How SMBs Can Use PR Campaigns To Grow Traffic

Nov 12, 2008 - 3:39 pm 0 by
Filed Under PubCon 2008

Moderator: Michael McDonald

Speakers: Lisa Buyer, President/CEO, The Buyer Group Robin Liss, Founder and President, Greg Jarboe, President and Co-Founder, SEO-PR Jiyan Wei, Product Manager,Vocus

Description: A well-seasoned panel of PR pros examine small and medium sized business campaigns.

Robin Liss will be talking about some of the PR work she has done over the past several years. As a veteran of CNN and dozens of other tech pieces on TV, Robin's real-world experience defies her youthful age.

Session Notes:

Lisa Buyer is the first presenter...

Lisa starts by highly recommending the book "PR Groundswell".

25% of Americans report reading a blog on a regular basis, 30%`watch user generated videos and 40% are using social media sites. Thus a huge PR groundswell.

You must need a strategy and be proactive. Can be very powerful in controlling your online reputation. The main tool is an online press release. However, you need to target journalists and editors to truly get exposure for your release.

Journalist have less and less time to hear pitches, instead they are looking online. 64% say they use Google news feeds and 75% say blogs are helpful in giving them story ideas. They are even looking for stories on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Journalist are looking for press releases that offer clarity, not those filled with jargon and keywords. They also use the web to research companies before calling them.

Another good source is people subscribing to Google Alerts so that releases are deliverd directly to them.

She recommends looking into as a good SEO friendly service. Lisa also recommends looking 12 months in advance for your PR campaign. Look at holidays and other events to see where you might fit with a good story.

Use online PR to own the search results.

Next up is Robin Liss...

She feel hiring a PR agency is not the best investment for all companies, especially small businesses. She feels small organizations should to it themselves.

She feels the press release for most journalists is dead, due to the oversaturation of press releases. It takes deep personal contact to get high quality pieces. They would rather hear directly from the business owner rather than the PR agency. You have the passion about your product or service and that will come through.

Pitches should be short (1 minute), easily understandable, have a hook or interesting angle, and be unique! A pitch should be a unique argument often tailored to a specific journalist. Look at local newspapers, business or trade magazineas, topical websites, etc. Use the phone - email just does not work! Practice with co-workers before making the calls.

Robin recommends taking the ego out of the PR plan and focus on ROI.

Third presenter is Jiyan Wei...

Jiyan is with PRWeb and his discussion is based on the framework they use with customers.

The make a distinction between a news release and a press release. Think about who is the target, is it the press or the consumer?

Craft a release geared towards your audience. Will it incorporate video, audio, images? Either way, quickly get to the point with an informal tone.

Optimize your release for the search engines. Standard SEO techniques based on keywords you have researched.

Then you want to propel you release. Once it is on the web, you want to push it even further with links, social media and bookmarking.

Lastly, evaluate the campaign, adjust and repeat.

Some ideas for good news releases: set up YouTube, Flickr, Delicious channels and use the content in the release. Once the release is out, work to get it Dugg, Stumbled, etc. Focusing a lot of attention on one release is better than shotgunning several releases.

Last presenter is Greg Jarboe...

Greg is going to go over a case study for a small business called Business Financial Publishing. Referring to him as "Ian the Publisher".

Ian has a dozen different websites and growing. They are optimizing releases and measuring all of the metrics. They measure how many people read the release, how many click through to the site, and once they are on the site are they converting.

One example was a release about the one year anniversary of the site It was a me, me, me release. It got 1600 reads but only 1 registration on the website. They followed this up with a second release regarding a different site. It had 1400 reads, but managed to get 44 registrations.

The difference was the 2nd release was written about the customer rather than the company. Must provide a compelling offer or benefit to your customer. "We can tell you the top 5 companies to invest in".

Move beyond SEO copy and create a solid headline with a great story which is directed at your customer. Of course you will include links to your site for SEO, but what you need to focus on is selling right from the start.

Greg recommends looking at SEO Samba ( to make your release Google News compliant. The tool checks for compliant urls and sitemap XML creation. It even help place it in the right category.

These session notes were written by Arnie Kuenn from Vertical Measures a link building and website publicity company. Please excuse any typos or grammar issues, the session notes are written live and meant to be posted as soon as the session is over.


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