Digital media has not killed the press release. It is still a useful tool, but you need to know how they should be tailored to various audiences like wire services and social media contacts. Blogs have become an increasing influence upon public opinion – top blogs can get up to 9000,000 hits a month. As a PR professional, it is important to know how to reach out to these bloggers.
Communicating with bloggers is not the same as communicating with traditional media. Most bloggers who sense you are pushing biased information will turn against you. The first step is to know the blogger you are targeting. Read them and get a sense of what they care about and instead of pushing news to them start a conversation. Establish a relationship first. Start with an interesting news item that may not directly relate to your company.
The main difference in a social media release is that it doesn’t mimic a news story like a traditional release. Instead it provides the components or raw ingredients to put together a story in any format. Shift Communications recommends a template that includes a series of bullets. The bullets are supplemented with a section of quotations from senior executives and provides multimedia elements like the company’s logo, a headshot of the principle and a PDF of key materials. You many also want to include links to podcasts, a downloadable annual report or a PowerPoint presentation. It will also have links to del.icio.us and RSS feeds and Technorati Tags.
Most releases link back to the organization’s main website. It is important to manage that content as well. Content is still king on the web and great content will attract traffic, yet managing web content is an area that tends to be overlooked in many. In your release provide direct links to your website and get noticed on social bookmarking sites.
Releases these days also need to be optimized for SEO. Tips include writing your release around three keywords or phrases that are important to your key audiences. Keywords should be included at the beginning of the headline, in the subhead below the headline and in subheads in the body of the release. These keyword subheads should be sprinkled throughout the release aiming for a keyword density of between 2 and 8 percent. You should also add hyperlinks to help people find related content.
PR writing is creative writing that requires a lot of effort to translate organizational goals into a compelling story for various key audiences. Now you have to sprinkling in specific words at various places? That is challenging but not unlike many of the limitations and challenges PR writers and advertising copywriters face with many of their projects. There is always mandatory information that must be included without sounding out of place or unnatural. When it comes to SEO the reward is optimized releases that help you get ranked in News search engines so the right target audience will find your release. Editors may contact you solely based on your press release being properly optimized and relevant (Cunningham, 2004).
Is the extra effort worth it?