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.

The Knot Makes Case for Hybrid Media At Business Wire Event

June 26, 2008

More than 150 professional communicators gathered at the 3 West Club in Manhattan earlier this week for Business Wire’s panel discussion, “A Social Media Conversation: How PR, IR & Marketing Professionals Can Engage and Participate in the Social Web.”

Peter Himler, President of Publicity Club of New York and founder of Flatiron Communications moderated the panel which included Melissa Bauer, Senior PR Manager of The Knot, Ryan Block, Editor-in-Chief, Engadget, Josh Cohen, Senior Business Product Manager for Google News, Peter Hershberg, Managing Partner, Reprise Media, Rob Key, CEO & Founder, Converseon, and Jim Nail, Chief Strategy & Marketing Officer, TNS/Cymfony.  PRNewswer did a nice recap and you can also listen to the webcast.

The Knot\'s Interactive Press Releases Deliver Hits and Views

The Knot’s case study in utilizing many of the new tools and strategies discussed seemed to strike a chord with attendees. Bauer’s slidedeck demonstrated in detail how the company uses ALL types of media–from Facebook, video-on-demand and interactive press releases to traditional media pitches and hard copy national and local magazines.

Let’s hear it for hybrid media.

From IROs to Engineers: Grappling with the Groundswell

June 17, 2008

The Groundswell, by Charlene Li and Josh BernoffLast week I spoke at two panels in California. The topic: new media. At the National Investor Relations Institute Conference in San Diego, my friend Rob Williams at Dell assembled a robust panel on blogging for investor relations officers (IROs).   At the Design Automation Conference two days later in Anaheim, Scott Sandler of Springsoft organized a session for engineers on navigating new media. A 90-minute train ride separated these two disparate audiences, but what struck me besides the glorious California coastline was how both groups are grappling with the Groundswell.

The Groundswell, written by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff of Forrester Research, is the best book to date written on social media. Rich in case studies, data, and readable prose, the authors decipher the social web’s tools, technologies and tactics in terms that nongeeks can understand. Read this book!

Its most relevant thesis for professional communicators is that people are looking TO EACH OTHER for news and information, rather than to traditional institutions like corporations. While this is no surprise, what distinguishes Li and Bernoff’s work from others is how it convincingly presents Web 2.0 as an opportunity, not a threat.

Is it alot of extra work to understand the Groundswell? You bet. One of the best quotes of the DAC panel was a frustrated marketing exec who groused: “Great, so we’re all publishers…now we have to do that, too!” This marketer longed for the days when a print ad in an engineering trade publication accomplished the task of getting a software firm’s message out.

Is the Groundswell scary?  As Li and Bernoff point out, “It isn’t comfortable at first.”   For IROs and others trained to control the flow of their company’s information to Wall Street and elsewhere, giving up control to gain influence is counter cultural.  And yet the IROs who attended our panel were open to the change.

Many would argue control has always been a delusion–all the more reason to invest in understanding.

Business Wire’s Free Webinars Offer How-To Tips for Press Releases

May 22, 2008

Seems folks just can’t get enough of Business Wire’s monthly webinars. As the social media vanguard embraces Twitter and pushes blogging into the mainstream, I remind myself and new media colleagues that a multitude of the clueless STILL seek basic understanding of the “new rules” for press releases.

Our clients and other issuers of press releases are busy people, with intense competition for their time and attention. Press releases are a small-but-important part of their universe. It’s no wonder, then, that a large percentage of corporate communicators need remedial help in understanding the new tools, technologies and best practices for today’s press release.Be an SEO Hero at one of Business Wire\'s June webinars

As always, we’re here to help. We don’t pretend to be objective since press releases are the very core of our business. We do, however, promise enlightenment and free learning during our weekly webinar sessions, which cover everything from how to optimize your press release for search to a step-by-step lesson on how-to Digg your press releases–and if you even should.

This FREE education is easy-to-access and awaiting your registration. Here’s the schedule:

Wednesday, June 4: Your text needs a partner: Using Multimedia to Drive Press Release Results

Tuesday, June 10: Be an SEO Hero–Optimize Your Press Release for Search

Wednesday, June 18: EON: Enhanced Online News

Friday, June 27, Lost in MySpace?

We hope you’ll join us.

Wire Services Don’t “Go To Technorati,” Nor Should They

April 11, 2008

Curious clients have posed the following question of late :  “Do you go to Technorati?”                                                                              

Well, not exactly.   “Going” to Technorati is a misnomer, since what Technorati does is index blog content, not press releases.

