The following post on press releases as a way to promote your blog is by Eric Reynolds of Subnixus PR Services.
In the past, savvy PR professionals used press releases to hopefully bring their clients a little media exposure. The process was long and drawn out, with the ultimate goal being, well, media coverage. However, the days of a press release being used solely for a newsworthy announcement are long gone. Why? The Web has changed what a press release can be…
Before I explain how a press release can benefit you as a blogger, let me give you a little background on myself. A few years ago I ran a small blog by the name of Subnixus (sold long ago) and decided to do a test. I had just recently learned about press releases and figured I would put one out on myself and post the results. I honestly didn’t expect much, but to my amazement a single press release resulted in dozens of television, newspaper, and radio interviews. Overnight my blog went from a few hundred readers, to a few thousand.
While not all press releases are going get your face on the nightly news, they can serve another purpose.
How to Reach New Readers and Improve Your SEO at the Same Time
Thanks to the Internet, a press release can now be seen by the general public without ever even being touched by a journalist. Sites like Google News and Yahoo News are constantly updating their search results with fresh press releases from sites like PRWeb. So what does that mean to you, the new blogger just looking for a little attention?
Simply put it means you can reach thousands of (potentially) new readers, overnight. When you distribute your release via a place like PRWeb, hundreds of other sites re-publish your release via the PRWeb RSS feed. Not only does this mean more places for new readers to find your content, but it means more backlinks to your site (yes a press release can include links). And don’t forget, if you do it right your release will also appear in Google News, Yahoo News, Topix, etc… just to name a few.
Should You Hire a Professional or Do It Yourself?
This is a question I hear a lot and there’s no simple answer. While I could sit here and say you should hire a professional (like myself) to create your release and distribute it, the truth is anyone can do it, but like anything it takes a little work on your part. However, I do have some good news… unlike a traditional press release, a Web based release doesn’t have the same strict guidelines that must be followed. For the most part, you just need to remember a few basic rules.
1. Format it correctly. This page shows how a press release needs to be written.
2. It’s all about the headline. Just like a link submission to a site such as Digg.com, a press release needs to have a good headline and first paragraph if it’s going to create any buzz. Your press release could be the recipe for chicken soup, but if your headline is catchy, people will read it.
3. Keep it short. Remember, you want the people reading your press release to click on a link within the release to visit your site. Don’t put more information in the release than needed. It’s meant to peak their interest and leave them wanting more. Try to shoot for the 250-500 word range.
How Much Does it Cost?
Ahh… the big question. How much does a press release cost? Well there are plenty of free distributors out there. Places like PR.com and and PRLog.org will distribute them free of charge, but there are some drawbacks. PR.com doesn’t allow live links in their releases unless you pay a fee. And while PRLog allows links, they don’t have near the reach as other sites. Free sites may get you in Google News (and that’s about it), but in the long run it’s really not worth it. Furthermore, I’ve never seen a free release get more than a few backlinks.
So that leaves us with a paid distributor. My distributor of choice is obviously PRWeb, their reach in terms of RSS re-publishers and news sites just can’t be beat. The average PRWeb release will receive around 100-500 backlinks within a week and it will appear in every major news search site.
PRWeb charges $80 for their basic level and it goes up from there, but the basic level is good enough for any blogger just looking for a little boost. In fact, if you really know your stuff, you can get away with only paying $40 for distribution, as long as you get an editorial score of 4/5 from their editors.
Conclusion and Examples
So in conclusion I would urge everyone who’s serious about their blog to at least try a press release (free or paid). You might just be surprised at the results. For people looking for a few examples, here are a few I’ve done in the past few months.
An Example of a Release Getting Media Coverage
Here’s the release: Blogger Saves 18 Homes From Foreclosure in Less Than 6 Months With His Web Site and here’s the result: CBS News coverage.
An Example of the SEO Benefits of a Release
Here’s the release: SEOmeter.com Unveils Their New Google Crawl Tool and here’s the result: A Google search of the headline “SEOmeter.com Unveils Their New Google Crawl Tool” shows 750 listings, with a large portion of those containing backlinks.
So there you have it… The Press Release; a valuable tool that too many bloggers overlook.
p.s. – Some of you may recognize my name or site. Long time readers of ProBlogger might remember an article I wrote a long time ago calling blogs that focus on “making money online” infomercials. Well, after writing that article I did sell off my own blog (don’t be confused if you see it online, the person I sold it to never changed the “about me” section, so the site still looks like it’s ran by me, but it is not), but as you can see… I never stopped reading ProBlogger. Take that for what it’s worth.