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Press Releases with Power

I know you might be thinking, "Press releases are dead."

No, they're not. Actually, press releases have been reborn. Thanks to the Web, they not only give your company a high degree of visibility with journalists, but also with prospects, potential partners, investors, and anyone else surfing the Web. And, of course, search engine spiders.

Today's news distribution service providers don't just send press releases to the media via fax and e-mail, which could easily wind up in the trash can or folder. Companies such as ArriveNet, Business Wire, PR Leap, PR Newswire, and PRWeb may distribute your press release to Web sites and even news search engines such as Google News, MSN News, and Yahoo! News. (Click on "News" from the search engine's home page to see where this information is located.) News sites and search engines might archive your press releases for up to 30 days. It's a much better deal than the one-time fax or e-mail, isn't it?

Press release optimization is a hot topic.

With so many people searching news engines, you should include press releases in your SEo strategy. Otherwise, you'll miss getting a higher level of visibility in the news engines when people, both the press and the public, search for a keyword that's relevant to your business.

And the traditional search engine spiders are scanning the news engines as well. That means you can get double search visibility—in news engines and search engines.

Besides optimizing your press release title and copy for relevant keywords, make sure that you link to your Web site (or blog). Is this sounding familiar? It should. It's the SEo strategy essentials I discussed in Chapter 1: keyword theme, relevant content, and link popularity.

Choosing a Distribution Company

Before you choose a press release distribution company, find out if the reports provided include search engine information. This should be free. You'll see which search engines and keywords were used to find your press release, and that is critical for SEo. And it's helpful for figuring out where your human audience is coming from and what they're interested in.

These reports tell you what people are doing with your press releases, too.

When I launched a press release campaign through PRWeb to promote my first book, I was initially disappointed. For the first few days, even weeks, the only direct response I got came from other newswire companies pitching their own services.

Fortunately, I happily discovered that my press releases were being viewed, printed, and even rebroadcast by looking at PRWeb's statistics reports. Whew. I was getting visibility!

Remember to look at your statistics reports to gauge the online visibility of your press releases and your business. Then surf the news engines and search engines. Just because journalists aren't contacting you doesn't mean you're not getting publicity online.

Following the PR Trail

By looking up my book title in the search engines, I spotted sites and blogs that published my press releases as articles. Fabulous. They didn't change a word. This will undoubtedly happen to you. Be ready. Carefully write press releases knowing they'll be rebroadcast for you all over the Web...for free.

Asit turns out,Ididgetinterviewed bythreepublicationswithinafewmonths of launching my press release campaign. That was an appreciated bonus.

Press release optimization isn't just for search engines. You can optimize the content to connect better with the press and the public. Several news distribution services now allow you to include photos, audio, and video with your press releases. Talk about getting attention!

Not all companies need to test these technologies. But being an early adopter can help your human audience cut through the clutter of information online and zoom in on your message. That's something to consider.

There's one more level of optimization to think about. So far, I've talked about how to position your press releases to reach people who are searching the Web. However, wouldn't it be better if they signed up to receive this information directly from you? of course.

The Value of a Feed

Even though the newswire services might fax or e-mail your press release to media representatives, journalists are increasingly subscribing to RSS (or Atom) feeds. Some newswire service providers automatically convert your press releases into an RSS feed, or allow you to do so easily.

As I explained in Chapter 3, RSS (or Atom) is a format that allows content to be collected from the Web and syndicated to anyone who subscribes to the feed. Subscribers use a feed reader to receive and view the content you distribute via a feed. A feed reader is significantly more spam proof than e-mail programs, which is driving the popularity of this tool.

The growing frenzy over feeds is happening with the press and the public. So once again, by distributing your press releases via RSS (or Atom) feeds, you'll be reaching three audiences at once: the press, the public, and spiders. Feeds are good spider bait and can appear in the organic search results and blog engine results.

Have you changed your mind about press releases being an outdated marketing tactic? I hope so. The news distribution services are making it pretty painless to go high-tech without being a techie.

There's another non-techie way to broadcast your message on the Web, and it's fun. You can leverage the power of Internet radio and podcasts.

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