Today's lesson: Press Releases, Publicity and Page Rank
Did you see the new's last night?
Was it shocking? Were you interested? Did you watch it all the way through?
No seriously – I'm asking you (because I don't generally watch the news)
There are two reasons I tend not to watch the news.
1. Much of it is manufactured propaganda designed to get the population as a whole to behave in certain ways. Yes that might sound a little paranoid but I know people who work at channel 10 and I know they deliberately choose certain types of story (the bad scary horrifying ones) and ignore other types (the ones that make you think the world's a good place to be)
2. Much of the news is sponsored and takes from international press releases.
Even big news sites around the world take much of their content from press releases.
So I thought it would be useful to explain the ins and outs of using press releases to get the word out there about your online business.
What is a press release?
It's the company (you) writing a “newsworthy” brief about a certain thing that's new… It could be the launch of a new website, a change in your company, launch of a new product, really you can make it about anything that's interesting.
Press releases must be written in the 3rd person and contain information about your company, the contact person and how you can be contacted.
This is so reporters who want more information can contact you and asks more questions so they can write an article about you.
But there are other advantages to writing regular press releases.
If you submit you some of the bigger press release sites your information will get in front of potentially 1000s of writers, reporters, editors and publications. Each of which has potentially tens of thousands to millions of readers.
I have seen people get 50,000 visitors to their website in a matter of 48 hours from a single press release.
Does this happen every time? God no! BUT the more you do it the more chance you've got of getting noticed.
But there's another reason why it's good to do regular press releases.
More of the big press release sites, and definitely the big news sites have one thing in common. Huge PR
Confused? Let me spell it out:
You write a press release (PR) and they publish it on their site which has huge page rank (PR)…stupidly confusing all these acronyms, but let's add another one…
SEO… In order to decide where rank your website in the Google search engine one of the main factors they look for is good quality backlinks from site's that already have authority.
Of course these authority sites don't just give away these links – in most cases you can't even buy them unless you know someone in the organization and you count bribes.
So even if no one picks up your story your press release will still get published on the press release network and there will be new high page rank backlinks that will show up.
It's worth doing regularly regardless of whether it's get's picked up or not!
I try to write at least 2 a month for each website I run – even if there's no news I do my best to manufacture some newsworthy tidbit.
I've used a few press release services for global publicity but I've had
the best results with this one:
So here's a template you can use to write up your first press release (if you've never written one before…
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: (DATE)
Organization (Agency or Company)
HEADLINE (ONE LINE ONLY)
Subhead: More Detail As Needed, One Line Only
City, State: Your announcement starts here, and should lead with a strong first paragraph that clarifies what you are announcing, where, and its relevance to your industry. Don't bury the lede: doing so makes it harder on reporters to find the information they need most, so get right to it in the first paragraph.
The second paragraph is the best spot for quotes, but choose your quotes carefully. No reporter likes reading from a sea of people saying the same boring thing. Leverage quotes to build the importance of your story but also to shape your core messages. Whenever and wherever possible, include quotes from customers or partners who will benefit from the news, and avoid extreme exaggeration: having your CEO say that your product is the next best thing to a rocket ship is typically a very bad idea unless you are Elon Musk.
In the third paragraph it is often tempting to add fluff that doesn't need to be there. It's also often extremely tempting to bleed over to a second page by bolstering the third paragraph with company history, lore, and supporting expert opinions. Keep in mind that the goal of the release is to provide clear, concise context on the story–you can always including more detail or links to additional testimonials in your pitch emails or on your blog. Some additional words of wisdom:
- Nobody likes long blocks of content, so use bullets to your advantage to break up the text
- Use language people can actually understand: if you had to use thesaurus.com to find it, delete it
- During your final edit, be honest with yourself on whether or not you are truly focused on what is newsworthy about this announcement. If not, revise accordingly.
About Your Company: This is a placeholder for a short, 3-4 sentence description of your company along with a link to your homepage. Double check to ensure the first sentence accurately and clearly describes your business in a manner that could easily be lifted and translated by a reporter.
Other things to consider is timing – will you release this to several places all on the same day or drip feed it over a couple of weeks?
Does your news have a launch date or a use by date? (like if you are having a sale)
Where will you release it? Will you also be posting it to social media sites?
Do you have a legit point of contact in case someone want's to talk with you about it? – Don't use any fake details!
Finally, set a schedule and write one regularly according to that schedule – I normally try to write one around every 2 weeks. I've seen jumps in traffic to my own niche sites as much as from 350 visitors a day to 4700 a day within a week of doing a press release…
Of course it trails off but if you are collecting names and emails it can make for a big jump in your mailing list.