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Press Release / Article Sites
Posted 29 June 2007 - 08:48 AM
Is there any good benchmark to use in evaluating these sites (I'm serious, I have a list of 20), or is there no substitute for simple side-by-side comparison testing?
If it's the latter, I admit I'm up a creek with no paddle, because I have only 10 hours a week to spend on *all* my PR stuff, and it takes me most of that time just to research and write the dang articles. When am I supposed to have time to track their performance?
Where do I start?
Another thing that's bugging the heck out of me is that many of these sites seem to not differentiate between press releases, news articles, and features-type profiles.
My boss thinks that these sites are The Way To Go, they are How we are going to Get The Word Out, how we're going to get good search-engine traffic, how we're going to get local media coverage... but as far as I can tell, most of these sites are garbage solely created for the purpose of search-engine-spam content generation.
I did sneak in a bit of research, enough to differentiate between actual newswires and the ones that just say 'wire' in them-- PR Newswire is an actual newswire service with actual, physical wires, that predates the Internet and actually does distribute press releases, via wire, to media outlets. Every other wire service for press releases seems to either directly belong to them or to have just recently been purchased by them.
But apart from that, I have no idea where to start. I just don't know how to tell what's just search engine spam, and what's going to actually help me do what my boss wants.
Which sites have worked for y'all? For articles, or actual press releases?
I know there's no substitute for putting together a coherent campaign, but we're in the planning process, and Somebody wants A List of where we're submitting. I'm arguing that less is more. Mostly because I don't want to waste my time "submitting press releases" to "newswires" that are really just the 2007 version of the old junk content sites that pissed me off in 2003. (I.e., Lots of words to feed search engines; no content worth anything to a real searcher.)
Posted 29 June 2007 - 03:08 PM
Depending on the reach of their feeds, you may get some traffic from people who see a release on an RSS feed on somebody else's site and click through to your release, but I wouldn't hold my breath on that. Depending on how "niche" your release is, you generally either won't get that wide a reach, or the same "scrolling off too fast to have an impact" caveat will apply.
Where you may get some eventual SE benefit would be if somebody actually picks up your release and publishes something on their site or in their publication (or both).
PR Newswire isn't cheap, but that's the top dog to go with if you really want a chance at getting to real journalists. Generally the "I'm just in it for the 'SEO benefit'" crowd don't want to spend the money on something like that, so the quality of the releases there tends to be a little higher. (Get a copy of the Associated Press stylebook if you don't have one already and write your releases using AP style to potentially earn extra brownie points with editors. )
And, of course, nothing beats good old fashioned personal relationship building with local reporters and editors.
Dunno who else you have on your list of 20, but I've used PRWeb.com (paid at $80 level, if memory serves), PRLeap.com and PR.com, as I recall. I honestly don't know which of these led to use getting "discovered" by the freelance writer that led to the article in USNews & World Report, though. We're also listed on ThomasNet.com, so we can submit industry news releases and new product announcements to them. Those have probably been the most consistently successful for us in terms of actually driving traffic to our site. Not that any of these does all that much in the final analysis.
Posted 29 June 2007 - 03:32 PM
It just seems to me that so many of these sites are just... well, exactly as you said. You give them a press release, they post it on their site and their RSS feed, and there it is, with the thousands of other articles they've collected.
I've been doing actual PR/press work for the rollergirls, but it has been almost 100% offline. I haven't even got a Press section of the website up yet-- I have no direct control over the website, so I'm dependent on what our (very competent, mind you) webmistress puts up. But I've had reasonable success just finding the Contact Us pages of all the local media outlets (my city and surroundings has approximately 25 media outlets worth contacting) and writing them letters, emails, and calling them on the phone.
My work is somehow a lot less immediately compelling to media outlets, I think, than my hobby-- it's hard to be as exciting as a bunch of girls in short skirts falling down and hitting each other.
Thanks for the recommendations of where to start, at least. I'll see how things go there, I think, before I start devoting any significant amount of time to the rest of them.
I think a large part of the problem is that to see any benefit from pretty much anything, you have to have a pretty well-defined goal. You have to plan to achieve a certain effect, and tailor your efforts toward supporting that goal. So that's what I really have to try to steer my department toward...
Randomly scattering "press releases" that may actually be articles around various websites is not going to do a whole lot. Sending properly-optimized written pieces tailored both to the specific purpose and to the destination site's writing guidelines, to places carefully chosen to appeal to the target audience, is going to do a great deal.