Take the blog post you are now reading.  When I hit the “publish” button, the clever WordPress interface I’m using sends a message–or “ping”–to Technorati and other blog search engines.   When blog search engines receive the ping, they deploy a “spider,” or automated search program to come see what’s new.  

Magic pixie dust?

That content is then indexed against all the other content competing for your attention.  The order in which the blog search engine results are served up is based on hundreds of variables–things like in- and out-bound links, how many clicks those links are getting, what authority the blog has, how long it’s been around, how frequently it’s updated, and a slew of ever-changing factors.

So:  does Business Wire and EON Enhanced Online News “go” to Technorati?  You mean do press releases sent on Business Wire and EON: Enhanced Online News–or any wire service for that matter–show up in the Technorati blog search engine results?

Only if bloggers reference the content in the context of a blog post.  

The goal of the professional communicator should be to engage the blogosphere to write (preferably positively) about your company or organization.  Press releases, well-done, are a powerful tool for accomplishing just that.

Sorry, there’s no Magic Pixie Dust.  Wish there were.    We’re back to good content, well written, appropriately distributed.   That’s why you get paid the big bucks.

P.S.   Communicators who want to guarantee that their press releases are indexed by Technorati and other blog search engines should start their own blogs, follow best SEO practices, and figure out relevant ways to work their press release content into them.

Context As King…and other Lessons from SXSWi 2008…

March 18, 2008

guitar hero at SXSW 2008Four days at South by Southwest Interactive   (SXSWi) yielded many lessons for this recently appointed Vice President of New Media.  Apart from ubiquitous guitar hero contests and a ride in a simulated racecar that was so real I got carsick,  the panels and discussions at the annual interactive and gaming festival taught me alot.         Guitar Hero at SXSW Interactive 2008

Here’s some insights:                                                                                  

1. The Geek Nation can be brutal.   The audience at the Mark Zuckerburg keynote was vicious in  attacks on Sarah Lacy, the hair-twirling valleygirl journalist whose interview with the Facebook founder provoked an unforgiving backchannel on Twitter, the microblogging and social networking service.    While Lacy deserved criticism for misjudging her audience and a flirty approach, the ambush seemed a bad fit for her “crime” of being lame.  As Catherine B. Taylor of Social Media Insider pondered:  “…is this…the punishment we can expect…for a particularly bad day at the office?”  The episode has made me reconsider Twitter.

2.  With new and social media it’s all about YOU.  Kathy Sierra’s presentation, “How to Create Passionate Users,” explained that what customers think of you or your company doesn’t matter.  What’s important is how your products and services make customers feel.   A tad Maya Angelou, perhaps, but Kathy’s example of the typical Help Desk experience provoking either an accepting “Ooops!” or angry “You bastards!” from users proves her case. 

3. Social media will have it THEIR way (an extension of Insight #2 above), OR they will leave.   One FAQ: what to do when the boss “just doesn’t get” that social media takes time?  In four separate sessions, social media marketers bemoaned the “glacial” pace of change in their companies, wondering how to convince the boss to be patient with social media initiatives.  

 Advice from the experts: “Life’s too short.  Go work for somebody who understands.” 

4.  Content or Context as King?   Multiple sessions touched on the back-to-the-future notion that once again, content rules.   Valuable content, well written, appropriately distributed reaps audience.   When Social Media Club founder Chris Heuer and I debated this over beers at the Dell Lounge, Chris pointed out, “No, Monika.  CONTEXT is king.”

Chris may be right.   What do you think? 

Press Release 2.0: Writing and Content Matter More than Tech Tricks

February 20, 2008

Tactics, the newsletter of the Public Relations Society of America , devoted its February issue to writing, and that’s good news.

PRSA Public Relations Society of AmericaWhy? Because in the contest to appear more-social-media-savvy-than-thou, some industry pros are losing sight of what matters most when it comes to press releases: good writing and valuable content. After that, appropriate delivery gets your message heard.

Judging from the roiling conversation around the “social media release,” you might think that press release results are all about the technology–that sharing chicklets, trackbacks, multimedia and tags are a PR panacea.

We at Business Wire and EON: Enhanced Online News don’t buy that. We believe a well-written story, distributed through appropriate channels, gets your message across.

That DOES NOT MEAN press release content shoved inappropriately into social media networks and two-way conversations. Crashing the party and interrupting conversations has never worked for me in the past…how ’bout you?

