A Look At EON From An SEM Pro’s Perspective

March 17, 2010

Ben Plomion heads up SEM Valet, a Search Engine Marketing firm that builds pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns for its clients, so he’s a guy you can trust to know his stuff.  Following a recent meeting, Ben took a look at EON: Enhanced Online News for its possible value in building backlinks to clients’ websites and being part of an online marketing or PR campaign.  Take a look at Ben’s thoughts and let him — and us! — know about your successes with EON.

Five Tips for More Search Friendly Headlines

October 29, 2009

by Joseph Miller, EON: Enhanced Online News Product Manager, Business Wire San Antonio

I recently wrote a post that covered some key search engine ranking factors and how they apply to your press releases.  Today I thought I would dive into one of those key factors: the page title.  In the context of press releases, your headline serves double duty as your page title and is thus the most important signpost for steering searchers and readers towards your content.

Using these simple tips can help you get the most out of your headlines and reap benefits for your organization.

1.  Give ’Em What They Want
When crafting your headline and release, it’s important to think like a searcher.  Look at past release reports or your web analytics to see what keywords tend to bring readers to your unique content and build on that.  If you don’t have access to your company’s web analytics, try to request a report from your web team with top search referral terms.

2.  Emphasize Your Most Important Keywords
Once you have some quality keywords to choose from, pick one or two that are most important to you and focus your headline on those.  You don’t have a lot of room to work with, so don’t try to work too many keywords into your headline just for the sake of it.

3.  Keep It Brief
Speaking of room to work with, Google generally displays only the first 63 characters (letters and spaces) of release headlines in search results, so make sure to get your key information across as concisely as possible.  If you are going to go beyond the limit, always make sure that your headline reads well when truncated.  That’s how searchers will encounter your news. If it doesn’t make sense, they are much less likely to click through and read the rest what you have to say.

Here’s an example. This is how the headline of this release from 977music.com reads on EON: Enhanced Online News:
And here’s how the title reads, as displayed in Google search results.  Note that the headline’s been shortened, but it still conveys key information:
4.  Choose: Descriptive or Catchy
It can be very difficult to be both descriptive and catchy at the same time, and both techniques have their benefits.  Descriptive headlines may be more relevant to more people and tend to work in more keywords for SEO, but catchy headlines might be better ‘linkbait’ and more likely to be shared via social networks or blogs.

5.  Keep At It
Search engines like Google and Bing are here to stay and securing your place in search results is an ongoing effort.  Incorporating press release SEO techniques can provide both short term benefits and serve as part of a long term strategy to build your presence in search.

For more press release optimization tips, visit EON: Enhanced Online News.

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.

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.

Press Release 2.0: Understanding Still Lacking

August 30, 2007

Since January when Web 2.0 and social media graced the cover of Time Magazine, my colleagues at Business WireTime Magazine cover and EON: Enhanced Online News have staged dozens of webinars, seminars and presentations spreading the gospel of Enhanced Online News to thousands of professional communicators. Our message: the humble press release, a foundation document, can be used not only as a traditional media relations tool, but as an effective addition to the business-to-consumer marketing mix.

Judging from the hype around the organic landscape of Web 2.0, you’d think every professional communicator on the planet was blogging, podcasting and pouring over their RSS feeds with their morning cup of coffee.   And between sips, they’re bookmarking to Del.icio.us, posting their favorite content to Digg.com, and surfing Technorati.

But in reality a gap–make that a canyon–of understanding exists.    While webinar attendees express uniform surprise at the 1% Rule (1% of the online population creates content, 9% participates in content, and the vast 90% of us consume content), their general lack of understanding reinforces it.  

Most clients still don’t know what an RSS feed is. One of the most frequently asked questions following our webinars: “What are Del.icio.us. Digg and Technorati?” And no one is jettisoning mainstream media any time soon–nor should they.

Fact is, none of these technologies are replacing prior iterations immediately.  Professional communicators today must do ALL the things he or she has done in the past–create useful, succinct, well-written content, sustain meaningful relationships with the media and key influencers, WHILE SIMULTANEOUSLY learning and utilizing the latest tools to convey messages in ways recipients prefer to receive them.   And while they’re at it, they need to justify their existence by demonstrating “measureable results.”

