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Social Media Survival Kit For Small Businesses

Small businesses, and PR professionals working on their behalf, often find themselves staring down a path that leads deep within the forest of social SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Some will adapt easily, planting Tweets that grow into oaks of stories. Others will become lost, with nothing on hand to help them navigate a path that feels unfamiliar to one they have ever walked before.

In our five part Social Media Survival Kit For Small Businesses series, we will share what you need to do to survive this forest, including:

1. How to Develop An Optimized Press Release
2. How to Compose a Multimedia Release
3. How to Build Relationships with Bloggers
4. How to Build Media Relations on Twitter
5. How to Build PR Value on Facebook

In part one below, learn how to build out one of the most critical components of your survival kit - the optimized press release:

Social Media Survival Kit For Small Businesses Part 1:

How To Develop An Optimized Press Release

forest of social media

In the forest of social SEO, the optimized press release is your rescue flare.

By using the right mix of keywords and messaging, anyone from a seasoned public relations executive to a newly minted pro can distribute a release through online channels that can be seen by thousands of journalists and consumers in seconds.

Develop your optimized press release with the five tips below:

1. Understand That Good Content Shines Brightest

Quality Content

Before setting foot into the forest of Social SEO, you must be prepared to respect your new surroundings, and respect your place within them. You must be confident in your existing skills, and in your ability to learn the new skills that will help you survive.

And so, on a tactical level, what new skills will you need to create an optimized press release? Would you believe - very little?

Fundamentally, an optimized press release is a press release first, an optimized piece of content second. And this means that the content you write about must be newsworthy and well crafted, before optimization even enters your mind.

When writing an optimized press release, begin by writing it the same way you would any other press release. Develop your concept. Research your topic. And prepare to spend your mental energy drafting killer content.

2. Pack Up Your Keywords

Keyword Strategy

As you prepare for your journey into the forest of social SEO, you must remember to pack everything you need to survive. This includes the matches and flints that can light your fires and deploy your flares. When developing an optimized press release, your keywords are your matches and flint.

Prior to drafting your optimized press release, develop a concept that clearly states what your release will be about. Next, brainstorm and write down a list of keywords or phrases that support this concept. When brainstorming keywords, ask yourself this question: "how does my audience describe my product or service, before they know it by name?" Oftentimes, it will be these same keywords that your audience uses when searching for your product or service online.

Your final step in the keyword selection process will be to verify that the list of keywords you have chosen truly are being used by your audience online, in other words, verifying that these keywords boast 'search volume.' Online tools, including Google AdWords, can help with this final step as search volumes for dozens of keywords can be generated in mere seconds.

3. Use Your Assets Wisely

use pr assets wisely

When lost in any forest, the assets you have on hand must be used wisely and sparingly. In other words, you would never use twelve matches to light one fire, or send six rescue flares into a night sky that shows no sign of life. Your optimized press release assets should be used just as wisely, and just as sparingly.

The keywords you have selected will be one of your most critical assets. In addition to being an asset in and of themselves, keywords should be used wisely as a component in every other asset you have at your disposal to communicate your message (think headline, subhead, body copy and boilerplate.)

And just as twelve matches aren't needed to light one fire, your keywords do not need to be used with any frequency above and beyond what is needed in naturalistic conversation. While there is no rule on this, if you focus on using one main keyword once per every hundred words, your release will sound both on point and natural.

4. Know Where Your Readers Will Be Looking

target releases to readers

Rescuers will look for flares shot into the sky, rather than deep into the ground. Readers of your optimized press release, and search engines, will also look to specific locations within your release in order to determine meaning.

When we read, we first take in copy, automatically scanning the content we see. We do this by reviewing content that appears up and to the left and front and center (for example, reviewing the first part of a headline, a subhead and an opening paragraph.) Search engines were built to determine meaning the same way, and will use this determination - in part - to prioritize search engine ranking.

Ensuring your release is drafted with the most important keywords up and to the left - and front and center (first part of a headline, subhead and opening paragraph) - is the underlying force behind developing an optimized press release. And luckily, alerting your readers to your main concept up front and early isn't just optimization best practice, but writing best practice, as well.

5. Link To Your Location

targeted links

A flare deployed next to the tallest tree in the forest will provide rescuers with vital clues to a lost hiker's location, by linking their location to this landmark.

In much the same way, a link can be made between the release you distribute, the concepts you are promoting, and your brand through the use of an optimized hyperlink. When finalizing your release, simply add a link to a major or supporting keyword in your release, preferably as high up in the content as possible. Ensure the keyword you use as a link to directs back to a page on your website that is optimized for (or 'about') this phrase.

Not only will this link act as a entry point into your website and potentially help boost your search ranking (think of this link as a vote in favor of your website content, a vote that will become stronger as more and more people link to your release) - but it will provide readers a clear link in their mind between your release and your primary concept.

In part two of our Social Media Survival Kit for Small Businesses, we will show you how to take your release to the next level as we share How to Develop a Multi-Media Release.

Take your social marketing tactics to the next level and learn to Power Your SEO With PR - a free guide on using SEO Press Releases!

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