Optimizing PR for Search Engines and Journalists

If you want more people to find and view your press releases, then you should take the time to differentiate and optimize your content when distributing to search engines and journalists. They aren't the same animal.

The following tips, most of which are based on a related article from MarketingProfs.com (a fantastic site!) entitled How to Optimize Your Press Releases for Search (and Why You Should), will help you optimize your next Internet press release - thus increasing the size of the audience that sees your release. We also provide our own advice on optimizing the same press release for journalists.

1. Identify three keywords or phrases that relate to your press release topic. Why is this important? Lets say you are selling applicant tracking software. Not all your buyers will search for 'applicant tracking' so you need to try and find different keywords (i.e., recruiting software) that the media and/or buyers may use to locate information on applicant tracking software. Doing so results in your release being viewed by more people. A great service to help you identify relevant and high-impact keywords is Wordtracker.

2. Repeat each keyword or phrase at least three times in the body of your 300-word release (the longest you should make a release that’s search-engine optimized). Using the keyword or phrase too little or too much can result in a search engine penalizing you by dropping you down in the search results page, or even not listing you at all!

3. Use the most popular keyword phrase in the headline, which carries the most weight with search engines.

4. Resist the tendency to shorten familiar terms. For example, if you are writing about human resources, you might tend to make the second mention “HR.” However, people looking in search engines will type in “human resources.” Repeating it as a keyword phrase will help your release be found, while “HR” may not.

5. Post your release on your website.

6. For those of you who are HR Marketer members who like to use national wire distribution services, consider waiting a week and sending the release out again via HR Marketer and Direct2Net (HR Marketer's Internet wire distribution service) after you rewrite the headline and lead paragraph. This can dramatically increase the exposure of your release.

And what about optimizing the press release for journalists?

A press release optimized for the logic of machines (search engines) may not always be appropriate for a human being (journalist). For this reason, we recommend writing a brief introduction to your release explaining why the topic is timely and newsworthy. When targeting journalists directly, whether it be via HR Marketer or through your own email system, remember that it’s the entire “news” content you’re distributing to them that captures their attention, not simply repeated keywords or phrases.