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What else should we research before writing our press release?

Continuing on our theme of press release production, let’s move on to the content itself. You have, I hope, already got a clear idea of the benefits of your news to its end user audience (who are the company’s customers and prospects). The next piece of preparation is to do some “keyword research”. This is where the world of press release production meets the world of search engine optimisation, because it’s just daft to produce any content which will be published online without helping it get found in Google.

What you’re aiming to do is to get your press release ranking highly in Google for one or more relevant search terms. Now, you’re not going to get on the first page for “blue widgets” with a press release, so don’t even think about that. People will have spent years building pages or possibly entire websites around general terms like those. However, think of a few more specific terms which people might be searching for, and see what Google comes up with. If the results are poor, there’s a fair chance your press release could debut on the first page of Google for that search (possibly linking to your site, but just as likely the site of a publication running the press release – no matter).

Let’s say you’re launching a blue widget which can withstand cleaning in an autoclave. You’ve decided that the benefit to the end user is not that it can be cleaned in an autoclave (which is a feature), but rather – as a result – that it can be re-used (which is a benefit). Now, as mentioned, you’re not going to score in Google for “blue widget”. But you might do well for searches featuring the terms “blue widgets”, “cleanable” and “autoclave”, right?

Well, take a look. Unfortunately, you may find that there’s a lot there already, from other manufacturers, warning that blue widgets cannot be cleaned in autoclaves! That’s maybe too much for a press release to compete with. But what about searches featuring the terms “blue widgets” and “reusable”? You might well find there’s not so much competition there. Or investigate alternative terminology, such as “sterilisable”. Spend a few minutes with Google’s keyword tool if you can.

As long as it doesn’t compete with the real benefit to the end user which you’re focusing on, try to get your chosen search term in the headline, the introduction and perhaps elsewhere in the body of the press release. Where you’re completely in control, on your own website, get the search term into the web page title and the description meta tag too. Just keep things sounding natural though. The opportunity to focus on a search term is just that – an opportunity – and not your primary task.

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