By Anne Holland, President
The hottest new search engine marketing tactic isn't paid search ads or tweaking your site to get higher organic rankings. Instead, it's using press releases (yes, old fashioned PR) to get clicks.
You see, every month millions of business execs surf the news via search engines' news sites -- such as Google News, MSN News and Yahoo News. These news sites pick up headlines from thousands of newspapers and trade journals. But, they also pick up "news" from the wire services that PR pros use to get releases out to journalists.
That means if you put out a press release via any one of the major wire services, including Business Wire, PR Newswire, or Market Wire, that release will show up in the big search engine news services.
As MarketingSherpa's research team has tracked in our Search Marketing Benchmark Guide (link below), online marketers have been experimenting for the past two years to figure out ways to take advantage of this fact. We've discovered the following three tips to making a PR search campaign drive more traffic to your webinar:
Tip #1. Use a keyword in your headline
Your prospects are not searching the news engine looking for the word "Webinar." Instead, they may be searching for news about:
- Your brand name
- Your stock ticker
- Technical terms associate with your product or services
- Your CEO's name
- Descriptive terms from their own industry or job function
So, instead of simply having a headline that reads, "XYZ Corporation Offers Webinar," you probably want to say something like, "XYZ Corporation Offers Webinar for IT Security Professionals on Repairing XYZ Breach Factors."
Tip #2. Load your first paragraph with keywords
You'll want to repeat the most important keywords in your first paragraph (which is the copy that search engines view the most carefully to decide what your press release is about.) Plus, be sure to include any alternate spellings, such as e-commerce versus ecommerce.
Often the easiest way of writing a press release for this purpose is to first write down a list of keywords that are related to your webinar and the prospects most likely to appreciate it. Then take a standard release and see where you can replace ordinary words with keywords.
Key - don't repeat the keyword more than five times in the body of the release. It starts to look "spammy" and may hurt your results.
Tip #3. Include a well-worded hotlink in your first paragraph
Traditionally, press releases are written with the hotlink and/or other contact information at the very end. You'll have to break yourself of that habit.
When busy executives read releases in the news on search engines, they often don't scroll all the way to the end of the news for a press contact. (In fact, they are not interested in a press contact, nor would you want them to be.) Instead, they glance at the first paragraph, skimming to see what's of interest for them.
If you place an offer and hotlink in that first paragraph, chances are it will be clicked on by the right prospects. Two keys -- don't make it sound too promotional. It should sound informational, factual, not "marketing."
Also, be sure to use keywords in your actual hotlink. You may need to enlist your IT department's help for this, but it's worth the extra bother. You see, the search engine spiders are reading the actual text in that hotlink both to determine how to rank (display) your press release, but also to see if your landing page (which I assume is your webinar registration form) should be listed in the main search engine.
So, adding keywords to URLs makes them infinitely more powerful.
Results? Depending on how well you word your press release, you can expect to receive clicks to your webinar offer page for 21-28 days. Then the release is "retired" from the engines news services.
Cost? The good news is you won't be paying by the click, only for release distribution. Each of the services has a flat fee for this, which makes it far easier to budget.
For more information on the Search Marketing Benchmark Guide go to:http://www.sherpastore.com/Search-Marketing-Benchmarks-2006-SEO-PPC.html?9006