Follow the Top Unique Leading Leader

August 25, 2010

- by Phil Dennison, Senior Marketing Specialist

It’s a topic we’ve addressed before — buzzwords and jargon in press releases — but Mark McClennan at Schwartz Communications has come at it from a unique way. He took Adam Sherk’s list of the most overused words and phrases in press releases, and made a word cloud out of it. (If you’re unfamiliar with word clouds or tag clouds, they provide a visual representation, usually via size, of how frequently various words are used on a site or in a piece of text.) Seeing McClennan’s word cloud  really drives home how often some of these words are used:

most overused words

(Click for larger image)

Well, not much more to say, is there? It seems like, much as in Lake Wobegon, everyone’s a leader.


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.


Delicious New Ways to Find Niche Story Ideas

November 11, 2009

A tried and true technique in the world of public relations is to hook your news to a popular story.  Many experienced PR practitioners are great at this, but in today’s media world, narrowly targeted and easily accessible ‘hit’ stories are often overlooked.  However, building off these hits or using them for PR inspiration can be easy if you know where to look.

Take this page on delicious.com, for instance.  If you are an experienced Delicious user, you can gather a lot of information on what to expect simply from the URL: http://delicious.com/popular/publicrelations

Delicious.com Screenshot

Translated into plain English, this page is composed of recently popular web pages that have been tagged with ‘Public Relations’ by Delicious users.  One article that immediately jumps out to me is the AdAge piece about PR Managers converging on Marketing.  Perhaps we can reference it or build off of it in a future press release, webinar, blog post, or newsletter item.

You can browse Delicious’ popular listings for any relevant tag and find inspiration and topics that people are interested in right now.

Another great place to look is Tweetmeme.com.  Tweetmeme collects and categorizes ‘tweets’ across Twitter to determine what webpages are getting popular or have been popular in the last day or week based on the number of ‘tweets’ and ‘retweets’ including the same webpage.  You can either browse by category or search based on keywords, but be sure to select ‘Top in 24 Hours’ or ‘Top in 7 Days’ to see the most popular stories.  Below is a recent screenshot of the Technology News category.

Tweetmeme.com Screenshot

Other useful aggregation sites include Digg.com, Reddit.com, Mixx.com, and Newsvine.com along with countless others focusing on different niche and vertical markets.


We Are Pleased to Focus on this Unique, Innovative Tool

April 8, 2009

We’re obviously big at Business Wire on offering advice for writing a good press releaseSearch Engine Optimization is an important part of that, but so is simply writing concisely and clearly — avoiding jargon, placeholder phrases, filler and other stuff that creates clutter and keeps people from understanding (or just getting through) your news.

Now, HubSpot has a new tool that can help you avoid gobbledygook phrases.  Their online Gobbledygook Grader will analyze your content — press releases, brochure copy, and anything else — and help you avoid the clutter.  Marketing strategist David Meerman Scott, who helped develop the tool, analyzed more than 700,000 press releases that ran over Business Wire and other sources in 2008; his top five, and the number of times they appeared:

  1. Innovate       51,390
  2. Pleased to     48,672
  3. Unique            48,095
  4. Focused on    40,964
  5. Leading provider   33,101

Sounds like words that might be hard to avoid, but give it a try — your press releases can only get better.


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.


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