Monthly Archives: July 2010

How to Write a Social Media Press Release

Back in the day, press releases were the primary means of communication between business enterprises and the media. However, the advancement of the internet has made the traditional format of a press release less effective as journalists, press members and readers crave small chunks of succinct details that incorporate social media, linking and multimedia to make it more digestible and relevant. Compare this to the multi-page press releases that dominated newsroom fax machines in the past and it’s pretty clear that the way information is assembled and received has changed.

If you’re used to traditional press release formats its evolution to social media press release (SMPR) won’t be too much of a challenge. Knowing what to include and how to format your SMPR will be a big help in securing media and blogger coverage for your brand’s news and happenings.

The basic SMPR parts are:

1.headline
2.secondary headline
3.overview
4.body
5.facts
6.about
7.multimedia links
8.relevant links
9.tags
Each part has been labeled and is featured in a sample SMPR outline to make it easy to follow along.

1. For your headline, state exactly what’s the SMPR is about. This isn’t the place to use jargon or slang. A keyword or two and you’re good to go.

2.The secondary headline isn’t always necessary, but if you want to add a bit more insight and push readers to read the next line then include it. Follow the same guidelines you used in the headline.

Once you’ve built your SMPR you’ll want to distribute it to your media and blog contacts. There are multiple distribution methods for your SMPR. You can email, fax broadcast, post and link on your website or use distribution services. Distribution services typically come in two flavors – paid and free.Services with payment are very costly ranging in prices from $350 to $3500 depending on length, images and circumference, local, regional, national or international. The advantage of a paid service is that media and blog contacts are kept current and you will often receive specific instructions that pertain to how each individual likes to be approached and contacted. Additionally, you receive access to syndicated newswires like the Associated Press, Reuters and others which aren’t typically available through free services. Newswires are the official method of communication used by most to receive news content. If you’re interested in paying for distribution visit PR Newswire or Marketwire to learn more.

Free distribution of your SMPR can take place via a multitude of sites. Each has advantages and disadvantages. Ultimately, it will be up to you to determine which one is the best outlet for you and your brand. Some of the more popular free distribution sites are PRLog, i-Newswire and Press Release Point. You’ll want to research what’s included in the free distribution service and find out what types of flexibility you have with customizing your distribution list. This will help you get your SMPR into the hands of the right people. For instance, if a site informs you that they distribute to all the major national newspapers you should ask if they have distribution points to journalists that focus on specific content like health, technology or finance.

Also, keep in mind that the SMPR above is a sample only. Feel free to tailor your SMPR to fit your brand’s needs. You many need to go bigger or smaller. It’s entirely up to you.

Courtesy of Social Media Today.

The Art of Storytelling

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Fascinating presentation about the power and art of storytelling, something every marketeer should master.

Courtesy of Ted.com

Social Media is Important for SEO

Social Media Really Is Important to SEO

Social media definitely enters the SEO equation. “Effective social media management can be a tremendous source for generating buzz, those all-important inbound links and just plain direct referral traffic,” says Mike McDonald of WebProNews, as he discusses a recent interview he did with SEOmoz CEO Rand Fishkin.

Facebook

Copyblogger has an interesting article about how Facebook is “killing SEO.” I think that’s a bit sensationalist, but the points made by author Mike Wasylik are valid, nonetheless.

Michael Wasylik “The rise of Facebook creates a growing segment of the web that’s completely invisible to search engines – most of which, Facebook blocks – and can be seen only by logged-in Facebook users,” he says. “So as Facebook becomes ever larger, and keeps more users inside its walled garden, your web site will need to appear in Facebook’s feeds and searches or you will miss out on an important source of web traffic.”

“What’s the best way to keep your links in front of Facebook users?” asks Wasylik. “The ever-more-important linkbait strategy.”

The term linkbait sometimes carries a negative connotation, but generally, again, it’s just good solid content that people want to link to.

Twitter

Twitter has gone from a confusing (to many) communication tool/social network, to that plus a way to  find information in real time. This means that it is a good idea to tweet regularly. When someone performs a search on Twitter, they are searching right now. The fresher the tweet, the more likely they are to see it.

Mihaela Lica But Twitter’s search implications are not limited to its own search. “Although Twitter is a social media tool meant to create community and relationships, it does have an SEO value,” says Mihaela Lica at Sitepoint. “For example, Twitter can affect positively your Alexa rankings by sending visitors to your pages. Usage data is a sign of quality for Google and all the other search engines. If you can make people come to your site via Twitter, then this is an SEO advantage you cannot afford to miss.”

With both Twitter and Facebook, good content that you create will be shared. The links within the social networks may not boost your rankings, but they can lead to more links outside of them. Either way, it is added exposure.

Wrapping Up

The roots of search engine optimization really haven’t changed that much. Creating great and fresh content is still your best bet. That’s what people will share, and that’s what will be considered relevant for searches it pertains to. For some great SEO tips and items of note, check out these recent articles:

What’s the Future of Search?

SEO Checklist with Vanessa Fox
SEO Ranking Factors for 2009Could Comments Hurt Your Search Engine Rankings?

Google Improves Flash Indexing Capabilities

Google Changes to No-Follow on the Horizon?Are SEOs the “Bad Guys?”

Google vs. Bing – Side by Side

Courtesy of WebProNews.

10 Ways To Screw Up Your SEO

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By Dave McAnally  Courtesy of IMEDIA CONNECTION.

