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How to Write a Press Release That Attracts Coverage to Build Backlinks

Your startup company just scored its first round of funding after rebranding. As a small business entrepreneur, you are so excited about this monumental milestone that you could shout from the rooftops. Life is good. This is the feeling that comes when it’s time for a press release, but where do you start?

Enter the press release headline. Instead of bellowing your announcement from the rooftops for attention, a great press release will formally help you distribute this newsworthy piece of information to a wider audience with the help of media contacts. 

Sounds like the perfect opportunity to score tons of backlinks, right? After all, your company is the one writing the press release so why not stuff it full of juicy backlinks to be widely distributed by hundreds of journalists and influencers? 

Well, unfortunately everyone else had that same thought. Backlinks were severely abused in press releases and content marketing in the past and Google eventually caught on.  Google started to penalize the sites filled with these backlinks. As a result, all links on “prnewswire” websites are now nofollow. In layman’s terms, the links in press releases will no longer help boost your SEO. 

But that doesn’t mean you can’t build backlinks to your website with a solid press release. Instead of focusing on the backlinks themselves, it is more important than ever to write a good press release that is noteworthy and spreads like wildfire. Here are four ways to do just that. 

Consider a Survey-Based Press Release 

Gone are the days of boring press pages. Dry, lackluster content like this can be your worst nightmare. Journalists are far less likely to share your press kit if it is neither attention-grabbing nor an embargoed release, unless you have unique information to present like first-hand data.

As always, be sure to use professional business language in your press communications and subject lines as you never know what might be published and you want to provide a professional image of your company.

One sure-fire way to gain coverage of your press release is to focus on unique statistics that resonate with your target audience through a survey-based press release. 

So what is a survey-based press release? This specific approach utilizes custom surveys with the goal of obtaining unique data to be used in a press communication to build brand awareness, relationships with journalists, and backlinks. 

Given these are custom built surveys, this approach can take much longer than the traditional press release. However, the results are seriously worth it. 

You can easily score hundreds of backlinks with one effective press release because… 

Don’t believe me? Take a look at this study on backlinks from uSERP:

Using a press release they were able to attract huge coverage from not just news articles but niche blogs in the digital marketing and search engine optimization space. 

The results? According to Ahrefs, hundreds of backlinks from high authority websites and blogs. The majority were dofollow links, too. This is proof that the right information will be shared because it is valuable to those reading it.

How does this happen? Most editors at large publications prefer to cite the source of a unique statistic. Since you own the results of this survey and the information is not available anywhere else on the internet, you are bound to score that link when the data is shared anywhere. Everyone prefers to link to the source of any information they are using.

Even if editors forget to cite you as the source, you can reach out to them and ask to be cited with proper link attribution after they post about your data. The last thing the editor will want is to have to take down or invalidate published content because sources aren’t approved or properly cited.

You can even provide screenshots or infographics of your results to be shared further with their contacts, writers, bloggers, news outlets, and journalists. Apply that same logic as more and more journalists share and credit your study. Sit back, relax and watch the backlinks roll in. 

Write Two Press Releases: National and Local 

Skip this part if you don’t enjoy writing. But in all seriousness, knowing how to write different types of press releases with varying angles could significantly improve your press coverage. 

We don’t consume all of our news from one source. We use different media outlets when searching for national versus local information. So why write a one-size-fits-all press release format like a standard boilerplate? 

Let’s say that you are planning your wedding in Florida, knowing all the challenges it represents, and you are interested in taking premarital courses. As a company offering this kind of service, publishing a local press release would help you get public relations coverage and links from blogs reviewing premarital courses in Florida as shown below. 

It is best to diversify and write multiple versions of your press release. Don’t stop after targeting the local publications. That is just the beginning because then it’s time to spruce it up and think bigger. 

Using the same premarital counseling example, you can shift the focus to a national study about how premarital counseling reduces divorce rates and increases relationship satisfaction by 30%, making couples healthier, happier, and closer. Publications like Healthline could pick up your news release in no time. 

