Today’s post is for people who want to influence opinion about their cause, attract media attention and drive traffic to their websites.
Bottomline: news releases are still a critical weapon in your communications arsenal – maybe more so than ever. What’s new is this: you need to understand and include keywords. When you develop and distribute news releases either to targeted media outlets or via PR newswire or similar services (following all the usual rules about newsworthiness and format), you need to understand how search engines look for and respond to keywords.
Here’s the why:
1) Attracting the attention of online newspaper websites is particular important to driving opinion about your cause. According to the a study conducted by Millward Brown of 1,501 adults last year, readers of online newspaper sites are 52% more likely to be “influencers” than non-newspaper website readers.
2) Given cutbacks in traditional newsrooms, more journalists are migrating to the Web. Just one example, discussed in the New York Times on November 17, is the rise of local websites that serve as watchdogs over particular communities – such as VoiceofSanDiego.org.
3) News releases have a long after-life on the Internet. Google anything and you’re likely to see a news release .pdf on the first page of results. News releases, posted to your website, attract traffic.
Here are some tips about what it means to write with the needs of online search engines in mind, offered by the folks at WordTracker through their free online publication about using keywords:
1) Focus the news release on a primary keyword and include it in the headline. They also suggest you intersperse the word throughout the release (but don’t overdo it).
2) Include a summary that includes the primary keyword as well as a few secondary ones.
3) Make sure you distribute to the online news channels such as Google News, Yahoo News and MSN News.
4) Identify niche websites that are interested in your particular topic and that publish editorial material. These sites are in a constant battle to find and post fresh content.
5) Likewise, identify blogs that are interested in your cause or topic. But be prepared to stay engaged as comments are posted.
6) Don’t forget social media sites like digg.com and delicious.com which “can drive fantastic levels of traffic” according to WordTracker.