Nobody likes crafting a stellar press release, blog entry or even social media post, only to watch it disappear into a black hole with little or no exposure.
Here are three ways to optimize your online PR content for greater reach, readership and results:
1. Punch up press releases via social media. A/B test your press release headlines on social networks to compare effectiveness using metrics like retweets, favorites, mentions and clicks. The metrics will tell you which is more effective, removing the guesswork and ensuring a more productive release.
“First, create two headlines for an article or press release that you think will perform well,” says Peter Methot, managing director of executive education at Rutgers Business School. “Then tweet both of these headlines roughly one hour apart and compare the data for each tweet.”
The headline that has received more clicks, mentions and RTs obviously performed better. Use this one for the press release or any other type of content you’re distributing. “Let the data be the determining factor—not a gut instinct,” Methot says.
2. Share content with variations to different time zones. Share any given press releases socially at different times to reach prime viewing audiences in key geographical regions. This will expand its reach and shareability.
“We found that 10 a.m. Eastern is the best time of day to push releases,” says Methot. “We want this content to be seen in different time zones in that sweet spot, so we push it again via social media with slight variations so it falls at roughly 10 a.m. in whichever time zone we want it to be seen.”
3. Frame content to address audience wants, needs or pain points. Use words and images your audience would use, rather than company-centric jargon or technical speak. This is how your key audiences will look for answers to their wants, needs or pain points, so deliver solutions in the same way.
Methot gives this example: The heartburn relief drug Nexium is also referred to as “The Purple Pill” or “esomeprazole magnesium,” its clinical name. Each of these names can help segment audiences and shape the content and words used to aid them in searching for the drug online.
For instance, someone using the search phrase “purple pill” has likely seen the product’s marketing materials and may have a need for more information about the benefits and risks. Someone using “Nexium” in a search is more likely in the buying phase and wants to know where to purchase the product or find a prescribing doctor. A person using the drug’s clinical name is probably a doctor. This person’s information needs would more likely be about dosage and other prescriptive guidelines.
In each of these situations, content end users will use different words in their research and reading—and the content they search for and engage with must be useful, understandable and relevant to their given moments of need.
Hitting that sweet spot will go a long way toward giving your content greater reach and results.
Brian Pittman is a Ragan Communications consultant and webinar manager for PR Daily’s PR University. SEO-PR’s Greg Jarboe and Rutgers University’s Peter Methot show you search engine marketing tactics in the PR University webinar, “The New SEO for PR: Skyrocket Reach and Budget with Optimized Content.”