How the Internet Can Up Your Chances of Generating PR

The Internet has done great things for our lives.  Seriously, think about waking up tomorrow without it!  Not only has it allowed us the opportunity to find news and information, resources and more, it’s given little stores across the world the chance to have customers around the world.  We’re no longer tied to doing business in our local regions, but we have the opportunity to expand and grow our businesses in a way that’s never really been available before.

It is also giving small businesses the opportunity to attract the attention of media….that’s if they can find you.

SEOmagnifyglassThis brings me to the key connection between SEO (search engine optimization) and generating public relations.  PR strategy has always focused on the “traditional” with press releases and press kits being sent directly to journalists, follow up calls and emails sent and a proactive approach to results.  Today, the Internet is giving journalists a new way to search and find small businesses, new products and companies, experts to use as story sources…but that’s only if they can find you.

Remember: When using the Internet to market your business, most people don’t know they’re looking for you and your business until they find you!

This is why SEO becomes a critical part of the marketing mix for your business, and to further your chances of generating positive PR for your business.  It’s not enough to have a great website, you also need to make sure that it is built specifically for search – meaning what would the average person search for, or what terms would they use to find you?  The same goes for how you write your press release and distribute it online.  Like anything else, if you utilize your key search terms in your press release, the odds improve that a journalist, or new potential partner or vendor, will find you.

Crafting your story for SEO:

  • Write your press release
  • Write out a list of all the key search terms someone might use to locate your business
  • Cut this list down to the Top 10
  • Now compare your press release to this list.  Where are these search terms?  Are they located in the headline, sub headline or lead paragraph?  Well, they should be.

This can become tricky though as the lead paragraph of your press release needs to be kept down to three-four to the point sentences.  I know…tricky.  If it seems impossible, then you might consider writing two kinds of press releases – one for media and one for search.  Then make sure all of this is also available in your online press room, which I’ll talk about next week.

This one thing, if done correctly, will open new doors for you on the web.  Whether it’s getting the attention of a journalist or finding a new partner in business offering a mutually beneficial relationship.  It’s definitely worth giving it a go and seeing what happens.  Use some the free release distribution sites, see what kind of return you get and then make changes in future releases.

However, the most important part of your press release, the point of it really, should never be overlooked.  It’s about your story….something really, truly newsworthy.  It’s not about writing a release every week and spamming it across social media networks and free distribution sites.  It’s better to send them out when you really have news or something to share every now and again than each week.  If the content is not valuable, after awhile, people will just ignore everything you distribute.  It’s called…..crying wolf and when you do have huge news to share no one will be there to listen.

Jennifer Fortney, Cascade Communications and

Follow me on Twitter @SmallBizPRXpert or join our new group on LinkedIn My Source for Stories – where we connect small businesses with the media

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