Social Networking

Promoting Your E-Commerce Business With an Online Press Release

Have you ever thought of promoting your e-commerce business with an online press release? With the phenomenal rise of online user-generated content, an online press release can go straight from your computer to your consumers’ eyes without the say so of an editor. In days of old you sent your press release out to journalists and editors in hope that it might be picked up and featured, but these days with the aid of modern technology and good writing skills you can publish it yourself as a perfectly valid, online press release and reach hundreds of thousands of readers – worldwide.

Submitting regular keyword rich online press releases is an excellent, cost-effective marketing tactic; if approached in the right way. This means that writing them requires focusing on the requirements of both online readers and search engines. There is no doubt that writing online press releases is a completely different art from writing press releases for the print media. Done properly this is a great method of achieve high rankings in the news search engines and attracting masses of potential customers.

Although it is not quite so easy to do with an e-commerce business, as say a smart hotel, always make sure your release is newsworthy and bear in mind that, while within reason, you can publish just about anything, you still want to make sure it gets read and also snapped up by editors searching for a good story.

You just need to follow some basic rules to create a good release and get it seen at the right place on the web. First of all you should write an attention grabbing press release that is suitable for the web. It is vital to understand that writing for the web differs from traditional press release writing. For a start most online readers have a short attention span and prefer to scan rather than read.

Give every story an intriguing angle, don’t just reel off information. Work out why anyone should care about what you’ve written. Will it hold their interest? Will it solve a problem? Will it change their life? Is it relevant to the current financial, social or political climate. Good copy should be insightful, entertaining, engaging and informative. Ask yourself how are you making life better or easier for your reader? Once you’ve established the purpose of your story, you can begin to write.

Next comes the search engines; they need to be kept happy and convinced that your copy is worthwhile. You will need to strike a balance by writing for both consumers and the search engines, but first and foremost for your target audience.

When writing an online press release remember keywords rule. Keywords in your news release are there to tell your reader and the search engines what your release is about. All the major search engines, such as Yahoo! and Google enable users to search for news or information by keywords or keyword phrases.

If you want to rank highly on such sites and attract interested readers, you need to optimise a press release with your desired terms. Achieving high search engine rankings and readership rates depends largely on your use of keywords.

All web copy needs to include a mix of keyword phrases that people use to search for information on the web. To achieve this you will need a clear understanding of how to find which words and phrases searchers use to find information on the web.

Optimised news will automatically attract more journalists and customers alike and research has shown that these readers use the web as their preferred medium for finding out news about your products or online services.

A sensible number of chosen keywords should be embedded in your press release content, but take care not to overdo it as you could be done for ‘spamming’. Apply common sense and make sure the keywords enhance the copy not choke it to death!

Use keywords in the headline, the summary, the first paragraph, a middle paragraph and possibly the last paragraph. Remember your aim, always, is to inform your audience of what the story is about.

Always write your press releases in third person, preferably with some quotes included, it is so much more professional and don’t include a date in your release, as it makes your information seem outdated and may even damage your credibility.

The headline is probably the most important part of your press release. This is because people usually read a catchy headline that will draw their attention and make them want to read further; the trick however is to get those all essential keywords into the headline.

Try to start your first paragraph with your keyword or keyword phrase; while it may slightly alter the style of the sentence, the value to the search engines will make it well worth the sacrifice.

Sprinkle your keywords throughout the rest of the text without sounding too repetitive, but you want to make it obvious what your story is about.

Your release should be more than one paragraph. Not only do most online press release sites prefer it, this also allows keyword use more often In addition it informs the search engine that you have plenty to say making your story more valuable to their users. Most online press releases are between 300-800 words.

Hyperlink to your site and where possible use keyword-rich links – even if you have to pay. All inbound links to your site boosts your popularity with the search engines as well as driving that all important traffic to your site.

A successful online press release requires a certain style of writing so be creative. Your release can be just about anything from exciting company news, new industry trends, product reviews, or special deals and offers but NEVER advertise or you risk being rejected by the press release site.

A press release should be objective, without any hype or bias. Never push your products even though your ultimate goal is to sell, don’t let that come across in your writing. An effective approach is to write about a problem and explain how your product is the solution. The golden rule is that you’re writing to inform, not to overtly persuade.

Focus on your USP, preferably something unusual to attract more attention. Find out what’s being said about a topic and come in at a different angle. If you’re writing about a product, you will need to highlight its distinctive benefits to your readers.

The press release intro and the first paragraph should make a strong point which you can restate in your last paragraph. Make every word count and try to use strong verbs rather than too many adjectives.

Your headline should be short, 80 characters or less and certainly no more than one line. You can however use a subheading if you really need more room. Keep paragraphs short and separate them by a space to improve online readability and keep your readers’ attention.

Nearly all press distribution sites ask for a concise synopsis of your release, four sentences is more than adequate. This is a prime place to shed readers, smart writers summarise the key points to encourage interest, but leave them wanting more. Long dreary stories that don’t get to the point simply aren’t going to hack it online.

Check out your spelling and grammar, any misspelling is a sure fire way to kill your online credibility. Whatever you do be sure to have someone else proof it as a fresh set of eyes can spot mistakes and poor grammar that doesn’t make sense. Print it out before you submit and try to read it out loud. It’s amazing how different it can sound from what’s on screen.

The body of the news release should always start with the location and date of the story and end with three ### signs. At the bottom, include a bio or summary that is a quick description of you or your company with contact information. Do be sure to include several means of contact, including a name, phone number, email address and web site. Always include the http:// portion of the URL in your release or the link will not be clickable when published.

When submitting your releases to press release sites consider using these good online sources -PRNewswire.com, PRWeb.com and Prlog.org , which is free.

Finally remember a good PR site should be built for SEO which means that they will allow anchor text links, tagging, keyword data etc ; avoid PR sites that use No Follow tags. These tell the search engines that any link you put on their site is not endorsed by them.

Some Free PR sites are only web-based and may or may not let you include photos, videos, or HTML formatted content whereas paid PR, in addition to posting your release on their website and in their RSS feed sites, normally have a press list where they will submit your press releases. Many paid sites also offer extra SEO benefits like tagging. So in the end it is largely a matter of deciding whether you want to shell out for better press release services or just use the free options.

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