Portland-Area Experts Answer Social Media Questions

December 30, 2009

The Business Wire Seattle office held a social media event in Portland, OR at The Governor Hotel on November 19.  The event was entitled, “Social Media: Your Questions Answered.” Led by moderator, Hallie Janssen of Anvil Media, the panel addressed multiple questions from an audience at all levels of social media knowledge.  A show of hands showed half the audience considered themselves well-versed in social media and half considered themselves beginners.  Twitter was the most talked about and asked about aspect of social media. 

Hallie Janssen, Vice President, Anvil Media, Inc., led a panel, including (L-R):

Here are a few key takeaways from the discussion:

Getting Started With Social Media

Monitoring & Measurement

  • Make use of Twitter search & trend-tracking tools like Waggener Edstrom’s free Twendz tool.
  • Try Google’s new real-time search
  • At the end of the day, must be able to show ROI. Set measurable metrics before you start.
  • There are soft metrics like awareness and building relationships, which are important. Approach it by asking “Are we helping people?”

Building a Following on Twitter

  • Follow people with similar interests.
  • Make use of keywords important to your audience.
  • Re-tweet and share content. It’s a “scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” kind of thing.
  • Make lists and reach out.

Local Business Wire offices host several events each year on PR, IR, SEO & media topics.  Check out the Business Wire Events page to find upcoming events in your area.

Follow Business Wire events on Twitter! Hash tag #bwevents

SEO Tip Jar: Tools to Track Your SEO Success

December 21, 2009


Within the PR world, 2009 would probably be considered the year of Social, but for many it is also the year where SEO went from yet another random acronym to a high priority for clients and agencies alike.  For many web savvy PR practitioners, press releases now serve double duty as both a communication tool and an SEO tool.  But now that you are actively trying to make an SEO impact, how are you tracking the results?

Business Wire users may already be familiar with our Press Release Measurement features included in our NewsTrak reports, but in this edition of the SEO Tip Jar I want to introduce you to some free and paid reporting tools that can supplement your existing efforts by helping you track your historical page rankings for specific URLs and keywords on your own sites.  These tools will likely evolve as we enter the era of more real-time and personalized search, but as long as measurement is important they will continue to be some of the best indicators of SEO success.

SEOMoz Rank Tracker
URL: http://www.seomoz.org/rank-tracker
Cost: Free to monitor up to 5 rankings, $79/month to monitor up to 50 rankings as part of SEOMoz Pro account

The SEOMoz Rank Tracker refreshes rankings weekly by default and can update more frequently with manual requests.  It also includes very pretty historical graphs and can export historical data to CSV for use in Excel.

This tool is only available for limited use as a standalone utility, but is well worth it as part of the SEOMoz suite of web-based tools and resources.

Raven SERP Tracker
URL: http://raven-seo-tools.com/features/serp-tracker/
Cost: $79 as part of package of tools.  Monitor up to 1,000 keywords.

Raven’s SERP (“Search Engine Result Page”) Tracker works in much the same way as the SEOMoz Rank Tracker, but automatically tracks across each major search engine (Google, Yahoo, and Bing) rather than having to add each search engine individually.

It also provides historical data as charts and CSV format for easy export.

Raven’s SEO suite also offers a large number of tools and resources that help you with your SEO efforts.

SEO Rank Monitor
URL: http://www.seorankmonitor.com/
Cost: $19/ month, monitor up to 100 keywords on a single domain

This standalone web-based tool features the same sort of functionality as the SEOMoz and Raven tools, and also features Google Analytics integration.

SEOBook.com Rank Checker
URL: http://tools.seobook.com/firefox/rank-checker/
Cost: Free Firefox plugin, requires SEOBook.com account

Unlike the other tools I’ve mentioned, this free Firefox plugin runs within your web browser rather than a dedicated server, so you can only collect data from a single computer.  It doesn’t produce any fancy graphs, but does feature CSV export for the Excel set.

Also, with its myriad of customizable options this tool is probably geared more towards the geekier among us.

All of these tools feature either free options or free trials, so what are you waiting for?  Get started tracking your site’s rankings today.

