This is a guest post by Writer and PR Consultant Brad Shannon of Shannon Marketing Communications.
Most every business has a website these days, but not many have undertaken a consistent, strategic public relations effort that ties together and leverages the work they have put into creating, optimizing and marketing their site. Used in the right way, a well-written news release with the right keywords and phrases can be a highly effective way to improve your search engine optimization.
This is significant as more and more newspapers struggle, go under (RIP Rocky Mountain News) or cut back to web-only operations (Seattle Post Intelligencer). Even as these traditional targets for public relations efforts get thinner and fewer, your online public relations efforts, and the work you do to promote your business through social media, is becoming more important than ever.
Anyone who knows the basics of SEO will tell you that content is king – creating fresh, original content for your website will help improve your search engine results and drive traffic to your site. Creating a consistent flow of news releases to post to your site is a start; but there’s more you can do.
When you write a news release, optimize it – incorporate the same keywords and key phrases in your release that you do on your website. Then, post your release wherever you can.
There are many free press release posting/distribution sites on the web, and while some are useful, many are not effective. I’ve had success with PRlog.org and 24-7PressRelease.com.
You can also use paid news distribution services like PRWeb, MarketWire or PRNewswire to get your news releases to interested editors and reporters; and these services also get your information into the web’s flow of news, and it can stay there for quite awhile – months, in some cases years.
Some of the newest services focus on “Social Media Releases,” or what some are calling a new generation of press release. These format and distribute news in a way that is more social-media friendly, and connect to and share news automatically via your (or your clients’) Facebook or Twitter accounts, blogs, or a variety of other social media networks. Two that are worth checking out are PitchEngine.com and PRXbuilder.com, both of which offer some level of free service.
Finally, as more and more newspapers cut staff, yet still need to provide a certain volume of fresh, relevant local content, many are going with some variation of a citizen journalist model. This allows publications to connect to the local community and involve their readership. There are those who don’t appreciate some of what that means, and I have a lot of good friends who are journalists; but what it means to you is that you can register for an account at many publications, probably even your local newspaper, and post your own stories and news release, and maybe even set up a blog.
Then, leverage your website and other efforts by posting useful articles and news releases to these sites, using the keywords and phrases you use on your website. The result is that you increase the footprint you make on the web, and you have your keywords and phrases posted in a variety of places. All of this ties together and helps you get more mileage out of both your PR and your SEO efforts, improves your search engine results and brings you more traffic.
Brad Shannon, Writer and PR Consultant
Shannon Marketing Communications.