Are you writing your own press releases? Do you believe in DIY? Then, when you start your journey, add all these secret weapons in your arsenal: a good headline analyzer, a professional keyword analysis tool, a good social-media-release-building application, and a few other tricks of the trade, to ensure great exposure for your news.
If you write press releases in a delusional belief that the links you embed in their content bring you SEO advantages, stop right here. This is not for you. If you, however, are a small business, and need to save a buck or two on copyrighting (not that I encourage the practice, but talent has its perks), the following tools will help you create a press release like a pro.
Titles, Always Titles
Titles are micro-content, and your best bet to grab attention. They should address both journalists and consumers, and they should “sell” the news from the start. The art of writing attention grabbing titles has been dissected and discussed by countless of experts – all you need to do is to google “how to write titles” and you’ll get thousands of results, all offering pertinent, excellent advice. Since I am not discussing the “how” here’s the tool that could help your titles spark: the headline analyzer by the Advanced Marketing Institute.
Keywords – for Market Research, not SEO
When it comes to researching keywords, I always go with SEMrush, because it gives me a bit of insight in what competitors might be doing to rank. Aside showing a phrase match report, SEMrush reveals the top related keywords, and the best performers in organic search engine results. When you know their strengths, you know how to defeat them, and even if your victory is short lived – as news have a short lifespan in the SERPs – it is still a victory.
A Professional PR Platform
PitchEngine is a great PR platform, albeit not free. But their plans are affordable, an the tools provided make any beginner look like an expert. From news release creation, to collaboration and content management, PitchEngine has got it all, enabling you to create and push content on any device, from desktops to smartphone and tablets.
A Good PR Toolkit
PR Newswire, together with Yahoo! Small Business Advisor, have the best press release toolkit available – with free access – and a great press release wizard that walks you through all the steps required to create a professional-style press release. This instead of a standard press release template.
A Content Checker Tool
What I like about Dupli Checker is that it allows you to actually paste the content you want checked, instead of an URL. This is an excellent tool to check texts provided to you by third parties, but also to see similar content to the one produced by you.
If writing may be free, distribution should always be paid. Free press release distribution sites are a waste of time – no self respecting journalist even considers them as a source. The best distribution sites are, naturally, more expensive. But iReach from PR Newswire is a great tool for small businesses on a budget. The only downside is that it is only available for businesses in the US and Canada.
A Leg in Where the Pro Jurnos Mingle
When you distribute your news via services like iReach, or PRWeb, BusinessWire and so on, the journalists may or may not pick it up, depending on a variety of factors (and their own moods). But when you use HARO-like tools, you could score great media mentions for your business, even without hiring a PR pro to pitch them.
Now that you have the tools, do you still believe that your copywriting skills are enough to make your future press releases stand out? If you do, you’ve just saved a little fortune on press release writing. Just remember:Press Releases Are Not a PR Strategy and sometimes, no matter how talented you are, the scrutiny of a PR pro may mean the difference between success and a PR crisis.