Archive for the ‘Social PR’ Category

27 (of the) Best Social PR Guides and Tips of 2014

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015

In few professions has the emergence of social media been such a double-edged sword as public relations. On one hand, the “citizen journalism,” blogging, and content-sharing platforms for all types of media have fundamentally altered the traditional print-based business model of professional and trade publications. Information scarcity has been replace by information overload.

There are fewer professional reporters and editors, and they inundated with more noise: it’s estimated there are now four PR professionals for every full-time journalist in the U.S..

How journalists use social media

Image credit: leaderswest Digital Marketing Journal

On the other, given their skills in relationship-building and content development, PR professionals (should at least) have a natural knack for social media success. And recent changes to Google’s search algorithm which place a premium value on earned links—the kind generated by effective PR and social media engagement—have increased the value PR professionals bring to maximizing overall brand visibility.

How can PR pros best utilize content in this environment? Is there still a role for press releases? If so, how should they be written and distributed to maximize their impact with a shrinking number of over-pitched journalists? How can PR pros use social media tools to identify and connect with key influencers? What do PR pros need to know about SEO?

Find the answers to these questions and many others in more than two dozen of the best guides to social PR practices of the past year.

Guides to PR Content and Press Releases

How to use contributed content to even the playing field by iMedia Connection

Maya SzydlowshiPointing out that “The size of the author’s company doesn’t sway an editor’s decision to publish an article — it has to be well written, polished, and highly relevant to the publication’s readers to stand a chance,” Maya Szydlowski details best practices for pitching and getting externally produced content published on high-authority news sites.

6 ways content marketing has changed the way we do PR by The Next Web

Shannon ByrneShannon Byrne outlines half a dozen “ways content marketing has changed the way we ‘do PR,’” among them: everyone is now a content contributor (“As long as your content is high-quality and not overly promotional, publications will often consider well-written, fresh content with open arms”); publications want to publish thought leaders; and “syndication + guests posts are great alternatives to earned media.”

The 10 Commandments of Press Release Writing by PR Breakfast Club

Mickie KennedyMickie Kennedy hands down ten commandments for writing effective press releases, beginning with “Thou shalt have a relevant topic” and “Thou shalt be truthful” and progressing through “Thou shalt proofread” (“Read it. Read it again. Go through every sentence and whittle them down until they’re iron tight. Check your grammar. Check it again.”)

How Content Promotion Lands the #PR Story for @LarryKim…Everytime! by Social PR Chat

Lisa BuyerFrequent best-of honoree Lisa Buyer summarizes the high points of a presentation by WordStream CEO Larry Kim. Among them: “use social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ to pitch directly to media and influencers”; include visual assets (such as infographics) in your content to increase sharing; optimize titles, meta details and image names for SEO; and extend the value of content through repurposing and syndication.

9 Timeless PR Positioning Strategies by Sword and the Script

Frank StrongEver notice how many companies are “leaders” in their respective markets, according to their own press releases? Noting that “Positioning as a ‘leader’ is generally a difficult proposition because every company claims to be a leaders; if everyone is a leader, then leadership as point of differentiation has lost its luster,” Frank Strong suggests nine alternative positioning strategies that are less shopworn and more defensible.

What Journalists Really Think Of Your Press Release by Forbes

Robert WynneTo help PR pros craft better, more effective news releases, Robert Wynne here compiles “unfiltered, honest, sometimes brutal yet always helpful, responses from some of the top journalists at publications including The Atlantic, Los Angeles Times, Mashable, Popular Science, Tech Crunch and Yahoo!.”

Public Relations & Social Media Insight by Scoop.it

Jeff DommanskyAs Monty Python used to say, “and now for something completely different“: this Scoop.it curation from Jeff Domansky is a fantastic resource for the latest articles, blog posts, infographics and other content related to the intersection of PR and social media. The content changes frequently so it’s worthwhile checking in here often.

3 Free PR Photo Hacks by Sword and the Script
*****5 STARS

Writing that “The research on the impact of visuals in press releases, blog posts and even tweets is nearly unanimous:  Images drive interest and that interests lasts longer,” Frank Strong (again) passes along his three favorite free, quick, and relatively easy methods for finding or creating images to supplement text content.

[Tips] Journalists and Customers Love Online Newsrooms…Do You Love Yours? by Social PR Chat

Quantifying the importance of building a rich online newsroom, Lisa Buyer (again) writes that “More than half of the journalists surveyed visit an online brand newsroom at least once a week, with 25.2% of them visiting newsrooms daily. And lest you think online brand newsrooms appeal only to traditional journalists, they are also being accessed by bloggers, tweeters, customers, potential investors, anyone who is interested in your company.” She then provides eight helpful tips for optimizing an online newsroom, including knowing your brand’s audience and using a team approach.

Guides to PR and Influencer Research

8 Powerful Influencer Research Tools That Get Results by Blogging Wizard
*****5 STARS

Adam-ConnellAdam Connell reviews eight helpful tools to help identify the key influencers on any topic, including NOD3x (powerful though not cheap at $160 per month), BuzzSomo (only covers Twitter, but free), and Authority Spy (an inexpensive tool that works with Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Klout).

How to Use Social Influencers to Build Your Brand by Inc.

Adam HeitzmanAdam Heitzman details a five-step plan to use “social influencers to build your brand,” starting out with spending time to find the right influencers (for which the post above may be helpful) and progressing through always paying it forward (“If a social influencer is writing great things about your company, do the same. Commenting and engaging with a social influencer’s content is great, but take it one step further by actually promoting it on your own social pages”).

How To Search For Influencers: 4 Tips To Make It More Efficient by InNetwork

Shawn HewatShawn Hewat shares her “top 4 tips to start building an ideal list of influencers” for outreach efforts, ranging from power searches on Google to investigating blog rolls (still a solid resource on older blogs, though sadly not used or maintained as regularly today as in the past).

