a catchy way. You still have only a few seconds to hook your reader in, so make sure your headline and the summary statement are clear and intriguing.
3. Format for the Web
Since a journalist or potential client may be scanning your press release online among hundreds, it’s recommended to link to your home or landing page near the top of the release. A link to your website should also be at the end of the press release. Be sure to break up your paragraphs to make it easy for readers to scan your content.
4. Optimize for Search Engines
You optimize your online press release the same way you do a web page, using keywords. Your top keyword or key phrase should be in the heading of your press release for SEO. One caveat however is that since 2012, all links in syndicated press releases must have the “nofollow” attribute. Press release back-linking used to help raise your site ranking in Google, but that practice is no longer allowed. Press releases do provide indirect SEO benefits by generating referral traffic, and increasing brand awareness and shares.
5. Have a Press Release Schedule
Sending out press releases through a distribution service or to your local media should be a regular part of your marketing plan. Two of the most popular and affordable distribution services are WebWire and PRWeb, which offer various levels of distribution. Be sure to follow the editorial guidelines of any press release distribution site you use.
A monthly press release is a good strategy to raise awareness about your business and keep a steady flow of traffic to your site. Make sure your links take visitors to pages with the appropriate information or call to action.