How to Write a Press Release that Journalists Won’t Ignore

Full disclosure: Before I accepted my position as a content marketer at Track5Media, I was a reporter. Now that I’ve crossed to the other side, I have to be the pesky marketing person harassing the media. It’s quite an adjustment. After a year into my marketing position, though, I’m realizing how much of a benefit it is to have both a marketing and journalism perspective. From my commitment to fact checking to my awareness of how press releases are received and perceived, I see how my time as a journalist shapes me as a marketer. I’m not special. Lots of journalists are making the transition in their careers from journalism to marketing. I know that the skills I brought with me, I’m also competing with in this industry. With that said, I realize that my experience is still valuable to those who haven’t been frantically looking for a story on a Friday afternoon. Here are some tips (from my perspective as a reporter) on how to write a press release that journalists won’t ignore.

Five Tips on How to Write a Press Release that Journalists Won’t Ignore

how to write a press release

Are you tired of writing press releases and sending them but not getting any news coverage? Here are five tips on how to write a press release that journalists won’t ignore.

Target the right reporters

It’s not enough just to write a press release and blast it out through one of those fancy distribution websites. I mean –  do that –  but also think about how to target the right media. Is there someone locally you know who covers the industry you work in? Is there a specific magazine or industry newsletter that might be interested in your news? It’s always best to target the right audience.  a personal copy of your release.

Get their attention

Make sure you have a catchy subject line when you email them. Look at some recent articles that they wrote, and consider the language or phrases they used. Make your subject line sounds like something they would write.

Make them care

Just because something is exciting to you and your company, doesn’t mean it’s exciting to everyone else. That’s why if you want to know how to write a press release that journalists won’t ignore, you have to think about what makes it to interesting to other people. Construct your press release with that thought in mind. You already care. That’s why you’re making the announcement. Your job, however, is to convince other people that they should care too.

Give it to them straight

Consider the five W’s – who, what, where, when and why. Make sure your press release answers all of those questions and then some. Make sure you give them all of the details and that they’re accurate. For example, if you forgot to write a press release about a new hire and it’s six months later, don’t try to tweak the content so that it seems like it just happened. There’s nothing more frustrating for a journalist than to be fed old news.

Follow up

The most important part of how to write a press release that journalists won’t ignore is to follow up. You can do everything right, but at the end of the day, reporters are busy. They’ve got many others just like you sending them story tips and press releases, and they have an editor yelling at them to make a deadline. Even though they might be interested, your outreach could be lost in their inbox. Send them a follow-up, or even give them a call! Sometimes having a friendly conversation on the phone will help you to stand out above the rest.

Do you have any additional tips on how to write a press release that journalists won’t ignore? Share with us in the comments below!

Show Me the Money | How to Get Rich Snippets

As Google continues to updates its algorithms, you’ll also notice that the layout of the SERPs (search engine results pages) will change as well. Over the years we’ve seen a variety of changes to the SERP. One example is the change in paid search results. Previously, the “ads” were easily identifiable and located on one side of the page. Now, you can barely distinguish them from the organic search results. Another example of a change that Google has made to the SERP is the introduction of a rich snippet. A rich snippet will essentially provide a summary of the information a person is looking for directly on the page. Snagging this prime real estate on the results page will increase exposure, authority, and traffic. Below we’ll take a look at how to get rich snippets.

How to Get Rich Snippets

What is a Rich Snippet?

Before we can figure out how to get rich snippets, we first need to know exactly what they are. Rich Snippets is the term used to describe structured data markup that site operators can add to their existing HTML, which in turn allow search engines to better understand what information is contained on each web page. This essentially tells Google “this is the information your users want to know right away.” It also allows Google to display more information from that specific page. Instead of just showing a title and brief meta description, it can show product reviews, prices, bullet points, and a variety of other pieces of information that searchers might find useful.how to get rich snippets

 

 

Based on the information you want to present, there are actually specific ways that you can optimize and markup your data, but we’ll get into that shortly. Ben Goodsell reports that the click-through rate (CTR) on a featured page increased from two percent to eight percent once it’s placed in an answer box, with revenue from organic traffic increasing by 677%. Let’s take a look at how you can optimize your website and content to snag some valuable rich snippets.

Schema and Structured Data

There’s still a hot debate over whether or not structured markup and schema increase your chances to land a rich snippet. However, when it comes down to how to get rich snippets, it certainly doesn’t hurt to point Google in the right direction. You can use a resource like Schema.org to implement a specific code that tells Google what information your page is trying to promote. These specific schema markups include recipes, products, reviews, and a handful of other things. While your content should already be easy for Google to digest, structured data will provide a roadmap, so they can navigate your site with ease.

SEO Optimization

When people want to know how to get rich snippets, I tell them it’s all about optimizing your content. One of the first things you should do before you even write content is to do some basic keyword research. There’s no point in providing information that nobody is looking for. Instead, you’ll want to think about the information your brand can provide, and cross-reference that with what people are searching for. You also want to make sure your content entices readers to click on it. Find a way to get people to click on the featured snippet. You don’t want people to read the featured snippet and move on. In the end, you want them on your site.

