This is a guest post by Megan Knight, intern at Dawn Westerberg Consulting LLC
As my amazing boss discussed in the previous post of this series, there are major benefits of having an online press release distribution strategy. Controlled content about your company can be immensely valuable to your organization. Thus, press releases are something that I have seen contribute to a firm’s PR strategy. Press releases also give the search engines more content to utilize. When a customer types in your company, what comes up? If you’re not in the top 30 results, you might consider in giving Google more juice to use. Remember, it’s to your advantage to set a schedule. Aim for one per month. This shows that your organization is actively working on projects or other newsworthy things.
Now that you have a strategy in place how to you go about distributing the releases? There are numerous paid options, but I want to highlight some great free sites that are worth your time.
I want to note, that there a thousands of free press release sites out there. Each site promises rankings and tries to get you to buy a “premium” membership. Be wary of these lesser known sites. Many of them are bona fide SEO scams offering you great placement and results if you pay, but not if you don’t. I saw a lot of these types of sites when I was working in the SEO sector, mostly in directory submissions websites, but some of these are no different. So I analyzed these sites primarily based on SEO metrics (Page Rank and traffic) and what features they offered for free accounts.
1. PR Log
This site might be simple, but it has a relatively strong page rank (6) and gets good traffic. This site offers free distribution to Google News and a number of other search engines, as well as customizable alerts, the ability to download the release as a PDF, a press room for all of your releases, and HTML link support in the body. Pretty powerful stuff. This is certainly a great resource.
This site offers limited features for the basic free account but offers some great assets to those who don’t mind sacrificing a little to get some press. There’s a 3000 character limit and no feature for adding an active URL. However there are RSS and social media distribution features, the ability to download the release as a PDF, and rich text formatting, which makes this site a good free option. Also, it has a good page rank (5) and has a steady stream of traffic. Upgrading ranges from $1 or $30.
This is a pretty basic site for free accounts. However, there is distribution to search engines and news sites. It does not allow active URLs or graphics for free accounts. It does have a decent page rank (5), has social media sharing options, tracks the number of impressions, and allows category tagging and company information to be placed (with an active URL) at the bottom.
A press release should cover the basic Who, What, Where, Why and How questions. You should target roughly 400 words. You can also highlight some keywords, but don’t overdo it. I also suggest you optimize the first 250 characters, from both a reader and SEO standpoint, this is crucial. This section is what the search engines will look for and also what the reader first sees. It’s your job to engage them.
Hopefully these sites are a great stepping stone to enhance your organization’s PR. Now get the word out!
Earlier entries in this series: