Press releases are dead bro!” – the peanut gallery.

Press releases are not dead! If you are not including press releases in your SEO strategy you are nuts. “But Tommy aren’t those links spammy?” Any link can be labeled as spammy in one way or another. They key is to use press releases for what they are intended for.. to announce news.. and not to rack up a bunch of anchor rich links.

I use press releases. Huge SEO agencies that charge $5K per month use press releases. Real businesses use press releases.

So if you want to get on board and use press releases the right way then read on..


1. Come up with a newsworthy topic

This first thing is where most people screw up. The point of a press release is to announce something newsworthy about your business. Something that media outlets and other websites will want to post. A lot of press releases will look like pure spam and guess what.. they don’t get good distribution. Shocker right?

Now I know not every website has something newsworthy. Trust me, I see some of the sites that we do SEO for and there isn’t a whole lot of interesting things that happen in some niches. This is where you need to get creative or hire someone who can whip up a newsworthy press release for any niche.

9 out of 10 aren’t going to have something “real” to create a press release around so you need to dig deep. Have you hired any new employees? Signed a new client? Moved into a new office? You can take something as simple and boring as moving into a new office and creating a press release about business expansion. When you do it right your press release will make your company sound very popular and appealing. You can also spin it to appeal more to specific outlets.

If for some reason you were going to target local outlets you would want to make the press release talk about the area and how the economy is strong and business is good.. leading your company to relocate to a new office. See, something as boring as a new office suddenly talks about local business growth and a thriving economy. Now THAT is a topic local outlets will want to cover.


2. Write a great press release

It is important to remember that a press release shouldn’t sound like an advertisement. You don’t want it to be a huge promotional piece.. no outlet wants to publish a glorified ad.. they want to announce news. So, using the first tip you know that you need something newsworthy. If you can write then great.. do it. But if you can’t write then you need to make sure you hire someone good.. and not a $5 article writer.

If it sounds like it was written overseas guess what.. nobody will publish it. They don’t want low quality press releases on their site. Did you know that PRWeb has editors that review every single release that gets submitted? That is one reason why it costs $370 for the same distribution you get for $149 here in our market place

Professional editors are not cheap.. that is why PRWeb charges what they do. Their distribution isn’t anything different.. they just have to over charge to support all of the people put in place to perform quality control. Go ahead and try to get a press release that was written for $5 passed through them.. it won’t happen.


3. Highlight things about your company or website

Did you know that thousands of editors skim through thousands of press releases every single day? Just because a particular site doesn’t publish your release it doesn’t mean they aren’t aware of who you are and what you do. Take advantage of this.

Just because a site editor passes over your press release it doesn’t mean they don’t have a use for you at a later date. This is why it is important to have a very detailed “About” section at the end of your release that explains what your website or business does along with full contact information. So many people use fake information because they are trying to slide in spammy links.. do it right.

I’ll give you a perfect example of why it is important to do it right, highlight what you do and how someone can get in touch with you. We have a local business SEO client that we submit a press release for every couple of months. The writers always did something interesting for his business because it really isn’t an exciting business. It is actually a very boring topic.

The client ended up getting a call from a reporter at a major newspaper and was featured in a story that hit online.. he got a kick ass link and more importantly a feature story written about him. The editor saw the press releases and even though they didn’t publish it then saw he would be a good possible fit for that feature story they had planned. Is this a rare occurrence? Hell yeah but why not do it right.. if he had bogus info he wouldn’t have been contacted


4. Optimize your press release for smart and safe SEO

There is a way to optimize a press release without it looking like pure spam. I like to optimize them for the company they are being written for. Most will assume that you should optimize them for a specific keyword, but to be honest I wouldn’t use exact match keywords in a press release.

Most places will allow 3 links in the release. I always use a brand name, a naked URL and then some random inner page.. like an about page or contact page. Brand names and naked URL’s aren’t going to nail you.. and linking to a contact page or about page is going to keep you safe and also push some traffic to those pages.

Google isn’t stupid. They know that years ago people would pump out press releases jammed with links and rank fast. I did it.. most SEOs did it.. because it worked. Times change and you just have to be a little smarter. Google still likes press releases.. earlier in the year they announced that they now consider them to be actual news.

