In the previous installment, we looked at what press releases are and why they matter. In this post, we’ll look at target audiences – i.e. for whom should you write your solar press releases.
There are basically 2 schools of thought when it comes to press release audiences:
- Write for Reporters & Journalists
- Write for the Search Engines
Both of these approaches have slightly different pros and cons, not to mention different etiquette guidelines and general rules. We’ll explore those in detail down below.
However. It’s worth adding a third category here – Writing for End Users.
You should always write with your end users in mind. Obviously, you’ll have to slant the story a bit more for journalists or search engines, but it’s best to assume that an actual client could potentially read whatever solar press releases you publish.
To that end, make sure your writing:
- Is succinct and clear
- Avoids big words or overly technical jargon (if possible)
- Focuses on benefits and solutions – not features and specifications
- Includes a call to action (CTA)
- Features contact info and links to your site
After making sure that your press release is accessible to end users, you can focus on Journalists vs. Search Engines.
Writing Your Solar Press Releases for Journalists & Reporters
In the old days (before the Internet), there was only one way for a press release to receive exposure – it had to be picked up by an interested journalist who would then rework the story and make it news.
Nowadays, you have many more options for distributing your solar energy press release without relying on reporters as middlemen. But there are some real advantages to the journalist route:
- Your press release will be reworked into an independent, 3rd party, objective article. You’re not singing your own praises – someone else is (hopefully).
- Your press release will not be duplicate content (since it has been reworked). This means that you potentially double your SEO juice. Google will index one version of your original press release and one version of the reworded article from the reporter. Either or both of these may now appear in the search results.
- You’ll reach a niche market that your own press release never would have. People usually read articles – not press releases. If the reporter is specialized enough (or popular enough) she will have her own following. You now have access to that following.
Those are the advantages. Here are some of the downsides of writing solar press releases for journalists:
- You must find and convince journalists to cover you. This can take a lot of hard work since attracting reporters requires thinking like a reporter. This means that your press release must:
- Be devoid of fluff or marketing gimmicks
- Adhere to a pretty strict format
- Entice and be “newsworthy.”
- Journalists like scoops – they don’t usually want to cover your product or service unless they can add something new to the equation that no one else has. Once a story is picked up, it becomes increasingly difficult to get other journalists on board. This limits your exposure.
- You lose control of the story. The reworked article might not include the keywords you were aiming for, or it could fail to highlight those areas you believe are most important. Worse still, the journalist could hate your product or service and do an exposé that shows you in the worst possible light.
Writing Solar Press Releases for the Search Engines
Before the Internet, you had little chance of a press release ever getting picked up without going through a journalist first.
Nowadays, you have a ton of free and paid options for spreading your solar announcements across the Web.
The rules have changed:
- You don’t need every solar press release to be “newsworthy.” It just has to be interesting enough to read and enticing enough to convert.
- You don’t need to work around editorial calendars or newspaper deadlines. Release your story whenever you like.
- You can include multimedia (videos, images, logos, etc.).
- You control the tone of your press release. Make it “markety.” Make it objective. It’s up to you.
- You have more control over the content and location of your press release.
- You don’t have to adhere to as many formatting rules and etiquette guidelines.
Last (and definitely not least), you can optimize your press release so that it complements your larger SEO strategy.
That means you can weave in keywords and hyperlink the release back to important pages on your site.
The benefits of this are tremendous – and exponentially so. The more sites you publish your release on (either manually or through wire syndication), the more SEO juice you receive as you build up visibility, backlinks, and Google love.
What are the downsides of writing press releases for the search engines?
I’m not sure there are real downsides. There’s always the danger of alienating readers if your copywriting is too “salesy.” But that danger is even more pronounced when writing for journalists.
Best of All Worlds – Writing for Clients, Journalists, and SEO
My recommendation – craft your solar copywriting so that it appeals to everyone.
Admittedly, you can’t please all of the people all of the time. You gotta prioritize.
- First, write your solar press releases with end users in mind. If they can understand your writing, you’re ready to move onto Step 2.
- Next, try to frame your press release in terms that would appeal to a journalist. Make it newsworthy if you can, and be mindful of formatting (coming in a later blog post).
- Then, optimize your press release with keywords and hyperlinks for maximum SEO effect.
- Finally, go through your piece once more to make sure it still appeals to end users. Journalists and SEO should never trump the needs of potential clients.