PR Peeps Poll: What’s Your Biggest Digital Pet Peeve? Almost 40% said “All of the Above”

July 8, 2010

 

by Monika Maeckle, Vice President, New Media 

When it comes to online manners,  we’re an increasingly rowdy bunch.   That’s the takeaway from this month’s PR Peeps Poll, which asked professional communicators to weigh in on their biggest digital pet peeve.  

Top vote-getter?  Almost 40% said  “all of the above.”  Details, below.

 

PR Peeps Poll  What’s your biggest digital pet peeve?

57, or 24%–Inappropriate cellphone use

40, or 17%–Blue Tooth user who makes us think he’s talking to us

14, or 6%–Profanity and crassness in new media settings

32, or 14%–Texting while I’m presenting

91, or 39%–All of the above.

Six PR Peeps couldn’t resist adding their own digital don’ts–from bad grammar in emails and loud talkers to ALL CAPS MESSAGES (are you annoyed yet?) and the “complete lack of civility as we knew it.”

The poll coincided with our “Etiquette in the Digital Age” webinar presented by the ever proper Anna Post of the Emily Post Institute.    Apparently PR people are right in line with mass America, as Anna cited a survey that states 69% of Americans feel we are more rude  today than we were several decades ago.  Check out the video recap if you’re interested.   Please.

To those who participated, thank you–-and how about helping with our next PR Peeps Poll:  When’s the best time to send a press release?  Please let us know. 

234 respondents via Twitter and Business Wire webinar polls. Poll conducted June 1 – July 5, 2010


Press Release Case Study: From Press Release to Dr. Phil Show

June 22, 2010

 

by Monika Maeckle, Vice President New Media

A well-written press release, a heartfelt story, and a timely news hook  landed self-published author Jodi Bean on the Dr. Phil Show to promote her book and her cause.   How much did it cost?  Only $300.

Bean, of Alpine, Utah,  issued a press release on Business Wire’s Utah circuit on April 14  about her challenges raising a difficult adopted child from Belarus.   The story was especially compelling in the wake of the media furor over a Nashville mom who was vilified for sending her troubled adopted son back to Russia six months after his arrival because of violent behavior and psychological problems.

With help from online PR pro Janet Thaeler, Bean’s press release resulted in an April 30 story on the front page of the Salt Lake Tribune with the headline “Preventing failed adoptions: Prospective parents need more info on childhood trauma.”   Bean’s book, Love Lessons and her Finding Hope Foundation,  were founded specifically to address those needs.

Shortly after the front page placement, and following an email follow-up, the Dr. Phil Show called.  By June 10 Jodi Bean was being interviewed on national television. 

” The important thing was to link to the book, her other appearances and to her foundation. These built trust and gave her credibility,” says Thaeler, author of the book I Need a Killer Press Release, Now What??.   Thaeler inserted useful, relevant links throughout the press release.  She also detailed the press release case study in a recent blogpost.

Apart from great media placements, Bean relayed that she went from selling two-three books a week, to two-three books a day. 

“It was my first press release and it was really successful,” says Bean.  “I’m going to do another one.”  

We’re glad to hear it.   Do you have an impressive press release case study that involves Business Wire services? Email monika.maeckle@businesswire.com


Great Free Keyword Tools For Your Press Releases

June 18, 2010


In this edition of SEO Tip Jar I want to show you some free keyword tools that can start using today to supplement your press release and online content creation efforts.  Keyword tools are an excellent resource to help you optimize for search, generate new ideas, gauge the relative popularity of different keywords among searchers or even just learn some new words.   I’ve divided this post into two sections:

Keyword Generation Tools which give you ideas and statistics based on keywords you input

Quirky Keyword Tools which might seem a little out there at first but can help you look at related words in different ways and maybe even give you a few ideas.

Without further ado, let’s dig in to the tools!

Keyword Generation Tools

Wordtracker’s Free Keyword Suggestion Tool is the granddaddy of online keyword tools.  Wordtracker was started way back in 1997 and uses a database of search terms culled from popular “metacrawlers” Dogpile and Metacrawler to supplement its keyword suggestion engine with data on search volume.

