Last night PR Newswire completed the updates to our content syndication network and on www.prnewswire.com to meet Google’s new guidelines regarding links in press releases. And we’re convinced that in this new environment, new opportunities for press release issuers abound.
Now that these changes have been made, we no longer have to caution you, as we had recently, to be careful to limit links to just one or two per press release,. You’re now able to link the interesting and useful content that best serves your readers, and your business. This means you’ll be able to add more richness and depth to press releases, using links to add new dimensions to the content you present, such as:
- Adding credibility and accessibility to the experts quoted in press release, by adding a link to their expert profile on Profnet Connect, bio on your web site, a paper they wrote or their social media handle. This is a particularly handy reference for journalists and bloggers considering covering the story.
- Encouraging interaction by plugging a “Tweet this” link into your content, following a key stat or pithy quote.
- Boosting measurability and engagement by using a landing page. Get cozy with your marketing team, and instead of simply linking to a page on your web site, have a landing page designed specifically for your press release. Populate that page with content that is relevant to your message, and provides details for journalists and engagement for potential customers. Landing pages are extremely measureable, too. If the press release you issue does a good job of generating interest, the landing page will support and measure subsequent audience engagement.
- Building curation into your content. This might sound counterintuitive, because press releases are all about the company message. But think about it: most of the organizations we represent are spending a lot of time, energy and resources publishing content these days. Curate some of that content for your press release readers. Embed a relevant link in the body of the copy to related media coverage or an industry blog post. Using a link, you can surface relevant earned media, to bolster the message credibility.
- Creating pathways for potential customers. We know that potential buyers look at press releases as credible sources of information. Cozy up to your marketing team again and channel this interest by incorporating a call to action in the form of a strategically placed link within a press release. This link can go to a landing page with quick access to trials, demos and downloads, which will appeal to people doing research on potential purchases.
Because we no longer have to worry about leaving search engine juice on the table with press release links, we can now link to all the information and resources that help journalists, reader and buyers — which will ultimately make the messages more effective.
However, we’d also like to insert one note of caution. We’re not recommending that you link to every conceivable asset your organization can muster. Scads upon scads of links are annoying and turn readers off. We’re advocating message craftsmanship, using links strategically to present related and useful information and logical next steps for readers. (A good rule of thumb: if a piece of content or related web page isn’t specifically relevant to the press release, don’t link to it.)
Start to think of press releases as the trail head for a route that leads back to your company, and avoid presenting readers with a maze or circuitous route. The path should lead clearly to the objective, and not send readers wandering in circles or into dead ends.
Author Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of content marketing, and is the author of the e-books “Unlocking Social Media for PR and the soon-to-be-published “New School PR Tactics.” Follow her on Twitter at @sarahskerik
Coming up at Content Marketing World:
Sarah is presenting on the topic of content discovery next month at Content Marketing World, in session titled “10 Online Discovery Tips that Will Get Your Content Promoted.” We hope to see you in Cleveland at the show! In the meantime, follow the conversation on Twitter, hashtag#CMWorld.