Domain Manage

Doing your own PR

Discussion in 'SEO Search Engine Optimisation' started by roydovaston, Mar 17, 2013.

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  1. roydovaston

    roydovaston Active Member

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    Having covered many angles already we're considering PR as our next potential step. I understand that as well as the actual point of PR there are some very juicy links to be gained too. I wondered whether anyone could give us some sound advice on where to start. We already have an excellent creative copywriter but knowing how and where to distribute our PR is the unknown. I've heard of PRweb, has anyone used them and had success? All suggestions welcome!
     
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    Acorn Domains Elite Member

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  3. alex

    alex Active Member

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    I've been using PRWeb quite a lot recently on both the US and UK sites and we’ve just signed up to a £4k package with them. I also distribute PRs manually to an industry contact list of about 100 contacts. The results have been great, but you should consider the following.

    First of all PR distribution should be done as part of a wider marketing strategy and not just SEO. There are several reasons for this.

    First of all the links on PRWeb are disregarded by Google. Please see http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/seo-article-in-newsweek/ and read Matt's comment December 11th. I appreciate this is an old article, but my experience tells me it is still the same.

    Second, PRWeb has gained us thousands of backlinks, but most of the news sites have actually noindexed the directories that host the PRs so no juice there.

    However, when used correctly, PRs are great. If you think about them as PRs and not a link building tool you will find people write about you (with legit links), you appear on Yahoo! News and other news outlets which adds to credibility when people search for you, traffic increases as people read the releases. Some search engines may like the links from PRWeb.

    When combines with a self-built industry contact list where PRs are posted with dofollow links there are even more benefits.

    I hope this helps. If you have any more questions about PRWeb of PRs feel free to ask.

    Alex
     
  4. roydovaston

    roydovaston Active Member

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    Thanks for such a quick reply Alex. In your opinion do you think PRweb are the best distribution network to use? I'd imagine there are others out there too...

    4k is out of our budget currently!
     
  5. alex

    alex Active Member

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    The best results (in terms of link building) come from the PR mailing list we put together ourselves. If you don’t have much budget then I’d advise you get in touch with people in your target industry with blogs etc and basically ask them if they have a contact who manages the blog who you can send news to. It’s free and will get you the best results.

    With PRWeb you can buy individual releases, it’s just the £4k package would give us a massive saving compared with paying for releases individually.

    I’ve used PRNewswire before, but PRWeb gave us better results. As I mentioned before, it really depends what your goals are. If you are considering a PR strategy to develop your brand, rather than gain Google-friendly backlinks, then PRWeb is great. PR distribution is a legitimate activity, so Google doesn’t penalise the links, it just don’t give them any weight. If, however, a journalist finds your PR and writes a unique story then that’s when things get exciting.
     
  6. cc976a

    cc976a Well-Known Member

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    Hope you don't mind me asking Alex but what is your main driver for PR - are you looking to gain traffic, or increase brand awareness for future marketing / advertising efforts, or credibility from articles and features on established media platforms ..... or all the above?

    Do you find that £4k will see a ROI immediately (as in a CPC campaign should) or is this a longer term strategy and £4k investment part of a larger spend piece?
     
  7. alex

    alex Active Member

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    It’s all of the above really. Just to give things some context, I’m managing the PR for the company I work for part time as the SEO/SMO Exec. I’m not currently distributing PRs for my own projects, but I will do once the time is right to implement a PR strategy because I see it as a valuable and necessary part of my marketing strategy.

    So the overall goals I’m working to are to improve search rankings for specific terms, increase brand awareness, develop our credibility amongst our target audience, increase traffic, increase sales and, where relevant, encourage other actions based on the news we’re distributing.

    For example, we’re currently holding workshops across Europe and the US. The PR was used to inform and encourage a specific customer group to sign up and attend the workshops. We first used them to inform potential customers about us and of the workshops, then we used the media to show that we had credibility (because we were widely reported).

    However, as an indirect benefit, some people picked up the story and linked back to us which helped our SEO strategy.

    If we were looking at this as a link building exercise then yes we gained a few links which is great. However, the customer engagement and reputation development were worth far more and since the release went out, direct and organic traffic has been higher and we’ve signed new customers.

    Before signing up to this package, we trialled a month of PRs and actually we improved dramatically for specific keywords. But this only happened when external sources picked up the story, several PRs didn’t really have much effect on rankings, although they improved traffic and sales. So even though many of the news outlets nofollowed the links, our customers still got the news and acted as desired.

    In terms of ROI, PR is part of a much bigger communications strategy to achieve the goals above. I’m using it as an SEO tool, monitoring PR distribution against keyword rankings and will adapt content based on SEO goals, but this is just one of many things we're using them for. We’re also looking at patterns in sales, traffic, perception towards the brand, whether the PR affected the purchasing decision etc.

    So given the above, PRs do work for SEO, but I feel that they shouldn't be seen solely as an SEO tool, especially with many sites noindexing/nofollowing content. If you looked at it just as SEO you wouldn't have a particularly good ROI, but when you consider brand awareness, credibility, sales, traffic etc then I think they're a great tool.

    We do see some immediate ROI, but since some of the goals are around perception and awareness we’re looking at the long-term picture.

    Sorry about the essay, feel free to let me know if you have any more questions.
     
  8. cc976a

    cc976a Well-Known Member

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    Useful and interesting post - thanks
     
  9. martin-s United Kingdom

    martin-s Well-Known Member

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    Hi Alex,

    Would love to see some examples of successful PRs you've put out?

    Martin
     
  10. Dextron United Kingdom

    Dextron Active Member

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  11. mrh United Kingdom

    mrh Active Member

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  12. martin-s United Kingdom

    martin-s Well-Known Member

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    Same goes for you Mark - would be interested in seeing what you send out to get the (admittedly impressive) results you do for socked.
     
