Online Newsroom Tips For Your Website

Too often, the newsroom on a website is merely a home for old press releases. While it can be a struggle to provide up-to-date news, press releases can help improve search engine rankings for your website. This alone is reason enough to have a newsroom on your website—not to mention the valuable content that revolves around your keywords and is of interest to search engines and customers alike.

Here’s a list of what should be included in your online newsroom:

  • High resolution photos
  • Executive bios
  • Corporate backgrounders
  • Video content
  • RSS feeds
  • Opt-in email
  • Contact information
  • Social sharing buttons

Optimized Content

A dynamic online newsroom can be an effective search engine optimization (SEO) tool for reaching new and existing customers. However, not optimizing your news content can be detrimental to the success of your newsroom. As much as it’s important to write content that journalists will enjoy and find interesting, it’s equally important to craft content with SEO in mind. To be sure that your newsroom can be found by search engines, have a link to the newsroom on your website’s homepage. You should also use title tags rich in keywords and utilize HTML code like headline tags and meta descriptions.

Be Social

By including RSS feeds and email opt-ins, you can enable readers to subscribe to your newsroom. This will allow them to receive content as it becomes readily available. You should also incorporate your social media feeds as well as social sharing buttons on your press releases to make sharing your content as easy as the click of the mouse.

Gain Exposure

To increase exposure of your press releases, you can distribute them through services such as PR Web. This will not only increase the breadth of your release, but you can also gain inbound links from authoritative sites, which can improve your overall SEO.

Incorporate multimedia

You will also want to include videos and photos of your products and/or services. Embedding videos and photos that supplement your content can make your newsroom more appealing to both the media and consumers.

Online Newsroom Examples

A wonderful example of an online newsroom is by Red Lobster (http://www.redlobster.com/press). Simple, yet it includes all the key ingredients to the perfect online newsroom.

Dunkin Donuts also has a great online newsroom (http://news.dunkindonuts.com). It’s fun, engaging and offers the right ratio of news and multimedia content.

Thanks to all the Google algorithm updates, it’s more critical than ever before to craft high-quality and frequent content. The online newsroom provides a great opportunity for businesses to not only meet the ever-changing demands of search engines, but also provide relevant, newsworthy content for their customers too.

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Perfecting the Balance of Content on Social Media

So you have your social media strategy in place and it’s time to create the editorial calendar. While your business might have a lot of events or company news coming up, finding the perfect balance between news, business and personality is crucial in order to really engage your audience. Still a little confused? Follow along as I give you a run-down on how to create the perfect social media content balance that will wow your fans and keep them coming back for more.

50 Percent News

The truth is, people love to be in the know as far as what’s happening in the news. Depending on the industry you’re in, use each morning as an opportunity to follow any developing stories in the news. Search for specific keywords that relate to your industry that hone in on what your readers would be interested in reading.

The key to posting news articles on social media is to create a captivating sentence that will grab people’s attention. Next, make sure you include the full URL in the body of your post, so users know exactly where they’re being directed to when they click on the link. Finally, it’s always beneficial to include an image or video with news articles as opposed to just letting the link post below.

30 Percent Personality

Both users and search engines like to know there are humans behind a brand. Some great examples of brands with personality on social media include Taco Bell, Oreo and Dunkin’ Donuts. If you look at their Facebook pages, you’ll notice that they focus their content on the fans, which in turn has allowed them to really connect with them on another level.

While all three of these brands still focus on their branding, it’s in a personable and fun way where users can grow an emotional attachment to the brand. This is done by asking users personal questions, responding in a timely manner and wording content specifically to entertain users.

20 Percent Business

Of course with any business you need to spend some of your time promoting your brand on social media. While this should be the least of your focus, find creative and subtle ways to promote your business with insider pictures of your staff on your weekly outings, what’s happening in the office or even sneak peeks of new products or services that are rolling out soon in an effort to generate awareness and excitement. People might not be favorable of this type of posting on a daily basis, but when you balance it out with industry news and genuine personality, fans will eat this type of business information up!

