The Art of the Press Release

Too many firms resist utilizing press release distribution as a tool in their marketing arsenal. The argument against press release marketing has traditionally been the lack of solid data to accurately gauge your return on investment. But the online press release industry has evolved to the point where marketeers can obtain very detailed tracking information and analytics. In fact, a business that omits press releases from their marketing plan is simply missing out on a significant lead generation and branding opportunity.


Press release distribution has always been among the most inexpensive marketing tactics. It is still a very cost-effective tool. Each release typically costs a few hundred dollars or more, depending on its total reach. Gone are the days when the PR manager would write her release and email it to her limited trade press list. Today each press release can be sent to dozens or hundreds of sources and viewed by thousands of consumers and potential customers. It can be picked up and re-posted by scores of bloggers. It can be connected with your social media sites for extra exposure. In short, each press release can greatly enhance your firm's search-ability and website traffic.


So -- we've convinced you to initiate a press release marketing program. Hang on ... there are a few items to review before you get started.


  • Writing ability counts! In the Internet age, there's a ton of poorly-written blogs, web content, press releases, etc. This does not mean it is OK to join the "sloppy writing club." If you are not a strong writer who understands at least the basic rules for constructing press releases, then you should find someone else to handle the task. A shoddy press release may backfire and actually harm your brand image.
  • Don't get too cute with your keywords. It is best to write a press release that flows naturally, instead of one that is jammed with a plethora of keywords. Excessive keywords will not help to improve the performance of your press release.
  • Avoid the blatant sales pitch. It's fine to write a press release announcing a new or improved product or service. However, it should be written as an information piece that educates the reader. This is another reason why a skilled writer should be constructing your press releases. The experienced PR pro will know how to craft the release so it does not seem like an "in your face" sales pitch.
  • Don't overdose on press releases. As you start to see some success with your press release efforts, many marketers are tempted to go to the well too often. There should be a legitimate reason for the release: innovative new product, change in management, office relocation, attendance at a trade fair, speaking at a conference, a new joint marketing arrangement, etc. 

Good luck, and happy marketing!

What is SEO in 2012?

In the world of Internet marketing, only one thing is constant -- change!

That said, it can also be stated that the chase for the perfect search engine optimization (SEO) strategy is constant, as well.

In today's online world, what does SEO mean to the Internet marketer?

First and foremost, any SEO strategy must begin with the most basic of tasks: enhancing your visibility. After all, it does you no good to allocate any resources toward search engine marketing if your online listings are bad, and you are unaware of your reviews and social media activity. With the number of online directories, social media sites and review sites mushrooming, it is vital that any business carefully manage their online visibility. There are a few skilled services out there providing this type of online visibility management, including www.localreputation.com. It would be beneficial to look into this type of service before investing more resources in your SEO strategy.

Once you have implemented a thorough visibility system, there are several important aspects of search engine marketing in today's Internet world you must understand:    

  • SEO incorporates much more than just what is on your website and what links are connected with your site. It now encompasses various aspects of traditional marketing, mobile searches and social media marketing.
  • The rules have changed regarding web content. It is no longer acceptable to simply post tons of content jammed with unrelated keywords. In addition, you need to consistently re-fresh your web content. Once search engines recognize your web content, it does not benefit you to keep those articles, videos, etc., on your website forever. Google and other search engines will rank you higher for new content than for gobs of content. That said, you do not want to eliminate content that provides important information to your web visitors, even if it will not help to enhance your rankings.
  • SEO now needs to focus less on link building and more on a broad range of online marketing activities: social media, email, promotions and content. 
  • As you know, Google is forever working to stay at least one step ahead of the SEO marketers who are trying to decipher their algorithm. But, it is clear that no matter what strategy or crystal ball you use to determine Google's secret formula, the search engine giant is working toward a system that rewards those whose search engine marketing is the most consumer-friendly. In other words, an honest approach that is not trying to deceive visitors in any manner will likely work best. 
  • Those services that offer article spinning or mass directory submissions are going to be less and less effective. You've got to figure Google will soon devise a method to weed out those listings and articles, so it's probably best to start phasing them out, if you are utilizing them.
  • We all know certain keywords are always going to be more appealing to consumers (i.e., free, sex, money, etc.) But in today's SEO world, simply appearing in a search directory does not mean your efforts are effective. Why waste the consumers' time if their search is not at all connected with your business? You will simply annoy those consumers and they will immediately leave your website. Even if the search engines do not weed out your listing, it's never a good idea to pull the wool over the consumers' eyes,
  • Today's Internet marketing must be at least semi-fluent in the ways of the Web. Understand basic code for JavaScript, SQL, HTML, ALAX, etc. ... Learn how to use weblogs ... Understand the differences between Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. All this knowledge will come in handy when examining your SEO strategy.

