To increase leads and sales, you want to write press releases for buyers as well as editors. This is because your potential and current customers, suppliers and vendors are online and searching for products and services. In fact, over 30 million people visit either Yahoo! News or Google News daily according to Search Engine News.
Call it taking PR to the streets.
So how do you ensure your prospects, buyers, and customers find your press release among the 2,000 or so releases that go out daily? The answer — optimize them for search engines. To use Search Engine News‘ phrase, optimizing your press releases is not just recommended — it’s essential.
What follows are strategies you can use to develop press releases for B2B lead generation campaigns.
1. Find the right keywords — Before writing your press release, consult a keyword search tool (see links below) to determine which keywords people use when searching for similar products and services. I can’t stress this enough. Your press release won’t get found by searchers (that is, buyers) if you don’t use the keywords they’re actually using in their searches.
Your keyword list shouldn’t include more than six: two to three main search phrases and three to four ancillary phrases. Work the main keywords into your headline, summary paragraph and then throughout the body of the release.
2. Write in plain English — Because I have a blog, I now get a fair number of press releases from companies touting their products and services (the PR flacks are hoping I’ll write about them). Most of these press releases are filled with jargon – some of it so awful I’m not even sure what it means.
As David Meerman Scott wrote in his blog post titled, “The Gobbledygook Manifesto,”:
Your buyers (and the media that cover your company) want to know what specific problems your product solves, and they want proof that it works — in plain language.
Your marketing and PR is meant to be the beginning of a relationship with buyers and to drive action (such as generating sales leads), which requires a focus on buyer problems. Your buyers want to hear this in their own words. Every time you write-yes, even in news releases-you have an opportunity to communicate. At each stage of the sales process, well written materials will help your buyers understand how you, specifically, will help them.
If you haven’t already, download his Gobbledygook Manifesto — it’s required reading for all marketing and PR people. Then, when your boss insists on “leading edge” and “mission critical,” show Scott’s report to him or her.
3. Develop a compelling summary — I learned this lesson the hard way. Some distribution sites, such as PRWeb, allow you to add a summary – which is then displayed on the main page of the site once the release is live. For one of the first releases I submitted, I left the summary field blank. When my release went live, it looked bare with nothing but the hyperlinked title, and without the summary, the press release title alone wasn’t enough to compel people to click through. I never made that mistake again.
Keep your summary to approximately 30 to 40 words. I’ve seen some summaries as long as 80 to 100 words. That’s too many – your online readers’ eyes will glaze over.
4. Keep the press release brief — Keep press releases to between 400 and 500 words – and yes, that includes boilerplate! Anything more than that is just too long for the online reader.
Along the same line, break up large chunks of text into smaller paragraphs to make your release easier to read online.
5. Include a link to a specific landing page – If you’re promoting a new product, service, or information, such as a white paper or report, send online searchers to a specific landing page – not your home page – for one simple reason: Sending people to your home page means they have to click around (and waste time) for the information they want. They’ll probably click right back out, too. You can track clicks from the press release to your landing page, which helps you determine how to improve future campaigns.