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The Online Press Release

Jan 7, 2011 11:57 AM, By Don Kreski

How you can use PR services to build search engine rankings as well as press coverage.


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Reaching Traditional Media

PR Web, EON, and other services can all help you achieve better search engine rankings through inclusion in online publications, but, in addition, if you want to have your release published in the traditional media, the main Business Wire service offers comprehensive access to journalists.

“We’ve been building our news database for almost 50 years,” Becktold says, and they employ 30 full-time specialists to build and maintain their relationships with news publications around the world. A look through the Business Wire website allows you to see specifically which publications will potentially pick up your release. The database includes reporters and editors at virtually every national newspaper, local paper, and trade journal, as well as access to news services such as the Associated Press and online services such as Google News and Bing.

Becktold says the company distributes news releases through a combination of RSS feeds, XML feeds, email, Twitter, and syndicated feeds such as Comtex, Acquire Media, and Morningstar, depending on the preference of each user. “All of those services take our files and redistribute them to their members,” he explains. “It’s important to us that we deliver all our content simultaneously worldwide, to provide a level playing field for the media that receive news from us.”

This additional coverage does come at a cost. Business Wire prices its service by the regions you choose to target. A distribution that includes comprehensive national media distribution&mdashincluding local newspapers, national media, the Associate Press network, trades, and magazines&mdashstarts at $695. Inclusion of photos or video is available at an additional cost. You can select their smallest geographic offering, however, for about $250. That will give you all the trade publications most AV industry users would want to target plus the local papers and magazines in the town where you are headquartered.

If you’re more interested in online publications, PR Web will send the same release with photos and video for $200 to its online subscribers and $360 if you include the Associated Press. EON offers similar online coverage for about $250. For an additional charge, you can send your release through PR Web but access the company’s Media Database, creating a custom contact list of 200 out of roughly 300,000 journalists based on publication type, title, location, and subject.

Tracking the Results

Once you have sent your release, it’s very helpful to be able to track the publications that use it and the links they create back to your website. All of the major services offer extensive analytics so you can get a good idea of the value of your broadcast.

Each of these services also includes a user education section on their website to help you understand how best to use their lists and to help you write your releases. PR Web and EON each offer an online tool to help you format your release automatically and choose search terms, and, if you agree to send 12 releases per year, PR Web offers free tech support. Business Wire assumes a little more knowledge on the part of its users, but Becktold says they do have staff check each release before they go out&mdashlargely to keep the quality of their service high for their subscribers&mdashand they will contact you if you make major mistakes.

Which service is right for you depends on your knowledge level, your budget, and the match between the publications you’re targeting and specific service’s subscriber lists. It’s hard to make a bad choice, however. With a little care, you can use any of them to provide a major boost to your PR program and your search engine rankings.

Don Kreski is the president of Kreski Marketing Consultants, which offers marketing services to the AV industry. You can reach him at www.kreski.com/contact.html.



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