WriterAccess Webinar Archive

Press Release Magic

Thursday, May 27, 2010 – 1:00 PM ET

Sure, we all know that certain Press Release secrets offer an opportunity to get the words out and links in. But that's just the beginning of the Press Release magic that you need to be practicing each and every day. From SEO Press Release strategy to public relations impact measurement, this special Press Release webinar will cover all you need to know to get in-the-know on how public relations strategy and advanced PR methodology can impact your business and deliver the ROI you demand for your investment. See how new age technology helps you create Press Release magic, optimize and revolutionize you public relation and press release strategy. Don't miss this exclusive Press Release Webinar powered by ideaLaunch.

Join PR Web online marketing machine Meg Walkerand ideaLaunch founder Byron White for the advanced webinar on Press Release Secrets to grow your business in a variety of ways, beyond simply optimizing the press releases for the search engines.

Slidedeck Download

The slidedeck from this webinar is available for download.

Video Transcription

Byron: Okay everyone. Let's try the presentation. My name is Byron White and I'm the president and founder of a company called ideaLaunch, which is a content marketing agency. I'm very excited to be joined today with Meg Walker, the Director of Online Marketing that's going to chime in to her part of the presentation in just a few minutes.

I'm going to go through a slide deck with everybody today. It's going to talk about a couple of things. One is the general preach and summary of the content marketing revolution that's happening that we all need to get excited about and be part of. We're really changing the way that we're marketing. We're moving away from push marketing and more into information marketing and inbound marketing where we can really explore building a relationship and earning trust with prospect customers. I'm excited to talk to you about that.

I will then focus of what I call the 10 steps for PR strategy that I've developed. It will also dig into some ROI tracking and measurement once you complete all 10 of the steps.

Without further ado, I'm going to chime right in followed by Meg Walker, the Director of Online Marketing for PR Web.

So, content marketing revolution - what's happening out there? What is the content marketing revolution? What is happening that's different? Well for starters let's define what content marketing is. It's really the art of listening to the wants and needs of your customers.

You're going to be doing that in a wide variety of ways including things as simple as:

  • Looking at what people are searching for on your website
  • Listening to social media conversations
  • Looking at your analytics to see what is popular on your own website
  • Looking at keyword popularity of course to see what the hot topics and keywords are that you should be creating content about
  • Listening to your customer service reps and asking them questions about the wants and needs of the customer from their perspective,
  • And yes having your customers fill out surveys and questionnaires to dig deep into what their needs are

There's also a science to content marketing we define as the science of delivering content in a compelling way. That means looking beyond just your website as a static vehicle and brochureware to promote the features and benefits of your products. You now need a larger portfolio of assets to engage your customers. You need printed books and e-books that help educate and entertain. You of course need to blog and be active in the blog community with conversation. You need RSS feeds to get knowledgeable about what's happening. You also need to hope that people will subscribe to your content your pushing out with RSS feeds. Of course, widgets and apps and other vehicles you need. There is a science behind the art of creating content and we're going to talk about that today.

It's also constantly testing campaigns to learn what works and what doesn't work. I'm talking here about A/B testing and multi-variant testing, eye tracking, segmentation, geo-targeting. It's remarkable how your website is now becoming a research vehicle to learn what works and what doesn't work. I like telling people if you're not testing your landing pages, you're truly living in the dinosaur age because it's easy to lift conversions and double or triple your conversion rates in a short period of time particularly if you've done no testing.

If you've done a lot of testing, my advice there is to change the creative team that's putting things together and/or talk with your legal department and try to remove some of the restrictions. Think hard about the information you're asking your customers to give you to be quote qualified as a lead. There's a lot of things that need to be looked at as you test. It's certainly measuring reader's engagement and desire for me and looking at the number of downloads for particular assets, the time on page, the action people are taking, the amount of repeat visitation, whether people are sending things to friends and talking about in the social media space.

Catching readers orbiting at high speeds is also a challenge these days. You need to understand that people are mobile. They're constantly on the fly, so you need to develop content assets within your content marketing strategy that catch them on the fly. And certainly engaging content with gadgets and apps is increasingly becoming critical to establish your brand as a leader and somebody who's investing in the new communication vehicles at hand.

Developing a content pipeline is relatively new, in my opinion, to the marketing world as a whole. We're doing some fairly advanced stuff with clients that really bring a lot more interaction to scoring content engagement and actually bringing those statistics of content engagement down into the sales funnel, so you can hopefully move people to inducing trials, scoring their activity, assigning points with technology like salesforce, and looking more intelligently about the prospect leads and the likelihood for them to buy.

