Everyone’s heard of press releases, but press releases for link building?

It’s a tactic that’s been used by a number of agencies over the years and in a lot of quarters is regarded as a sure-fire way to build high quality links in an ethical and natural way.

The rules concerning press release link building are still a little muddy. Some that religiously read Google’s Head of Webspam Matt Cutts’ postings say that press release links have little to no benefit on rankings.

That hasn’t stopped search enthusiasts from experimenting with dummy press releases, coming to conclusions that seem to contrast against the no benefit train of thought.

So a press release can help my rankings?

The theory that you should use a submission full of keywords doesn’t unlock the true power and potential of a press release (especially with Penguin and Panda on the prowl).That’s only partly true. The theory that you should use a submission full of keywords doesn’t unlock the true power and potential of a press release (especially with Penguin and Panda on the prowl).

The clue is in the name. ‘Press’ releases are created to alert the media of something that’s happening and should contain as much information as possible about what you’re trying to convey.

Press releases have always been around, but the clever company that knows what it’s doing when content marketing will be able to maximise its influence and get a message out to the public instead of a few links.

Below are five simple steps that should change your thinking about press releases and help to fulfil their potential for your online brand:

01: Targeting and construction

How you’re targeting your press release is critical to its creation, distribution and overall success.

Who are you targeting with your release? Has your company done something that raises the bar in its industry, or are you trying to attract more public awareness of your brand? Identify your message first and then think about who you want to hear what you have to say.

Write your press release specifically for that target audience, cutting out clutter and unnecessary messages that may interfere with the core angle you’re trying to get across.

That’s not only to direct traffic to your site, but also to attract journalists and sites in your sector that will follow it up and, hopefully, feature your message in their publication.

02: Make it interesting by keeping it simple

A lot of people think it’s essential filling up their press releases with language and superlatives that, they feel, captures attention. Adjectives like ‘fantastic’, ‘incredible’, ‘phenomenal’ and more are OK in very small doses, but the meat of the message is the most important thing to focus on.

The message needs to be conveyed as quickly as possible in the title and opening sentence in powerful press release writing.

The message in a press release needs to be conveyed as quickly as possible.

Take these two titles as examples:

A: ‘Company X records £1,000,000 turnover in its first year of trading and creates 1,000 local jobs’.

B: ‘Fantastic first year for Company X as it generates amazing profit and creates incredible number of local jobs’.

It’s easy to see why people think example B is prettier, but success-wise example A will win every time because it gets the point of the message across with punch.

Example B sounds nice, but why should people care about and invest their time into reading about Company X?

Example A however tells us that here’s a company that’s managed to turn over a million in its first year while boosting the local community with a hell of a lot of jobs. Now that’s something worth reading about

03: Inject personality with quotes

A press release doesn’t just have to be facts and figures, though. Putting an attributable quote into the release from a key figure in the business can liven it up and show a human side to the message.

“We’re delighted that Company X has exceeded all expectations and that we’re becoming such a positive force for employment in the local community,” says John Smith, President of Company X.

It gives writers something to work with and lets them associate a human person with the brand, enhancing the story and showing some transparency of who’s at the helm steering Company X in the right direction.

04: Local and industry distribution

Proper press release distribution can be the most time-consuming part of content marketing, but is also the most rewarding.

Proper press release distribution can be the most time-consuming part of the PR process, but is also the most rewarding.

For your release to have maximum impact you must do your research and cultivate a list of journalists and PR representatives that work for relevant publications and have a serious chance of featuring your submission.

Work in the car business? Submit your release to journalists working at serious automotive trade publications, blogs and other forms of media. If you’re looking to raise brand awareness in your region then investigate who works in the local press and build relationships with them before submitting.

Make sure to put your contact details at the bottom of the release in case anybody wants to follow it up with further information about the company. Include a physical location, phone numbers and email addresses alongside social media accounts for convenience.

05: A question of links…

The above steps show you how to create a press release with the intention of being picked up, not creating one around keywords with the sole intention of link building.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put links in there for the benefit of the reader – especially brand anchor text. News sites may also choose to put the link in their write-up which equals a free, high-quality link on a powerful, authoritative site if successful.

And, if you want to circulate the release online for that extra bit of power, it may be worth your while uploading the release to a site such as PRWeb which allows a certain number of links in a release as well as exerting editorial authority.

The core aspect for every press release should always be the same, though. Write for a reader in mind, not for the sole intention of building links.

Want to learn more about how content marketing can help your online branding? Contact Webpresence today to find out more!