Optimized Press Releases: Press Releases on Steroids

In this era of online media, PR and social marketing pros are providing value in new ways.

The gold standard for a brilliant press release today extends beyond mainstream press coverage and includes well-thought out SEO that generates direct traffic to an organization’s website and provides self-published news directly to the customer. The reporter or editor is no longer the middleman.

Third party endorsements from news media and bloggers are still valuable but a well written, keyword rich press release can generate thousands links and help “bury” bad news, poor product reviews and customer comments that show up in Google. Continue reading

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Filed under Digital PR, Media Relations, PR Planning & Strategy, Social Media

Strategy is an over-used buzzword

Definition: Strategynoun – a plan, method, or series of maneuvers or stratagems for obtaining a specific, goal or result.

When I hear people use the word “strategy”, I often wonder what they really mean or if they even know what they’ve just said.  So I ask them what they mean by “strategy”  and it turns out, the people that use the word the most, seem to understand the least.  This post is for you guys.

Call it what you will….brand strategy…PR strategy….customer engagement strategy.  Folks, it isn’t that hard to develop a PR strategy. There, I said it.  The secret is out. Here’s how you do it:  sit down, look at the challenges and the goals you want to accomplish, then map your tactics to them, and get to work. Sure it’s an over-simplification but I think this is better than watching  people throw the word around or spin their wheels by over-thinking the best “strategy”.  Let’s get beyond the buzzword to the real meaning behind the word as it relates to PR. Continue reading

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Pinterest PR Primer

The hottest tool to hit the social media scene is Pinterest, a digital bulletin board of sorts where users post theme-based image and video collections.  It connects everyone in the world through shared tastes and the “things” they find interesting.  It’s fun, easy, visually appealing and highly interactive.  And it’s catching on like wildfire!

Pinterest has nearly five million users, and is rapidly growing. Nearly 1.5 million unique users visit Pinterest daily, spending an average of 15 minutes a day on the site. While the primary users are currently women who post lifestyle-based vision boards, some brands are beginning to use Pinterest as a heavy-hitting marketing tool.

How can your company use Pinterest?   Here’s a short PR primer to get you started:

  • Create a Pinterest account – don’t forget to include a photo, your company’s website address and a brief  description in the “About” section.
  • Create a variety of boards.  Remember, the more creative and interesting your board names, the better.
  • Connect your Pinterest account  to your Facebook and Twitter accounts.  This is a great way to attract followers.
  • Post a Pin It bookmarklet on your website and social media channels.
  • Pin lots of stuff.  It’s better to do it in spurts to maximize your exposure and engagement. Continue reading

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Media relations: What to do when the media get it wrong

Sooner or later, despite your best  intentions, a news story will contain errors that put you or your company in a bad light.

The media wrongdoing might entail getting the facts wrong, omitting relevant facts that create the wrong impression, or using certain words that convey a negative or unfair representation of your organization.

The error(s) of fact or emphasis may have simply been the result of an honest miscommunication by the reporter working on the story. Or it may have been the expression of an unconscious bias, or perhaps even a deliberate twist of the truth.

Either way, what do you do when the media get it wrong?

First, be sure you have a legitimate gripe. You’re likely too close to the story to have enough perspective so show the article to a neutral party and ask him to provide objective feedback. Does the story actually contain errors, omissions or harmful biases? Often you’ll be surprised to find that the message you hoped would get through to the audience, in fact, did. Continue reading

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Keep press release headlines short to get Google SEO love

While both Google News and Google Search both reward brevity, what many people don’t realize is that Google News is a very different beast than Google Search, and has different SEO requirements.

The two most important elements for optimizing a news release headline are keyword inclusion and length. There are many other factors that go into whether a release will show up in Google News, but keeping the headline short but full of keywords is essential.

In terms of length, a full release headline must be 65 characters or fewer to be displayed in Google, yet only 18% of press release headlines meet this requirement.  For a news release to show up on Google News, it must have fewer than 23 words in the headline (subhead not included).

A study conducted by Schwartz Research Group in Boston last fall revealed that the average headline length is 123 characters. The firm analyzed over 1,600 press releases over a one month period and found that 22% of online press releases were completely ignored by Google News because the headlines were 24 words or more.

Clearly the lesson here is that while the content of releases should be the primary focus, overlooking headline length could mean limited exposure for a well-crafted release. If you want to avoid slamming the door on Google News, you might want to consider brief, keyword rich headlines for your news releases. – Maria Loscerbo

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Infographics: A PR secret weapon

In a recent issue of the Globe and Mail, I learned about a cool new, web-based app called visualize.me, which takes user data from LinkedIn and turns it into a customizable infographic résumé like this one I quickly created for myself here: visualize.me – Maria Loscerbo.

Some people believe conventional text-based resumes are too linear to describe information that is often non-linear. This software tool allows you to market yourself visually with a creative and interactive résumé that you can construct in less than 5 minutes.

With visualize.me, prospective employers can read about your work history in a dynamic and colourful flowchart complete with stylized sections that include skills, interests, testimonials and relevant career statistics. The creator of this app was originally inspired by the infographic resume of writer Chris Spurlock. This resume (shown above) garnered high profile media coverage around the world and, eventually, a journalism job at Huffington Post.

I am a huge advocate of infographics for PR purposes! Not only are they a quick way to graphically convey key information but they are a helpful visual aid for time-crunched people who want the top line facts in about 10 seconds.

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Filed under Marketing Communications, Media Relations, PR Planning & Strategy, Product Launches, Public Relations General, Social Media

How to be a presentation god

Jerry Seinfeld once pointed out in a skit that studies show public speaking is a bigger fear than death. If you are one of those millions of people who have been plagued by the fear of public speaking, this link includes an inspiring presentation by one of the world’s best business communicators:  Steve Jobs. Check it out when you have 5 minutes.  In addition, here are a few lessons learned from this example that might help you sharpen your presentation skills.  Presentation gods: Maria Loscerbo

1.   Understand their audience.  The next time you’re preparing a presentation, ask yourself: Who are they? What do they want to hear? What do they expect?  What keeps then up at night?

2.  Keep it simple.  A few well-chosen key points and images can be a powerful tool.  In the Steve Jobs example I provided you above, Steve never used more than ten words per slide! Good presenters know that the more separate points they make, the less their audience will take in. They don’t inundate their audience with too many details and they don’t lecture to their audience.

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