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Dec 2, 2010 10:30 AM, By Don Kreski

How to write an effective press release.


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Incoming links

Because most newspapers and trade magazines have online editions, press releases can be helpful in securing incoming links that will boost your search engine rankings. For that reason, review the keywords from your SEO program and pick out one to three to focus on in each release.

Include one or two of these keywords in your headline, lead, and body. Be sure to include a link back to your website somewhere in your release. If you have created a page specific to the topic you are writing about, include that instead or as well as your homepage. Use anchor text, a keyword, or key phrase in each link to your website. "To learn more about XYZ, visit xyz.company.com."

Sending the release

I suggest taking a two-part approach in assembling your press distribution list.

First, put together a list of the most important publications you are targeting. Visit their websites for the names and email addresses of editors and writers who may be interested in your topic. Include those with whom you have already had personal contact. This will be a short but valuable list. Do not send every release to every name on this list, only those appropriate to each. If possible, follow up with a phone call.

In addition, send your release through an online press service such as PR Web or PR Newswire. These sites offer news information to thousands of mainstream media, trade journals, online publications, portal pages, and blogs via RSS feeds. Only a small number of these publications may be interested in your topic, but for a $200 or $300 investment, you can expect a dozen or more online placements and perhaps a few in print.

It's likely your release will spark the interest of a writer or editor who will contact you with questions or ask for an interview. Be prepared for this and respond immediately. Journalists work on tight deadlines. You don't want to waste the effort it took to create the press release or discourage that writer from contacting you in the future.

You may want to hire a clipping service, such as BurrellesLuce, to keep track of your placements. You can also purchase printed media directories or subscribe to an online media database through Cision.com (formerly Bacon's).

A great way to start is simply to look at other releases. Crestron.com has a nice press section. You may also want to visit prnewswire.com to browse the releases.

Not every press release will produce great results, but if you put in some effort, come up with some fresh story ideas, and send your releases on a regular basis, you will start to develop a media presence that will boost your marketing efforts.

Don Kreski is the president of Kreski Marketing Consultants, which offers marketing services to the AV industry. You can reach him at www.kreski.com/contact.html.



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