Wordtracker’s tool is designed to give you keyword ideas and usage is simple.  Just enter a keyword and click the button.  You’ll receive the top 100 related keywords in order of search volume.

It’s worth noting that since search frequency data is not provided directly by Google, Yahoo or Bing you should probably look at the numbers to gauge relative popularity rather than a precise estimate of the traffic you may be competing for.

If you are a data geek and want even more numbers surrounding these results, you can also try SEOBook’s free keyword tool (registration required) which borrows suggestions from Wordtracker. If you want even more results you’ll need to subscribe to their paid plan which is $59 per month.

Wordstream’s Free Keyword tool is a relative newcomer but provides a bit more features than Wordtracker.  First off, Wordstream lets you put in more than one keyword at once.  This lets you more easily gauge popularity of different terms.  Second, and most importantly, Wordstream will provide you with a full list of matching keywords via e-mail rather than limiting results to the first 100.

Another difference between the two services is that Wordstream keywords are ranked with relative frequency rather than hard numbers, although this might actually make it easier for people to put all the keywords you generate in context.

They also assert that their keyword tools draw from the widest dataset, although the results returned seemed quite similar to Wordtracker in my limited tests.

Wordstream has another tool called the Keyword Niche Finder that aims to give you segmented result sets for niche keywords based a single keyword that you enter. enter.

Since the groups generated are likely to be seen as similar by search engines as well as news consumers I can see this tool being very useful for conceiving and building topic themes for, say, a related series of press releases, marketing messages and social media topics working in conjunction.

Google’s AdWords Keyword Tool is a favorite of many wordsmiths since it pulls recommendations and data directly from Google.  As the name suggests, this tool is designed to help Google AdWords advertisers and tends to show you very broad keywords with the most search activity by default (top recommendations for my keywords make sushi and learn Japanese were sushi making and Japanese sushi).  These recommendations and data provided can be useful for anyone crafting online content if you’re willing to mine through the results.

Here’s a tip to find more targeted keywords with the AdWords tool: sort by Global Monthly Searches from low to high and work your way up the list until you find a sweet spot of targeted keywords with significant traffic.  You could also supplement your research with Google Trends for even more data.

Quirky Keyword Tools

Sometimes you just need to take a more different look at things.  The following tools can help you spot trends and relationships among all the words floating around the web.

SEOMoz’s Popular Searches tool simply displays popular searches and topics from Google, Yahoo, Technorati, Amazon, eBay and elsewhere.  All of this data is available scattered around the web, but it’s great to have it in one place.  You can also search the archives to see what’s been popular as far back as 2007.

If you are looking for a hook to a hot topic, SEOMoz’s tool can be a great place to go and get a feel for what’s hot across the Internet.

Quintura is designed as a visual search engine aid.  The site shows related keywords in a tag cloud style design when you perform a search.  Each keyword is clickable and leads you on a web search, making it both a helpful general research tool and keyword visualizer.

VisualThesaurus is not entirely free, but you can perform a few searches before the app starts asking for your credit card information.   Among visual tools I’ve looked at, the clean display and comprehensive depth of word trees presented by VisualThesaurus really make it stand out.  My searches for common words like make produced vast trees of related words and terms.

Last but not least is Soovle.  This tool grabs the search auto-complete results from various popular websites and displays them all in one place.  As opposed to the Popular Searches tool, which tells you what’s hot now, Soovle can be a novel way to find out what searches related to the keyword you enter are the most popular in the long term among many searchers.

Do you have any experience using these or other keyword tools?  Did I miss any great ones?  Please let me know by commenting below or sending a message to @EONpr on Twitter.