Content scoring is another aspect of this, but developing free tools for interaction, content downloads, proposal downloads, these are all things that allow you to be in scoring engagement.

Let's now dive into 10 steps for developing press release strategy and an actual press release perhaps as the end goal. So without further ado we're going to dive right in.

The first thing I wanted to bring to the table is bringing some fresh ideas to the table when you think about the press release strategy that you're trying to unfold. I think in general if you look at just a few items on here that I want to get out to people today, there is an opportunity to promote webinars. As a matter of fact, Meg and I promoted this webinar. I'm going to show you some results from that. We had a laser focus strategy to go after a particular keyword phrase. I'm going to show you how we did that.

Think hard about the content assets on your site. The first column that you see here I believe are newsworthy items that allow you to start communicating the assets that you're putting together for your prospect customers. Have you designed and developed courseware and podcasts and printed books or tip centers and advice centers? Promoting content assets is a critical part of content marketing, and it's something that a lot of people don't think about including new versions of their website and/or new resource centers.

You're looking for opportunities to cross pollinate your assets, build link strategies, and there's a whole flood of things we could talk about there. But I think it's also important to look at other things and to really think beyond the scope of just assets and what you perceive in the old world to be newsworthy events. Looking at your employees is something we're going to take a look at. Looking at the competition. I just wanted to give you a punch list of things that I think would be interesting and worthy and help promote your brand as a company that cares about its people, its employees, its clients, its innovation, its technology, and reaching beyond for great ideas.

So another concept is to take a look at your competition and see what press releases they're sending out. I like saying "put the press on your competition." This is a screen grab in WordVision, a technology platform we have, that allows us to quickly assess the market share, and I like saying mind share, of your domain name versus your competition. In this case, you can see that we have built a whole keyword universe of about 7 or 8 thousand keywords, and I'm comparing ideaLaunch to MarketingProfs and Junta42 for the keyword universe that I've built. In the case of Junta 42 for these keywords, the big green circle is good. It means we're winning the war of words on the web. We have more top 100 top 10 listing positions than Junta 42. So, we're feeling good about our SEO and our optimization and driving more traffic than our competition.

But putting the press on your competition is also looking at your assets and how you're better than them. For example, we are a Google website optimizer consultant at Google. We've had stories written about us in publications like Print Solution. We've won awards. We're actually over at Junta42 even though they're a little bit of a competitor. I don't view them as such. We're listed as one of their top 19 blogs. So, analzying your competition is critical to developing I believe a content marketing strategy and a press release strategy.

So next you want to take a look at your customer's wants and needs while looking immediately at your search box to see what people are searching for. But I think it's important to reach out and talk to your customers. What you're searching for is what's interesting to them. Do they care about upcoming shows? Do they attend shows? What are they visiting on your website? What information and content do they need? I think surveying your customers' wants and needs should be a driver for your PR strategy and getting things done.

Next, I would look at the story within your employees. Your employees are probably your greatest asset. I would hope that everyone would agree. What are the stories that can come from your employees? Are any of your employees out speaking? Are you recognizing your employees? This is a grab that I took from HubSpot, which is actually creating quite a buzz in the industry right now. Brian Halligan, a colleague and friend and somebody I respect a lot, credited with the incredible growth over at HubSpot has really done a fabulous - by the way I'm speaking with Brian in June at our PR Web hosted event - thank you Meg. He had an interesting vacation policy that they're pitching as part of their press release strategy. That is to have a vacation policy where it's an unlimited number of days of vacation. It was inspired by the TV show Mad Men. So you see an interesting release here. This is a good example of really I think of a revolutionary way to use press releases in thinking about your company policies and how you treat employees, how you treat customers, and things going on. So, look within your employees for the stories that demonstrate your brand commitment to making your company better.

Digging into keyword research is a great way to go. There's a bunch of free tools on ideaLaunch that you can take a look at, but here's some of the free tools that I highly recommend. Spyfu absolutely a must tool that you need to look at. There are a lot of great tools for harvesting keywords, and I would encourage everybody to take a look at some of these recommendations you see here.

A picture says a thousand words. When you're sending press releases out, I highly recommend that you try to not only have imagery within the releases that can tell the story very quickly but you also need to, I believe, begin infusing your brand or your messaging within those images particularly if you're selecting stock images which of course everybody is these days. It's hard to hire a photographer and justify the expense for press releases you're sending out. But here I took an image - you know content marketing is my thing if you will - and if I had a release that's announcing some new content assets I might take our white shirt guy and the crystal ball of the future here and try to get this image out as part of a release I'm sending. PhotoShop is a great way to go to work on your images and use your brand in the imagery.