The most important tip of all -- keep learning. The Internet world and the SEO landscape will continue to evolve. You need to evolve, as well.

The Brand-New Brand

It wasn't too long ago that it took millions of dollars and a significant allocation of resources to build a successful brand. Of course, those were the days when television was really the only truly effective medium for brand-building. As the Internet world mushroomed in the 1990s, it was assumed that wise marketeers would devise ways in which to harness the power of the World Wide Web to develop effective branding and/or lead generation tools. Quite honestly, the 'Net did not begin to realize its massive marketing potential until social media took the universe by storm over the past decade.


Nowadays, a small local business can take advantage of some very sophisticated online tools to generate more customers; and to quickly build a highly professional brand.

A savvy local business owner who may have been banging her head against the wall in 1995 trying to figure out how to out-duel a giant international conglomerate can now focus her energy on social media tools and online reputation management services in order to compete very effectively -- at least in her local community.

To illustrate, let's just examine one of the more popular B2B marketing sources: LinkedIn.

There are numerous features of LinkedIn, most of which are designed to help business professionals to enhance their visibility. Whether you are posting links to interesting articles and videos; joining or creating business groups; connecting with old and new colleagues; seeking recommendations; participating in group discussions; or even utilizing the job posting services; you are exposing yourself to a wide universe of potential business connections.

To get the full social media branding experience, it is important to:

  • Grow your connections: Spend some time each day researching potential connections and checking out connections of your connections. The larger your network, the more exposure for your brand.
  • Post interesting stuff: Don't just post links to your website. Eventually your connections will tune out your postings if they are a repetitive sales pitch. Include a good mix of interesting information, fun links, videos -- and sprinkle in the occasional soft-sales pitch. 

Of course, whether you are utilizing LinkedIn, Facebook, Google + , Twitter or any other social media site, the advertising platform is a viable option for many marketing pros looking to generate leads, website traffic, new business opportunities and brand exposure. Most of these sites offer user-friendly advertising options that allow one to select their budget and fine-tune their target market. It pretty much goes without saying, but it is important to track your response rates carefully with any advertising campaign, and make necessary changes on a consistent basis to adjust the target audience, the message, the bid and all other aspects of your campaigns. Even if your campaigns do not meet your marketing objectives, take heart that the added exposure will help to enhance your brand. 

Some warnings about social media: 

  • Protect your reputation.  Remember -- anyone can see what is being posted about yourself and your business. Also, consider your clients and business associates, as well, when posting information. Do not post any images or comments that one may take as offensive.
  • What does your photo say about you?  Your profile image is the initial message you are sending about yourself and/or your business. Those snapshots of you wearing the lampshade at the party need to remain hidden from public viewing.
  • Complete your profile. Most prospective connections will check out your profile. Make sure it includes any information that will help to enhance your business and your brand image. It is not necessary to include every job you held your entire life (who really needs to know you delivered pizza in high school?). You never know who will be stopping by your profile page and their interest level in your business, so it is important to provide a well-rounded profile.

