Ninety percent of journalists rely on online search engines to perform key elements of their job, whether researching a story, locating a subject matter expert, or researching a word’s precise meaning. As newsrooms reduce their staff, journalists are writing more articles with less time and fewer resources, making it ever more critical that companies and their news announcements rank high in search results. Lee Odden of TopRank Online Marketing outlined the steps required to optimize news content during the 2009 PRSA International Conference.
To understand the importance of optimization, it’s helpful to re-examine the notion of “push” and “pull” public relations tactics. According to Odden, push comprises the tactics used to announce company news, including news release distribution and sharing story ideas with members of the media. Pull involves bringing journalists to a company’s Web site through optimized news releases, robust online newsrooms and social media efforts. Achieving media coverage through both tactics enables companies to extend the reach of their news.
Begin the optimization process by defining a list of keywords or phrases that journalists or other audiences would use to find a company or products. Brainstorm a list of possible phrases, and test them with a keyword phrase research tool such as Google Insights for Search, Google Trends or WordTracker. Research the popularity and variations of the original keywords, revise as necessary, then list the final keywords in a glossary, segmented by popularity and category.
News Release Optimization
With the keywords in hand, it’s time to put them to use in your public relations campaign. News releases can be more than a vehicle for distributing news. If optimized, announcements can also pull journalists, prospects and customers to company content hosted on its Web site or newsroom.
- Think up and to the left
- Optimize first for people, then for search engines
- Use keywords in title, subhead and body
- Don’t obsess over keyword density
- Use keywords in links to company Web sites
- Add digital assets such as images and videos
- Include a call to action
- Develop and optimize unique landing pages
Three of five journalists say that information found on a Web site influences their decision to include a company in a story. Journalists require fast and accurate information about your company, and a well-run online newsroom provides the media with exactly what they need, when they need it. As with news releases, an optimized online newsroom easily found via search can be a powerful resource to draw journalists in.
- Use blog software to manage your newsroom
- Add share/save bookmarks tools
- Leverage keywords to categorize news releases
- Cross link from optimized content to relevant content on Web site
Download “The TopRank Guide to SEO” for more information on how to plan and execute an effective search engine optimization strategy.
What strategies are you using to push traffic to your online newsroom?