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 relations, creating content people care about, ensuring you have a proficient online marketing platform, social media marketing for software, data 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.
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.
To catch our exclusive interview with Serena, check out our podcast, Optimizing headlines for search from Business Wire.
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.