For a few pro tips on working with journalists, you want to make it easy for them to get in touch with you and your contact information, whether that’s via LinkedIn, Twitter, or other platforms. This means removing the effort it would take for them to find email addresses of who to contact, by creating an easy to find media kit with a listed email and phone number for outreach and follow ups. 

If you can, provide even more details like your position at the company and a headshot they can use to quote you in their content.

Additionally, having a section dedicated to press releases, like in this example from a data center infrastructure company, allows journalists to get a quick overview of your current media coverage. It’s a psychological benefit that provides major social proof for your brand. In addition, it even directly helps journalists formulate better stories about your brand, increasing the odds that you get more coverage and more backlinks. It’s a win-win.

Partner up to Score Dual Coverage

There is strength in numbers. Be on the lookout for a partner that shares your same mission or goals. A partnership can quickly boost the coverage of your news story and grant you access to new readers, publications and land those coveted backlinks. 

This can be the best possible situation for your purpose of getting attention and eventually backlinks. Not only are you more likely to get double the coverage on this press release, given there are two parties involved, you are also more likely to gain new traffic from the partnership itself. 

Earlybird’s partnership with Benjamin Talks is the perfect example of two companies combining forces with a like minded partner in order to increase not only the coverage but also enhance the quality of their weekly newsletter. 

In the body of the release, Benjamin Talks also benefits with access to new followers through EarlyBird’s newsletter series by sharing their kid-friendly weekly highlight recap of stock market events that allow parents to easily spark monetary conversations with their kids.

Parents love to share details about what they are doing with their kids on social media and their Mom blogs, of course. EarlyBird and Benjamin Talks will be reeling in the robust backlinks in no time as word gets out. 

Don’t Underestimate the Power of Cause Marketing

Cause marketing should not be overlooked when writing a press release. A company is typically well received by the public when they are socially responsible and make a concerted effort to enhance societal well-being. If your company is doing something amazing to help the environment or saving society from self destruction, your press release should be highlighting this information in neon lights. 

People care more about these causes than they do about the amount of money you’ve raised. Given the last few years we have faced during the pandemic, journalists are constantly looking for some good news to share. Right now the world could use some positive news coverage. Take a look at this press release for the vegan supplement company, Future Kind, for example.

VegNews Magazine featured a press release about the new sanctuary map created by Future Kind that helps connect volunteers with animal sanctuaries in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The header in this release is attention-grabbing and the first paragraph quickly pulls at your heartstrings. The content is also easy to read with short paragraphs and bullet points. As a reader, you instantly want to share this publication with all your friends to encourage volunteering at animal sanctuaries and maybe even checking out some new products that are vegan-friendly. 

Most people tend to want to do good in this world. With a little encouragement from the companies that are taking a stance, we can rally together and make a change. 

Press releases are the perfect place to keep your audience informed of your corporate social responsibility, encourage more good than harm and also attract more coverage to your business. All of these factors in turn will naturally generate more backlinks.  

Key Takeaways

Modern press releases always contain nofollow links, and the links don’t pass any link equity back to your site, but this doesn’t mean that press releases are useless. In fact, when used correctly and creatively, you can net additional press coverage and links you otherwise wouldn’t have acquired. 

By crafting a catchy press release you can build backlinks outside of the actual release. Test a survey-based press release first. Collect valuable information in your niche market that publications can reference in their content and expand upon. In doing so you can net hundreds of authoritative links.

Writing press releases that optimize for both national and local is ideal to maximize reach. You can partner up with companies to score dual coverage and leverage their relationships to acquire more mentions and links. 

Always go deeper with cause driven marketing that people naturally want to talk about and share. If you want to earn backlinks from a press release, don’t just announce your funding. Instead, share something valuable!

Joanne Camarce

Joanne Camarce is a digital marketer focused on growing and strategizing B2B marketing and PR efforts at uSERP. She loves slaying outreach campaigns and connecting with brands like G2, Wordstream, Process Street, and more. When she's not wearing her marketing hat, you'll find Joanne lost in the world of Japanese music and art, or just being a dog mom.