As is the case with most things. If you don't know what you're doing, you're not going to get a very good result.
Posted 02 July 2007 - 01:10 PM
People do read some of the larger article directories (including ezinearticles.com) but the signal-to-noise ratio can be very high as the directories don't edit the articles. Some very informative articles may be poorly written but in my experience the best articles tend to also be very well written.
I think these types of sites should be viewed for their strengths, which don't include search engine optimization.
Posted 02 July 2007 - 02:35 PM
It sounds to me like the best result you can hope for is that somebody picks up the article site's RSS feed and republishes it. That's half of the contents of the Google Alerts he made me sign up for-- repubs off a syndicated feed.
Posted 02 July 2007 - 06:51 PM
My RSS feeds have been scraped for years. I've rarely had any traffic referrals from the scraper sites. Take that for what it's worth.
Posted 03 July 2007 - 02:56 AM
If the website is selling a solution to a problem then case study articles are an excellent marketing tool as they allow articles to be written that have a 'Do you suffer from this typical problem?', 'Here is a solution' format. People like finding solutions to their problems.
Articles can be very effective in terms of marketing, but they are not always going to be appropriate for every situation.
Posted 03 July 2007 - 10:50 AM
That's the kind of search-engine benefit I think my boss wants. (If you hadn't noticed, he's a bit hard for me to understand precisely, sometimes.)
So, not the traditional search-engine benefit, of driving traffic to your own site; a more indirect benefit, in that anyone who's looking for info on your field sees your name and your words everywhere.
Posted 03 July 2007 - 12:12 PM
Well on the plus side if you go ahead with that goal in mind, write and publish your articles you should get all the other benefits at the same time.
Posted 03 July 2007 - 05:58 PM
Also, even if you can get past the duplicate content filters, a lot of these republication sites go Supplemental quickly, and the spam sites don't last for very long.
If you're going to build brand value on the Web you need to get the most bang for your buck, and that means careful placement of unique content that will attract lots of eyeballs and hang around for a long time. You just cannot do that through press releases and free articles. I don't care whose SEO book you read that said so.
Brand awareness and brand value work better together rather than alone.
Posted 03 July 2007 - 09:35 PM
Your boss is smart!
That's exactly how things worked for me and High Rankings for a long, long time. Anyone looking for information or whatever about search engine optimization couldn't help but find me or this site. It's still that way, but there's definitely a lot more noise out there.
When I used to ask how people found me, they would say, well I did a google search, and also my friend recommended you, and I read your article (somewhere), etc.
Basically, what your boss wants is MARKETING! And what you need to do is everything that gets your name and website out there.
Posted 04 July 2007 - 02:49 AM
I don't really see duplicate filters as a problem as long as one copy of your article is returned for a number of different search terms it doesn't matter that much which one it was.
Ideally it will be the version that is on your own website, but if it is a copy that points to your website it is still 'job done'.
Posted 05 July 2007 - 12:00 PM
That translates into wasted time and effort. If you're going to submit a press release to multiple sites, it should be because each site will help you reach a unique audience. The same is true of submitting an article to ezine archives.
Just because the duplicate content filters will let one copy through in search results is not a justification for multiple submissions. That's just tossing stuff out randomly with no plan whatsoever.
Each good, useful Web site has a focus and direction. A copy distribution campaign, in my opinion, should incorporate each distributon site's strengths and not just go for volume. Volume is inefficient.
Posted 05 July 2007 - 01:26 PM
If we are talking articles and not press releases I disagree.
There are a few hundred article database website that people visit directly to look for content that they can then use on their own websites, ezines and blogs etc. So just having the article listed on each website is an advantage.
Publishing an article that reaches as wide an audience as possible would not seem a waste of time and effort, and assuming that an article is of interest and is picked up by people visiting the article database websites, yes it will then be 'tossed out' in the sense that you will have no real control as to where each article will end up but when people do a Google search it is likely to pick up a copy that appears on websites that the best rankings.
There was a time when you could publish an article and then fill the first page of the search results with entries for the same article, apart from giving the author an ego boost, it didn't produce good search results as one copy of the article is all that is required.
It's not just about the search engine, people subscribe to ezines, blogs and visit websites regulary, just as people read newspaper they may stumble across an article and find it relevant and of interest.
I appreciate that volume is not the goal, but volume never hurt anyone and it isn't a case of either/or. The hard part, time consuming and effort is writing interesting articles, once they are written surely getting them out there so they can be found is the easy part?
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