Press and Public Relation Campaigns

Nov 16, 2006 - 1:04 pm 1 by
Filed Under PubCon 2006

Moderator: Justin Sanger Speakers: Robin Liss, Founder and President, Lee Odden, President, TopRank Online Marketing Greg Jarboe, President and co-founder, SEO-PR, David McInnis, Founder and CEO, PRWeb

Moderator is missing, so the speakers will do this on their own. Each speaker first introduces themselves. Robin Liss is up first.

Her company changed its name recently ( They do reviews of camcorders, and they do a lot of outreach to other media - helping them do a piece on the latest camcorders. Robin is one of the Inc top 30 entrepreneurs. She will talk specifically about how to do an interview. She sees a lot of bad interviews out there because of nerves, so she's got some rules to go by to do an interview better (either radio, print or tv).

Rule 1: Be Over Prepared. You can't ask the interview what questions they are going to ask, but you can get a sense of the topics will be. So, find out as much info about the topic, and then research - prep, prep, prep. Figure out your opinion on the topic. Example: She went on CNN to discuss media coverage of Apple. She prepped a dense page of notes, and wrote out her opinion as to why the media is too in love with Apple.

She put the contact info of the reporter on her notes. You don't want to forget the interviewer's name!

Intertwine your company's mission/purpose with the topic that is being discussed. Wirte out 3-5 key one line message points to show your company strategy.

Research data and facts which back those points up and place them in your notes.

Add funny one liners that sound smart and clever which you can throw in.

Annotate the memo with boldings, highlighting and underlining so your eyes can easily jumpt to a part of document.

Keep these notes to just one page.

Rule 2: Practice

This is especially important if it's a tv or in-person interview, but also applies to print interviews.

Write down a few prospective questions you think you may get. Be prepared especially for zinger questions.

Practice with a family or staff member, and practice in front of a mirror.

A key skill is to be able to quickly look down at your notes, and then quickly look back up.

Learn how to fill space without "ums", "ahs", you knows", and "likes" - this is hard but important! Practice!

Rule 3: Develop a Relationship with the Reporter

This is easier for non-live segments such as newspaper interviews.

Berfore you start talking on-message, find a common subject you can connect with. She always opens by talking about journalism ethics, and it's something all reporters can relate to.

Rule 4: Give Straight Answers

If you're well-prepped, you can give good, succinct 30 second answers. Keep your answers to no more than 30 seconds, or they will tune out.

If you don't know the answer, say so. Don't just babble and make something up.

Always correct yourself. If you make a mistake, you want it on the record that you know you made a mistake and corrected it.

Rule 5: Message, Message, Message

Your business objective is important, so you need to artfully and subtly work in your business message. Don't just shout out your business message - give them an interesting interview, but get your message in ther subtly. "What we believe at is ..." Drop the url a couple of times, but not too many.

Rule 6: Be Cautious

Before you speak, think through what info you will make publicly available. Don't give out strategic info that you hadn't meant to give out. Reporters are experts at getting you to divulge info that you didn't mean to give out. Stick to the rules about what you're going to talk about and don't sway from that. Never say anything off the record that you wouldn't say to your wife, your mother, your boss or a judge.


David McInnis is up next.

PRWeb is not about traditional uses for Press Releases (written for mainstream media and investor relations). But there are new opportunities for Press Releases.

Direct-to-Consumer PR Puts the public back in public relations written for the public/customer leverages power of news search engines, news alerts, rss an social media tools

2 primary pillars of D2C PR (direct to consumer) * seo soptimized distribution (pre-distribution) * social media (post-distribution)

Why D2C? bypass the meida filter control your mesage - repuation management, expert status increased online visibility - more traffic, content in context

2 components of seo press release

keyword optimization - prior to distribution. research keywords, build linking stragegies and write release. Tools available -, and prweb seo wizard

distribution platform - once you've optimized the press release, need to choose the optimum platform for distribution.

PRWeb constantly tuned for SEO

EON, Billboard magazine are using PRWeb services.

Why Social Media?

Search engines are constantly evolving. Ongoing opportunity as things change. You could even specialize just in optimizing SEO press releases. Same thing with Social Media. Lots of opportunity to tap new social networks.

Blogs are the "human powered" search engines - provide access to an audience and encourages online discussion.

PRWeb wants to help users tap into this sphere. It's also faster and more complete response than normal media. Blogs are more times and are the bridge between mainstream media.

2 components of social media press release - distribution platform and post distirbution networking. The blogosphere can interact with your press release via technorati, digg, etc.

Once you distribute your PR, then you start your networking with the blogosphere.

Social Media Rules (he thinks these are crap, but he presents them anyway)

1. Do not seed your own conent. Do not expect your wire service to seed it for you.

2. The blogosphere rewards transparency. (he thinks this is crap)

3. Monitor and know your audience int he blogosphere.

4. Participate in the online dialogue before you need something from them.

5. Be respectful (use living room behavior).

Safe Bet: Adhere to WOMMA guidelines

Getting Started:

Find stuff to release, create news.

Optimize your headline, link your news to current events where possible.

Short titles are best.

Abstract and Summary is probably more important than the body of the release. Get some keywords in there and don't make it just a copy of your first paragraph.

Use Correct press release form.

Create a news image (400x400 pixels or smaller and square is best).

Body copy - include multiple quotes, anchor text (1 link per 100 words of copy), and don't forget who, what, when, where and why. Copy should be about 300 to 800 words.

Don't forget to SEO your attached files with filenames, tag your audio and video files, and your file titles and descriptions.