The good news is we at Business Wire and EON: Enhanced Online News are in a unique position to enlighten. As citizens of that grey triangle between professional communicators, mainstream media and new media, we offer a bunch of  “EON: Enhanced Online News Goodies” below–a collection of tips, links, and  handouts for understanding and embracing these newer technologies in the context of the humble press release.

Click, learn and enjoy.

EON: Enhanced Online News Tips: Writing for Reporters

EON: Enhanced Online News – Writing for Robots vs. Writing for Reporters

What is Web 2.0?

Web 2.0 2.0

Explaining RSS the Oprah Way

The 1% Rule

EON: Enhanced Online News Webinar schedule

Please let us know what else we can do to further encourage understanding. 

Press Release: Alive and Well and Kicking

June 6, 2007

R.I.P the press release? Don’t believe it.   More press releases are sent today than ever.

Journalists have complained for decades that too many press releases cross their desk.  Yet with shrinking newsrooms, more of their news hole,  online and off, is filled with content provided by press releases.   Last year one study showed that press releases have surpassed trade press as primary news sources online, an apparent vote of confidence in them by info consumers.

Some blogs continue to bemoan press releases as ineffective, wasteful and spammy, suggesting in the same breath that the social media press release is a panacea to perceived troubles.   While many releases should never hit the wire or anywhere else,  don’t count on the “traditional” press release getting dumped any time soon because the fact is, press releases WORK.

As for the social media news release, is a new format really the answer to what seems to be a question of information overload?  Or is an SMR, done properly, simply another blog post?

Too many releases are bloated with self-promoting language, jargon, and, unfortunately, legally required language that makes for dull reading and a treasure hunt for news.  In fact, at Business Wire, we refuse releases every day of the week and refer senders of inappropriate content to our competitors.  ;-) 

Ultimately, having something to say has more to do with success than the technology used to send your message, a point well-made in an eloquent essay by Online Spin’s Joe Marchese.   Sometimes we get so hung up on technology we forget that the old-fashioned who, what, where, when, why and how will earn you lots of respect.  Sticking to facts, limiting hyperbole and jargon, and sending the release to those who will find it relevant  also scores you points.

No doubt good technology can help get a good message to more people faster, and in that department the evolution continues.    Business Wire has been offering multimedia press releases since 1997.   Our patented N/X technology delivers content in tagged data packets that are easy to sort, repackage and aggregate — in the same way that the SMR template hopes to tag relevant facts for easy reconfiguring.   Business Wire’s XHTML delivery helps maintain the attractive formatting — bullets, tables, boldface, italics and foreign characters — our clients work so hard to create.

In a way, XHTML is its own SEO since it makes the content more readable to the end user — and isn’t getting people to read your stuff what this is all about?

When’s the Best Time to Send A Press Release?

May 1, 2007

New Rules Challenge Conventional Wisdom

One of the most frequently asked questions we get at EON Enhanced Online News and Business Wire is “When’s the best time to send a press release?”

While any answer is preceded by the disclaimer “That depends…,” we’ve counseled clients for decades to send their press releases “early in the day, early in the week.”   Fridays were once considered a bad day to send press releases, presumably because reporters and others were skipping out for the weekend and wouldn’t see your copy.    And for years we’ve told clients that embargoes are made to be broken.

But as Bill Maher says, maybe its time for New Rules.   An informal survey of clients and colleagues suggests that in a global, 24-hour, everyday news and information cycle, adherence to calendars and clocks is relative.

One corporate communications pro at a large, public company told me her strategy for maximum bang was to send a release on Sunday to key reporters with an embargo which they must agree to honor or they don’t receive the release.  “The combination of stories that hit at the same time the release is generally distributed increases awareness of the story, and likewise, increases pick-up by other outlets that day and often, into a second news cycle,”  she said.  Clever.

Alan Weinkranz, a tech PR pro who maintains a robust blog and who works frequently in Israel where the work week is Sunday – Thursday, suggested we be mindful of national and religious holidays in other countries.   He added that in practical terms, timing often matters less than it once did since these days, since “it’s not about the coverage, it’s about the conversation.”

What do you think?  When IS the best time to send a press release?  Leave a comment below and let us know.

Want more?  Listen to When’s the Best Time to Send a Press Release? addressed in the All Things Press Release podcast,  below.

Like what you hear? Subscribe in iTunes.

You can also take a look at another post from us on this topic, Use Google Trends to Find the Best Time to Send Your Press Release.


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