Guides to PR and Social Media

The State of Social Media for PR Pros by Cision

Gina JosephGina Joseph reports on findings from Cision’s State of Social Media for PR Pros survey, such as: Facebook (used by 88% of respondents) and Twitter (85%) remain the most popular social sharing platforms for PR pros and their clients. But only 44% use any type of paid content promotion on social networks. And “less than half of our survey respondents have successfully pitched a journalist or outlet via social…traditional methods such as using a media database to target specific beats remains ever-important.”

Infographic: State of the Media 2014 by leaderswest Digital Marketing Journal

Jim DoughertyJim Dougherty presents an infographic from Vocus illustrating how journalists view social media. Among other findings: about half of journalists use social media to connect with viewers and readers, and to promote their stories; but 95% don’t believe social media is completely trustworthy, and 91% still prefer to be pitched by email.

Guides to PR and Guest Posting

7 Simple Ways of Maximizing Value from Guest Posting by Razor Social

Ian cClearyFrequent best-of honoree Ian Cleary suggests seven “ways to maximize the value of guest posting” (and stay out of trouble with Google), ranging from posting on highly authoritative sites within your market or industry niche (“Google likes to see that you hang out with good company”) to writing great, detailed content (the top results in Google often have more than 2,000 words).

Google Beats a War Path for Guest Posts; PR Needs to Listen by Sword and the Script

Responding to comments made by Matt Cutts about guest blogging and Google’s subsequent actions against using the practice merely for link building, Frank Strong (yet again) advises PR pros on how to use guest blogging and backlinks in ways “that will help keep PR out of the Google penalty box.”

Guides to PR and SEO

Press Release Rankings: Slammed by the Panda? by SEER Interactive

While it would be an overstatement to say that (legitimate) press releases no longer have any SEO value, Google algorithm modifications clearly changed the landscape last year. This post quantifies the result of changes for sites like PRWeb.com and Businesswire.com, but also notes more positively that “the days of the press release for legitimate reasons, earnings reports, technology innovations, acquisitions, etc, are still very alive & well.”

Everything a Public Relations expert should know about SEO in 10 minutes by Mustr

Atelina PelteaPromising information that “will make you an expert on everything you need to know about SEO in Public Relations without any headache and avoiding all slang,” Adelina Peltea concisely covers the basics of backlink analysis, keyword research, how Google treats links in press releases, and more.

Why PR Pros Will Now Dominate SEO by Cision

Kevin BaileyKevin Bailey believes PR pros are well-positioned to help with SEO in the post-Penguin era, writing: “The (links) that really move the needle come from the established media outlets that cite them all over the web—the industry media outlets with large engaged audiences and domain authorities in the high 90s…PR pros have a huge leg up in terms of earning the hard links. They have the ability to reach top media outlets and get content assets covered—content assets that are more about solving a large problem in a given industry than they are about touting a brand and its products.” True, which is why PR and SEO are two key components of a broader web presence optimization strategy.

Guides to Journalist Pitching, Media Relations, and Blogger Outreach

How to Contact the Media: 12 Email Tips That Also Boost Email Marketing by bridgebuzz blog

Lucy SiegelNoting that “an email has to be really compelling to avoid the delete key. Journalists get more email than most of us: some journalists receive over a hundred email pitches a day from PR people…to stand out among such intense competition and get opened, an email pitch has to be just about perfect,” Lucy Siegel provides a dozen suggestions for effective email pitches to journalists (and writes that most are just as valid as email marketing tips). For example: “Brevity Is Key to Getting Read. After the lede, get to the point right away by covering the basics: who, what, when, where, why and how. Don’t sell, tell.”

Be Memorable: 10 Practical Ways to Successfully Get Influencers’ Attention by Traffic Generation Cafe

Ana HoffmanAna Hoffman details 10 ways to get the attention of influential bloggers, journalists or other influencers in your industry, from linking out “shamelessly and unceasingly” to their content, to writing weekly roundups (with some value-added content–not just a collection of links), to quoting them (with detailed instructions on how to do this effectively).

A PR pro’s 10-point media relations checklist by ragan.com

Austin CrossAustin Cross entertainingly shares his “10 commandments of pitching” to the media, from research and personalization (“Not only does the ‘spray and pray’ method require no skill or effort, but it is also arguably the least effective way to pitch”) to scrapping the call script and talking to journalists as if they are real people. (Most of them are.)

Blogger Outreach: Persistence is Fertile by FeedBlitz

Chris AbrahamObserving that “It’s not uncommon for someone at a loud bar not to hear you the first time, or even twice. If you assume someone isn’t interested in getting to know you better just because they don’t hear you the first or second time, then you’re doomed. The Internet is the busiest, loudest, most distracting place ever created,” Chris Abraham outlines the three characteristics needed to “score the digits in content marketing.”

6 Ways to Pitch Journalists on Social Media by Social Media Today

Jess WynantsJesse Wynants provides half a dozen helpful tips for reaching journalists. For starters, build relationships first: “If you want journalists to pay attention to your brand, you need to build a mutually beneficial relationship long before you ever reach out with a pitch.”

Getting Positive Results From Blogger Outreach Is Difficult, Or Is It? by Tweak Your Biz

Adam Connell (again) offers nine tips for crafting “the perfect outreach email” for bloggers, starting with keeping it relevant (“take the time to check out the blog that you’re contacting”) and proceeding through keeping the pitch short and reaching out on social media before sending an email.

Guides to PR for Startups

PR Tips & Strategies for Startups by Social Entrepreneur Blog

Mark HaraiMark Harai shares a presentation focused on PR tips for startups, organized into six sections: foundation (make friends, not contacts), research, perfecting the pitch (positioning statements, personalization, answering “what’s in it for them,” keeping it concise, newsjacking basics), media outreach, measuring success, and best practices.

Infographic: How To Get PR by Publicize

This infographic illustrates a seven-step process for obtaining media coverage for a start-up (or a new product), from creating your story and tying it into larger trends to offering exclusivity (offering an exclusive to the right outlets makes journalists “more likely to write about your story”) to promoting exclusive features.

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23 Outstanding Social PR Guides

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

As noted in several of the posts highlighted below, the PR professional has changed considerably over the past few years. The audiences, topics, tools, and tactics employed in PR have evolved.