In our webinars, we educate attendees on how new media tools apply to press releases, reminding them that tapping into social networks requires time, energy and understanding. That’s why it’s called “networking,” which applies online just as it does in person.

At a PRSA meeting, you wouldn’t barge into a group of people you don’t know, shouting “Have you seen our new product?!? It’s really great! You should buy it!”

You wouldn’t.

Rather, you’d listen, find common ground, start a conversation, develop rapport, cultivate a relationship…and maybe, just maybe…hours, days or weeks later, propose some sort of contact.

Making releases more web friendly can increase a release’s Web traction, no doubt about it. And surely you won’t be surprised to learn that IMHO Business Wire and EON: Enhanced Online News offer the best tools on the planet for delivering press releases to their appropriate audiences.

That said, even OUR superior technology is incidental to the content and the writing.

Adding Video to Press Releases Can Triple Your Hits

January 31, 2008

Business Wire’s own Thomas Becktold, Senior VP of Marketing, waxes philosophical in a vlog with Doug Simon of DS Simon Vlog Views. Doug is President & CEO of D S Simon Productions, a video production and distribution company.

In the 3:33 vlog, Tom notes that press releases with video or multimedia often deliver TRIPLE the hits of those without. Hmmmm…seems good things come in threes.

How the Testy Topic of Tags Applies to Press Releases

January 30, 2008

What are tags and Why do I want them? Our first webinar of the year, Lost in MySpace?, hit a chord with clients. Almost 500 people showed up last Friday…and we’re STILL answering questions for those who attended.

The 45-minute presentation targeted those inexperienced in Web 2.0 and while we made some progress, it’s clear our clients are hungry for as much enlightenment as we can provide on how this organic landscape applies to press releases.

One of the thorniest issues seems to be user generated tags–NOT metatags, which are the coding on a webpage that helps search engines categorize the content for serving up to searchers. We had dozens of questions on tags.

What are tags and why should PR practitioners, marketers and even savvy small businesses care about them?

Fact is, Web 2.0 presents huge opportunities for your press releases to be shared, re-purposed, reformatted and reused–in other words seen and read–by the billions of people surfing and searching the Web. The more you embrace tools like tags, the more you facilitate that sharing and re-purposing, therefore increasing the chances of your press release being seen and your message communicated.

Tags help by making it easier for people to find, share and read the copy you so painstakingly have put together. Think of the Internet as this big, fat filing cabinet. In it are billions of documents or web pages. Consider your press release a web page–because that’s exactly what it is, once it slips from being a Word or Mac document to an interactive webpage hosted by Business Wire, EON Enhanced Online News, or posted on your website.

Continuing the filing cabinet metaphor, the press release is the document you’re going to file. How should you label it so you can find it later? How will others interested in that document find it? And, Mom was right: you’re judged by the company you keep. Think about the kind of content with which you want to be associated, because it will also come up when tagged like yours.

The tag is the the label you put on the page to facilitate finding, storing, and sharing of the content. The tag helps give your press release a life BEYOND that first news spike, since it facilitates the saving and sharing of it later.

For more press release tips, check out our delicious page. Also, leave us a comment with your take on tags.

“The Older the Berry, the Sweeter the Link Juice”

October 30, 2007

1996 Business Wire site logoQuite a bit of nattering lately regarding the advantages of youth and exuberance versus age and experience in the organic context of social media. I won’t take sides, but suffice to say I agree with Bill Sledzik who noted: “The older you get the more you appreciate how much more there is to learn — and experience.”Business Wire 1997 site graphic

Along those lines, it turns out that when it comes to websites, older is better.

 Yep, that’s right. The fourth most important overall factor in SEO is the Business Wire 1996 Site Today's News on the NetAGE of your site, says a 43-page report titled “Search Engine Ranking Factors V2,” and issued by seomoz.org.

According to this exhaustive document, the age of your site commands “exceptional importance.”

“Young sites must prove themselves before they can start ranking for much anything important; middle-aged sites are left to fight it out on their own; and well-aged sites enjoy a halo I wish I experienced in my personal life,” said Caveman, a renown SEO consultant and search engine marketer. And how about this quote from Todd Malicoat:Business Wire website “The older the berry, the sweeter the link juice.”

Since Business Wire was the first wire service to launch a website, wayBusiness Wire website back in 1995, I guess that gives us some SEO street cred.

The seomoz.org report collates the collective wisdom of 37 organic search engine wizards. The report claims to relate 90 – 95% of the knowledge available about the 200+ ranking elements for Google and other search engines. Give it a read.


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