Fallacies, Frantic Editors and Fascinating Press Releases
So, you’ve tried every technique in the Competitive Advantage textbook and still can’t get to that No#1 spot in Google? Here’s a trick to outrank the leader, no matter how competitive the keyword…
If you’ve done everything you can possibly do or even dream of doing, including reading our How to Out Wit, Out Rank and Out Run Your Competition, then here’s a useful trick you can use that will leave your competitors scratching their heads at your sheer audacity.
How to Get Better Than #1 Google Search Engine Rankings
This strategy won’t work for everyone, but only because it costs money and you’ve got to be able to write. But not just common or garden variety writing; I mean the kind of writing that gets news desk editors to take notice, and that’s no easy call.
Okay, enough preamble, here’s the drum:
Above you’ll see an image of Google’s search page as at the date of writing – 12 September 2011 — using the search phrase “president obama speech”. Yeah sure, I know you’re asking the question “What the heck has a search page for President Obama got to do with outranking your competition?”
The answer is tricky: all and nothing. Let me explain:
As you would imagine, the first organic search listing for anything to do with President Obama is, of course, the official White House website. But take a look above the White House site and you’ll find the latest news releases.
The first result, including an image of the article’s author, is from a site called AdAge.com; the next two are from Patch.com and BigThink.com. None of these sites are anything out-of-the-box, have super Page Rank or perform extraordinary feats of cyber-magic.
All they’ve done to outrank the official White House site is write a newsworthy Press Release that includes the words president + obama + speech in the text. You can do the exact same thing with even the most competitive keywords, but you’ve got to know what it takes to get your Press Release noticed among the thousands that land on news editors’ desks every day.
How to Write an In-Your-Face Press Release
Imagine this scenario: the editor of any news network or service, large or small, online or offline, is usually up to her eyeballs in Press Releases on any given day. (I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume it’s a “she” for ease of writing).
She collects them in her “In” tray until she’s got a couple of minutes to spare to flick through them. Somewhere in among this forest of paperwork is your Press Release, begging to be read. She has fine-tuned the art of speed reading so that in a couple of milliseconds she has perused the headline, first couple of paragraphs, anything that stands out (like bullet points, images or graphs) and the conclusion.
In most cases, 90% of what she reads goes straight in the shredder and then she re-reads the remaining 10% and probably dumps another 50% of those.
If you’re incredibly lucky, but more to the point, incredibly clever, your Press Release may make it into her “Publish” file.
So…what does it take to get your precious Press Release published?
Hooks and Headlines
Let’s look at each of these keys, although they act together, kinda like a double-bolted door.
The best way to describe a hook is to give you an example:
You have a blog about auto mechanics and you have developed a new feature where readers can talk to you directly about problems they are experiencing with their car.
You could write a headline that said “CARL’S AUTO NOW HAS AN ONLINE MECHANIC” that may attract a few auto enthusiasts, or you could create a heading like “EXPERT MECHANIC WILL SOLVE YOUR AUTO MECHANICAL PROBLEMS ONLINE AND ON THE SPOT – GUARANTEED ”
The sub-heading could read: “Carl Clawfinger, an expert auto mechanic has made his specialist diagnostic services available free of charge online.” (Okay, I accept it’s a bit naff, but I’m sure you get the point?)
A hook is just like the bait you use to catch a fish. It’s the necessary tool to attract the reader’s attention and lure them into wanting to know more.
In the above imaginative but feeble example, I’ve also applied the second key – the headline. Your headline has to be WRITTEN IN CAPITAL LETTERS even if it’s not written in capital letters. It’s like the little cartoon man you often see in advertising going, “Pssst, hey! I’m over here! Look at me! Here I am!”
If you don’t capture the attention of the news editor and then a multitudinous audience in the first couple of seconds with your headline and sub-heading, then the time and money you’ve invested in publishing your Press Release online has been a huge waste.
The Top Down Approach
When we write blog articles, we often spread the juicy bits throughout the text to keep the reader interested.
That won’t work in a Press Release.
Instead, the news industry uses what is called a “top down” approach (sometimes referred to as the “inverted pyramid” approach). What this means is you slam your readers (figuratively speaking!) with as much information as possible as soon as possible.
The headline needs to state clearly and succinctly what the story is about. The sub heading adds more detail to enrich the heading and the first paragraph has to let your readers know exactly what the story is about.
Put simply, like an inverted pyramid, the most important information is inserted according to its level of importance. So the most important points are at the top while the least important are at the bottom.
Regular readers of news bulletins are accustomed to this style of writing, so trying to build up the excitement with “teasers” and other little tricks is only going to result in them clicking off the page.
Using Online Press Release Resources
As with most things Internet, a variety of resources are available online to help you write and distribute your Press Release, however there are two sites that stand out for their professionalism and the range of services they offer: Online PR News and PR Web.
Both services help you with a number of useful tools so you can write the best Press Release possible. In addition, they have plenty of articles about how to write an eye-catching Press Release and how to optimize it for the Web.
Unlike any old blog content, there are definitive guidelines about what you can and can’t say in a Press Release, so make sure you read up if you are new to the world of news publishing.
When you’re happy with your article, they will also help you break down the demographics so that it only gets sent out to those readers who you are certain will find it useful. Obviously, the wider the circle of news services you want your article distributed to, the more it’s going to cost. So it makes good money sense to refine your audience.
A well worded and well optimized Press Release like the ones used in the example at the top of the page are going to get you a listing above the No#1 Google ranked site if you use your chosen keywords efficiently. How is that going to make you feel, ha? (It’s almost like blowing a cyber-raspberry at your number one competitor!)
To say nothing of the swarms of traffic that will flood your blog to read more.
Just how much better can it get?