The PRiodic Table of Elements

Image credit: PRNews

Foremost among these developments is the shift from communicating primarily to a closely-guarded list of traditional “media’ contacts (editors and paid journalists) to working with an amorphous and expanding pool of influencers in specific industries and specialties: vendors, buyers, brand advocates, bloggers, freelance writer, peers, and others.

This shift has led to today’s emphasis on “social” PR. But it’s not merely about using social media platforms and outreach; as one of five pillars in the web presence optimization framework, PR now impacts SEO, content marketing, website design, and other marketing disciplines.

What role do press releases play in PR today? Are they still important for SEO? Is blogger outreach still an effective PR strategy? What are the best practices for social PR?

Find the answers to these questions and others here in almost two dozen noteworthy social PR articles, posts, and guides from the past 18 months.

Social PR Strategies and Tactics

What Brands Can Learn From @TODAYshow in 2014 by #SocialPR Chat

Lisa BuyerSocial PR expert Lisa Buyer writes about the transition of the TODAY show’s social media presence from awkward to awesome, and offers four related tips, including the importance of inspiring and training your own team first: “Brands of all sizes have the strongest army of brand advocates closer than they might think, with the right direction and structure – employees make the best brand cheerleaders.”

Why the News Release is Alive, and Well, and Thriving in the Wired World by Strategic Objectives

Deb WeinsteinDeborah Weinstein expertly explains how the news release have evolved over time, why news releases serve as a pillar of content marketing (news releases are “a tool we PR pros use to communicate with mainstream and social media journalists who share their stories, AKA “earned media,” with your brand or organization’s key audiences – be they consumers, stakeholders, shareholders, regulatory authorities, and/or, all of the above”), and what opportunities this creates for PR professionals today.

The Soft and Subtle PR Pitch of Content Marketing by Sword and the Script

Frank StrongThe brilliant Frank Strong says he’s “reached a point in my career where my best PR efforts aren’t made with a telephone or email, but rather with useful content that’s made freely available,” and explains six ways content marketing is invaluable for PR, among them “credibility” in the form of social proof as well as how “people, including the influential, look at us as individuals when they weigh a pitch.” Quality content and engagement matter.

Breaking PR: The Essential Elements of PR by PR News

Casysey-WeltonCaysey Welton showcases graphical “PRiodic Table of Elements,” which lays out “several important elements that a PR pro needs to consider on a day-to-day basis,” from the basics of jumaity, logistics, and budgeting through ethics, framing, media relations, and negotiation, in this quick-read post.

Why PR Agencies Should be Great at Social Marketing, But So Few Are by SocialSteve’s Blog

Steve GoldnerSteve Goldner explores why many PR professionals and agencies struggle to get results with social media, despite the fact that “PR companies are very well suited for driving social marketing success because their entire success is based upon relationships (and) relationships are what drive social success.” Among the reasons: PR professionals have traditionally carefully guarded their contact lists, and have historically dealt almost exclusively with professional journalists. The world has changed.

Forrester #CMO REPORT: Embracing Digital and Delivering Brand Experience by #SocialPR Chat

Carah Von FunkCarah Von Funk reveals research findings that “By 2016, Forrester predicts advertisers will spend more than $77 billion on digital marketing, more than they spend on television today and that interactive marketing…will comprise a full 26% of their total spend,” then presents four tips for marketers and social PR professionals to capitalize on these trends, including “CMOs need to take stock of this digital disruption and embrace it by working across departments to assess their digital readiness and identify every area their brand experience can be improved including messaging, actions and product.”

Guides to the Evolution of PR

You Know You Are in PR When… by B2B PR Sense Blog
***** 5 STARS

Wendy MarxThe awesome Wendy Marx provides an entertaining and video-rich look at how the PR industry has changed over the past decade. For example: “You knew you were in PR when you wined and dined a reporter over a 1 1/2-hour lunch with much camaraderie and laughter (while today) You know you are in PR when the reporter you previously worked with is now heading up editorial for a major brand.”

Quick Refresh on Untapped Opportunities for PR by Ishmael’s Corner

Lou HoffmanLou Hoffman offers “three thoughts for pushing out of the comfort zone and generating greater results” with PR, such as using tools like HARO and ProfNet to build lists of freelance journalists, because “As media properties have reinvented themselves to make the economics work, they have greater dependence on freelancers. Yet, many consider freelance journalists as second-class citizens when they deserve the same treatment as staff writers. In fact, one could make an argument for spending more time with freelance journalists since they’re NOT getting crushed with pitches and tend to be more open to input from PR.”

What’s Changed, What Hasn’t in Media Relations by Business2Community
***** 5 STARS

Jon GreerAcknowledging that “the news media has changed enormously in the last 10 years,” Jon Greer astutely details five characteristics of media relations that remain constant (e.g., “There are still hundreds of pitching targets: While the mainstream media sector has shrunk, online-only media and blogs have risen up to fill much of the void”) and five that have clearly changed (i.e., “There are fewer reporters and less space in traditional media outlets…Those that are left are being bombarded with pitches” – so your pitch to one of these individuals had better be exceptional).

Guides to the Intersection of PR and SEO

A Guide to Press Release Optimization by Business Wire

Acknowledging that “inserting targeted keywords with unnatural links is no longer a best practice for your organization’s communications plan,” this guide offers 10 alternative tactics for maximizing the SEO value of news releases, such as that Google’s Hummingbird update rewards good writing: “Focus on writing for humans and creating a good user experience, and Google Hummingbird will take note. Including relevant terms continues to be important, but they need to be in context with your story.”

Enduring Questions on Press Releases and SEO by Sword and the Script

While the days of using marginal-quality, link-filled press releases to game SEO are clearly over, Frank Strong (again)here explains why strategic, newsworthy, well-crafted news releases still do have SEO value, and supplies five tips for getting better search results from press releases, such as “Use multimedia (photos and video)…Multimedia is important for two reasons.  First because search engines return a blend of search results, or ‘blended search’…Second, because visuals draw viewers in…viewers will stay on page (with multimedia) for up to 30 seconds longer.”