Write Good Content

The last, and probably simplest advice I’ll give on how to get rich snippets is writing good content. We’ve already touched on the importance of good keyword research and SEO optimization, but let’s think simpler. Google wants rich, detailed content that’s going to provide answers for users. This means that blogs or other forms of content that are just a few hundred words aren’t going to cut it. You’ll want extensive and informative pieces of content that allow you to stand out from the competition. You’ll also want internal links as well as external links that link out to authoritative sites. Content is key when it comes to snagging those rich snippets, so make sure you’re putting effort into it!

If you’re looking to take advantage of the rich snippets feature, we hope these tips helped! If you have any other advice on how to get rich snippets, feel free to comment below!

 

Stop Creating Content Just to Create Content

Do you ever find yourself using extra words in a blog just to get to your word count? Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the content we create and what exactly makes it valuable. It seems like as marketers, we throw these arbitrary numbers out there – all blogs should be at least 500 words or Google likes content that’s closer to 1,000 words or briefer blogs are better because people have shorter attention spans these days. But what about… write until you’ve made your point and then stop? Stop creating content just to create content.

Stop Creating Content Just to Create Content – Four Things to Consider

stop creating content just to create content

  1. Who is your audience?

In order to stop creating content just to create content, first, consider who your audience is. Once you have a topic selected, how much background do you need to include for your readers? Do they prefer technical writing or a fluffier piece? What questions do they have, and how do you plan to answer them in your content? With your audience in mind, you can better decide what information to include, what to cut and how to construct your copy.

  1. What is the purpose of your content?

Next, you need to ask yourself what is the purpose of your content? Although you know the basics – to write SEO content for your website that Google can crawl but that also engages readers – what else are you trying to accomplish? Are you trying to get your audience to perform an action once they read your content? If you put yourself in their shoes, what could you say to compel them to do what you want them to?

  1. Did you get your point across?

Next, ask yourself – did you get your point across? Often times I find myself at the end of writing a blog thinking – I believe I said everything I can say about this subject. However, sometimes I’m still not on my word count. So, I go back through the blog and I add extra words or fluff sentences to make my content longer so that I don’t get in trouble. I’m guessing I’m not the only one…

This is a terrible idea.

I know I need to stop creating content just to create content, and so do you. If you can justify a shorter or longer piece than what you are required, be confident in that decision and just go with it. Even if your manager disagrees, chances are, your readers will thank you.

  1. Is your copy compelling?

The last question I think is critical – is your copy compelling? Or another way to word this… is your content boring? If you were bored writing it, chances are people won’t want to read it. Not only do you have to get your point across and include a call-to-action, you also need to be creative. Don’t be the person who has a catchy headline and then puts people to sleep with a boring, long blog that basically says, “I’m writing this so that I get paid.” How can you engage your reader as much as possible every step of the way?

stop creating content just to create content

In a previous life, before I entered the colorful world of marketing, I was a journalist. Perhaps it is that old-school journalism training that has me brainwashed into thinking you should get your point across as fast and creatively as possible. Or maybe that’s just fake news. Either way, I hope I gave all you fellow marketers out there something to think about next time you sit down to write. With that said, I’m going to stop creating content just to create content now. You’re welcome.

 

What Makes a Good Backlink?

What makes a good backlink? Just over two years ago I had no idea what a backlink even was, but fast-forward to the present, and backlinks are the gold that I continue to mine every single day! Backlinks are a crucial part of growing your online presence no matter how big or small your company is. On one hand, it’s an exercise in relationship-building, on the other hand, it puts your problem-solving skills to the test. So, what makes a good backlink? Well, below we’ll answer that question and provide a basic overview of backlinks and why they’re so important.

What Makes a Good Backlink?

A Brief Overview

So, what makes a good backlink? Well, before we get into that, it’s important to know what a backlink is, and why it’s so important to your marketing campaign. A backlink is essentially when a website other than your own, links back to your site. These external links will then pass on “link juice” which essentially is the weight that Google uses to rank your website. The more “good” backlinks directed towards your website, the more authoritative it appears to Google. Backlinks are essentially the way for other websites to vouch for yours, telling Google that you have a clean, authoritative, and informative site that should be ranked well.

what makes a good backlink

Backlinks are vital to your marketing campaign because it gives you the exposure that your brand needs to succeed. While the “word of mouth” marketing tactic can work in some cases, you still need to ensure that you’re being seen on the search engine results pages (SERPs). For nearly 20 years Google has used backlinks as a ranking signal for keyword searches. Even laymen with little SEO knowledge now know that backlinks are the key to ranking in Google. The best link builders, however, are able to pinpoint specific pages on his or her website and build links that go directly to that specific page. That page will then hopefully shoot up the Google rankings, ultimately generating more traffic, and more importantly, more business. We’ll break down some of the factors that make for a good backlink below!

