We had a meeting this week with our friend from PR Newswire, one of three newswire services we recommend clients use. It seems every time we sit down with Malcolm (about once per quarter) there’s something that the wire service is doing to address the changing online landscape and how people & press consume news.
It would seem that more and more, companies are using (or rather trying to use) newswires to directly reach consumers and for SEO purposes. This has gotten so out of hand in fact, that when Google updated its’ Panda and Penguin algorithms earlier this year, it set rules that cause press release results to ultimately be pushed down in search.
We have always encouraged clients to keep news releases designated to legitimate news. There are plenty of other avenues to gain awareness and it all comes back to the goal. That said, here is a list of Dos and Don’ts that address how the timeless press release has changed for the better, and how it’s stayed the same.
Don’t use press releases + a newswire as an SEO strategy in and of itself. Bear in mind that press releases are still directed at and predominantly ready by reporters. They don’t want to see a document that is clearly built around key words and search terms. They will begin to associate your brand with BS news and when you actually do have something to share, they’ll be less likely to talk with you.
Do use anchor text and embed links. You can still get key words and phrases in the release and put it in a context that works for the story. And by all means, you should embed links, if not for any other reason than to direct the press to customer stories and key pages on your site that give them information. This practice will support your larger SEO strategy.
Don’t announce every new hire, customer, and partner you win. It’s simply not news. If you have a cool customer story to share, put it in a case study and let your PR team pitch THAT to the press. You’ll likely get a fantastic placement that calls attention to what your business does best. If you’ve just filled a unique, non-C-level position (like a culture captain), there’s a story there about how your business is doing something different and the positive impact it’s having. That’s your story – not the hire. Also, unless you’re a company that’s being written about extensively, even announcing a new C-level executive is iffy outside of your local market. Better to target the “On The Move” sections in local media.
Do announce trends in customers. If your business is moving upstream or into a new vertical and you’re killing it with new customers in that sector, you...