There are a lot of fantastic ways to get traffic for your website. I talk about quite a few of them on the blog, but most of the time, these strategies require social media or directory profiles, new methods of promoting your business, and tactics you may not be used to. However, one of my favorites is an old fashioned PR tactic that works wonders for small businesses getting a jump start online – the press release.
What Press Releases Are For
Press releases have been around for decades, allowing anyone to broadcast an important announcement to news media in their area. If you open a new store in your town or add a drive thru to your coffee shop, a press release lets you take advantage of free publicity through newspapers, radio, and TV stations looking for local stories. Now that the web has become nearly as powerful as (and in some cases more so than) many local news outlets, press releases work here equally as well.
But, online the rules are a little different. After all, you’re not submitting a release to a half dozen local newspapers anymore. You’re reaching out to hundreds if not thousands of websites, aggregators, newspapers, podcasts, and blogs that need content. More than that, you’re trying to get those back links syndicated in the search engines.
How to Maximize Exposure with a Press Release
To push the limit and get as many people as possible looking at your press releases (and hopefully reprinting them), you need to think like a search engine. That means your press release should have three things:
- Keyword Targeting
- Newsworthy Information
- A Targeted Call to Action
The first of these is new to anyone who’s only written or commissioned an offline press release before. It requires that you understand what your target readers are searching for and where your release will be distributed. More often than not, a small business will target a location specific term like “Nyack coffee bar”. This is a phrase that will be searched for by only a select number of people because of the location targeting. When linked back to your website, it will provide a valuable boost to your traditional and local search ranking.
However, a good press release won’t be effective if it doesn’t provide at least some useful information. The idea, regardless of what others tell you, is to get your press release into news media. And no one will reprint your release if it waxes poetic about how amazing your company is (and does little else). So, think of ways to relaunch a feature you offer or add something new and valuable. Even a sale or a special event is call for a press release if it speaks to your audience.
Finally, a good call to action will drive anyone who reads your press release to click through. It can be a call to visit your storefront, a link to your website, or a way for the reader to learn more about your company. Remember, this is not a sales piece – it’s a press release, meant to be read and reprinted as news.
What a Good Press Release Can Do
If you target your press release just right, and put the right information into it, you can get a tremendous boost of traffic and backlinks to your website. With thousands of websites out there syndicating these releases and Google News or Yahoo! picking them up for reprint (sometimes on their front pages), you can rest assured that a well written release is a fantastic way to drive traffic to your website.