How to Produce Online News Releases: SEO AND SMRs

I want you to have a chance to see the differences between news releases written for traditional print media and those created for online forms. Review this excellent summary by Brian Solis on the differences among traditional news releases (and how to improve them), Search-Engine Optimized News Releases, and Social Media News Releases.

{NOTE: A couple of the links in Solis’ blog post above won’t work. So here’s the link to Google’s Adwords Keyword tool that you would use to begin your search for SEO words and terms. And here’s the updated site for Todd Defren’s Social Media Release template.}

Just as when writing an online news story, when writing an online news release you want to search your keywords and search phrases, pick the top three and keep them written down and in front of you as you compose your release. Use the standard address block at the top of the release (name, title, address, phone number). Then, proceed to the head and subhead, making sure you optimize them smoothly with your keyword(s).

When you begin writing the news release, make it sound like news – not PR spin. Use short sentence that are “front loaded” with your key terms. Make sure you use your SEO terms in the first paragraph or two (and keep paragraphs short). Strive for the “ideal” keyword density we talked about. Despite the emphasis you are giving to these principles, write your news CONTENT first; then go back into the news release and optimize it smoothly.

I’m including three other good blog posts to read for more instruction on how to write search-engine optimized news releases: Sara Haven’s “10 Ways to Make Press Releases More SEO Friendly”; “Six Proven Secrets to Writing a Trash-Proof Press Release” on the SEO Review site; and “Press Releases as Marketing Tools” by Lee Odden.

A GOOD EXAMPLE: My friend Mike Keliher from Fast Horse, Inc. in Minneapolis sent this example of a SEO release his agency did for Marvin Windows. If you look, you can quickly see that the keyword phrases were “home remodeling”, “remodeling”, “energy efficient doors”. Those are the words people would use to (we hope) type into Google and get to our client’s page. Also see the links added for information about the federal tax program. That would be a keyword, as well.


Highly recommended for you is the October 2011 blog post by Brian Solis The State of Social Media 2011: Social is the New Normal. It helps you see why you must be in the social media construction mindset.

I’m also recommending “Social Media Releases: Everything You Ever Wanted (Or Should Want) to Know” Again, even if some links don’t work right now, there’s valuable information in here.

For example, Solis talks about Vocus, a cloud-based distribution site for your SMRs. Finally, you’ll find great tips on another blog post of his, How to Write a Social Media Press Release-Part II.

About Ellen Mrja

I'm the senior faculty member in the mass media department at Minnesota State University in Mankato. I teach our capstone P.R. course called Strategic Communications Campaigns, Mass Communications Law, the first digital journalism course in department, called Multimedia Digital Writing and a new workshop I designed called Strategic Social Media. I'm adviser to the student newspaper, The Reporter, and the student chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. I have the best job in town.
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