Whatever happened to the once ubiquitous press release?
It may surprise you to know that the press release remains one of the best SEO tools that online marketers and SEOs continue to use even to this day. It’s a tried-and-tested SEO tool as well as a fantastic way to build brands and gain new customers.
However, while it’s true that PRs are still used extensively, many marketers commit mistakes that have proved deadly and cost them precious search rankings and traffic.
Below are the five common PR mistakes that many people regularly commit.
1. Lack of focus
Instead of focusing on just one issue per message, some writers try to stuff in others, apparently with the hope of capturing multiple audiences.
The problem with lack of focus is that more than intriguing lots of people, it annoys them. Worse, it raises red flags for search engines. People search for specific information, and search engines tend to assess how relevant a content is to a specific search.
2. Writing in an un-natural way
If your PR isn’t free from corporate jargon and other complex in-house or industry terms, that can turn off your readers. You want to write in a way that will naturally appeal them.
What’s dangerous about un-natural writing is that first, it could alienate your audience. Second, the search engines are getting smarter and increasingly able to detect “robotic” language. Such content tends to get penalized by most search engines, especially Google.
3. Formatting in a one-dimensional manner
The problem with most PRs these days is that they lack the qualities that make them appealing to readers’ interactive sense. We live in a world where people prefer to consume content that is fluid and interactive.
Instead of using heavy blocks of texts, use bullets and numbers. Segment important points.
Also, as we transition into a more socially connected digital world, you’ll want to make it easier for your audience to share your content with social media “like” and “share” buttons.
Don’t forget to include a call to action with links to places where your audience can take the next set of steps.
4. Too many links
Including links is fine. It allows readers to find and study additional information you think they would useful.
However, you’ll want to keep embedded links under control. When there are lots of them strewn across a webpage, they tend to confuse your audience and distract their precious attention away from your content.
Another danger posed by inclusion of too many links is that it risks getting flagged as overly promotional and spam.
Remember, links are supposed to provide more information, not take people’s focus away from your content.
5. Lack of visuals
With the explosion of image SEO and image-based social networking sites such as Pinterest, there is now a growing need to include visuals with text-based content.
Visuals are more engaging. PRs accompanied by an appropriate photo tend to get more attention than those that consist of nothing but plain text.
Also, search engines assign greater value to content that includes images and videos. More and more, search engines are displaying the accompanying images and videos among the sites that show up near the top of the search results page.
However, when you insert images into your press release articles, make sure they are highly relevant to your story. Use your own photos whenever possible.
If you have to use other people’s images, be sure to attribute or acknowledge the source, either by linking back, or including a note that cites the location from which the image was taken.
Press releases are still a powerful SEO tool that, when used properly, can greatly enhance your ranking, your site’s search engine traffic, and user engagement. If you’ve done them in the past but have gotten out of the habit, it’s probably a great idea to put them back into your toolbox to add more variety to your online marketing efforts.
Want more information on content marketing? Head over to our comprehensive guide on content marketing here: The All-in-One Guide to Planning and Launching a Content Marketing Strategy.