7 Ways to Obtain “Unicorn” News Links to Your Site Using PR by iMedia Connection

Allison FreelandNoting that “PR and SEO are becoming converging marketing practices” (yes, within the context of WPO), Allison Freeland walks through “seven ways to obtain juicy links from news organizations to your website,” including press release distribution through the reputable news wire services; producing unique issue / research studies; and producing / distributing infographics (which “still have value”).

Guides to Influencer and Blogger Outreach

How to Find Niche Influencers in Google+, Twitter and the World at Large by Bruce Clay Blog

Chelsea AdamsChelsea Adams details half-a-dozen techniques for identifying influencers in any market segment or topic area, from checking out who speaks frequently at relevant industry conferences to finding authors on Amazon.com (“Are they on Twitter? Are they on Google+? Do they have a lot of followers?”) and using tools like FollowerWonk to analyze the key influencers on your key influencers.

GroupHigh.com – The “Blogger Outreach” Multi-Tool by Justice Mitchell

Justice MitchellJustice Mitchell writes a glowing and detailed review of GroupHigh, a tool that helps identify bloggers for outreach by topic (along with supplemental information about each blogger including location, associated/guest bloggers, Moz rank, and other attributes); analyze competitor blogs; and track and measure outreach campaigns.

The 10 best ways to pitch a blogger by ragan.com

David Meerman ScottAuthor and PR guru David Meerman Scott, who (not surprisingly) receives “several hundred pitches a week from well-meaning PR people,” offers 10 do’s and don’ts for getting the attention of influential bloggers, among them understanding that bloggers can provide coverage in multiple ways (“I might tweet about your product. Maybe you have a story worth adding to a book I’m working on, or including in a speech. Don’t limit yourself”) and not offering guest posts unless the blogger actually accepts them.

Bad Outreach Examples – How Not to Secure a Guest Blogging Spot by SteamFeed

Charlotte VarelaCharlotte Varela shares five examples of awful blogger outreach, explaining why each goes beyond ineffective to the point of offensiveness (e.g., “Rule number one of guest blogging – never talk about or ask about links in the initial outreach email! This clearly demonstrates that you’re after a link and nothing else”), as well as six helpful tips for maximizing your odds of success.

How to Find Key Online Influencers by MyBeak Social Media

Laura-Lee WalkerNoting that “Active web users create about 500 million impressions or data points on products and services per year, yet 80 percent of these user impressions were made by a mere 6 percent of users on social media,” Laura-Lee Walker explains how to use tools like Klout for Business and Traackr to identify and effectively engage key influencers in any realm to “get them sharing stories about your brand.”

Streamlining Blogger Outreach With Inkybee by Soulati-‘TUDE!

Jayme SoulatiThe smart and delightful Jayme Soulati explains how to use Inkybee, a platform that helps identify bloggers by topic or niche to facilitate blogger outreach activities. She notes that beyond just building lists, the tool also enables PR professionals to set up, track, and measure results from blogger outreach efforts.

Guest Blogging Guides

How Guest Blogging was Affected by Penguin 2.0 by AudienceBloom

Jayson DeMersIgnore the obnoxious pop-up here and you’ll find a helpful post from Jayson DeMers explaining how changes to Google’s search algorithm have impacted the value and practice of guest blogging, along with four tips for continuing to get value from this practice, such as focusing on content rather than links (“Google will begin to recognize mentions of a company or its website on other sites, even if that site isn’t directly linking to them. This is known as a citation, and is currently thought to play a major role in helping Google understand the buzz or importance of a particular brand”).

5 Tips for Guest Posting on Higher End Blogs by HigherVisibility

Amanda DiSilvestroAs Amanda DiSilvestro points out, techniques that work fine for obtaining guest-posting opportunities on smaller blogs don’t work with the large A-list blogs. She then steps through five tactics that must be approached differently for outreach to larger blogs, among them: “Take your time and form connections, and then use those connections. As with most things in business, who you know will come in handy. Authoritative blogs want to see that you have made connections to other important figures in the industry (or even in their specific company). If you can name drop, I highly recommend it.”

Guides to Creating Social Media Newsrooms

Why (And How) Brands Should Build Newsrooms by Contently

Shane SnowShane Snow publishes wisdom gleaned from his interview with former New York Times editor Neil Chase, regarding the value of buiding a brand newsroom (“Today, a business can create and distribute quality content that engages people…But creating content is a new skill for most companies, so it requires new capabilities and expertise. Building a brand newsroom gives the business control over its messaging and content — and the ability to create and distribute content quickly”), how it should be staffed, common pitfalls to avoid, and more.

The Social Newsroom – How To Make It Happen by MindJumpers

Jonas Klit NielsenJonas Klit Nielsen outlines “the ingredients you need to leverage” in creating an online brand newsroom, from (of course) your news itself (“The key is to catch the specific news that people talk about when standing by the digital water cooler that is the Facebook news feed…Just remember – the conversational topics must be in context with your brand”) and social behavior to understanding the creative skills required and measuring performance.

Brands with online newsrooms still lack SEO, content plans by Brafton

This post reports on research from Newsdesk showing that “98 percent of the world’s largest brands have their own online newsrooms,’ but also spells out how brands are struggling to keep content fresh, use relevant and high-quality images, and capitalize on the SEO potential offered by online newsrooms.

 

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31 Expert Guides to Maximizing Online Brand Visibility – WPO

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

Given all of the changes Google has made affecting organic ranking factors (asking webmasters to disavow low-quality links, reducing the value of guest blogging, ignoring links in press releases, etc.),  the practice of SEO—optimizing owned content for search—is no longer sufficient for maximizing a brand’s online visibility.

This is not to say “SEO is dead” or that it no longer has value, only that it can no longer stand on its own. It needs to be part of a larger, coordinated strategy encompassing owned, earned and paid media: web presence optimization (WPO).

The original WPO model focused on content-sharing to maximize organic brand visibility; as the WPO framework evolved, it incorporated paid and industry (e.g., event sponsorships, community outreach, analyst coverage, trade association membership) components.

Today’s WPO model emphasizes the importance of fusing a solid content strategy with a comprehensive online distribution strategy in order to maximize brand visibility and credibility.

