Basic Press Release Optimization The Basics Five questions to test your press release. If you're clear on these then you're off to a really good start. 1. Who is the audience? 2. What is it about? 3. Where will it have the most effect? 4. When is the best time to distribute it? 5. Why should my audience care? Search Tweaks Choose one or two keyword phrases to optimize the press release for. Volumes have been written about keyword research, but to begin with just pick the ones that are most important. The question "What is it about?" will tell you what phrases are most important. Put the most important phrase as close to the beginning of the headline, the sub-head, and the first paragraph of your press release as possible. Search engines give more weight to phrases at the beginning of headlines. So if 'online PR' is what you're writing about, the headline 'Online PR and How to Optimize Press Releases' works better than 'Optimizing Press Releases for Online PR.' If you're using another keyword phrase as well, try to make sure you include it in the same sections of the document. Link the most important phrase in the first paragraph to a page about the same topic. If your most important phrase is "online PR" then link it to a page on your site about online PR. Your press release, your link and the page you link to all combine to help build authority around the topic you're writing about. And of course you provide a way for interested readers to click through to this page Add a photo and include that phrase at the beginning of the caption. Images make your content more compelling, and there's research showing that the use of images in this way can boost rankings Go Social +1 the release on Google+ Google is the 800 Lbs. gorilla of search for that reason alone your content needs to be there. Use your social network to promote your business Tweet a link to the release using the primary phrase and share it on Facebook. All the major search engines value links from real people so retweets, shares and posts from influencers in your industry are important. Write killer headlines Most journalists get hundreds of emails every day, so it's a good idea to label emails containing press releases with the phrase "press release" or "story idea". A great subject line is also a must. Your first line should be a summary of the story (in no more than around 15-20 words) and read like the opening of a news story. Make sure your story is newsworthy Before you even attempt to write a press release, think about the things you like to read, watch and listen to in the media. Most of us are generally interested in things we haven't heard before, find surprising or help solve our problems. So before drafting your press release, it's worth asking yourself these questions: 1. Is there anything "new" in my story? 2. Is there anything unusual or unexpected about it? 3. Would this be of interest to anyone outside my business? Be concise The ideal length of a press release is about an A4 side or about 300 to 400 words (the length of a short news item). That's just three or four short paragraphs and a couple of quotes.
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