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How To Write A Press Release For Google News

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Learning how to write a press release for Google News is a five-step process that can be taught in a half-day public relations workshop. So, why haven’t more public relations firms and departments seized this opportunity?

As Columbus discovered, training the crews of the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria how to sail west was a relatively straightforward task. The real challenge was convincing Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand that they wouldn’t fall off the edge of the world.

Google News represents a shift in the PR paradigm. That explains why so few innovators and early adopters have started exploring this new medium. Nevertheless, this is a voyage that you won’t want to miss.

The first step in learning how to write a press release for Google News is identifying a target audience and developing a segmentation strategy. This requires a re-definition of public relations that is significantly broader than media relations.

Many PR people think their primary purpose is to pitch the press, not reach prospects. Since Google News uses computer algorithms instead of human editors, they can’t imagine placing stories there. However, among the 4,500 “news sources” that Google News continuously crawls are PR Newswire, Business Wire, Market Wire, and PR Web.

When users search Google News for a term or phrase, they often find press releases as well as articles on the first three pages of results. This means that PR people can use Google News to pitch their news stories directly to prospects.

PR people can also use Google News to reach the press. According to the annual Middleberg/Ross Survey of Media in the Wired World, “Journalists now use the Internet as easily as the phone.” For article research, 92% of journalists working at newspapers, magazines and broadcast outlets nationwide go online – and 81% say they search online daily.

This is a new way of looking at the PR world.

The second step is conducting keyword research and finding your search term sweet spot. This requires learning to use a keyword suggestion tool.

Overture offers a free keyword suggestion tool, but it has limitations. While it tells you how many times a term was searched on last month, it doesn’t tell you how many competing web pages use the same term.

This is why most serious search engine optimizers use Wordtracker. While it isn’t free, it combines a database of 313 million search queries over the last 60 days with tools that make mining the information easy.

For example, while writing this article, I used Wordtracker to identify the best search terms for Google. It helped me discover that the phrase, “how to write a press release” gets 76 searches a day, but faces 11,000 competing web pages. Nevertheless, this makes it better than alternatives, such as “how to write an effective press release” or “how to write press releases”, which get fewer searches and face proportionally more competition.

The third step is focusing on Google News, even though it is relatively new.

Launched in September 2002, Google News is still technically in “beta”. However, it already deserves to be on your “A” list.

According to Nielsen//NetRatings, Google News attracted 3.4 million unique users in July 2003. This ranked Google News in the top 20 current events and global news sites, in a comparable position to BBC News.

According to comScore’s Media Metrix, which uses a different methodology, Google News had 2.24 million unique visitors in August 2003, making it the 17th most popular general news site, right behind LATimes.com.

As Mark Glazer observed recently in the Online Journalism Review, “Not too shabby for an upstart in beta with essentially no editorial staff.”

The fourth step is optimizing press releases to get high rankings on Google News for as long as possible.

According to an iProspect survey, less than 19% of search engine users review more than three pages of results before selecting a listing. This puts a premium on getting a top 30 ranking.

Google News gets 100,000 articles a day and includes them for 30 days. That creates an index of 3 million articles from the past month. The challenge is writing a press release that is one of the 30 most relevant articles out of the 3 million in the index for a specific search term or phrase.

To succeed, you need to do half a dozen things well. According to Marcia Yudkin, author of 11 books, this includes:

  • Decide on a keyword phrase that ties in to the product or service you are promoting and that people actually search for.
  • Place this phrase into your press release headline and repeat it around three times within the body of your press release.
  • Unless the proper name of your product or service is already well-known, emphasize its generic description rather than its name.
  • Likewise, substitute keyword phrases for pronouns like “it” or “its” to increase their overall frequency in the release.
  • Include a subhead, which in turn includes your keyword phrase, if your release goes on for more than three paragraphs.
  • Post your release at your own Web site on its own page, linked from your home page, in addition to submitting it to your favorite press release distribution service.
    The fifth and final step is tracking optimization’s effects and measuring promotion’s results. This requires learning to use Web analytics and other measuring tools.

    According to a survey last year by the CMO Council, senior marketing executives find themselves in the position of having to justify resources based on very tangible metrics. The survey also found that, while press and analyst influence remain important, lead generation and sales are the new metrics of marketing performance.

    This represents both a challenge and an opportunity for PR people. Fortunately, there are a variety of tools for measuring success.

    New versions of WebTrends, ClickTracks, Urchin and HitBox enable you to do more than analyze log files to see the actual terms people used to reach your Web site. They now enable you to “close the loop” by measuring sales conversions and return on investment (ROI).

    These are the ways that senior marketing executives want to measure success and these are the kind of statistics that can re-launch careers in public relations.

    In short, there are tremendous benefits to those who learn how to write a press release for Google News. The only risks involve convincing your clients or colleagues that sailing west is really a more rewarding route to the east.

    Greg Jarboe is the co-founder and CEO of SEO-PR, which provides search engine optimization and public relations services to Southwest Airlines, Verizon SuperPages.com, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization (SEMPO), and a growing list of other organizations. Jarboe is also the editor of SEO-PRs News Blog.

    How To Write A Press Release For Google News
  • About Greg Jarboe
    Greg Jarboe is the co-founder and CEO of SEO-PR, which provides search engine optimization and public relations services to Southwest Airlines, Verizon SuperPages.com, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization (SEMPO), and a growing list of other organizations. Jarboe is also the editor of SEO-PRs News Blog. WebProNews Writer
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    • http://www.legalthriller.com Jack Payne

      How to get into Google News on a limited promo budget? This is a formidable challenge indeed.
      I believe emediawire is a PRWeb offshoot, set up to take the free press releases that they abandoned.

      Are others out there? That is the burning question for the small fish drowning in this zillions- of- press- releases= a=day flood.

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    • http://www.articleblip.com Articles, News, Facts

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    • http://www.answeraddict.com/faq/iphone-questions iPhone Questions

      That is some great info, i have tried alot of the stuff and it definitely is a more productive way to do things.

    • http://www.seethrureviews.com/Rocket-Spanish-Download-Reviews.html Rocket Spanish Reviews

      I find that your description of writing a good press release for google can transferred and used in the article writing world as well (ie. ezinearticles)

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    • http://www.personalcoaching.com Personal Coaching Student

      Thanks, these are great tips. We have tried in the past to do press releases. We didn’t integrate all that you are suggesting, here. I think one of the most important factors in writing a press release is integrating good keywords. Wordtracker is an invaluable source for that. Thanks for the tips.

    • Karl Goldman

      geeze guys give us a break…two weeks now. The information presented in this news is stupid. So some guys wanted to exaggerate about facts of global warming. When glaciers the size of Rhode Island break off, when entire ice shelfs disappears, we get it…. the earth is warming and we are the cause, now lets get the public educated. I don’t think that a handful of guys trying to make it seem that the earth is warming any faster is going to make a difference, especially when compared to the real scientific data. The US and most of the world would wait until we can’t breathe before we acknowledge that we have a pollution problem (the reason, it cost more so let the next generation deal with it attitude), do we really have to wait until the earth is a slightly cooler version of Kuwait to say that it is warming? These problems take decades to produce, we can not fix them over night. So lets have some proactive steps in the right direction, we’re not asking the world to reforest all the deserts, but perhaps not chop down all the forests to make golf courses.

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    • Jack

      I think the article about how to write news for Google News is awesome – and it really helped me.
      Specially the tools you have mentioned like keyword tools. Great
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    • http://www.normantaylor.com/ Guest

      We use Press-Feed for our press releases. We’ve also used the Open Press and PR Leap. These are good distribution sites.