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EcommerceBytes Insider, Number 6 - March 11, 2009 - ISSN      2 of 3

Press Releases Drive Traffic to Ecommerce Websites

By Ina Steiner

March 11, 2009

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Your marketing budget is tight or nonexistent, but you still need to attract new customers to your website. One low cost way to draw traffic is to establish yourself as an expert in your field. Publishing news releases online allow you to reach out to both the public and the media with interesting news about your business.

A press release informs the public and the media about news related to your organization or business. "News" is defined as information about a recent or important event. For example, if your organization or business hires a new CEO or introduces a new product or service, you could write a news release about those events. Other newsworthy topics include promotions you are running, price changes, a new line of products, and even tips for consumers who use your types of products.

A good release should also give some type of valuable information to attract potential customers. For the past 10 years, TIAS.com has been publishing a monthly list of the top antiques and collectibles that people have searched for on their Web site during the previous month. This list is valuable to collectors and sellers of antiques and collectibles because it gives an interesting insight into that vertical market. Many publications and websites republish these releases as well, because the information has value for their readers. As a result of these releases, tens of thousands of people have visited the TIAS website.

Every business has some type news and information that is of interest to their customers. Take some time to put together a list of possible ideas for a release, then select the most interesting topic for your first release. Once you have a rough outline for your first release, use the tutorial located here on how to turn your news into a press release. If you just don't feel comfortable writing a release, there is a tutorial located here on how to find and hire a writer.

Where to Submit Your Release
So now that you've completed your first press release, you need to distribute it. There are many free press release distribution services online. I maintain a list of what I consider to be the top sites here. I use the following criteria when deciding which sites to include:

  • The site must be free
  • The site must have a Google pagerank of at least 4/10
  • The site must have an Alexa.com rank in the top 200,000

When submitting to these sites, be sure to follow the directions of each service carefully. Violations of their rules can get your press release rejected.

Other Ways to Publish Your News
Put together a list of keywords and phrases that pertain to your business, then use Google's Blog search to track down blogs that are discussing similar topics. Submit your press release to the owners of these blogs. Using Google search, you can also track down forums where people are using your keywords and phrases. You may want to post comments to those forums with a link to your release. Also search Google News to find reporters that have written articles on topics related to your business. Email your release to those reporters - but be selective and don't bombard them with emails - they won't write about you if they think you are a spammer.

It's a good idea to have an area of your site where you publish your press releases - this is good SEO (search engine optimization). People searching for related content on search engines such as Google and Yahoo may find your site this way.

And don't forget to tweet your news! If you use Twitter, publish a "tweet" with a link to your press release. (See Lisa Suttora's excellent article on using Twitter, Eight Creative Ways to Market Your Ecommerce Business with Twitter in January's issue.)

The key here is to get the word out about your business and to do it in a way that brings value to people who read your press releases. It's a win-win-win for you, publishers, and their readers!

About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.

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