Evolving media expert shares how to optimize headlines for search

Smart People Saying Smart Stuff Part 7: Serena Ehrlich

Over the past year, we’ve discussed the imminent collision of Search and PR. A year later, we’re experiencing the effects of that merger and were eager to learn about best practices on how to optimize headlines for search. So we turned to one of the best evolving media experts in the industry.

Serena Ehrlich, director, Social and Evolving Media, Business Wire, visited us to continue our conversation on the future of Search and PR.

Arketi’s “Smart People Saying Smart Stuff” series continues with one of our most energetic guests around optimizing our headlines and content for search purposes. The seventh installment of our series follows conversations on media relationscreating content people care aboutensuring you have a proficient online marketing platform, social media marketing for softwaredata storytelling, and startup funding.

Some may already be aware that Google loves news releases, so it comes as no surprise that press releases have great searchability. To optimize your press releases, the key is examining your headlines.

Listen to the podcast or read our post!

The ‘write’ way to craft headlines

Don’t blindly follow the trend of writing short headlines. Headlines are often the first (and sometimes only) part of your press release that gets read. Use it instead to show value by emphasizing the why and how of your story. For example, try using the following headline formula.

Number or trigger word + adjective + keyword + promise

In fact, Serena suggested drafting your body copy first before writing the headline. This allows you to pull keywords from your press release and incorporate them within the first few words of your headline. And keep in mind the first five words of your headline should include industry terms.

Not sure which keywords to use? Use Google Trends to compare keyword search performance and to determine the most powerful keywords. With Google now showing 71 characters, not just the first 50, there’s more room to optimize press releases for search.

A few additional practices to avoid:

  • Don’t send out releases with nearly identical headlines. The new press release will know out older version
  • Don’t be afraid to draft multiple headlines targeting different audiences
  • Don’t bury important information and details in the subhead. Bring it to the headline instead.

tips for maximizing news advocacy

Maximize advocacy

Once you get a reporter to open your press release, the rest of your copy should engage the reader. Beyond a compelling story, incorporate hyperlinks to drive action. These can include links to previous pages and content along with outside links to other sources.

To track the performance of each link, use a URL builder or incorporate a UTM code (which you can attach to a custom URL to track source, medium, campaigns, etc.) The data from the URL builder can be used to paint a snapshot of your inbound traffic, track who clicked your links, and provide deeper information about who is interacting with your information.

Finally, include critical assets reporters may need. From bullet points and images to charts and graphs, make it easy for your reader to navigate to the type of information he/she is looking for. For example, call out key data points, stats, or interesting findings.

Or take advantage of tools such as Click to Tweet, a helpful tool for promoting, sharing and tracking content on Twitter.

The world of Search will continue to evolve and it’s our duty to stay abreast of the last changes and advancements. And with more analytics tools available than ever before, there’s no excuse why we shouldn’t leverage these resources to help our content reach our target audience.

Serena Ehlich of Business Wire compares optimized vs unoptimized press releases

To catch our exclusive interview with Serena, check out our podcast, Optimizing headlines for search from Business Wire.

You can also get more search and PR tips from our previous posts, Five Search Secrets every PR pro should know and Can’t PR and Search just get along?

A big thanks to Serena for visiting us and sharing the latest best practices in writing press releases that garner coverage. Be sure to check back for more advice from our “Smart People Saying Smart Stuff” series.

Smart People Saying Smart Stuff Part 1: Jen Martin

Smart People Saying Smart Stuff Part 2: Justin Grimsley

Smart People Saying Smart Stuff Part 3: Jason Cooper

Smart People Saying Smart Stuff Part 4: Tyrone Webb, Jr. 

Smart People Saying Smart Stuff Part 5: Dawn Brun

Smart People Saying Smart Stuff Part 6: Georgi Gullia

By Mary Rose Macaranas – December 6, 2016

Email Mary Rose Macaranas | Read more posts by Mary Rose Macaranas

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