Press releases were used and abused by many as an SEO tactic and then some of the hype wore off. Because people aren’t talking them up as much, many site owners don’t think of a press release as part of their strategy.

Press releases are still valuable tools – when used properly.

When they are done properly they are a great way to generate publicity, drive traffic and boost search engine rankings.

The key to a successful press release is to have a clearly defined purpose and to have some real news to share.

Why are press releases important?

  1. Keep in mind there are journalists that have columns about websites; they cover what’s new, what’s hot, what’s popular on Blogs and sites. So, something that may not have been newsworthy to the “regular” media may be considered newsworthy to this new crop of journalists.
  2. More consumers than ever are reading press releases online and consumers may be interested in a topic that the media may not be. So, there are releases where the target audience is the consumer and then there are releases were the target audience is the media. The releases targeted at the media are usually bigger news and more likely to be something that the media will run with and create an article out of.

You should start by defining your target audience. Is this a story for the public, something that is potentially good for the mass media or something for the web reporters out there?

Regardless of your target audience, your press releases really need to be creative to catch the interest of the chosen audience.

Press releases need to be stand out among a sea of thousands of other press releases that are being released every day. So, you’ll need to create an interesting hook. How do you do that?

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Who will care about what I’m saying and why will they care? In other words what is the focus of the release, what is the part that will excite, anger, interest people?
  • Is it something that is unique in your industry?
  • What are the benefits of the product/service/news you are announcing?
  • Is there anything controversial about this? If so, playing it up is a great way to get attention.

Take some time to think about the recent happenings in your business and your industry and see if you can come up with something that is newsworthy and generate some publicity! You’ll need to put your creative hat on.

Once you have your topic, you’ll want to ensure that you write a quality release and use a reputable service to distribute it.

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A few tips for you:

Make sure you understand how a release should be formatted. offers good info on how to format a release.

Create a strong, compelling headline and summary paragraph.

Launch with your strongest, more interesting info. People won’t keep reading unless they are compelled so spill the news up front and then follow up with details.

Never use “I” or “we” in the release (unless it’s in a direct quote). The release should be written from a third party perspective.

Always include an interesting quote from someone that is well connected to the main story.

Don’t forget to link to your site, include a photo if the distribution company allows it and be sure to include accurate contact info.

Spell check and fact check before you submit your release.

Be concise and to the point, you don’t need to reveal every single detail – just the interesting and most relevant ones.

Use social media to drive extra traffic and exposure to the release.

As always, I welcome comments and any tips you want to share!

With over 13 years in the industry, Jennifer Horowitz, Director of Marketing for EcomBuffet, has amassed much knowledge and experience and has much to say about all things SEO (marketing, copywriting & social media). Always happy to share with an audience, Jenn is now a regular contributor at Level343.