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Tips for generating business from online press releases

According to MarketingSherpa 80% of reporters check search engines for news to write about. In addition to gaining PR, because most search news site visitors are end-consumers, a well written press release can generate revenue from new business.

Here’s why PR gets results via the search engines as well as some tips to make your press releases search engine friendly.

MarketingSherpa reports according to Nielsen/NetRatings, in June 2004, 21 million people visited Yahoo News. Plus, Yahoo News feeds much of MSN.com’s news too, so you can add in a couple of million more eyeballs. And just one year after launch, Google News now exceeds 6.5 million visitors in an average month.

Tips for online press releases

Here’s the tips generated from a recent Southwest Airlines PR campaign MarketingSherpa reports on:

  • Research keywords so you know what people are looking for. Use online tools such as Wordtracker.com and Overture’s bidding research tool to find out what terms consumers tend to search for. For example, Southwest found while 12,000 searches were conducted for “cheap airline tickets” on an average day, more than 51,000 searches were conducted for the term “cheap airfare.”
  • Copywrite press releases to match search terms. Though a press release must appear to be newsworthy (rather than a marketing piece) to maintain credibility online, train yourself to write copy using keywords. In Southwest’s case, they’d write a standard release, then edit it, seamlessly including specific search terms (such as “cheap airfare”) in the headline and several times in the body copy, especially in the first paragraph.
  • Have special hotlinks on hand, and use them wisely. Many online news readers won’t scroll all the way to the bottom of your press release. Make it easy for them by including a hotlink at the end of the first paragraph. These links should not the generic going to the front page of the Web site but a link to a page where PR could tell how many people clicked on them and what actions they took as well as to make it easy for visitors to take advantage of the news or offer.
  • Distribute via a wire service that hits the Web. Most standard wire services, such as PR Newswire or BusinessWire, include full search news site distribution as a free add-on to regular distribution even if you choose to have your release sent to just one city or region in the real world. PR Newswire even offers a limited law related release. Note that if your main concern is search news site distribution, an online-only wire service such as PR Web can save you a bit of money and get the same online results as the big guys. PR Web charges $80.00 for Yahoo and Google News distribution.
  • Test a variety of releases. Even if not doing this for each release try different types of releases for various news events.

Online press releases via blogs

Every law firm marketing blog ought to have a category for entries about the law firm’s news and events. Even though the blog may be limited to a niche area of the law, the blog is being published by the law firm. So it’s certainly appropriate to include such a news and events category.

A press release can be published to the blog in a minute by the law firm’s personnel without any html coding experience.

Most importantly, a well optimized blog that’s regularly updated beats the heck out of Web sites in search engine rankings. If I post a press release with keywords I expect Internet users to search for, it’s going to be at the top of Google the next day. That is not going to happen posting a press release to a Web site.

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