The Web Presence Optimization Model - WPOYet despite the analytical and strategic power of the model, WPO still largely remains the concept that everyone talks about, but no one names. It’s as if sportswriters constantly wrote about “contests in which opposing teams of five players attempt to shoot a round orange ball through a hoop with a net attached” instead of simply saying “basketball.” As indicated by the posts from Search Engine Watch and All Twitter highlighted below, that is starting to change, but only just.

How can social, PR, SEO, and online advertising efforts be coordinated to maximize brand visibility? How can paid, owned, and earned media be harmonized to achieve business goals? How can paid and organic content promotion channels be used together most effectively? What role does email play in extending online visibility?

Find the answers to those questions and many more here in 31 of the best blog posts and articles about WPO (even if they don’t call it that) of the past year.

Beyond Search & Social: Online Marketing in 2014 by Search Engine Journal

Marcela De Vivo covers a great deal of ground in this thought-provoking and wide-ranging post, from the impact of social signals on organic ranking to earning (vs. building) links, measuring key performance indicators (KPIs) based on your goals (e.g., “If your goal is organic visibility, your KPI’s will be based on increasing your rankings and organic traffic”), and the debate around paid, earned and owned media: all critical consideraations in a WPO strategy.

Convergence: Merging Disciplines Between PR and Marketing by InNetwork

Hessie Jones contends that while marketing and PR have traditionally been separate disciplines, due to social media, “these roles are converging in a big way,” so today brands need “a combination of PR and Marketing to stay on top of the conversation, and be ready to develop compelling content to engage and build advocacy,” and furthermore to pair “mainstream and digital media experts with creative specialists like copywriters, digital designers and video producers to uncover storytelling opportunities in real time, deliver critical business insights, engage influencers and customers and create the content that shapes news and conversations.” Which is to day: they need to coordinate the efforts of everyone involved in maximizing a brand’s online visibility and relevance.

How to build a robust content program by iMedia Connection

Writing that “Today, superb, consistent content best serves your customers and leads to increased loyalty and bottom-line results,” Deborah Hanamura explores a baker’s dozen considerations for content marketing strategy, including social, SEO, PPC (“Great Pay-Per-Click advertising requires great content. Create an impression versus multiple impressions”), and events—in other words, most of the key elements of WPO.

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Integrated Marketing: The Magic Formula for Success by Blue Kite Marketing

Laura Click (correctly) asserts there is no “one singular tactic that will help you achieve results” in digital marketing, but rather that achieving the objective of being everywhere your prospect look online requires an integrated marketing approach coordinating efforts across:

  • • content marketing;
  • • media relations;
  • • advertising;
  • • search engine marketing (actually, a form of online advertising);
  • • social media; and
  • • email marketing.

Add SEO to the list above and you’ve got WPO.

Integrating POEM: The Rhyme and Reason of Harmonizing the New Media Mix by iMedia Connection

Aaron Dubois explores the strengths and weaknesses of paid, owned and earned media (POEM), and advises marketers, “Throughout the planning process, take a step back and look at your brand’s overall marketing strategy. If the P, the O, and the E aren’t working in conjunction with each other – with a consistent brand voice across all communications – then it’s not likely you’re going to get as much out of your campaign as you hope to.” That’s another way of saying: adopt WPO, which coordinates efforts across these these three types of exposure.

Harmonizing owned, earned and paid mediaCreating a Multi-Channel Content Marketing Strategy by BlueGlass

Kevin Gibbons illustrates the POEM concept and recommends that marketers “have a fully integrated strategy, where everyone is involved towards having success across all of your owned, earned and paid media channels” in order to properly plan and execute to achieve online business goals (or in other words, adopt a WPO approach). He then provides further guidance regarding content creation, measurement, and audience targeting.

6 Reasons Social Media Is Critical To Your SEO by Convince with Convert

Jason Clegg offers “six reasons social media needs to be an important part of your website marketing and SEO strategy for years to come,” such as that social media enables you to “crowd source” your link building; social links actually drive traffic to your website; and “Google hates link building.” Though the post goes a bit over the top in spots (“link building as a direct SEO tactic is completely dead”—not quite true), Jason’s overall points regarding the SEO value of social media are spot on.

The PR Strategies SEOs Haven’t Learned by Siege Media

A helpful companion to the post above, Ross Hudgens here focuses on the value of PR for SEO: “Many PR companies still blast releases out to publishers that have no reason to receive them. Many SEO companies do the same with their outreach to bloggers. The best of both worlds will find the intersection, combine agility with empathy, and make for an extremely potent content marketing package.”

MarketingSherpa 2013 Marketing Benchmark Survey ResultsMarketing Research Chart: Integrating email and search marketing tactics by MarketingSherpa

Daniel Burstein notes that the chart at right “highlights one of marketers’ key challenges. They’re doing a lot. Even the least used tactic — digital asset optimization — is being conducted by 45% of marketers.” He then explains three ways that marketers can be more efficient by “SEO and email tasks to get more done in less time.” This type of coordination between different types of content promotion efforts is also at the heart of WPO.

The Evolution of Content In A Big-Content World by MediaPost

Writing that “‘big content’ is the definition of what content marketing has become: unruly, amorphous, exponential and everywhere,” Steve Kerho suggests that marketers should “think of big content as branded content that exists in multiple channels, across devices and…is no longer controlled solely by the brand.” Indeed they should, and efforts should be coordinated across these different channels to optimize visibility and engagement while maintaining consistent brand messaging.

SMO Guide for BusinessThe Complete SMO / SEO Guide for Business & Brands in Social Media by REALSMO
***** 5 STARS

Joshua Berg provides an indispensible and comprehensive guide to how social media and search work together; the principles of social media optimization, aka SMO (“Focus on the user and all elSEO will follow”–spot on); and the (possible) future of search.

The Aftermath Of SEO’s Death This Summer by Forbes

Writing that Google’s Penguin and Hummingbird algorithm updates “mean no more hat tricks, keyword stuffing, comment spamming, backlink image stuffing…Finally, Google uncovered the secret to blocking SEO tricks used to get customers on the infamous PAGE 1,” Eris Poringer provides excellent guidance on implementing a “comprehensive plan” for maximizing online brand visibility, incorporating social media, email, content marketing, native advertising, and other tactics. This approach isn’t SEM (paid search) though SEM is a key component of a wider WPO strategy.