Something new for PRWeb: Trackback/Pingbacks. This closes the loop in the press release process. First you need a compelling news release. PRWeb responds automatically with Wordpress users. All of their services are trackback enabled.

Don't forget to use RSS feeds of your press releases. PRWeb does manage and include it in their distribution.

PRWeb editorially scores all releases. 1-3 doesn't get wide distribution, score of 5 (highest) gets wider distribution.

They also block trackback spam and has a human editor to catch trackback spam that makes it through their filter.


Lee Odden is up next with Push and Pull Public Relations (Optimizing PR with Social Media) as the topic.

Gives some background info on TopRank Online Marketing. The quickest way to get into the media is to become the media, and a blog is the best way to do that.

The Time is Right:

There's a market opportunity with news search. It has a huge audience. So getting into something like Yahoo News via something like press release optimization is the way to go. Increasing use of social media such as blog and news search engines, social news, social bookmarks, podcasts, and video - all tied together via RSS - is what makes the timing right for expaning the distribution channels available for getting your message out.

Adding social media to online PR can have a multiplying effect.

Push and Pull PR:

Push PR means pitching - sending out press releases - contacting journalists and bloggers and pitching yourself.

Pull PR is making it easy for the media and your intended audience to find and pull themselves to your news. So you need to make yourself available in those places where they are searching for news.

Push - Wire Service, Pitching Journalists Pull - News Search, RSS Media Coverage - Once one or both of these gets you media coverage, you are pulling people to your message because they are reading about you, but you can also push it by sending out emails etc to mention the article that was written about you.

Blogger Relations Tips:

Be relevant, personalize, make it easy, schwag is good, be persistant.

Pitching bloggers is different than pitching journalists. Bloggers can be fickle, and not have time to deal with your pitches, so handle them differently than you would a journalist. Get an idea what they write about normally, and personalize your pitch to them, with relevant information. Make it easy - summarize and include a link to the full copy of the article. If you have a product or service, give the blogger a free trial, free products, etc. Be persistant, they may not have noticed you the first time - but don't be annoying.

Add social media to the mix:

A press release can be in a traditional format as well as in a Social Media format.

This format makes it easier for someone to write a story about it. It includes bulletized key points after the title and summary paragraph. Also gives contact info so they can get more information. Break out quotes into a separate section to make it easy for them to just grab quotes. Include links to a blog post that elaborates on the story. And of course, give them links to all the social bookmarking sites and RSS subscription links. Finally give them a link to a traditional pr format as well.

All of this is just to make it easy for the journalist or blogger to use your story. You can even give them additional resources to use (technorati tags for example).

Post news release on your blog. Bookmark the release Create a MS Word version of the release and optimize it with keywords and links. Do the same with a .pdf file.

Measure Success: Wire service reporting, web analytics, google and yahoo alerts, and RSS feeds.


Greg Jarboe is up last. Asks who in audience is with small/medium/big business. It's a good mix.

Almost 75% of search marketers are now optimizing press releases. A year ago, it was only about 31%.

Last year's message is "optimize press releases". This year's message is "advanced tips for optimizing press releases".

Interesting new trend is that media is starting to get this. The NY Times is training its reporters to optimize their news, which is a fundamental shift. We knew about it, but now we have to compete with the news media as well.

It also creates opportunities, when the news media hires search marketers to optimize their news releases! SEO-PR took on this challenge with the Jill Carroll Story.

Tip 1:

Add Images! Sure, optimize the text, but add an image too. Journalists are looking for visuals (90%) to go with the story.

Tip 2:

Add multimedia! (podcasts, video, etc.). Then take that video on places like YouTube. These videos can really drive lots of traffic.

Tip 3:

Distribute the release in various places (US, Canada, UK, etc).

Tip 4:

89% of journalists prefer to receive majority of info via email. Build relationships. If you make the journalist feel like he/she is the most important person in the world, you'll get their attention. Don't just put out a release and expect the journalists to find it. And the most important point - email the release to the reporters BEFORE you put it out on the wire. Make them feel special.

Tip 5:

Don't just pitch anchors at Pitch to the human editors of Yahoo! News. These editors don't get pitches often. They are lonely, and are happy to hear from you. They want some scoops before others. And they want video, audio, and ADVANCED ACCESS to the story. Give it to them!

Tip 6:

Matt Cutts says main benefit is NOT PageRank of links in press release and that he would zero out the link benefit from releases. So the links in releases are now valueless, but IF others pick that up and give you links, then those count.

So who gives links all day long? Blogs. The mainstream media might occasionally give you a link, but it's rare, and it's usually just to the home page. But bloggers will give you a deep link to the exact page relevant to the topic. Use Lee's tips (above) to contact key bloggers (even A-list bloggers). Offer them images, video links, excerpts and ADVANCE ACCESS. Bloggers love this and will usually happily post on the story.

So, THAT link juice WILL count, even if the press release link juice is taken away.

Greg shows stats on traffic generated by the story they pitched. Their efforts brought in tons of traffic.

They also realized that a small blog site (Huffington Post) generated 3.4 times more visitors than ABC News which also ran the piece. And the blog traffic was sticky! The users who came from the blog, read an entire 11-part series with 65% of the visitors finishing the entire piece.

They generated 4,081 new links from 763 additional blogs from this press release. These links took them from #65 ranking to #12 ranking in one week!

Things to have:

1. Original and unique content of genuine value 2. Pages designed primarily for humans - great story with graphics 3. Links intended to help people find more relevant information


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