Good day, all of you brave and wonderful SEO comrades! 2012 has been a very, very interesting year for search engine optimization, and here at Search Engine Academy, we have been running full bore, keeping up with all things Google and more. But today, let’s explore, ask and answer the question I hear very often, which is “what is a press release?”

Glad you asked!

A press release is is some form of communication that’s created and distributed to get news media attention. It’s a strategy used by companies and individuals to control their public image, and nowadays, manage their online reputation. Press releases can be used to create a buzz about your products, services or even you. PRs can also increase your website visibility through links back to your site, and drive more readers to your website to take the action you desire.

PRs can be used for almost any business purpose. I often talk to small businesses who think PRs are only for large, branded entities. Nothing could be further from the truth. Any business has multiple opportunities to create and issue PRs to announce their business happenings. Here are some really great uses for a PR that applies to any company:

  • New product
  • New service
  • New hires at senior management level
  • Business partnerships
  • Corporate events
  • Sponsorships
  • New location

And more! Hell, you can even do a press release for a web site re-design or overhaul. Just remember, a PR has to be newsworthy. It cannot be an editorial or opinion on something that’s going on. News, people…NEWS.

When folks ask me exactly what is a press release, they are also asking what to put in it. Here’s the formula for a successful PR:

  • Who
  • What
  • Why
  • When
  • Where
  • How

And I like to add one more…”who cares?” In other words, your target audience.

I also want to review why, depending upon whom you ask, a press release is either a good or bad SEO strategy to use for your site and your clients.

Why A PR Is Good For Your Business or Company

If you have something new, why not tell the world and more of your specific target audience? What if you get one lead that converts, and that lead is worth four or five figures? That would be a great conversion!

You will drive more traffic to your website if you choose a keyword phrase and write and optimize a PR around that phrase. You apply SEO to a PR just the same way you optimize a blog post or web page.

You will get more links back to your site. This is an area where if you ask ten SEOers, you’ll get ten opinions on why this is good or not so good. The quality may be good, or it can be so-so. Why not do a PR and after about two weeks, do a back link analysis? You can then decide for yourself if the linking opportunities are worth more PRs or not.

So there you have it. I hope this fairly short answer about what makes a press release has been helpful. Now, are there opportunities in the recent past, or is something coming up shortly on the horizon to where you can find a great keyword phrase, make a PR around it, and distribute it? Give it some thought.

Until then…keep it between the ditches!

Best to you,