  13. roydovaston

    roydovaston Active Member

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    That would most definitely interest me also... I'm very interested in embedding PR's into our strategy, we did one once through PRweb but it failed to get any pickup which was disappointing. Having read through some of the suggestions so far I wonder whether I just let an expert take control... although i'd be more satisfied with myself if I could do it myself!!
     
  14. alex

    alex Active Member

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    The two workshop PRs did well (for what we were aiming to achieve):

    http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/2/prweb10450634.htm
    http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/2/prweb10450611.htm

    In additioon, although it wasn't picked up so much, the below drove a fair amount of traffic.

    http://www.prweb.com/releases/IM/SO/prweb10403171.htm

    Totally agree. We used PRWeb in conjunction with other efforts to target a specific photographer market. I've still got a lot to learn, but based on our objectives things are going well so far. Would be great to get into print though.
     
  15. martin-s United Kingdom

    martin-s Well-Known Member

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    Hi Alex,

    Thanks for posting those. I was trying to see a formula behind the writing, but there's nothing obvious there.

    E.g.

    What is the summary?
    What is the news?
    Why is this news?
    What makes this news credible?
    What can I spin to repurpose this news?
    What is in it for the reader?
    Who released this news?
    Where can I find more information about the news and the company?

    I was always under the impression that you had to make life easy for journalists reading your PR.

    Be interested to understand how you go about writing the PRs and if you follow a formula of any sort?

    (You too Mark!)

    Martin
     
  16. alex

    alex Active Member

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    To be honest I used PRWebs own guides. I don't deny that I'm new to PR and still have a lot to learn, but these were based on PRWeb's templates and suggestions. It would be great to see some professional examples though to see how my own interpretations vary from the pros. All I can say is that what I produced met, and in some ways exceeded, the objectives and expectations that they were intended for.

    I can't attach the guide I use as it's too big, but if you PM me your email address I'll forward PRWeb's PR guide (pdf).

    Alex
     
  17. donton United Kingdom

    donton Active Member

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    As a former journalist I know how hard it can be to get outlets to actually run with stories.

    I was able to take my newsroom experience and use it to my advantage in the PR game. I'm slowly bringing onboard PR clients but I'm not really in any rush to do so - they're all referrals/friends/friends of friends at this point. When I pull my finger out I'll eventually get round to offering PR openly.

    Here are my five top tips when approaching PR:

    - Don't bother with the bog standard PRWeb distribution service - or any other news wire. Most journalists don't even look at them any more because they're spammed to death with non-news stories. It's all about pitching directly to journos now (which I do manually building up lists of niche/industry specific emails - although there are suites like Cision that will do it for you at the click of a button). Getting your release directly into the inbox of journalists is the way to go. This is really easy because in a lot of cases journalists suffix their articles with their email address, or you can just find their info on Journalisted.com (works for most).

    - Have a slant or a story. Journalists will not write a story off your PR if it's something like "Ben Jones launches new insurance comparison site". It's dull and it's not news. You need to have a slant or a story to sell. Something like "Survey conducted by Ben Jones' new insurance site shows 45% of people have incorrect information on their insurance policy that could render it invalid" (obviously something a little more concise but you get the idea - an original story based on real figures/facts). A client I worked with recently did a load of sums and calculations related to a big new energy efficiency device and he received widespread coverage in print and online for his website. It took him a few days but his case study was impressive and really easy for me to pitch to journalists - the press release practically wrote itself.

    - Form a relationship with journalists. Sounds like a load of hassle but it's a lonely job! Journalists will go out of their way to run with your stories if you take some time to talk to them - all the niceties (hope you had a nice weekend, etc). I find this is advantageous because typically I just push stories through the same journalists - which makes my life a whole lot easier.

    - Hire someone to write your first few press releases, analyse the layout and the discourse then gradually make the transition to writing your own if cost is an issue. If not, continue to outsource them. The structure of a press release matters greatly - if the story is in there but it's not articulated properly, journos will just hit delete and move onto the next one.

    - Make sure you put contact info in the release so that journos can get in touch with you for further information and quotes. A lot of journalists are lazy and will just go directly off the press release, broadsheets especially though prefer to do their own interviews and get exclusive quotes. If the PR isn't for you, make sure you alert your client as to why it's important their info is included, and that they are reachable.

    Like I said, for now I do most of my PR outreach by hand, emailing anywhere from 10-50 journalists from a plethora of papers at a time. At some point though I do plan on grabbing Cision - that makes the whole process exponentially easier and a lot of big PR firms use that suite anyway (as well as a few people on here). I've not used PRWeb or any other distribution service for a long time - I've saved a lot of money and I have much better results by taking the time to reach out to journalists manually via email.

    Hope this helps someone.
     
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    Last edited: Mar 18, 2013
  18. donton United Kingdom

    donton Active Member

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    Try here:

    http://news.cision.com/socked-co-uk
     
  19. mrh United Kingdom

    mrh Active Member

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    Yep we use(d) them for an online newsroom, pretty good to store everything in one public place that ranks quite well. But same as pr web just goes out on a RSS feed and the SEO value is nothing and no journo actually picks up on stories that arrive via the feed.

    Best advice - it's all about the story. If it reads anything like an advert then it goes in the bin. Pick journos and say hello.
     
  20. matty281k United Kingdom

    matty281k Active Member

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    re

    Has anyone got ideas for a jewellery brand ?

    What I mean is story ideas that are likely to be picked up by journalists
     
  21. max99x United Kingdom

    max99x Well-Known Member

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    Awesome tips, top post thanks.
     
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