Social Media Should Not Be A Stand Alone Brand Tactic by Brand Cottage

The smart and engaging Patricia Wilson lists seven reasons why social media should not be a stand-alone brand tactic (such as, “Social Media is very hard to scale on its own”) and suggests that “social strategy works best as part of a larger integrated marketing and business plan.” Couldn’t agree more; it’s a vital component of a WPO strategy.

The B2B Marketing Guide to Paid Content Distribution by B2B Digital Marketing
***** 5 STARS

In this highly bookmark-worthy post, Eric Wittlake details almost two dozen options for paid content distribution, from advertising on the large social networks to content distribution services like Outbrain and Taboola to native advertising and sponsored posts on B2B publication sites. As long as you stick with reputable sites that keep up with Google’s latest guidelines, these are great avenues for extending the reach of your content and increasing overall online brand visibility.

Social Media AdvertisingHow to Amplify Your Content Strategy with Social Media Advertising by Content Marketing Institute

Observing that tweets have an average half-life of 18 minutes, Facebook posts have a half-life of 30 minutes, and keeping up with algorithmic changes in organic search is getting increasingly difficult, Dan Stasiewski recommends “creating an advertising flow to your content ecosystem.” Excellent advice, though not either/or; successful content promotion requires coordinating all of the elements of WPO.

SEO And Other Web Marketing Techniques: Tools Or Tricks? by Forbes

Roger Kay comes down rather hard on content marketing and SEO (“a rather polite term for another way to game the system”), but writes that he likes “the concept of inbound marketing because it relies on product quality…at bottom, inbound will only work if the product is good.  Effectively, the Internet is a fantastic channel to give an idea a chance to make it in the wild, but the virus only spreads if the content justifies the buzz.” True, which is why content strategy forms the base of WPO. But as noted here previously, even the “most epic content will FAIL without content distribution,” which is why coordinated sharing and promotion across channels is just as important as creating high-quality content to begin with.

When Keyword (not provided) is 100 Percent of Organic Referrals, What Should Marketers Do? – Whiteboard Tuesday by Moz

Rand Fishkin steps through a number of steps SEO practitioners can take to deal with the loss of organic keyword data from Google, such as using “keyword suggestion sources like Google Suggest, Ubersuggest, certainly AdWords’s own volume data, SEMRush, etc. to see the keyword expansions related to your brand or the content that’s very closely tied to your brand.” Running AdWords ads and examining keyword performance is another option.

Time for a New Definition of SEO by Search Engine Watch

Writing that “digital marketing tactics such as email marketing, paid search and search retargeting have very clear, undisputed definitions. The definition of SEO, on the other hand, seems to be just as unclear as the practice itself,” Krista LaRiviere suggests WPO (she actually uses the term) represents the evolution of SEO, and defines WPO as “an all-encompassing approach to optimizing an entire web presence for organic search including the website, social channels, blogs, articles and press releases.” Her ideas clearly resonated, as the post garnered 50 comments.

The Web Presence Optimization Cycle [INFOGRAPHIC] by All Twitter

Allison Stadd showcases a helpful infographic designed to help marketers visualize “the steps to web presence optimization with the goal of helping you reach organic search success.”

The Web Presence Optimization Cycle Infographic

Getting less traffic from Google? Here’s why it may not matter soon by Jim’s Marketing Blog

Jim Connolly details three reasons marketers should diversify their efforts beyond just organic SEO, most importantly because “Google sends less traffic to sites than before…between August 2012 and March 2013, search traffic from Google nosedived an incredible 30%” to a collection of large publisher sites including The Huffington Post, The Daily Mail, Newsweek, Time, Sports Illustrated and Rolling Stone. It’s not that search isn’t still an important tactic, but that it’s only one of several important elements in a brand’s total online visibility (the focus of WPO).

Relying on organic SEO? You’re losing customers! by Digital Growth

Building on the arguments in Jim Connolly’s post above, Luke Chapman illustrates how ads and universal search elements continue to push organic listings further down on the typical search results page, making even a #1 organic ranking less valuable than it used to be. To combat this, he recommends using social media, email, PR, blogging and blog commenting, and industry/community marketing—pretty much the range of WPO elements. And investing in SEM also helps maintain search visibility.

Google SERPs - More Ads, Less Organic

Is SEO Dead — Or Decentralized? by MediaPost

Musing about the decline of traditional SEO and the rise of social media optimization and paid search, Ryan DeShazer concludes that “In today’s marketing communications organization, everyone is an SEO…creative teams (now) include content discoverability and SEO into their work streams; technologists are building sites and apps compliant with known onsite SEO best practices; and UX specialists are including keyword research before developing user personas and journeys.” Hmm, coordinating the efforts of multiple disciplines in order to optimize web visibility…sounds familiar.

The 4 SEO Trends Every Marketer Needs to Know by iMedia Connection

Tony Quin reveals what he believes are four key trends in SEO that marketers need to understand, the most relevant of which for WPO is number four, “Traditional marketing tactics will boost digital marketing initiatives…Press releases, for example, provide branded mentions and links that will increase the authority of your website while also increasing exposure. Despite what some might say, email is still extremely effective in creating opportunities for awareness and sharing.” Creating compelling content is vital, but that content then needs to be shared using social media alongside “traditional marketing tactics.”

Inbound vs. Interruption MarketingInbound Marketing: 15 tactics to help you earn attention organically by MarketingSherpa

Daniel Burstein (again) serves up a list of “quantitative metrics, case studies, how-to articles and other resources to help you improve your own inbound marketing efforts by learning more about how your peers are effectively using these tactics,” including SEO, PPC, email, events, PR, blogging, content marketing, and other aspects of WPO.

