The Power of Push and Pull

September 18, 2009

In a recent AdAge column, Steve Rubel of Edelman wrote an excellent essay on the increasing power of pull that led me to think about how our mix of push and pull services can serve public relations and marketing professionals in these ever-changing times.

There’s no doubt that the world of information dissemination is shifting.  Previously dominated by Push (think Television, Radio, Newspapers, and Magazines), where information is relatively scarce and blasted out to wide audiences, we’re now operating in a vast mix of both Push and Pull (think Search, Permission Marketing, Twitter, and narrowcasting to niche audiences).  In this environment, your organization’s major news announcements are still best served by reaching the widest relevant audience possible with a big Push, but sometimes whether due to budget or news content a Pull approach is wiser.

When approaching news and content creation from a pull perspective, it’s best to think from the searcher’s perspective.  As Steve writes, “One way to think of it is that Googlers are looking for “how to get rid of roaches,” not necessarily for “bug spray.””  Think of all the topic possibilities this way of thinking can open up for you to create content surrounding your brand.

Your source for ideas is often right under your nose too, namely in your Web Analytics package.  Whether you use Google Analytics, Web Trends, Omniture, or any of the other great services available, you or your web team likely has access to reports from search engines containing the keyword searches that led people to your site.  If you notice certain keywords that lead to lots of visits, long visits, inquiries, or orders you can build on them!

One strategy may be to start with a blog post, use channels like Twitter to generate buzz, craft related press releases to publish on EON: Enhanced Online News for more exposure and SEO help, and give your campaign periodic boosts with wire distributions.  Of course no news distribution service does that better than Business Wire.  Just take a look at our Distribution Catalogue and then imagine the time it would take to reach out to the thousands of news outlets individually.


Should my Small Business use Press Releases?

August 28, 2009

While it’s true that we count some very large companies among our clients, we are also mindful of the needs of startups and small businesses and provide press release distribution tools and services that can fit almost any budget.

EON: Enhanced Online News, one of our press release platforms, facilitates your news being discovered in a number of ways:

-An optimization tool which we call the Press Release Builder that helps you create or optimize your release for search engine performance,
-Distribution in Google News, targeted RSS feeds, and Docstoc.com
-Social sharing links that facilitate your release getting into the social sphere
-Multimedia galleries providing assets such as photos and video in multiple formats to interested journalists, bloggers, and consumers for easy redistribution.

Beyond that, EON enables you to embed images within your release, include active hyperlinks with anchor text of your choosing, and a website preview window with any website of your choosing embedded.

EON starts from $295 for lifetime release hosting.  Multimedia assets are $100 for the first and $50 for each additional.  Here’s two examples of EON releases which really get the most out of the platform:

Candle Lovers’ Dream Come True

Bluetooth Technology Gets Faster with Bluetooth 3.0

…and here’s a coupon for $100 off your first release.  EON releases can be ordered directly from our website.  Simply create an account at http://eon.businesswire.com .

Our metro wire circuits are also very affordable, starting at only $210 for a release under 400 words.  Take a look at your options and get in touch with a Business Wire representative near you (we have over 20 offices) if you have any questions or would like to get started.

Of course the world doesn’t revolve around Business Wire, and there are some great low cost or no cost ways of driving traffic to your site or blog include everything from actively twittering, participating in blogger communities such as BlogCatalog.com, writing guest posts through services like Bloggerlinkup.com, searching for PR opportunities on HARO (or our ExpertSource service), and studying up on everything SEO on sites and forums such as SEOMoz.org to name a few!


SmartBrief reviews EON: Enhanced Online News

August 4, 2009

SmartBrief, the media company most well known for their vast network of excellent industry newsletters (disclosure: we have a partnership with SmartBrief), recently reviewed EON: Enhanced Online News after conducting an experiment with word-of-mouth and other promotions for their free viral marketing webinar.smartbrief_logo

Here’s an excerpt we’re particularly fond of:

We liked that EON does a lot of the painful stuff for you: Distributing the press release via RSS feeds for news hounds, consumers, and journalists. When you create the release, the Enhanced Online News service prompts you to tag it by industry, subject, geography and keywords so it can target your announcement to the most relevant readers possible.

You can read the entire review at SmartBlog.com or take a look at SmartBrief’s press release for more details.