Gregg Castano Named Business Wire President

December 9, 2009

Gregg Castano, President, Business Wire

Gregg Castano, who most recently held the position of Co-Chief Operating Officer at Business Wire, has been named President of the company.  The announcement was made earlier this morning.  All of us at Business Wire congratulate Gregg, and look forward to his leadership and our continued growth!

Social Media for Crisis Communications

December 9, 2009

PR practitioners — the good ones — know that having a crisis communications plan in place for their companies or clients is a key part of best practices.  And, as with pretty much every aspect of communications today, social media is making an impact here as well.  Thomas Crampton of Ogilvy PR’s 360 Digital Influence recently moderated a panel discussing both the effect of social media in creating a PR crisis, and the use of those same tools to manage, mitigate and recover.

As an indicator of how quickly things change in the web and social media worlds, take a look at slide 17, which shows “Search” as a factor in spreading buzz in hour 24 of a crisis.  That was accurate at the time this panel was conducted; as of Monday, with the announcement of Google real-time search results, “Search” has moved from hour 24 to hour 1. 

The implication here is pretty clear:  If you aren’t out in front of potential (or actual!) bad PR, someone else will be, and they’ll be doing it online where the results are searchable.  Dialogue and transparency are crucial, as is an official statement from your company that reaches customers and potential customers everywhere.

Check out the whole slide show for some more insights and a great framework for creating your own crisis communications plan.

High Performance Press Releases: Getting Your Release Found, Seen & Shared

December 8, 2009

Business Wire San Antonio hosted back-to-back Austin and San Antonio seminars November 18th and November 19th, 2009. Attendees were provided tips to help optimize future press releases so they are found, seen and shared.

The well-rounded panel included Bill Leake, Founder, President and CEO of Apogee Search, the most prominent search engine marketing firm in the Southwest; Charla Adams, Communications Manager of Sweet Leaf Tea, a Business Wire client completely immersed in social media; and Clint Howell, New Media Specialist and Senior Account Executive at Business Wire.

Bill Leake, Founder, President and CEO of Apogee Search recommends:

  • Get someone else to sing your song and it’s better than singing it yourself – the web is 20% your content/80% what the rest of the world says about you.
    If nothing else, get the keywords right – choose keywords that matter (the ones people are actually using to search not what you think they’re searching) by using a keyword search tool.
  • The web is not just textual – create content with photos and video.
  • If you have a call to action in your press release/message, build conversion pages – you have them there, now what do you want them to do?
  • Don’t forget direct media pitches and don’t forget the bloggers (research beyond Technorati Top 50 and you’ll find the fat middle of niche bloggers that cover you and your industry).
  • The future owner of social media will be PR because it’s a better fit than advertising – PR is all about conversations and dialogue.

Charla Adams, Communications Manager of Sweet Leaf Tea recommends:

  • Sweet Leaf Tea uses a variety of resources to send their communication message – 15 employees tweet, they have Facebook Fan pages, blogs, YouTube channel, MySpace profile, Flickr photo pages, RSS feeds and even Sweet Leaf Tea TV and Sweet Leaf Radio.
  • Tweet/post/repurpose your press release permalink (especially if you have an EON release, which is posted forever and can act as a free-standing webpage – Sweet Leaf Tea’s EON release got 2x the hits of the wire version because Charla pushed it out).
  • Gauge your success by the level of participation vs. demographic breakdowns because someone outside your demographic target might be your most active engager – are they pushing out your message, writing a blog post for you, writing about you?

Clint Howell, New Media Specialist and Senior Account Executive recommends:

  • Media is posting your news as you write it,  which is a testament to having good content in your releases and links to further details on your site.
  • You can build your release for search and should.
  • The headline is the most important piece of your release, the first paragraph second because websites/search engines use them as your title and meta description tags.

