Writing and distributing online press releases should be included in your monthly link building activities for several reasons:
1. They are a great source of publicity for your company
2. They can rank in the search engines, increasing your brand visibility and recognition
3.They provide quality, one way links to your site
4. They can get picked up by various media outlets and be transitioned into offline press releases and news stories
The benefits of distributing a well-written and newsworthy press release are pretty straightforward. But it’s very easy to only look at them from an SEO perspective. This is a very dangerous thing to do! Yes, online press releases can have an effect on your SEO, but in the effort to make a press release SEO friendly, I’ve seen companies make mistakes that render the press releases useless from all perspectives, including SEO.
I’ve seen companies drop hyperlinks into their press releases like pennies into a fountain. It seems like every paragraph has two or three anchor text phrases in them. Even if the content is well written, over-hyperlinking comes across as spammy and distracts the reader. Some PR distribution sites won’t even bother to publish your releases if it has too many links in it. A good rule of thumb is 1 link for every 100 words. You want to make sure the full web address (ex http://www.brickmarketing.com) is in the press release at least once. It’s usually easiest to include the web address right after the company is introduced or in the boiler plate at the bottom of the release.
It has to be newsworthy
Your company won an award, launched a new product, hired a new VP of sales, etc. But you have to focus your press release around actual news. Shameless sales pitches do not make good press releases. It may get published by a distribution service, but no media outlet is going to bother to pick it up.
Use a paid distribution service
Paid PR distribution services (I typically use PRWeb, 24-7 Press Release and PRLeap) are much more reputable than most of the free distribution sites, and therefore more likely to attract the attention of reporters. These sites can also provide you with data about the distribution, including how many impressions the release got. Paid distribution sites can cost anywhere from $50 to several hundred dollars, depending on the level you select.
Online PR shouldn’t replace offline PR
Online PR should be looked at as an extension of offline PR. They two need to work together to get the most visibility for your brand. Favoring one method over the other means you are ignoring a very large audience. Just like you can’t rely solely on your Internet marketing over traditional offline marketing methods, you can’t favor online PR over offline PR. Never put all your marketing eggs into one basket!