One of the most underutilized but important insurance agency marketing tools is the insurance agency news release. Although the SEO news release is now the latest craze, it doesn’t replace the traditional news release. In fact, it effectively bypasses the intent of the traditional news release, as I’ll explain.
The SEO news release includes keywords and optimized language that help search engines find your insurance agency news release and serve it up when people enter keyword prompts into a search. When your news release pops up, voila! People read it and click on the back links to your site.
There are now many websites that will host and get your insurance agency news release indexed on the major search engines at no or very little cost. Usually the service itself is free, but if you want to create anchor text, which are a word or words included in the news release that link back to your website, that can cost $30 or so.
Skeptics claim that, even when people find your insurance agency news release while web surfing and read as far as the anchor text, very few of them will actually click on it. The real SEO benefit here works in reverse direction, they say. When you link from your site to the site where your news release is stored, you increase the number of links for the free press release site. The SEO game is very much about acquiring authority, and the more links a site gets, the more authority it has.
SEO news releases present another problem for insurance marketers: will your readers be distracted by competitors who buy pay-per click ads based on the same keywords you used in your news release? Whether the back links you get are sufficient to increase your inbound traffic and significantly provide warm leads, you be the judge. It doesn’t cost much to try SEO news releases. Just don’t forget that this is probably not the distribution method you want to use if you think you’ve got a good story and you want to attract journalists to write about it.
SEO will play absolutely no part in getting a journalist to write a story based on your news release — not the business reporter at your local newspaper or the trade journalist for the regional printing industry publication who you’re targeting for your news release about your special programs for printers, for example. In fact, if you only issue an SEO news release, no journalists are likely to see it.
The most important thing about a traditional insurance agency news release is that it gets distributed to thousands of real, live journalists— unlike SEO releases, which go to sites to be indexed by search engines. When you send a news release through one of the traditional wire services, such as PR Newswire, Businesswire or Marketwire, your news release may inspire a journalist to write a story. Sure, at maybe $400 per release, it will cost you more than sending a news release to an SEO news release service.
Getting that big story from the press is the prize you might get by distributing your insurance agency news release through the wire services. I say “might.” Sometimes nothing happens. Especially at first. You need to get to know your local business editors and the trade press for your target industries and be consistent about issuing press releases to them.
So what’s the takeaway here? If you have news you think would make a good story, it deserves a traditional insurance agency news release. On the other hand, there are many uses for SEO news releases, which I’ll talk about next time.