If you would like Bill’s presentation or the seminar takeaway packet with Joseph Miller’s SEO Tip Jar, please email Barbie Dunn, barbie.dunn@businesswire.com.
More questions? Contact Clint Howell: clint.howell@businesswire.com

Local Business Wire offices host several events each year on PR, IR, SEO & media topics. Check out the Business Wire Events page to find upcoming events in your area.
Follow Business Wire events on Twitter! Hash tag #bwevents

Upcoming Business Wire Events – December 3 Edition

December 4, 2009

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:

Meet the Media Breakfast: Communicating With Different Ethnicities

Hosted by Business Wire Charlotte

Join Business Wire Charlotte for breakfast and a panel discussion on best practices for reaching the increasingly important African-American and Latin-American communities. Panelists include Dee Dixon, Publisher of Pride Magazine; Hernando Ramirez-Santos, News Editor of Que Pasa; and Juan Pablo Giometti, MBA, Managing Director of The Latin Focus and President and CEO of National Hispanic Entrepreneurs’ Organization. This event is free for Business Wire members and $10 for non-members.

Tuesday, December 8 at 7:30am ET
The Morehead Inn
1122 E. Morehead St., Charlotte, NC 28204
To register: Please RSVP to Angela Hayworth at angela.hayworth@businesswire.com or call 704-347-1590 by Friday, December 4.

Business Wire Invites You to Meet Our Editors

Hosted by Business Wire Nashville

With 30 bureaus around the world and more newsrooms than all of our competitors combined, Business Wire is proud to provide local expertise and superior service, backed by the most accurate editors in the world. Business Wire Nashville invites you to come enjoy delicious hors d’oeuvres and meet our experienced staff. This event is free for all attendees.

Thursday, December 10 at 4pm CT
1920 West End Ave., Nashville, TN 37203
To register: Please RSVP by Friday, December 4 to Denise Higgins at denise.higgins@businesswire.com or call 615.661.6123.

Traditional Tactics and Digital Dimensions: Strategic Thinking on PR, IR and Media Relations in the Conversational Age

Hosted by Business Wire Silicon Valley

Join Business Wire Silicon Valley in a panel discussion about new strategies, best practices and tools for better managing & measuring your communications effectiveness during this Conversational Age. How do you use new tools, platforms, outlets and channels to gain greater visibility for corporate messaging, product announcements and personal brands? Panelists include Courtney Barnes, co-author of Digital Strategies for Powerful Corporate Communications and VP/Director of Content Strategy at MH Group Communications; Deborah Schultz, Partner, Innovation Practice, Altimeter Group; Rachel Polish, Vice President, Senior Digital Strategist, Ogilvy Worldwide; and Ruth Cotter, Director of Investor Relations and Treasury, AMD. This event is free for Business Wire members and $15 for non-members.

Thursday, January 14th, 2010 at 8:30am PT
AMD’s Corporate Meeting Center
One AMD Place, Sunnyvale, CA 94085
To register: Please RSVP by Thursday, January 7th, 2010 to Eric Baker at Eric.Baker@businesswire.com or at 408.970.4550

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

SEO Tip Jar: Getting the Most Out Of Your Links

December 3, 2009

Looking to learn more about the art and science of Search Engine Optimization? Join Joseph Miller, EON Product Manager, for a new batch of tips from his SEO Tip Jar.

In the age of Google, links truly make the world go round and your press releases are no exception.  Every press release is an opportunity to push your story out to the world and influence how your company is seen, not only by people but search engines as well.

In the previous edition of SEO Tip Jar, I went into the why behind the benefit of links.  This article will cover some success stories and techniques on how to get more benefit from your links.

Search engines consider hundreds of factors in determining their ever-changing search rankings for pages across the web, but chief among them is link text from other sites.  Consider a site such as NBA.com, the official site of the National Basketball League.   Using an analysis tool, I can see that some of the most popular keywords linking to nba.com are: NBA, NBA.com, National Basketball Association, NBA Official Site, Basketball, and NBA Basketball.

All these keywords linking to them reinforce both the brand name and the site’s strong relevance to basketball, so it’s no surprise that NBA.com is the top result in search.

Your company or organization may not have the wide consumer reach of the NBA, but you still need to build awareness regardless of your industry or niche.  Every press release you put out is an easy opportunity to build more links and generate long-term SEO advantages for your site.

Read the rest of this entry »


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