27 August 2010

1 How Google's Page Rank is like High School

High School. No matter how far we go in life the lessons we learned there seem destined to stick with us. It didn't matter if you attended a private school on the east side of Manhattan, a rural school in Montana or a public high school in the heart of Houston they all had their jocks, their slackers/stoners, the band, the click, and tons of other niches. This classification system was universal, so what better way to explain Google's Page Rank then to take us back to high school? That's exactly what Zippycart did. So put on your letterman jacket, grab the pom-poms or tuba case, a settle in for a little lesson high school style.

 Click image to view full size.

(image courtesy of State of Search)

16 August 2010

2 5 Things Press Release Can Do For You - My Take

Recently there was an article on the 5 Things Press Releases Are Still Good For on Business Insider. I’m such a staunch supporter of public relations. It’s where I began my career and I still believe that it should be a crucial element to any marketing plan. Here is my take (and elaboration) on their list of how a press release is still serviceable today.

Grow incoming links
"A press release can be a great way to seed the web with your company's name. 'It's a quick way to get a lot of links from good quality sites--much more effective than the old link exchange route.'"
This is very true and very important for SEO. On the internet content is king and inbound links are definitively the queen. To effectively use this strategy, the press release should be submitted to a distribution service, such as PR Web. Using a distribution service increases the likelihood of the article being picked up by various online sources. One thing to be aware of is that the majority of these links will be fairly short lived and will drop off in the subsequent months.

Target the right resources
"Sending a press release to a journalist that doesn't fit their work is the fastest way to piss them off."
Thank you! Nothing is more annoying to a journalist then receiving a pitch or press release from a PR person who is obviously using the spray-and-pray method. Take the time to build targeted lists. Notice the plural. Not every journalist you communicate with is the best recipient for your release. Consider having different lists that you work from initially. For example, you can easily begin by focusing on regional, local, and industry. However, don’t forget to continue weeding them down from there. Targeting the right journalists and outlets for your pitch will not only help you to build brand credibility, it will also help you to form valuable relationships making it easier to pitch to that outlet in the future.

Raise your profile
"If you are a major consumer brand or person of interest, social media may be enough to get the message out. But if you run a typical business, as unpopular as it may sound, you probably need a press release even more than a social media strategy."
Build reputation
"Social media is a great way to reach a broad audience, but it doesn't necessarily enhance the reputation of your brand. The traditional press release is a good way to build your company's credibility online."
Interesting points. I’ve lumped these two together, because I feel they are best addressed that way.

I’m a firm believer in the power of social media, however I think this statement has a very valid point. First off, not all businesses are right for social media. Honestly if you’re a local exterminating business, Facebook is likely a huge waste of time for you. However, a press release is not. It’s an excellent way to establish yourself as an authority not only online, but also with your local media and their local audience – your potential customers. Using a new, eco-friendly technique? Is there likely to be a particularly high insect population because of recent flood and you have tips for how to reduce the issue? These are valid reasons for writing a press release, demonstrating your expertise and raising awareness for your business.

Improve SEO
"A well written press release is key for search engine optimization. The audience isn't just a few media outlets, either, but exponentially larger - including countless bloggers and other outlets. That makes it more imperative than ever that the press release is well-written, scannable, easily understood, free of jargon or Franken-speak, and search-engine friendly, so it'll be indexed and easily found by those who.. well, search for it!"
To add to this I would emphasize Google’s adoption of universal search. With this change, search results now show not only website listings, but also images, videos, tweets and news articles. If you’re utilizing a press release distribution service, your release is likely to be picked up in the news search and may be funneled into the universal search results.

In conclusion, I think it is also extremely important to point out the importance of making your press release newsworthy. Having a newsworthy release will substantially increase the possibility of it being picked up by not online traditional news outlets, but also bloggers, search engines and other outlets in turn lending to the 5 above mentioned benefits.