How to optimize your emails for search by iMedia Connection

Noting “It might sound like a strange idea to optimize your emails for search engines, but SEO is a skill that email marketers better start working on,” Michael Linthorst explores the ins and outs of Gmail Field Trial, an “experiment in which Google includes a user’s Gmail inbox in his or her search results.” Engagement, content, and relevancy are keys to “email SEO”—and a solid approach to email marketing regardless.

Social Search Engine Marketing Throws Search Experts A Lifeline by MediaPost

Laurie Sullivan reports on recent research showing that “Social signals continue to make their way into search results—making social search engine optimization the next major trend in organic listing. Enterprise SEO requires a search across traditional techniques and social media channels.” This integration is, of course, at the heart of WPO.

Why Your Online Marketing Department Is All Screwed Up by ClickZ

Andrew Delamarter describes how marketing departments can, and must, sop operating in “silos” and coordinate efforts across paid, earned, and owned media: “Now is the time to stop thinking SEO, media, content marketing, web analytics, and Facebook posts and start thinking holistically about inbound marketing that brings it all together.”

Marketing in Silos is Screwed Up

Must evolve to:

Integrating Owned, Earned and Paid Media Efforts

If you build it, they will come — maybe by iMedia Connection

The brilliant and prolific Rebecca Lieb believes “The winners in content marketing will create not just quality content, but distribution strategies that will get that content ‘out there'” (i.e., WPO). SEO, PR, advertising, and social all have their role to play, but so do media companies.

Six Ways Internet Marketing Meets PR Online by SteamFeed

Because “the online world of content marketing requires knowledge of Internet marketing which includes search marketing, key word designation, html coding, link building, and the other tools and tricks of the trade,” Jayme Soulati outlines half a dozen ways for PR professionals to work with their Internet marketing counterparts to maximize online brand visibility and impact.

Search Marketing Integration, a.k.a. WPOThe New SEO: Search Marketing Integration by Search Engine Watch

Brad Miller writes that while SEO isn’t dead, “the days of SEO as a distinct, independent discipline are certainly numbered. SEO is fast evolving into a more creative, diverse, and challenging profession.” He uses the term “search marketing integration” to describe the coordination of activities across social search, branding, PR, SEM, and others areas in order to integrate all your marketing efforts into “into one single, agile, engaging strategy.” That would be WPO.

2013 – Break the (Digital) Marketing Silos by The RKG Blog

As noted above in the introduction to this post, WPO is about coordinating the efforts of everyone on your team involved in content creation or digital marketing. As Todd McDonald writes here, “Imagine the insights available to those who successfully bring together PR, social, email, PPC, SEO, and other channels!  Each one can feed the next, providing ever-deepening levels of data and connections that will drive data-driven strategic marketing decisions.  SEO will be a cog in this machine and it will need the machine to work well in order to functional optimally.” He challenges marketers to smash their internal silos—a vital step (as noted above) in WPO, even if he doesn’t call it that.

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Book Review: Social PR Secrets

Monday, March 31st, 2014

One of the first things you’ll notice about Social PR Secrets: How to Optimize, Socialize, and Publicize Your Brand’s News by Lisa Buyer is how compact it is. Coming in at under 100 pages, this slim volume stands apart from most other business books simply by virtue of its slender profile.

Social PR Secrets by Lisa Buyer - Book CoverIt’s lack of bulk, however, is by no means due to lightweight content or skimping on ideas. It is, rather, a reflection of Lisa’s exceptional ability (invaluable to a top-notch public relations professional) to convey maximum information with minimal words. This is no wasted verbiage in this book, no fluff, no superfluous content. This is the bleach, the moonshine, the uranium of business books—powerful but highly concentrated.

In just eight dozen or so pages, Lisa demonstrates the impact that social media has had on the practice of public relations, and how professionals in the field need to adapt to these changes in order to thrive, changing the way they approach media relations; news release writing; content planning, creation and distribution; use of images and visuals; and the measurement and analysis of results.

A must-read for anyone in PR, the book is also of value to marketers, SEO professionals, social media managers, and executives who want to better understand the role PR plays in maximizing a brand’s total online visibility, credibility, and impact.

Indeed, while most PR professionals aren’t going to become webmasters (or vice versa), it’s vital for practitioners, and especially for marketing and PR executives, to understand how these roles as well as those of digital marketers, writers, graphic designers, social media, and advertising specialists need to be coordinated in order to optimize online presence.

As Google’s search algorithms have become more sophisticated, being highly “findable” and visible to relevant audiences online is no longer about tricks or gaming the system. Optimizing online results today requires creativity, great content, effective social interaction, and link-earning through relationships with key influencers, whoever those may be in your industry: journalists, analysts, bloggers, consultants, thought leaders and others.

Lisa Buyer

Lisa Buyer

Lisa doesn’t merely theorize about these developments; she has lived them, and her experiences both enliven the book and provide valuable examples that illustrate the concepts she details.

On the importance of content in both PR and SEO, for example, Lisa writes: “Everything in search” is about content, and “when you think about it, everything in public relations is about content—via a press release, media story, blog post, image, or executive bio.”

Each chapter helpfully contains “Social PR Secrets,” short paragraphs set off from the surrounding content in a different typeface. A few examples include:

  • • “Leverage the power of Facebook Ads to promote posts to the newsfeed and generate publicity using a blend of organic and paid social PR.”
  • • “Write three versions of a company press release: one for paid distribution version that includes a photo, logo, and video; another version for the company blog which might be shorter, a little more casual and have a different visual; and a website version…This will help index more content with search and avoid possible duplicate content issues.”
  • • “Always, always, always post a press release on your website first, before submitting to the ‘wires’ to maximize authorship benefits and authority in the discussion—which also enhances visibility in search.”
  • • “The simple application Buffer can be a secret weapon in bringing old blog content and news releases back to life and send new visits to otherwise dead pages.”
  • • “PDF press releases and all text press releases are OUT, so make sure your press releases are accompanied with a strong visual such as an image, video, infographic or chart. This goes for your press releases hosted on your own website’s online newsroom.”

In today’s era of content marketing and social PR, Lisa advises PR professionals to “write (more) like a reporter and less like a marketer” and to support these content strategies by developing editorial calendars. “Social media has dramatically increased a brand’s number of owned media outlets, so smart businesses need to make the mental shift to think more like publishers. Managing content with an editorial calendar is a necessity.”