Upcoming Business Wire Events – June 11 Edition

June 11, 2010

Upcoming Business Wire Events

Join Business Wire experts in your area for media breakfasts, panel discussions and other insightful events. We bring local media members and industry thought leaders to your market to discuss today’s most relevant topics, from writing for SEO to marketing with social media. Best of all, Business Wire events are usually free of charge. Check out some of our upcoming events in your area:

Adding Video to Maximize Your Reach, Exposure & Pick-Up

Hosted by Business Wire Charlotte [Durham Event]

Join Business Wire in Durham for lunch and a panel discussion on using video to maximize your marketing communication efforts. Learn how integrating video into your marketing and public relations plans can enhance your SEO reach and provide real results. Panelists include: Valerie Aguirre, CBC New Media Group; Rachel Toole, MEDIAmobz; and Scott Sharpe, The News & Observer. This event is free for all attendees.

Wednesday, June 16 at 11:30 a.m. ET
Sheraton Imperial Hotel
4700 Emperor Blvd., Durham, NC 27703
To register: Please RSVP to Angela Haysworth at 704-347-1590 or email angela.hayworth@businesswire.com

Adding Video to Maximize Your Reach, Exposure & Pick-Up

Hosted by Business Wire Charlotte [Charlotte Event]

Join Business Wire Charlotte for breakfast and a panel discussion on using video to maximize your marketing communication efforts. Learn how integrating video into your marketing and public relations plans can enhance your SEO reach and provide real results. Panelists include: Joe Carleo, Advanced Language & Media Services; Corrie Harding, WCNC-TV; Jason Silverstein, ACBJ/Bizjournals.com; and Rachel Toole, MEDIAmobz. This event is free for all attendees.

Thursday, June 17 at 7:30 a.m. ET
Maggiano’s
4400 Sharon Rd., Charlotte, NC 28211
To register: Please RSVP to Angela Haysworth at 704-347-1590 or email angela.hayworth@businesswire.com

Adding Video to Maximize Your Reach, Exposure & Pick-Up

Hosted by Business Wire Florida

Looking for new ways to reach and engage your audience?  Would you like to add value to your news & generate interest for your campaigns? Join us as our experts discuss the power of video & the benefits of including a visual element to your press releases. Speakers include Rachel Toole, Sales & Marketing Consultant for MEDIAMobz, Rick Christie, Breaking News Editor for the Palm Beach Post and Doug Perry, Executive Producer for Digital Content for WPBF-TV. This event is free for all attendees.

Tuesday, June 22 at 11:30 a.m. ET
JM Family Enterprises, Inc.
111 Jim Moran Blvd., Deerfield Beach, FL 33442
To register: Please RSVP to Claudia Perez-Bonilla at 954-474-8833 or email claudia.perez@businesswire.com

For more upcoming local Business Wire events or to see what’s coming up in our award-winning webinar series, visit http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/home/business-wire-events.

Follow Business Wire events on Twitter! Hash tag #bwevents


Use Google Trends to Find the Best Time to Send Your Press Release

June 3, 2010


It’s the age old question.  As long as companies and PR practitioners have been sending releases, everyone has wanted to know when is the best time to send my release? In fact, one of our most popular blog posts took this question on three years ago.

Everyone still wants to know because there is really no true right answer.  Hindsight is 20/20 and it’s easy to research the past and give an armchair opinion, but until Google starts mining data directly from our minds (Google Thoughts anyone?) predicting the future will continue to be a difficult endeavor.  However, with the power of free tools and site search it’s become relatively easy to get a read on the present and measure short term opportunities.

Here’s my basic premise: using tools like Google Trends and site search on the major press release distribution sites like Business Wire to gauge the amount of competition, you can increase your chances of catching a wave and contributing to a hot story.

Sometimes the trends are obvious.  You can tell from this chart that Father’s Day trends upwards as the holiday approaches (it’s June 20th in the US this year).

Searching headlines on Business Wire shows only a handful of Father’s Day related headlines so far in May and June.  To me, this looks like a great opportunity for interesting Father’s Day stories to get the jump on the trend.  If I were creating such a story, it might be a good idea to get it out now or keep watching the wires and distribute it just as things start to pick up.

Read the rest of this entry »


Seven Traits of Highly Effective Press Releases

May 6, 2010

For this edition of SEO Tip Jar I wanted to look at hit releases and see what attributes they tend to have in common.  My methodology was simple and straightforward.  I defined hit releases as those getting the most release reads (or page views) and took the top 10 releases on EON: Enhanced Online News for each full month so far in 2010.  I looked at 40 releases in total.

