What is a Press Release?
A press release is usually a short article that announces an exciting update from your company. This would likely be written by your in-house (or digital marketing agency) public relations or marketing employee. It may be published on your website, but also sent out to key media outlets that will target specific audiences related to your field. The tone is journalistic in nature and will contain all the information necessary - the who, what, how, where, when, etc. You’ll want to post the press release as soon as possible after a major update or announcement.
Mechanics of a Press Release
A press release will start out with contact information - almost like if you think about a cover letter or something similar. You’re putting the contact info first to inform readers what company they’re learning about, but also it gives other journalists the opportunity to get in touch with you for more content. A major goal of a press release is to get other journalists or writers interested in your announcement enough to write something else or bigger about your company. Below the contact information is a headline, followed by a short summarizing sentence. Make sure to include a location and a date stamp onto the article too - remember, it’s a news story more than a blog post. The body of the press release will give all the details in a reporting style, with little promotion or voice - simply state the facts as you have them. Don’t forget to add a CTA (call-to-action) at the end of your press release.
So, Should You Write Press Releases for SEO?
Yes! Great idea! Press releases may feel like something from the past, but they’re definitely still relevant to our day and age and especially to the maintenance and growth of your SEO strategy. Kudos to you for being on top of your SEO game and taking a look at this slightly neglected area of content. Caution that press releases can actually hurt your SEO if done incorrectly, so read on to learn more about doing it right.
How Do Press Releases Help SEO?
You’re working to get your brand name out into the world, so having a news outlet talk about your company and link to your website is going to not only help you gain more traction with your target audience, but it also helps with SEO. Backlinking is a part of what helps Google know you’re a trustworthy website. If other sites are linking to your website or blog, then that means real people think your content is reliable and high quality, therefore Google will think so too. This raises you higher in the SERPs ranking.
Other benefits of press releases are similar to what we’d look at with other types of content, but your words are on another website so it adds a little more. The benefits may include gaining referrals, increasing traffic, and building brand recognition, awareness, and visibility.
The art of building backlinks can feel like an uphill slog, a trekking through mud, or a waltz through a minefield. It’s tough. If building them naturally proves difficult, you may be desperate enough to buy the backlinks or use risky tricks that could lead you to fines. Putting press releases out to news sources is a great way to build high quality, natural backlinks that don’t leave you worried about penalties.
What Not To Do With A Press Release for SEO
There are a few don'ts to mention. First of all, the most important is to ONLY write press releases for announcements that are actually newsworthy and worthy of a press release. If no one outside of your company needs to know, it isn’t a press release update. Second, be persistent in trying to get your press release out to news outlets instead of posting it yourself. And I don’t recommend paying to put your press release on a press release hub website. These websites are saturated with poor content and may not even be looked at, while you pay hundreds of dollars to put your content up. Lastly, when you write a press release, don’t write it with Google in mind. This goes back to our first point. If this announcement is really worthy of a press release, then write it for your audience and for the journalists you hope will pick it up for more.
Need help with press releases, backlinks, SEO, or anything else digital marketing related? Reach out to us and we can help. We also offer free digital marketing audits!