An SEO plan is critical. Holistically you need an SEO plan for your website anyway. You need to begin developing keyword silos. That's the key part of any SEO plan that you put together. By keyword silos, I really mean saying, "okay, here are maybe 50 or 100 keywords that we care most about." What are the silos for the keywords? What are the topics around the keywords that we could begin creating. Content about press releases - and that's how you really have to look at an overall SEO plan. Naturally you need to get the releases out and the links in so an SEO plan tries to give you good strategic advice on what links you want to feature in press releases you're sending out to help support the other SEO strategy on your website on particular pages that you're really trying to focus on. You need an SEO plan, and you need to flush that. Our SEO staff and editors spend a lot of time creating those for these releases.

The editorial plan is also critical. Here's just one snapshot of some speaking events I have coming up. You need to be thinking about an editorial plan that covers everything that you're going to be featuring throughout the course of the year - speaking events, content releases, employee news, policy news, new accounts, awards, philanthropic news, anything. You need to begin mapping out these things in the beginning part of your planning process to then build keyword strategy around them, to infuse imagery around them, and to really bring it all together.

So, the top of the ninth here. The ninth recommendation in building your whole strategy is to create an optimization plan which of course includes internal link strategy within releases, etc. But you also need to score your content. WordVision is what you see here. We have an ability to score content according to particular keyword silos that I mentioned. You can get a feel for that and learn more about it with a free trial at wordvision.com if you want. It takes a little time to set up. If you need some help with that, reach out to one of my reps or SEO specialists here. We have a free 30 day trial which really ends up being a 60 day trial since we need to show you some results and let you play with it a little bit. We have page string tool that's interesting. We have a press release on any page on your website and just put the URL in along with the keyword phase that you've optimized that page for. You can see that scoring, so you've got some other tools at ideaLaunch.

Finally, number ten - performance goals. How are we tracking the impact of a press release? Let's run through a few of them. So, certainly you can look at improved listing positions. We can get very granular with our WordVision technology and actually look at improved listing positions for particular keyword silos. If I'm developing a keyword silo on Byron speaking events, I'm going to try to look at how the press release we've sent out are using the keywords that we've identified within that silo of Byron speaking events. I can look and see how these listing positions are beginning to achieve top 100 and even top 10 listing position. We can get very granular at improved listing positions.

Likewise, we can look at increased traffic from releases. We can get as granular as quantifying the number of press releases I'm sending out in the course of month and the potential improved traffic I'm getting from those keywords featured in that release that begin to show me I'm improving my listing positions that are a direct result of the releases I'm sending out.

We can look at repeat business and visitation on the site even for the particular press release pages. Overall holistically are people spending more time on the site now that we're starting to bang out 10, 20, 30 press releases a month. We can look at time on site overall for the release stickiness. We can look at individual pages to see how much time people are spending on pages. Are they just looking quickly at the image and the headline or are they digging in and reading it? Is it interesting to them? Those are great ways to begin fueling more content for things that people seem to be interested in.

We can begin to track the leads that come from the new content. For example, if I send a press release out promoting a new content asset that I created - for example I created a 2010 content marketing product guide as a free download on ideaLaunch - it starts to get a little traction. Maybe the press release page gets picked up. We start getting more traction for that particular page on our website where that asset is featured. People start downloading that asset because we're using it as the lead in. Now we're getting some traction on promoting that particular asset and then learning who's downloading that asset. That's all measured in salesforce and we're starting to see that release help us promote that asset that is now becoming a lead that came in to our database. We can use releases to promote assets and enabling them to track leads.

We can also look at improved conversion rates. We can say, "Did someone go read a press release and then take action on our website or did somebody download an asset that we did a promotion on and then take action on our website?"

We can look at increased sales from those leads. Now they're tagged in salesforce and now we can look at the leads that were generated from those assets.

Here's a little, fun case study. Somebody's multi-tasking and wanted to check later a Google search for press release magic, you'll see the ideaLaunch page that we optimized the release for is now number 7. Meg and I just concocted this idea like last week and threw it out. We laser focused on one keyword phrase - press release magic - and sure enough we were able to achieve number 7 listing in a very short period of time with the help of PR Web. By the way, Meg wrote that press release - nice job. You'll see that my SEO team infused the press release magic right about the middle of that release. We pointed that link to this page where this webinar was promoted. After the webinar is done, that sign up for this webinar will change to download a copy of this deck. It will remain a static page the press release was able to help us promote. So initially we can promote the page as a sign up form for the webinar, but that we'll then switch to a download of the contents for the webinar which we'll use as a lead gen.

So, pretty cool stuff.