For each release, I counted the words in the body, the date and time of release, whether the release included a photo, and so on for a total of seven main traits.

The “Average” Hit Release

Across the board, these releases were an average of 642 words, with the longest being nearly 1500 words and the shortest being just over 250 words.  The word counts were quite evenly distributed as well, and there didn’t seem to be any word count exceptionally more likely to hit than another.  In total, 58% of releases were over 500 words.

The most common day of the week to release was Thursday, which was the date of choice for 22.5% of releases.  Tuesday and Wednesday were close behind with 20% of releases each and Monday and Friday were slightly less likely at 17.5%.  Just one lonely hit was released on a Saturday and no hit releases premiered on Sundays.

Moving on to the best time of day (rounding to the nearest hour), 10am and 12pm ET were tied for the most frequent, each with 12.5% of releases.  Additionally, 40% of all the hits were released before noon, 35% between noon and 3pm, and 25% from 4pm onward.  It looks like news consumers tend to be early risers, so get your release out during the workday if you can.

Traits from Top to Bottom

  1. 87% of releases included at least one link in one form or another in the body of the release, with many of the top releases containing quite a few very descriptive links.  If your company happens to be a holdout in the release linking game, I hope this may persuade you to start adding descriptive links to your press releases.
  2. 73% of releases incorporated some special formatting within the body of the release, whether it be bold, italics, underlining or an embedded image.  In today’s xhtml world, special formatting can be an excellent way to emphasize key points of your releases, break your content into distinct sections  and provide cues for ‘skimmers’ to gather meaning as they quickly scan content for relevant information.
  3. 68% of releases had a subheadline.  This stat was the most surprising to me.  The subhead seems to have an unclear role in press release SEO, since it’s not really the headline and not really the body either.  While the robots digesting releases may not pay it much mind, it’s clear that the subhead offers valuable supplementary guidance to readers as they consider whether to continue on reading a release and possibly even share that release.
  4. 58% of releases included the company name in the release headline (Ex. Company X releases XYZ app).  Of course, this also means that 42% didn’t include the company name and still performed quite well with readers.  There is very little real estate available within your headline and if it is more than 22 words you might not make it into Google News.  With this in mind, consider the goal of the release and campaign when making your choice.  If company branding is a chief concern, including the name is probably a good idea.  However, if the focus is more product or service focused, for instance, maybe the company name should take a back seat.
  5. 35% of releases included a photo or video, with the vast majority of those including a photo only.  It’s safe to say that much fewer than 35% of all releases include multimedia, so it’s clearly a good idea to include multimedia in order to help your releases stand out.  Product photos, charts, infographics, company executives, high-resolution logos . . . the list of possibilities is nearly endless.
  6. 23% of releases encouraged social sharing or engagement within the body of the release, typically Facebook or Twitter.  All EON releases already offer social sharing chicklets covering all major social networks, so it’s not absolutely critical to give them additional emphasis within your release.  However, if social engagement is a priority or your release is geared towards “sharability”, why not give readers a bit more of a push?
  7. 5% of releases, just two, had any special characters in the headline.  So perhaps adding special characters in headlines is not a good idea.

Have a burning SEO question? Drop us a comment or talk to Joseph on Twitter @EONpr to get it answered in the next SEO Tip Jar!


San Francisco PR Pros Discuss Today’s Global Mobile Social World

April 29, 2010

More than 90 PR and IR professionals joined our Business Wire San Francisco media breakfast panel at Autodesk’s Gallery Conference center on Thursday, April 15th, in San Francisco, CA for “Navigating Today’s Global Mobile Social World from a PR Perspective,” an engaging discussion on the state of social media, best practice case studies, trends and online community management.