Relevancy

One important factor when it comes to a good backlink is the relevancy of a site. Up until a few years ago, link building was a lawless arena of dirty tactics and blackhat SEO. Okay, maybe it wasn’t as scary as it sounds, but it really was much easier for websites to snag backlinks that weren’t necessarily “good” in the eyes of Google. After various algorithm and policy changes, Google now strongly takes into consideration the relevancy of the site. So, what makes a good backlink? Well, a good backlink should direct the audience to a relevant piece of information. For example, if you’re selling computer software online, it wouldn’t be relevant to get a backlink from an online pet store. Relevancy lets Google know that you can provide the information that your specific audience is looking for.

Diversity

What makes a good backlink? Well, one thing that even experienced SEO marketers forget is that it’s important to have a backlink profile. In SEO, there are “dofollow” and “nofollow” links. Dofollow links send link juice through the backlink, while nofollow backlinks do not. You’re probably thinking “well, we only want backlinks that provide link juice, right?” Well, Google has stated in the past that they also that the diversity of your links into consideration. This means that although your “nofollow” links may not provide any link juice towards your domain, it will still look good in the eyes of Google.

Trust

This is probably the most important trait of a good backlink. With literally millions of domains out there to get backlinks from, you’ll want to ensure that you’re only getting links from trustworthy sites. For example, sites like CNN, HuffPost, and government websites usually have high trust valued by Google. If it’s a blog written by a sixth-grade class in Iowa, then it’s probably not a very trustworthy site. Back in the day, the number of backlinks had a bigger role than the quality, which caused a surge in unsavory tactics to get as many backlinks as possible directed toward their site regardless of trust. If you have untrustworthy sites linking back to you, Google has the ability to hit your site with hefty penalties that could greatly decrease your traffic and cost you a lot of money.

So, what makes a good backlink? Well, a good backlink should be relevant, diverse, and trustworthy. If you follow these guidelines during your link building endeavor, you should have no problem pushing your SEO marketing campaign to new heights.

Digital Marketing Specialist | A Day in the Life

Here at Track5Media, LLC, we have three full-time digital marketing specialists. Connor starts his day with some sun salutations and a vegan ice bath, Troy rolls out of bed and takes his puppy outside, and Lenay makes herself some coffee and picks out an outfit for the day. Then, these three head to the office and prepare for another exciting day at Track5Media. Now, you may be asking, what do these digital marketers do during the course of a day? Well, I’m here to offer you an inside look at the daily tasks of a digital marketing specialist, so keep reading!

A Day in the Life of a Digital Marketing Specialist

While all of our digital marketing specialists at Track5Media have slightly different roles, here are a few duties that are relatively consistent between the three of them.

digital marketing specialist 2

Monitoring Everything

Some of us at Track5Media use Google Analytics to check for traffic and performance data on our sites. Using the found data, we can then look for opportunities to increase brand engagement and conversions.

In addition, monitoring social media channels is a priority for a digital marketing specialist. Track5Media has six different brands, each with their own Facebook and Twitter pages. Our digital marketing specialists are responsible for observing all activity on these social media channels. In addition, they engage with followers and respond appropriately to any comments or questions.

Aside from the company and our brands, we also keep an eye on our competitors. Competitor research is important in digital marketing. It allows us to see our competitors’ strategies and how the public is responding to their content. If a competitor is doing something that we are not and it’s working for them, chances are, we’ll definitely consider trying it.

digital marketing specialist

Content Creation

Digital marketing specialists create all kinds of different content to meet goals and increase brand awareness. Here are a few different types of content that we create at Track5Media:

  • Blogs. Each of our brands (and our company page) has its own blog. Our digital marketing specialists write regular blog posts for each page. For each post, they utilize proper keywords and SEO practices to create the best possible, optimized content.
  • Social media updates. Each Monday, our digital marketing specialists and intern plan and schedule Facebook and Twitter posts for each of our brands using HootSuite.
  • Graphics. Connor is our go-to guy for this one, but we at Track5 create lots of different videos, images, and infographics to support our content.

Campaign Management

One of the primary responsibilities of a digital marketing specialist is to manage different marketing campaigns from start to finish. As a team, our marketing department brainstorms different approaches for campaigns and promotions. We’re always thinking of new ways to promote content, events, and engage our audience. For campaign management, planning and communication are essential, so we have lots of meetings to collaborate and plan with each other. We task out who’s going to be in charge of what aspect of the campaign and monitor the campaign’s success while it’s happening. Finally, one of the most important parts of campaign measurement is evaluating its effectiveness when it’s finished. What worked for us? What didn’t work? By assessing the campaign’s effectiveness, digital marketers can develop their strategies even more.

digital marketing specialist 3

Website Management

This is one of the more tricky tasks of a digital marketing specialist. Aside from making sure that our websites have awesome content, we must make sure that they are functional and maximized for SEO, with the help of our development team. Aside from using sites like SEMrush and Moz for keyword research and analytics, we also use a tool called Screaming Frog SEO Spider to crawl our sites. The crawler analyzes each of our websites’ pages to ensure that they’re optimized for SEO and fetches key onsite elements.

While this list certainly isn’t exhaustive, it’s a pretty good overview of some of the major tasks of a digital marketing specialist. We’re currently looking for summer and fall intern marketing positions at the moment, so check out our open jobs here!