Why do you publish press releases online? To get your story picked up by the media? To gain higher visibility in search engines? To build backlinks to your site? To make direct sales? There are many different reasons an author or publisher chooses to publish a press release online — and they’re all good reasons!
With such varying reasons for publishing press releases online, there are various ways to determine what exactly is a success and what’s a flop. Here, we break down how to measure the results of your specific press release goals.
PR Success #1: Reprints, Mentions & Stories
It used to be that the success of a press release was only measured by counting the number of times the news story was ‘picked up’ by the media. Companies used a clipping service (or an intern!) to scour publications and count all of the mentions. For many people, this traditional use of press releases is still the #1 reason they write and publish them.
These business owners are smart. They know the value of being mentioned in a newspaper or influential blog post. The exposure and unwritten endorsement that an article can provide is priceless when you consider most marketing budgets. But editors aren’t going to just run every story or news announcement you send out. These types of really big PR ‘wins’ are often reserved for the press releases that have it all working: strong news angle, sharp writing, multimedia and a little dash of ‘perfect timing’ thrown in for good measure.
How to achieve this goal:
1. Submit your PR through a trusted PR site that is indexed by news sources:
The internet has changed a lot of the way the media works. Now, instead of editors going through press releases then republishing them, publications will accept feeds from high quality trusted sources, including press release distributors. For example, because Online PR Media is a trusted source for high quality press releases, dozens of news sites automatically publish our press releases on their sites (the breadth of distribution depends on the distribution option you choose). Here’s an example of a press release report with links to places where the release was published as a result of submitting it through Online PR Media.
2. Send customized PR alerts to hand selected editors:
If there are certain specific publications in your industry you would like to notice your story, consider sending the editor of that publication a short, customized email that shows why your news would benefit their readers. Don’t include the entire press release in the email — link to your online press release where they can read the news release in full color with images, videos, and links.
3. Promote your PR through Twitter and other Social Media channels
You might be surprised at how many journalists use Twitter to find sources and story ideas. Make absolutely sure that your keywords are in the title of your release so that when you tweet your headline, it will be found in a search.
PR Success #2: SEO, Rankings & Visibility
When you submit an online press release for publication, it will most likely be published. (Assuming you’ve met all of the guidelines for PR writing, that is.) This is a huge opportunity for those that recognize it. No longer do businesses need to hope that the media gatekeepers will approve their news for their media platforms — the web itself is the media platform and businesses can publish their press releases directly to it. Publishing a press release on an SEO optimized site like Online PR Media means that your press release can be found by people who are searching for keywords in your press release (assuming you’ve optimized your release well). This transforms the traditional press release into a powerful SEO tool.
Surveys have revealed that a high percentage of journalists rely on search engines to find their sources. The beauty of publishing press releases in an effort to rank higher in search engines is that journalists aren’t the only people using them — influential bloggers, future customers and a host of other readers are also using search engines daily. A well-written PR title can have your press release ranking on page one of Google News for months. That is some serious visibility!
How to achieve this goal:
1. Do your keyword research and so that you know what your target audience is searching for:
The people that you want to find your press release are online doing searches — but what phrases are they searching for when they need your product or service or need a source like you to quote? Don’t think category type terms like “health” — very few people open Google and type something as genera as “health.” Think of more specific phrases that people who need your products and services might be searching for such as “vitamins to increase memory.” Don’t just guess, use a keyword discovery tool like Google Keyword Tool to discover specific phrases that people are typing into the search engines. Look for those that fall into the ‘sweet spot’ — terms with high volume of searches with low competition. Publish regular press releases that target your chosen keywords and monitor your rankings.
2. Use keywords in the title and summary of your press release:
There are certain parts of a press release (or any web page) that pull more weight when it comes to determining which keywords it will rank for. On a search engine optimized press release distribution site like Online PR Media’s, the title of your press release becomes the title tag of the page and your press release summary becomes the meta description — both are influential in whether or not your press release will rank for certain keywords. When someone types in your target keyword phrase into Google News or into Twitter, you want your press release to be in the results — this is unlikely to happen if you don’t use your target keyword phrases in these parts of the PR.
3. Include links to your site in your press release, embedded in your target keywords:
You want your press release to appear when people do a search for your keyword term — that’s why you optimize the title and summary. But your press release can also pull double duty by helping your WEBSITE rank higher for the keywords you’re targeting. There are hundreds of factors that determine where a website will rank in the search engines for specific keywords, but one of the most influential are inbound links to your site from other sites. If these links to your site are embedded in the keywords you want your site to rank for (i.e. anchor text links), that’s even more powerful.
PR Success #3: Traffic, Sales & Overall Buzz
Aside from attracting attention from the media and search engines, a press release can also attract the attention of your customers. At Online PR Media, that’s why we’ve tried to include as many opportunities as possible for you to use your published PR as a sales tool. A press release can function as a stand alone sales page. Even though it’s not on your domain, it’s a web property that you control and that carries your message and that capture attention if you build the page correctly.
How to achieve this goal:
1. Utilize additional features to add color and interaction to the page:
Colors, buttons, and images, make a big difference in capturing attention. They can engage readers in a way that text alone cannot and can provide ways for you to convert that reader into a customer or social media subscriber. For example, Online PR Media includes a suite of engagement features including:
- Embedded video: Allows readers to watch a video embedded within you press release
- Live Facebook and Twitter streams: allow readers to instantly find and follow you on social media
- Images: bring depth, color, and clarity to your press release and allow you to brand the PR with your logo
- iFrame below your press release: allows readers to instantly navigate to your website without even leaving the page
- File attachements: allow readers to download PDFs, Excel docs, Word docs, or Power Points that compliment the news announcement
All of these ‘extras’ add up to the creation of a pretty powerful sales tool! If the news you publish isn’t featured in major magazines, but results in a 5% increase in sales, is that a successful press release?