Moderated by Monika Maeckle (far left), Vice President, New Media, Business Wire, the thought leaders and panelists included (L to R):

  • Kimarie Matthews, Vice President, Customer Advocacy and Loyalty, Wells Fargo Bank, Internet Services Group
  • Rachel Polish, Vice President, Ogilvy’s 360 Digital Influence
  • David Toole, Founder and CEO, MediaMobz
  • Chris Heuer, Founder, AdHocnium and Social Media Club
  • Maura Ginty, Customer Experience, Worldwide Marketing, Autodesk

Here are some notes from each of our panelists from the discussion:

Kimarie Matthews

  • Her Wells Fargo team leads Customer Advocacy and Loyalty for Wells Fargo’s Internet Services Group.
  • Her group manages a variety of programs that enable the company to listen, respond and act to improve the customer experience, including Wells Fargo’s two Twitter channels: @Ask_WellsFargo and @Wachovia.
  • They strategically have chosen a non “corporate communications” voice to relay posts and messages to there online community and customer base.
  • They have many campaigns like “Mobile Mondays” to engage their community online and in the social sphere.

Rachel Polish

  • The 360 Digital Influence team, Ogilvy PR’s global, digital world of mouth marketing practice, is designed to manage brands at a time when anyone can be an influencer and we are all influenced in new ways.
  • The team’s focus is on engaging through conversations, outreach to new influencers and word of mouth marketing.
  • She’s also a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve, where she still serves as a public affairs specialist. The social media rule they apply is simple: If you have “done it,” then you have the perspective and understanding to engage customers, community in social realm.
  • Companies must listen first and really do there homework and research before engaging customers or prospects with social media.
  • Her tried and tested method has a name: LPEAO. Customer mapping should follow a process and strategy similar to this:
    L = listen
    P = plan
    E = engage
    A = amplify
    O = optimize

David Toole

  • Virgin America/ airline industry experience that speaks to the value of reaching out. He used Twitter to send message to the airlines regarding flight times and status and was pleasantly surprised with how quickly he was answered. Companies must observed and fix old structure of communicating with customers.
  • Social media and the tools involved assist in the conversation you have with your customers and clients. The do not replace working systems.
  • Companies and organizations must have community managers that are actively listening to requests and customer support related matters and engage.

Chris Heuer

  • He believes the social media and online world industry must step up its ethics and SEO to enforce clear roles. He believes in the future, “certifications” will ensure a more transparent relationship for those creating the copy/posts and customers.
  • The airline industry were very argumentative with him after he posted a story that touched on his negative customer service experience. As this is now a “public sphere,” it’s prudent that internal and corporate communicators own their words.
  • The 80/20 rule applies to this social world that is still in an “infant” stage. 80 = attitude and 20 = aptitude. Therefore, a brand and communications plan muse embrace the public sphere that is non-traditional as this is now seen as social signaling, brand casting and pea cocking.

Maura Ginty

  • Maura established Autodesk’s first centralized SEO, web content, and social media platforms. She also created the company’s first series of best practices and led it’s cross-functional councils for these new forms of online marketing.
  • Maura’s next project will be the management of the company’s third global SEO case study
  • Important to view blog posts that have a rant like angle as an opportunity to reach out to your customers, influencers and online community of followers.
  • Her and her team were able to turn a potential negative online story into something positive by reaching out and showing value. This was directly visible by the comments that were posted following the media and pr outreach. They evaluated the need to spin ‘in’ correct noise and signal. Create filters to catch what you can. As the average person is consuming media- both traditional and non-traditional for at least six hours a day, it’s extremely relevant to your larger PR and IR plan.
  • Autodesk’s “Social web council” works with all departments of the company to fold in the best practices-like the PR, manufacturing etc. to keep afloat of changes and to link relevant announcements to a social media world.

Do special characters in press release headlines matter?

April 9, 2010

seotipjar-header-v11

Judging from my recent experiment, they do.

For years, conventional wisdom suggested  avoiding special symbols such as ® (registered trademark) and ™ (trademark) in press release headlines.  The assumption has been that search engines and downstream sites to which releases are pushed have difficulty digesting words with symbols attached and your release may be misconstrued.

With that idea in mind, I conducted a small experiment to see the present state of how search engines are actually interpreting releases with symbols in headlines.

