One of the best ways to add content to your website and boost your search engine rankings is through an optimized press release. You can write about any newsworthy item going on at your company: a new product, an industry award, new hires are just a few examples.

Announcing these events has several benefits beyond search engine rankings too. Journalists and bloggers for instance will come across it and perhaps do a story about your firm. They make your company look active and lively, drawing more interest from prospective customers.

Regularly scheduled press releases do this and more provided they're properly formatted. Simply writing some text and putting it online will not do a whole lot for you. Many distribution outlets like PRWeb and will reject your press release for syndication if it's not properly formatted.

So what's the proper way to format a press release?

Continue reading for ways you should format a press release for online distribution. Beyond the tips listed below, there are some additional ways you can format your press releases to further its impact in the search engines so check back next time for press release formatting tips from a social media and SEO perspective.

•    Be sure your press release is at least 400 words (including boilerplate/company description at the end) and no more than 600 words.
•    Write the press release in the 3rd person. Meaning, use words like he, she, they and them when writing about your company.
•    Mention your company by name in the title and include your target keyword too. Include a sub-heading below your title with additional details to complement your title.
•    In your opening paragraph, include your city and date first. Example:  Atlanta, Ga. - August 23, 2010. Be sure your first paragraph covers the "5-W's and H" of your story - or who, what, when, where, why and how.
•    Next, the main body of your press release should contain further information on points in your introduction along with quotes from an important person at your company.  
•    Close out the press release by offering the reader a link to click and/or a place to contact your company for further information.
•    Include a boilerplate after the conclusion describing your company and website.
•    After the boilerplate, include your name, phone, email, title. This gives your press release further credibility. Once you have this, include a "###" or "END" to signify the conclusion of the press release.

Double checking spelling, grammar or formatting is critical to having a proper press release. Check out the AP Stylebook or some other resource for ways to format certain words or how you should abbreviate a state and more.

And here's one of the biggies and where many website owners fall down

Don't make your press release read like an advertisement. They're meant to announce events of a newsworthy fashion. If your press release has a bunch of "salesy" type language, it will be immediately dismissed by any journalist or blogger that comes across it. You can talk up benefits of your new product or whatever news you're announcing in your quotations a little bit but that's about it.

Not to mention, most distribution outlets will reject it as well.

Take a few moments and carefully review each press release before posting it on your site and distributing it to newswires and social networks. Doing so will save you lots of time and maximize the value of doing a press release in the first place.

One way to write a well formatted press release is to carefully examine other press releases like this one from a rental cabin firm in the north Georgia Mountains.

In the end, press releases are about informing journalists, bloggers and potential customers of events at your company. They're not meant to sell per se but draw the reader's interest in enough for them to want to learn more.

Check back again soon for more on properly formatting press releases - specifically for the search engines and how you can squeeze even more benefits out of announcing your company's news online.
August 23, 2010

Stone Reuning is president and founder of SEO Advantage, Inc., an online marketing firm and website optimization company that helps businesses turn their websites into powerful lead and revenue generation tools.

Beginning with a focus on search engine optimization in 1999, SEO Advantage now brings a full multi-disciplinary approach to each client website. Clients enjoy dominance on Google, Yahoo and Bing through a suite of unique pay-for-performance search engine optimization and online marketing services. Experts in SEO, social media optimization, online reputation management, and website conversions work hand-in-hand with small business owners and client marketing departments providing complete copywriting and creative web design support.

You'll find SEO Advantage referenced in books such as Writing Web-Based Advertising Copy to Get the Sale and the BusinessWeek bestseller The New Rules of Marketing & PR, as well as popular ebooks like The Small Business Blogging Blueprint.


Nice post Stone. We do a fair amount of press releases and your post is a good guideline for the younger members of our team to approach PR in a systemic, repeatable fashion, with good structure and balance that also supports SEO.

Wow!! Love this article. Now have a much better understanding of what is needed for my press release for my new site. Great job. Thanks again.

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Search Engine Guide > Stone Reuning > Properly Formatting Your Press Release for Maximum Impact - Part I