Another core element of social PR is having an online newsroom on your corporate website. While these have become fairly common, not all are well-designed or maintained, and “today the online newsroom can be an organization’s social PR secret weapon.”

Journalists today expect companies to have online newsrooms, and these should include, among other elements, news releases; prominent PR or media contact information; executive and product photos; biographies of company leaders; and “vital statistics: It’s really surprising how many organizations fail at incorporating the basic facts, background information, history, and milestones into the press center. More advanced content could include industry hot buttons, facts, and figures.”

Most powerfully, the online newsroom serves as an equalizer between large and small companies: “Expertise in a subject comes in all sizes, with 87% of journalists (say) they visit both large and small-to-medium sized organizations’ online newsrooms…today’s online newsroom is the command central for all company news activity and helps level the playing field for small companies to compete with Fortune 100 companies.”

As helpful as all of the information in this book is, two chapters in particular stand out. Chapter 8: The Art and Science of Social Publishing is a concise but brilliant guide to both the hard and soft factors that determine the effectiveness of social outreach, with three pages devoted to helpful tips like:

“Write for the Retweet, +1, Share, Like, Klout, and Comment: Facts, stats, tips, reports, studies, and breaking and trending news are good triggers for prompting a share. Ending a post with a question increases a post’s impression and reach.”

And:

“The rise of visual social media marketing makes each image selection for a blog post critical and dictates that you must match each press release or media coverage recap…with an outstanding visual. Your article, blog post, and news release must be accompanied by a pinnable image to get your social PR news shared.”

Chapter 13: The Rise of Visual Reporting delves even deeper into the topic of matching relevant but compelling images to news content and announcements. Here, Lisa reports that “a recent PR Newswire analysis of its press release data revealed that press releases using multimedia assets garner significantly more visibility than text-only releases, up to 9.7 times more visibility.” She also provides a list of tools and apps that help with visual storytelling, as well as visual PR tips such as, “When launching a new product do not just have the ‘hero’ shot, take photos of the product in use or in application.”

And despite the book’s compact size, it covers an impressively wide range of topics. For example, Chapter 16: Avoiding a PR Disaster offers useful guidance on developing a social media policy that effectively supports PR: “To mitigate (risk of employees damaging an organization’s image on social networks), develop a company-wide policy that clearly defines both acceptable and unacceptable behavior on social media, and dictates how employees can effectively communicate your brand culture, voice, and message. Include guidelines about confidential and proprietary information and how each should be treated and balanced against the transparency that consumers increasingly expect from social media.”

Just a few pages later, she outlines her strategy for getting the most out of sessions at industry conferences: “I map out my session plan ahead of time and I always sit in the front row with my laptop or iPad, feverishly taking notes. Sitting in the front row gives you an advantage of having less distractions, more focus, and a better networking opportunity because most of the other front-runners are live bloggers or members of the media who are there to cover the session. Some of my best contacts and relationships have…been made sitting in the front row.”

Social PR Secrets packs an amazing quantity and range of practical, actionable knowledge into a thin, quickly digestible package. But it’s not a read-and-set-aside type book; you’ll want to keep this handy to refer back to key sections as your PR / content marketing / digital strategy develops. Anyone involved in PR, social media, digital marketing, content creation, or the management of a brand’s overall online presence will find this book an indispensable guide to working smarter and getting better results.

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The Social Media PR Battle

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

Guest post by Megan Totka.

Has social media ruined public relations? Can the images of business and public figures still be saved by a crisis management team? In a crisis situation, how long until people expect an answer? Can PR keep up in this online social world? These are all questions I’ll try to tackle here. The notion that social media can have a larger impact than public relations is fairly new. Many business executives see social media as an easy outlet for a business to spread positive information, but what about the flip side? Is your business prepared to avoid a PR nightmare if a customer utilizes social media? When you open your business up to millions of people, safely hidden behind their computer screens, anything and everything can be said. Is your business ready for this new PR battle?

Is Social Media More Impactful than PR?

Image source: Elevate PR

In late January, a Midwestern mom had the horrifying task of trying to locate a source of lead in her home after her infant son was diagnosed with lead poisoning. During the examination, she used a home kit and found lead present on a bolt on a baby food blender made by Baby Bullet. After three attempts to get answers from the company via phone and email, the mom turned to social media. Baby Bullet’s Facebook page lit up. Comments were being posted every few minutes. Parents were outraged. One mom even took it a step further, using parenting blog to chronicle the full story.

It took Baby Bullet several hours to release a statement regarding the matter. They followed up with a detailed letter several days later and asked the outraged blogger mom to post their side of the story too. The entire situation was a PR mess. Something that could have easily been handled internally is now public knowledge to thousands of online users. The brand is tarnished in their minds.

Twenty years ago, this type of situation would have never happened. There wouldn’t have been a Facebook page for the mom to post on out of frustration by the lack of response. There wouldn’t have been a public forum for supporters and haters of the product to go back and forth on the significance and truth of the accusation.

Facebook and Twitter are the two most popular social media sites available today and they are leading the game of social PR trouble. Businesses have to be quick on their feet. They have to beat detractors to the punch. Someone from the business needs to respond to these big deal posts within minutes. There is no time to waste. PR teams cannot just issue a blanket statement. They have to empathize with the naysayers. They have to relate to and create solutions for the issue. Stick with basic guidelines for Facebook and Twitter. Now is not the time to go informal or rogue with your posts.

The public still wants to hear the business tell the truth, but it’s no longer just the complainer who is watching for a statement. It’s his or her hundred followers and maybe their hundreds of followers too. One tweet or one Facebook post or one trending topic is not just one complaint to your company, it’s one complaint that hundreds, or perhaps thousands of readers will see.

Social media has absolutely changed the face of public relations as we know it. This does not, however, have to be a bad thing. Stay on top of your pages. Preemptively strike with great news every once in a while to build up your name. Though a PR crisis is not quite inevitable, it’s still essential to know how to handle one if if comes your way; social media does not have to become your next nightmare.

Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide. 

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