Don’t Ask the Barber if You Need A Haircut and other Press Release Wisdom from Warren Buffett

May 26, 2009

Last week, HubSpot’s provocatively titled webinar “How to Be Smarter than your PR Agency” took a stab at analyzing the effectiveness of press releases.   We applaud their efforts and will chime in here with some footnotes based on 48 years in the press release biz.photo from Times Picayune

But first, thanks to HubSpot for tackling this topic.  We’re delighted to see an inbound marketing software firm like HubSpot acknowledge how well press releases can perform in linkbuilding and organic search. 

Among HubSpot’s findings:

  • “Traditional” press releases are “syndicated” 20% more frequently than “social media press releases”  — meaning they are republished in full on major portals like Google and Yahoo! and authority websites.
  • “Traditional” press releases drive 14% more traffic to your website than “social media releases.” 

We’ve known this for years–but as every PR pro is aware, third-party endorsements breed credibility.  Thanks again, HubSpot!

Wire services “push” content

Presenters Rebecca Corliss and Michael Volpe explained that services like Business Wire have media relations teams that work directly with portals, to whom we “push” content based on need.  At Business Wire, we have 30 full-time media relations professionals worldwide.

HubSpot gives full credit to “the wires” for being able to “push” content better than anyone but bemoan we can be “pricey.”

Here’s where we disagree.   Starting at $210, we believe the press release is a multi-tasking bargain with its ability to work NOT ONLY as an SEO/linkbuilding tool but as  direct marketing.  

Treat your press release like its own interactive web page and it works as a tipsheet for reporters, a mini website, a brand ambassador.  Awareness raised by the well-done press release is hard to beat, because NOT ONLY does it contribute to SEO, it markets your message directly, ESPECIALLY when  pushed out to other authority sites, or “syndicated” as Hubspot calls it.

HubSpot discouraged the use of multimedia and XHTML formatting–bullets, boldface, italics, white space–in press releases.  Again, we disagree.

Attractively presented content gets read

Sure you want traffic to your site, but you also want people to READ what you WRITE.  That’s much more likely when content is attractively presented.   Our metrics show press releases with graphics get two to three times more clicks.

When HubSpot introduced the “the inbound marketing press release” to join the H-release, the social media release, the SMNR, SMPR, it was hard not to wonder:  Do we really need another template?    

Thanks to investments in NewsML by Business Wire like our patented NX technology, real world applications exist NOW for virtually any template or format you choose.  Every press release can include multimedia or not, can be shared or searched, include anchortext and/or lengthy URLs–it just depends on how you build it, having something to say, and your goals. 

Good content, well written, appropriately distributed

Our press release mantra:  Good content, well written, appropriately distributed.  No need for your press release to serve as SEO link builder OR a direct marketing tool–it can do both.  

And here’s where we quote our boss, Warren Buffett:  Don’t ask the barber if you need a haircut. 

HubSpot is a software company, so naturally they will encourage the use of  software and website solutions for online marketing success.   More power to ‘em.

Those beating the drum for the social media news release are often in the business of profiting from its acceptance–frequently by carving a consulting biz out of a very crowded social media echo chamber.  It makes sense these folks would promote various templates’ alleged strengths.   Are they ”tech agency execs push(ing) faux ‘innovation’ for the sake of making names for themselves”? as one HubSpot blog commenter posted?  That’s for the reader to decide.

We, meanwhile, remain in the press release business and believe that well-done press releases address myriad online marketing challenges and at a reasonable price. 

The movie business began with silent movies, which became ”talkies,”  and later, color motion pictures.  Today we call them movies.  So it is with press releases.  They’ll continue to evolve and at Business Wire we embrace the evolution because in the end, they’re all press releases.

photo: Chuck Cook / The Times-Picayune


How to Build Your Online Newsstand with RSS

May 14, 2009

Some day, RSS will be to our online life what catalytic converters are to cars and no one will care what it is or how it works–we’ll just be glad it does.

But that day of understanding and acceptance has not arrived–yet.rss2  At our presentations and webinars, “What is RSS?”  continues to be a frequently asked question.

That’s why Business Wire account executive Malcolm Atherton out of our Phoenix office, and San Antonio-based Joseph Miller, our EON: Enhanced Online News Product Manager, have assembled an 11-minute video on How to Build Your Personal Newsstand with RSS (Really Simple Syndication).