Results suggest that search engines are getting smarter about handling symbols and it’s still best to leave symbols out of your headlines whenever possible.  Instead, focus on including keywords in your headlines and properly formatting your release for Google News.

For my experiment I chose the two most common symbols, ® (registered trademark) and ™ (trademark), selecting ten releases including each symbol in the headline.  For each release, I conducted two searches on Google, Yahoo and Bing based on headline content–one with the symbol and one without.  Since it’s safe to assume most searchers are not including the symbols unless copy-pasting, this would tell me if the search engines treated the queries differently and how “searchable” these types of releases are.  I also performed searches with ten releases from the same period with headlines that didn’t include special symbols to serve as a control group.

Here’s what I found.  This chart shows whether the search engine provided the same results whether or not symbols were included in the search.  For example, searching for Acme™ versus searching for Acme.

Identical Search Results Returned With and Without Special Characters

You can see that Google does the best job overall.  Even the single instance when Google’s results were not the same, there was only a very minor difference that could be attributed to Google experimenting with different search result presentation.  Bing is not far behind, doing even better than Google with TM symbol searches.  Yahoo is the real outlier here.  Yahoo actually showed zero results on 7 out of the 10 searches with TM symbols, just a handful of results on two searches, and was the same only once.  That’s not to say that releases with TM symbols were not found; the lesson here is that Yahoo cannot handle people including the TM symbols in their searches.

Another way to confirm this strange behavior is by searching each search engine for the symbol alone.

Google Trademark Symbol Search

Bing Trademark Symbol Search

Google and Bing ignore the symbol, but Yahoo seems to interpret it as the letters TM and has many disparate results on the first page.

Yahoo Trademark Symbol Search

The chart below shows the “success” of each search.  I defined success as finding the release content within the first page of search results when searching for headline terms.

Search "Success" for Press Releases

You can see that every search engine does an admirable job finding the releases, especially when a TM symbol or no symbols are in the headline.  However, if you are concerned about performing as well as possible in Yahoo and Bing, the safest thing is still to exclude symbols if possible.


Getting the Most Out of Your Headlines: All Things Press Release Podcast

March 4, 2010

Great press releases start with great headlines.  More and more press release writers are learning that a great headline is not only about being catchy, but also about applying SEO best practices in order to maximize your  reach in search engines.

In this edition of  the  All Things Press Release podcast, our EON Product Manager Joseph Miller gives us some strategies and tips we can apply to get the most out of our headlines out there in the wild world of SEO.

Please take a listen and let us know what you think.

If you like what you hear, subscribe via RSS or iTunes. You can enjoy all our podcasts by clicking on the All Things Press Release tab at the top of this page (third tab from left).

Have ideas for a future podcast?   Please let us know. Email blog_group@businesswire.com or connect with us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/businesswire


Pew Survey: Multi-platform Approach Calls for News That’s Portable, Personal, Participatory

March 1, 2010

It’s the multi-platform approach.

In an enlightening survey rich with statistics, the Pew Internet and American Life Project announced the results of their “Understanding the Participatory News Consumer” study today.   Among the fascinating stats culled from the telephone survey of 2,259 adults 18 or older is the fact that almost half (46%) said they get their news from four – six news platforms each day.

Only 7% said they rely on a single source for news.

In addition, 33% of Americans access news from their cell phones, a statistic that jives exactly with our recent (and admittedly less comprehensive) PR Peeps poll that showed 30% of 297 polled use their mobile devices to monitor news and press releases “all the time.”

“In this new multi-platform media environment,” say Pew survey authors, “people’s relationship to news is becoming portable, personalized and participatory.”  They then cite the following metrics:

  • Portable: 33% of cell phone owners now access news on their cell phones. 
  • Personalized: 28% of internet users have customized their home page to include news from sources and on topics that particularly interest them
  • Participatory: 37% of internet users have contributed to the creation of news, commented about it, or disseminated it via posting on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter. 

The lesson for PR practitioners? Don’t rely on any one platform to get your news found, seen and shared. 

We’re feeling pretty timely around here, having rolled our mobile and social platforms into ALL Business Wire English language distributions in 2010.  For details, contact your local Business Wire office.


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