Online Public Relations - Tips and TricksA press release may not seem like a press release any more to some who have been brought up in a traditional marketing environment. It could be 140 characters and look remarkably like a very simple statement in a tweet with a link to further info, images, video etc. This is very different from a double spaced, A4 release with notes to editors!

Your press releases should cater to two very different audiences, which may mean writing two press releases. One is information for media sites and editors and therefore factual with contact details. The second is customer-centric. It should be aimed at providing easy to understand information aimed at your target audience, your potential customer.You can and should track reaction and engagement to your press releases by sending readers to a specific landing page on your site. Alter the landing page according to audience simply by changing the URL to a different landing page tailored for that segment.

Optimise all press releases so that search engines are attracted to them. Apply basic SEO (search engine optimisation) to every release by including keywords and use relevant anchor text on all your links. Embed video into your release, add images, and always create a short link (for instance bit.ly) so that others can pass it on easily.

The search engines are reacting far more positively to multimedia and social media and you can often claim a front page ranking for real-time results by using both basic and advanced search engine optimisation techniques in your releases, especially when you propagate the news out through the social networks as well as more traditional press release avenues.

Despite your best efforts, it may appear that you have failed to attract media coverage. However, any press release should have been archived on your website, and just by doing that, you have added additional keywords and SEO factors to your own site.

What is most important is to remember that in this day and age, a press release only takes as long to write as it takes to type 140 characters. You can announce anything on Twitter and that can count as seeking publicity. By co-ordinating your marketing efforts, and understanding your audience, you can put out umpteen press releases in a single day, all leading to different places where you have valuable and unique content to share.

Does a press release need to be time sensitive? No-one wants to read about a product you launched months ago, but by archiving quality content on your site, it should stand the test of time and can bring long-standing internet marketing benefits.

All publicity is good publicity! Even a single RT (retweet – someone passing your announcement on Twitter to their audience) can bring in unexpected results.

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About the author:

A practising internet marketing consultant since 1996, Lindsey Annison helps companies improve their website marketing, online PR and information architecture. Lindsey is also a qualified adult education lecturer and author. As co-founder of the Access to Broadband Campaign, she has been instrumental in the provision of high-speed internet access to rural areas in the UK. Lindsey is also a past winner of Silicon.com's Outstanding Contribution to UK Technology