How to balance your press release for search engines and journalists.

Morgan Eberle's picture

It’s no secret that search engines love new, relevant information, hence why blogs rank higher. And we also know that press releases belong in the same category and can bring users to your site if written correctly. There are blogs about most common SEO mistakes in PR and the role of public relations in a blogger world, but if you are writing press releases that you are distributing online, what style of writing should you conform to? The traditional journalistic style or a more search engine friendly way of writing?

Overall, writing high-quality content is the only way to write online content, whether for a press release, blog, or product description. The worst thing that can happen is a prospective customer clicking on your site and then clicking off again right away. You just lost a potential sale.

Good content on the other hand holds a customer on your site. Who knows, they may click around and end up inquiring more. Whereas ‘writing for a search engine’, will lead a potential customer right back to square one.

As you are writing your high-quality content, you need to be aware of your keywords. And this is where conflicts start to arise. For example, the correct form of the word according to the AP Stylebook was ‘e-mail’, with the update coming from them last month to ‘email’. The Oxford English Dictionary added OMG and LOL to their list of acceptable words last month as well. There are dozens of other examples.

The best starting point when conflicting over which term to use is to look at your keyword data. Data from your website is a very valuable piece when you are distinguishing keywords. If you have the data to support a change of the correct form of the word, then use that spelling. Just be aware that you are deviating from the correct version. If a journalist does decide to pick up your press release, they may change more of it if it doesn’t conform to AP style; however, you still get the benefit of having a search engine optimized press release.

And if you distribute your press releases through personalized emails (which you should and tailor them to each journalist), then use the correct form of the word in the email to the reporter, but put the more search engine friendly term on your website. The same goes for the wire service.

Deciding the right words to use is a balancing act between correct spelling and grammar and search engine friendly terms. Language is evolving with time, abet slowly.

Do you always conform to AP style when writing a press release? How do you deal with the dilemma?

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