Back to optimization.. think brand building and make sure there is mention of the company name and some terms that relate to your location in the release content. Not links.. just in the content. Just like you would be writing a high quality blog post. Include images and a video if possible. They allow you to include images so take them up on it. Images and video aren’t just for the readers.. they can also help to grab the attention of journalists and editors when the daily releases slide across their screen.

To recap: focus on company name/naked URL when linking in your release and include several text mentions of the company and location descriptive type keywords in the content.


5. Distribute your press release through a trusted service

Find a service that you like. Our service here on the site writes the release for you and sends it through our distribution channel. It is the same places PRWeb hits.. just $320 cheaper.

If you are doing a lot of volume and have your own writers you could sign up for several of the distribution companies and submit them all yourself. This is costly but if you are doing a dozen a day it might be worth looking into.

This step was tough, huh?


6. Do your own local distribution

This is where so many people miss out. They send it through a service and then sit back and wait. Sure you are going to get some good placements that you can then brag about on your website (as seen on) and you will see some traffic. If you just do a little more work you can see much better results.

If you are doing a press release for your local business then reach out to your local media. Make a list of all your local newspapers, radio stations, news channels and online local sites. It will take no time at all to track down the media relations person at each place. Make a spreadsheet and make it a mission to track down their phone number, email address and twitter profile. Don’t worry.. you just need to do this once and then you can use it over and over again. Take the time to do it right the first time.

Now after you send put a press release also manually hit up every local media contact. Do this for two reasons.

1) Your local media probably isn’t going to ever know about your press release unless you tell them about it. Most distribution services just hit major market media.. even if they offer a local option not every local outlet is signed up to receive that info.. but it doesn’t mean they don’t want to hear it.

2) The majority of local news outlets are starving for information. Don’t believe me? Just watch your local news one night.. I guarantee you will watch some segments and ask yourself why in the world they would air a segment on that topic. Happens all the time. This is where coming up with a newsworthy press release topic really helps!

After you interact with each outlet a couple times it will become so easy and it will be easy to get press with a simple phone call or email. Exposure on a local site will often be a million times better than a mention on a huge site.. because you are being placed right in front of your local media.

You can also position yourself as the expert.. and some news outlets will start coming to you when they have questions. Imagine if you owned a local computer repair shop and have all these local media connections.. then when all the news about cyber security was hitting they could have reached out and asked for your input.

This little step is something nobody does but has the most impact on a business. Do it.


7. Promote your press release on social media (free and paid)

After your press release is live you will want to promote it on social media. Post it on your Facebook page and Tweet it out.. but let’s be honest.. your followers seeing your press release might get a few clicks but they already know who you are.. they already follow you on social media. Spend $100 and spread your release around social media and introduce new people to it. $50 in Facebook ads and $50 in sponsored tweets.

With smart bidding and targeting you will be able to get good traffic to interact with the release.. and if they click through to your site you know they are really interested. Google traffic is good.. but think about this: you spend money on SEO in hopes of getting traffic.. drop some money for GUARANTEED traffic. Websites that do very well are doing SEO but they are also spending money on traffic. It has to be done and a press release is something you can use that is more of a soft introduction.

Even if you have a $20 budget use it.. send $10 in FB ads and $10 in twitter ads.. you have to start somewhere.


8. Follow up with all sites that published your press release

After your press release hits wait a week or so and then put together a list of media outlets and journalists that published it. Send them a tweet or an email thanking them. All you are doing here is helping to build relationships. Why do you think huge SEO agencies can charge so much money and get people good links? They have built relationships over the years (and they probably grease some pockets.. but that is another topic for a later day).

I’m not saying try to thank Boston Globe for publishing your release.. they publish thousands a day.. they couldn’t give a fuck. I mean local outlets and niche specific sites. It is something that can help in the long run. This is for real businesses of course.. not an AdSense blog or some Clickbank review site (and good luck getting a release approved with affiliate links.. they have pretty much stopped all of that. You need to cloak and use your own site URL if you are doing that).

So there you have it. Press releases are not dead. They are still part of SEO.. they still have purpose and Google is even starting to now consider press releases as real news. Use them as they are intended.. to announce news! Links should be the very last thing you are doing press releases for.

As always I hope you enjoyed the read.. Any questions just fire away! Until next time..

Tommy McDonald

Tommy is an SEO professional with years of experience running highly successful SEO companies, founded SerpLogic after noticing there was a major void when it came to options for SEO agencies needing a reliable and professional one-stop outsource solution.You can read all about me in the “About” page here on our blog!

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