How and Why Press Releases Can Help Build Your Practice
By Stephanie Beck
I'm going to share with you the strategy; the "why" you should be writing and "how" press releases -when crafted properly - can build your practice. I constantly hear from practitioners that they need new ways to get more patients. Press releases can help in multiple ways. They can add more traffic to your website, build your social media status, increase your authority and credibility and increase ranking for special keywords. And those are just a few of the ways press releases help you build your practice.
I find there are basically two types of press releases. The first are used primarily for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and others are primarily to build authority and credibility for you or your practice. Anytime you are creating a press release and can add keywords that help your SEO rankings that would ultimately be best. I have spent a lot of time discussing ranking, building your reputation and back linking. Keywords are crucial to these processes. Therefore, if you can use keywords that you want to rank in the search engines, even if the primary objective is to build authority and creditability that would be the best outcome.
Sometimes it isn't about keywords, it's about creating authority and credibility for you and your practice. Consider this, when a patient recommends or refers you or your practice to another person, what is one of the first things most people do? Most of the time, they will enter your name or the name of your practice into the search engines. What will they find? Maybe your personal or business social media profile? Sometimes it's your website or reviews on other sites, but what if they found press releases from various news sites about you? Imagine the type of impression that would make on a potential patient? It doesn't have to be national news sites either. In fact, you have a stronger chance of the press release staying on the page if you focus on building your creditability and authority locally.
Press Release Strategy
A well written press release can be published by any number of highly trafficked news organizations. The key is to provide content that is relevant and valuable to the audience. When you are writing, highlight a piece of valuable content. Whether it is a blog post, book launch, recapping an event, an article, or adding a new social media site or video, you need to make sure your content is relevant to the readers. In order for you to be able to create a great press release, the content you are basing your press release on will need to do one of five different things:
When you are ready to craft your press release, write it as if you are reporting a news story. This means you need to be objective to the content. Even if you were the one who created the original content, if you will separate yourself from it and highlight the benefits without making it personal, then you have a much greater chance of getting it published by your local, as well as national news sites.
Press Release Topics
You can write about a new blog post and discuss what has been talked about in the post. You can create a press release about a video (this is why you need to make sure your video is packed with valuable and relevant information, so you have substance to make a great press release). You can send out a press release about new photos or images especially if it is about your work (always be sure you have permission to use the images if you are not the owner of the images). You can send a press release about a new website, a new web page or a new social media site, just make sure the pages or website will fit into one of the five types we mentioned earlier.
You can create a press release around a new or updated product or service as long as the content is focused on benefits only and not a promotional piece to purchase the product or service. You can write several press releases around events. You can write about new polices or terms of services you are adding to your practice. For example, let's say you start accepting CareCredit cards at your practice and your press release highlights the benefits for customers in your area.
The reason why press releases are a powerful strategy for getting traffic is that you can control the backlinks to your website. You can do this by in two ways:
When you use direct links to an inner page within your site, this is known as deep linking. An example of deep linking would be if you linked to an article on your resources tab or a specific blog post. Basically, you are taking the search engines to a page other than your home page. One of the most common mistakes made by people crafting press releases is when they only link directly to the home page or the general blog page on their website. If the press release is about a specific blog post, be sure to take them directly to that blog post because this is what is relevant to the press release and the easier you make it for the editors of the news sites, the more likely you are to get published.
Where to Send Your Releases
There are a number of free press release sites available. Here is a link to a blog post from Mashable that lists 20+ Free Press Release distribution sites:
I have found the free press release sites helpful, however, if you want to have the best success with getting your press releases picked up by news feeds, I recommend www.PRNewswire.com. The paid distribution sites can be cost prohibitive if you aren't using them regularly. Some of the annual memberships seem more expensive, however, if you are releasing multiple press releases annually, they are quite affordable. Also, be aware that marketing experts and firms who have annual subscriptions to these paid distribution sites will sometimes offer specials, discounts or packages for a number of press releases that can save you time, energy and money. Remember, sometimes outsourcing a project can make it more affordable in more ways than one. Perhaps a good strategy that fits into your budget would be for you to handle the submissions to the free sites, but save the paid distribution for those press releases that are going to make the most impact on your practice.
If you are struggling for content and still not sure what to write, I have another suggestion. This strategy works especially well if you are creating press releases for SEO purposes. I recommend you set up a Google alert for your related keywords. This is a free service, you can register at www.google.com/alerts. Google will email you updates of the latest relevant Google results based on your queries. This is where selecting a narrowed niche of keywords rather than a broad term would be best and not clog your email. Consult your webmaster or work with a marketing expert to provide you with keyword research for your niche. I wouldn't advise just entering words at random because they may not produce any data for you or be providing items that are irrelevant to what you offer in your practice. However, when used effectively, Google alerts can jog your memory or be a good basis for writing a press release.
If you are feeling a little overwhelmed, then just start with one strategy and commit to one press release a month. Figure out what your goal is: to increase ranking for keyword or have more relevant links for your practice or your name or both? How are you going to measure it? Be sure that if you are going to add a new strategy you have a way to measure it so you know that it is working. Consistency is key, so start with just once a month and after three to six months, evaluate it. I think you'll like the results of your efforts.
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