As always, the approach is accessible and easy-to-understand.  Please take a look.  And if you want Business Wire or EON content as part of your online newsstand, please sign up for one of our customized feeds.


Twitter Lessons Learned at the Berkshire Hathaway Meeting

May 6, 2009

Last weekend’s Berkshire Hathaway tweeting provided us a great communications laboratory with several lessons learned.  Talk about a case study in multiplatforms and social media.  Here’s what happened:

Last summer, Leigh Fatzinger of OMV in Seattle began following Business Wire on Twitter.  Like many companies, we jumped on  Twitter, but nobody really owned the feed and updates were few.  It’s different now, but then, no one actively tweeted, so Leigh “unfollowed” us.

OUCH. That’s like saying:  “Take me off your mailing list.”

Leigh Fatziner of Seattle

Leigh Fatzinger

But it’s OK.  On Thursday, April 30 at 9:16 AM Central Daylight Time, we posted our plans to tweet live from the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholders meeting.   In that blog post, we invited people to follow us on Twitter. Those who did would be entered in a random drawing to win a set of  collectable Warren Buffett posters available only at the meeting.

On Friday, May 1, at 1:58 PM, Lauren Linscheid in Business Wire’s Seattle office touted the blog post, “How Tweet It is to Attend the Berkshire Hathaway meeting,” in an email blast.

Leigh saw the email.   “I thought that was a really good headline,” said Leigh, “so I clicked on it and read all the way through to the bottom and learned about the contest.”  At 2:49 PM, Leigh began “following” us again.

On May 5, we picked Leigh’s name randomly from the 243 new followers we harvested from the contest.  We searched him online and tried to call, but the phone number we retrieved was faulty. At 11:20 AM, we followed him on Twitter and sent him the following direct message:
“Leigh, Monika Maeckle from @businesswire here.  Trying to reach u re: Warren Buffett posters u won.  Please call @ 210.527.9100. Gracias.”
I was concerned about doing this via email or Twitter because I thought Leigh might think it was dumb “You have won!” spam.  But Leigh called me within 10 minutes, we had a great conversation, and we are sending him the posters as we speak.
This is a great example of how Twitter works as one cog in the marketing wheel–which in this case utilized a press release, several blog posts, multiple emails, Twitter posts, lots of hyperlinks all around–and the good ol’ fashioned telephone.  It also illustrate other lessons.
  1. The headline is really important.  Just like a press release, what you choose to put in the ‘tweet spot’ matters–even moreso when you only have 140 characters.
  2. It PAYS to experiment.   The drumbeat of social media is: you must participate to understand.  It’s true.  We had no idea how this would turn out.   In this case, it worked.
  3. There are no silver bullets.  All these  tools, tactics and platforms work together.  This has come up repeatedly in our webinars.  People want a single, one-size-fits-all answer.  Not gonna happen.

So…Leigh.  Congratulations to you!  And thanks for helping us learn a bit more about how to use Twitter.


Aristotle on Twitter, Mom Knows Best, and Other Lessons from SXSWi 2009

March 23, 2009
Is Aristotle on Twitter

If Aristotle were on Twitter, he'd be a big retweeter.

Getting attention in a cluttered content universe was just one hot topic at South by Southwest Interactive this year, and the question, “Do you give good URL?” aimed to address the point in a delightful panel of  University of Texas at Austin academics.

Maybe my background as an American Studies graduate from UT predisposed me to this panel, but I found it was one of my favorites in the five-day new media conference of more than 6,000 attendees.

The discussion, “Is Aristotle on Twitter?” revisited the great philosopher and addressed the struggle many of us face online–deciphering style from substance. Giving good URL–that is, supplying readers with useful, relevant content via helpful links–indicates BOTH, say the academics.

Generous, appropriate Link Love not only shows your style, but reflects your judgement.  You wouldn’t knowingly pass along something you didn’t find valuable–would you?

While last year Twitter was oft discussed in the context of the horrendous Sarah Lacy/Mark Zuckerberg interview, in 2009 Twitter tips were ubiquitous, as attendees filled conference halls, laptops opened, Tweetdeck loaded.    Example: Retweeting may be the sincerest form of flattery and is strongly encouraged, say the academics.   “Retweeting creates judgement, while tweeting creates familiarity.” 

