Press Releases Are Useless
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Did you know that 98% of journalists go online daily (source: white paper
released by Expansion Plus Inc. Here's the breakdown of what they're doing while
they're on the Net:
92% article research 81% searching online for stories and information related
to piece they're currently working on 76% to find new sources and/or experts 73%
to find press releases
If you're crafting a press release to fax or email to the media - stop! This
is a colossal waste of your time. Why? Because the old way of doing press
releases no longer works. Press releases, the old way, are useless. And here's
another tidbit: by posting your release online you can circumvent: gatekeepers,
spam filters, or your press release disappearing in the glut of emails a
reporter or producer gets each day.
A recent study indicated that over 70% of Americans get their news content
online, so not only are reporters online, but consumers are too. This has made
online press releases very attractive to media professionals and authors. A few
years ago you could almost guarantee a media person would call you if you posted
your release in an online newsroom like PRWeb. It was simple and free and a
posting generally took you no longer than five to ten minutes. It was time well
spent. But as the flood of press releases hit these online venues, the ratio of
posting vs. media attention changed and the deluge of releases only served to
clutter these portals until finally a paid service was offered.
Many thought this was the salvation of the online press release posting and
for a while, it was. Now, however this has changed yet again. The low cost of
posting to these sites makes it fairly reasonable for anyone to get a listing
and consequently, the clutter continues. But much like the clutter of sites on
the Net, the solution to this is very simple: press release optimization. What
is "optimization?" Let me explain.
When your press release resides online, whether it's through a service like
PRWeb or you've just put the release in the media room on your site you need to
treat this release just like you treat a web site and optimize it using keywords
and techniques that are "web friendly."
At AME we've developed an entire system for optimizing releases with our
Resident SEO (search engine optimization) guru, Susan Gilbert. Susan cites an
example that she used to gain her a mention in a major news source: "Here's an
example from a new web site I created. The domain name was registered on
February 3rd and the site was completed on Feb 10th. I created a press release
(which has an official date of February 15, 2007) and submitted it to several
online press release agencies. My site was indexed in Google within a week, and
was considered the 'authority' on the topic in Google by March 15th. On April
2nd I was contacted by a journalist who found my press release online. She was
researching my topic for inclusion in Home Style magazine. Home Style is
published both offline and online by Content That Works, which has licensing
agreements with more than 200 newspapers in the United States and Canada.
Combined, these newspapers reach more than 12 million households. My website and
interview will be featured in May's issue."
The trick here are the keywords which are often misunderstood: "The biggest
mistake a novice can make," offers Gilbert, "is thinking that your keyword is
the root word of your subject matter. The competition for all root words (i.e.
romance novel, scrapbooking, etc) will never achieve ranking. Keyword research
is an art that takes a long time to learn and takes keyword research tools that
can be costly. Additionally, keyword research changes based on the newest
algorithms and search engine advances."
Much like a web site designer, or someone who writes your press release,
don't trust your keyword searches to just anyone. Make sure they are tuned into
the Net and aren't just offering standard or "root" keywords.
Once you have your keywords defined, you'll want to use these in the headline
and the first 50 words of your release. The next piece of this is the length of
your press release. Generally online releases should be no more than 600 words
in length and have at least one (preferably two) hyperlinks back to your web
site. The keywords can also be used as anchor text for these links too. Again, a
good keyword person should come back with two or three relevant search terms
that your target audience is likely to use for a news search.
By optimizing your release you'll not only get onto the radar screen of your
desired media and consumer targets, but you'll also get some valuable incoming
links and search engines love those! Anytime your story gets picked up by web
sites (and in particular news web sites) it creates an inbound link which helps
with your site ranking.
And finally if you're still not sure this is the route for you to go,
consider this: Yahoo! News outranks CNN and the BBC, meaning that Yahoo has more
news readers than either of these two giants. So if you're planning a campaign,
or still knee deep in an ongoing one, consider optimizing your press release, it
might give you the boost you need and who knows, maybe even get you noticed by
that elusive media target.
About the Author
Penny C. Sansevieri, CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts, Inc., is a
book marketing and media relations expert whose company has developed some of
the most cutting-edge book marketing campaigns. Visit
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2007-11-03 16:24:12 in Marketing Articles