Article Highlights:
  • If a site has a transactional goal then that should be apparent from the onset
  • If you aren’t reflecting the goals and purpose of your site (especially in a highly competitive search result), you’re losing out to those that do
  • Just because a website has a good ranking doesn’t necessarily mean it will generate a click, deliver engagement, or produce a sale

Getting high rankings on competitive keyword terms is a large part of what search engine optimization (SEO) aims to accomplish. However, just because a website has a good ranking doesn’t necessarily mean it will generate a click, deliver engagement, or produce a sale. 

Unfortunately, there are many simple things that are either overlooked or just not considered that ultimately serve as a detriment to otherwise very solid SEO initiatives.

The following are 10 common issues that seem to arise when companies are optimizing their websites.

Stay informed. To learn more about improving your brand’s search initiatives, attend the iMedia Brand Summit, Sept. 11-15. Request your invitation today.

1. Treating social media as an independent exercise
Your audience is going to spend three times as much time on Facebook as it does on Google. Social media (particularly Facebook) cannot be abandoned or left alone in a world with real-time search results. You know who thinks social media must be optimized for search? Google, that’s who. So does Bing. Activity on your Facebook page will translate directly to more page real estate in search results for your brand. With Open Graph, you almost have to go out of your way to silo these practices, so why not align your digital activity with how your users spend their time online?

In this case, Specialized has more than 18,000 fans on Facebook but no updates to its Fan Page in more than four months. As a result, other websites related to the keyword “Specialized” are getting page one real estate on Google when the brand, Specialized, could be capturing multiple positions.

2. Too broad of a navigation palette syndrome (TBNPS)
Getting that coveted No.1 spot for a competitive term is one thing, but getting the full click-through rate value of that listing is another. Look at this site:

Auto Parts Warehouse actually ranks No. 1 on Google for “Auto Parts.” But while other websites on this results page feature site links (separate links to interior pages presented in the listing above the main site), Auto Parts Warehouse does not. And every bit of real estate on page one matters. The problem here is that, according to my spider, there are 651 links on the homepage. At Resolution Media, we generally discourage more than 100 links for an entire sitemap, let alone your homepage. No wonder search engines aren’t identifying key access points on this site!

Granted, there’s no silver bullet in this regard, but sorting the homepage by brand, product type, and year, and having sub-navigation therein, could create a much more powerful and enticing user experience right in the search result.

3. Fail to plan (and plan to fail) for traffic fluctuation
So let’s say you crack the first page for a high volume query. Your title is enticing, your description reads like a dream, and the URL even has some keywords in it. Everything lines up to drive the maximum click-through rate. But what happens if it works so well that Google starts sending more traffic to your site than the site is equipped to handle? I’m talking about the network stability. What can happen is something like this:

The highlighted area in this chart represents a brand’s launch in five new markets with offline marketing for the site and an aggressive paid search campaign. A tax on your server/network can slow down your site, which limits its search optimization capabilities because page load times impact rank (on Google). Additionally, you’re seriously hindering the experience for users on Smartphones or mobile devices who may not have the luxury of a WiFi connection. 

I’ve always advocated for keeping IT/Server Admins in the loop with your traffic forecasts. The more they know about the potential SEO volume, the better they can ensure the site is properly load-balanced, the CMS isn’t overly taxing, and the network connectivity is equipped to accommodate both users and search engine spiders.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE.

Older, Smarter, Poorer

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Here’s an interesting look ahead at what Western Europe (and France in particular) will look like in 20 years, with implications for the US and other “developed countries”, courtesy of The McKinsey Quarterly:

“Over the next 20 years, powerful demographic, societal, and economic trends promise to reshape consumer behavior substantially in many of the world’s wealthier nations. The implications for business will be significant. To better understand how these trends will play out, McKinsey’s Consumer and Shopper Insights Center, with the support of the McKinsey Global Institute, examined the prospects of France and found that there, as in many of its European neighbors, the average household in 2030 will be older, better educated, and less wealthy than the average household today.

We found three long-term trends reaching a tipping point that will fundamentally transform the country: an aging population, societal shifts altering what households look like, and economic factors slowing the expansion of wealth. As these trends sweep across France and, to varying degrees, the rest of Europe, they will impose pressure on consumption growth and dramatically change the consumer landscape.”

To read the full article, CLICK HERE.

Seth Godin on the Tribes We Lead

Seth Godin argues the Internet has ended mass marketing and revived a human social unit from the distant past: tribes. Founded on shared ideas and values, tribes give ordinary people the power to lead and make big change. He urges us to do so.

We’d argue that one of the easiest and most effective waysto do that is thru Hosting Your Own Internet Radio Show. How else can you start a movement overnight? How else can you instantly start a conversation and connect people to it? What easier way to get people to listen and pass it onto others, in true viral fashion? All you have to do to form a tribe around your product or service is stand up on our soapbox and start speaking.

To see how easy, affordable and effective this can be visit www.OCTalkRadio.net.   [tweetmeme]

The Most Used Press Release Buzz-Words

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This past April, online marketing strategist David Meerman Scott analyzed 711,123 press releases distributed by North American companies in 2008 through Business Wire, Marketwire, GlobeNewswire, and PR Newswire to come up with the most used press release buzzwords.

According to his analysis, “innovate” was the top word used.

Now, Adam Sherk, search and PR strategist for Define Search Strategies, part of The New York Times Company, has taken a look at PRWeb’s archives and come up with the top 75 terms used in releases.

Not surprisingly, “leader” and “leading” are number one and two, respectively. Full list here.

Courtesy of PRNewser.