If you following these basic pointers, and read up on other articles designed to enhance your social media brand exposure, you are bound to develop a stronger local brand that competes well in your local community.

New and Improved Spam

It sure seems that whenever there is a technological breakthrough or Internet-related trend, a cottage industry arises designed to improperly take advantage of the new advancement.


Case in point ...


"Group spam reviews."


It's clear one of the hottest shopping trends is online consumer reviews. A high percentage of consumers are trusting and relying on a number of online review sites for valuable input on products and services. Online reviews have become a very useful marketing tool. For review sites to continue to carry significant weight, they must be as untarnished as possible. However, one recent trend could impair the long-term effectiveness of review sites: group fake reviews.


These phony reviews are very difficult to detect. The International World Wide Web Conference Committee (IWWWCC) has produced a white paper designed to help shed some light on the problem.


The IWWWCC paper defines "group spamming" as "a group of reviewers writing fake reviews together to promote or to demote some target products."


According to the IWWWCC, there are four characteristics of group spamming. The more of these characteristics that exist, the greater likelihood the reviews are suspicious.


  1. a common product received several reviews; all with the same rating; 
  2. the reviews occurred within a narrow time frame; 
  3. the reviewers all selected the same specific product(s); 
  4. the questionable reviewers are usually the first ones to write about a product.


To further complicate the process of weeding out the bad apples, the phony reviews can come from either one person with numerous IDs or a wide variety of people.

It is encouraging to see groups such as the IWWWCC tackling these types issues that could have a harmful affect on Internet marketing.


For a the complete report, visit:


http://www2012.wwwconference.org/proceedings/proceedings/p201.pdf


Tag! You're It

You've registered your business on various Internet directories (of course, we recommend YellowBot.com). You quickly read over the benefits of adding tags to your listing. Then you go off to your other daily tasks and completely forget about all that tagging stuff.


If you are not very familiar with the world of tagging, then this information should be particularly helpful.


Tags are essentially a way in which a wide variety of Internet content (blogs, videos, reviews, etc.) are categorized into neat little files. Tags can be added by the content creator, as well as pretty much any visitor to the blog, video or review site. There are numerous benefits to tagging:


  1. Tags establish a connection between the content creators and the readers or viewers of the content;
  2. Tags are basically a free method of enhancing the visibility of a particular piece of web content;
  3. Tags are a method for consumers to locate your content from a variety of sources;
  4. Tags help to open potential connections with additional content that may not have necessarily been linked;
  5. Tags are completely flexible according to each consumer's unique filing system;
  6. Tags are growing in popularity, and as more apps utilize tagging, more and more unique online connections can be created.


A good way to illustrate the value of tagging is to think about Youtube. Almost everyone has watched a Youtube video from time to time. When searching for a video, you enter specific search terms to find a particular video (i.e., "Big Bang Theory Bloopers"). You select the video you want to watch, and a scroll of related videos appears on the right side of the page. These related videos are partially determined by the tags associated with your selection. You notice not all the related videos are specifically connected with "The Big Bang Theory." Some may be video clips of other sitcoms or closely related video clips. You can see how tags created these connections and helped to enhance the number of visitors clicking on various content. 


Hopefully this brief overview has been helpful in explaining the benefits of tagging. Now you should understand why it's important to spend a few moments adding tags to your content.

World IPv6 day - IPv6 enabled on www.yellowbot.com

The internet is running out of "phone numbers". A new format (IPv6) was invented years ago, but is only slowly being deployed.

YellowBot is participating in World IPv6 Day on June 8th (UTC; so starting Tuesday afternoon in the U.S.). For 24 hours hundreds of sites, including Facebook and Google, will enable the IPv6 protocol to help test the readiness of the networks, from the backbone networks connecting everyone to the home wifi networks in peoples homes.

Most likely you won't notice any difference, but if you have trouble connecting - please try Google's test page or read their help article.

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