Other great takeaways:

1. Every cell phone is a media outlet.
2. Retweeting makes readers see through you; tweeting makes readers see you. Both are important.
3. Social media will provide the data helping determine the five things you SHOULD be doing rather than the 50 things you COULD be doing.
4. “Being better is its own word-of-mouth,” Kathy Sierra.
5. Distinguish the urgent from the important, as in don’t respond to “urgent” emails at the expense of those that are important.
6.  The humble “telephone is one of the best branding tools out there, despite being low-tech,” Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappo’s.
7.  The organization chart of the future will have customers at the top, CEOs at the bottom.
8.  When it comes to social media, it’s just as important to be interested as it is to be interesting.
9.  When hiring, chemistry is MORE IMPORTANT than skills.
10.  When you find yourself in the echo chamber, call your mom for a reality check on ideas. Mom frequently DOES know best.

As a mom, I concur.


Web Friendly Press Releases Get More Google Juice

November 3, 2008
Jennifer Saragosa with the Google Juice King, Warren Buffett

Jennifer Saragosa with the Google Juice King, Warren Buffett

Getting your press release found, seen and shared is always a challenge, and now that press releases are increasingly utilized to generate “Google juice” — organic search engine results–tips are flying about how to make your press releases more web friendly.

Here at Business Wire, where 1,000+ press releases each work day move through the chute, we suggest these simple rules: have something to say, write well, and make sure your press release is web friendly.

How to make your press release web friendly?

Business Wire’s own Jen Saragosa, a frequent speaker on our webinar series and a senior account manager in our Boston office, penned a timely article for Grant Marketing recently in which she suggests tips tips for getting more Google juice for your press releases.

Drink up Jen’s wisdom here.


Web 2.0 Acronyms Gone Wild: Some Will Stick, More Will Fade

July 14, 2008

JUST as we’re mastering an explanation of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and its importance to press releases for our clients, an email is forwarded, touting the virtues of DAO, digital asset optimization, as one of the niftiest twists in the Web 2.0 evolution.

In breathless text and two–count ‘em!–videos, DAO is championed as the key strategy for achieving “effective visibility across multiple platforms” for press release videos, graphics and otherAcronyms Gone Wild digital assets.

So does DAO make SEO seem DOA?  Just ask your BW AE for the DL on EON and SNR and find out ASAP!

If you’re getting indigestion from this overdose of alphabet soup, you’re not alone.  Even those of us who make a living trying to keep up are getting nauseous.   Seems like at least once a month, Web 2.0 pontificators invent a new acronym to hang their hats on.    Uh…didn’t we just go through this with the SMPR?

Just this week, a blog post at Video Insider introduced a grand new acronym for our collection:  the iGRP,  Internet Gross Rating Point.   Blogger Todd Sacerdoti introduces a new method of measuring online video viewership. 

Will iGRP catch on?   How about DAO?  Only time will tell.  In the meantime, confusion reigns as we sift through the jargon.

Staking out a new acronym doesn’t automatically imbue its letters with meaning.  Well, maybe if you’re Steven Colbert.   Colbert, star of the Colbert Report, shown most weeknights on Comedy Central, champions truthiness, the modern notion that just because you say or believe something, that makes it true.

The rest of us have to let our acronyms play out.    Sometimes they stick and assume real meaning.   More often, they fade into the rear view mirror.

Business Wire has been doing digital asset optimization since 1998 when we introduced our Smart News Release (we even earned an acronym:  SNR).   To see how we optimize digital assets, check out our news with multimedia.  And for a free education in text optimization, watch our archived webcasts on how to be an SEO hero.


Free Webinars by Business Wire Specialists Offer How-To Press Release Tips

July 8, 2008
Free press release tips available through Business Wire webinars

Free press release tips are available through Business Wire

Interested in press release tips from those who handle thousands of press releases every single workday–a collection of how-to nuggets on optimizing press releases for search and simple lessons on the social web?

Then join us for Business Wire’s free webinar series, attended by thousands of communicators.   New media specialists Malcolm Atherton, Monika Maeckle, Michael Toner, and Maria Van Wambeke will share their collective wisdom in three online events this month.

The free webinars focus on using new and social media tools to turn press releases into cost effective and interactive marketing tools. To learn how to Be An SEO Hero, find your way if you’re Lost in MySpace, or figure out why Your Text Needs a Partner, register for one of these free webinars.

To view archived webinars, check out the Business Wire resource page.


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