Optimized Press Releases and PR

Inspired by a recent post by Philadelphia PR Brendan Shank outlining what not to do and more not what to do’s for a press release, we want to take it one step further and dissect what an SEO will do to a press release once it has done the rounds.

Let me preface this by suggesting that we are not a PR firm. Some folks seem to mistake us for one but honestly we do not do PR. Press Releases on the other hand, we will use and abuse (not really abuse, let’s call it leverage) for our personal gain. So here’s our favored process:

1. PR person puts together press release.
2. PR person distributes press release through their usual channels.
3. PR person gives us press release
4. We research press release contents to determine best keyword strategy (we’ll choose up to 3 targets)
5. We adjust press release (generally pretty slight modifications to include keyword phrase groupings and anchor text) to accommodate keywords.
6. We send back to PR rep (or client) for approval
7. We distribute through our online channels
8. We track and measure online visibility

Sometimes we do it alongside the PR person’s process in order to expedite but it’s important that we still adjust the press release enough to differentiate between our distribution and theirs. It’s not that we don’t care how many people read the press release in fact we encourage it, but this is not our primary objective. We want incoming links. We want controlled anchor text. Increased visibility is merely an added bonus.

Some people consider our role in the process contributes to diluting the power and value of the press release but naturally I am not of that mindset. Let me just borrow Shank’s phrasing here and suggest that

“for the time being, and done well, press releases continue to be a high-ROI way to tell your story to your most important audiences and build credibility and visibility.”

All we’re really doing is extending the life and findability (which I’m pretty sure is not a real word but seems more appropriate than any others I can think of) of content that is already created.

So for us, it’s really about the incoming links. Often the actual quality of incoming links is questionable, but we do see these releases getting picked up and reposted on other websites and blogs, and with it a handful of high quality, relevant incoming links. Very nice thank you. While I kind of skipped over the keyword research stuff, this is actually the most valuable part of the process so do not ignore it. Maybe one day I’ll take you through it.

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