The more things change, the more they stay the same — and when it comes to promoting your company via press releases, even more so. While press releases haven’t changed much since the first ones hit newspapers in the early 1900s, recent developments online have forced PR pros and small business owners to adapt in different ways.
One of the biggest changes has been how the average person finds information through a site like Google. Search engines all have different algorithms to bring results, and Google’s is the most controversial and talked-about algorithm out there. The “Panda” updates had the entire public relations industry in an uproar and forced everyone writing blogs, press releases, and anything else to reconsider what they were doing.
So what were the big differences and changes? Let’s take a look.
Keywords Versus Story
Let’s say you’re about to celebrate your company’s 10th anniversary. You want to write a press release that spreads the word about the specials being run in anticipation of the event, and send it to online magazines and papers around your area. You know you need to create an interesting story that people will want to read.
To you, this is natural because it’s how Google works now. The Panda update has focused our attention more on content rather than keywords. This is simply the way SEO works now and there’s little chance it will go back.
Before these updates, however, even as late as 2013, this would all seem different. Prior to Google’s big change, instead of focusing on a great press release that journalists, bloggers, and casual readers might actually want to read, this same release would be artificially stuffed with keywords and phrases so as to draw Google’s attention. To the living, breathing human being, though, it would be very unpleasant to read, and difficult to get through.
So now that getting your promotions and releases noticed relies more on compelling, well-written content, what does that tell us?
Never Be Boring
Here’s where the “things remain the same” part comes in. Press releases have always relied on the “don’t be boring” rule. The same goes for any other writings throughout history – if it’s dull, nobody will care, even if it had the potential to save or change their lives. You have to be interesting.
Even in the days of keyword-heavy press releases and content this basic rule was always there hanging above writers’ heads. Google has now decided to begin enforcing this tacit rule. All things considered, this is a good thing.
Remember back in the day when you would search for “coffee cake recipe” and the first three results were totally unrelated nonsense because they threw in “coffee cake recipe” repeatedly? The further away we get from that world the better. While it does make our jobs a little harder, we should embrace the change as a necessary step in ultimately creating better content Internet-wide.
Just make sure you concentrate on writing in the proper press release format, getting all the necessary info up top while making sure not to mince words, and make sure you convey your story quickly and efficiently. If you follow these rules your press releases will gain the attention of your audience – and possibly go above and beyond what you ever dreamed.
Do you have trouble keeping up with the new Panda rules?