When it comes down to it, having the perfect balance of content on social media is like having that perfect ratio of both peanut butter and jelly on a sandwich. Too much of one ingredient can be a recipe for disaster, but if you balance each ingredient properly, you’ll understand how so many brands have found success with their strategic social media campaigns.

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YouTube or Self-Host? The Ongoing Video Debate

It’s really no secret at this point that online video is taking off – it’s very rare these days that you log on to a popular website and don’t see options to view some video content. And why wouldn’t it be popular? It’s fun, it’s engaging and it’s a whole lot better than reading through a bunch of

text on a page.

But if you’re a marketer or a business owner, did you know that the way in which you implement your videos can greatly impact the results that they achieve for your website? It’s true – and there are two main choices that you have based on what kind of results you are looking for: host the video on YouTube or Vimeo or another public video sharing site, or host the videos on your own domain.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the pros and cons of both these major Web video implementation tactics:

YouTube Pros

Of course, YouTube’s biggest pro is probably the fact that it’s owned by Google, so it’s naturally the second largest search engine in the world. This means that simply having a presence on this popular social media site can potentially put your brand and your content in front of the eyes of millions.

Secondly, since YouTube is Google-owned, Google, of course, prefers websites to have some sort of YouTube presence. The search engine favors its own products – sort of similar to the way they encourage all brands to utilize Google+.

Plus, You

Tube content is typically highly shareable, so you increase your likelihood of getting links to and views on your video content. To break it down even further, here’s a short list of some of the many pros to using YouTube for your video hosting needs:

  • Content gets in front of largest audience possible
  • Google favors its own products (YouTube)
  • Sharing is easy
  • Further branding is possible with custom channels
  • Over 6 billion hours of video are watched every month – chances of your video being seen are higher

Pros of Self-Hosting

On the other hand, there are some advantages to choosing the self-hosting route when it comes to the implementation of your videos on your website. To start, content on YouTube is meant for sharing, but each share doesn’t benefit your actual website – it only benefits your view count on YouTube itself. When you self-host, you’re putting yourself into a position to not only have your content shared directly from your website, but to build links for your site using those shares. These links will be natural and highly valuable, since they’ll be sending signals to the search engines that there is some piece of content on your website that’s worthy of sharing and linking to.

Additionally, self-hosting can help you in your search engine results positions for your top performing keywords. When optimized correctly, your video content will appear as a thumbnail in your search engine results directly beside your Web page. Since it’s your domain appearing with the video thumbnail, all click throughs will go directly to your website (if you were optimizing a YouTube video, you might still get the video thumbnail, but click throughs will direct to your YouTube channel rather than your website). So, here’s a breakdown of the top advantages to self-hosting:

  • Help with link building efforts
  • Can produce rich snippet search results for your domain
  • Rich search results lead to up to 80% increases in click through rates
  • Increased click through rates lead to increased keyword rankings

Know When to Use Each Option

Obviously, a lot of the way video is implemented on a website depends on the type of content that it is. Do you have a commercial for your company that you’re hoping to post somewhere? Or do you have a product video explaining the details of one of your most popular items?

Commercial videos tend to perform better on YouTube because the content was created with the brand in mind. And when you’re creating content as part of your overall branding efforts, obviously you want it to be seen by the largest audience possible. For this reason alone, YouTube is a great option, but your website itself may not benefit much from this tactic. YouTube is more about getting your name and your brand out there to as large of an audience as you possibly can.

On the other hand, if you have a somewhat dry video that maybe details the specifics of a given product that your ecommerce site sells, then the likelihood of that content “going viral” on YouTube is very low. For this reason, you will gain much more benefit from hosting this type of content on your own domain. Use a third party media server (we like Vimeo Pro) so you’re not using your site’s own bandwidth to run the video, and post it on your product page. Once it’s optimized correctly (see my February post on leveraging video content for SEO), your website will begin reaping the benefits of having this content of content right on your own domain.

Of course, if you’re ever in doubt, contact your favorite people at the marketing agency you’re working with and ask for their help. Make sure you know what your goal is with the video content that you have or are looking to create, and be able to communicate that clearly to your marketing team.

Before you just throw your videos up in any old place, make sure you take into account what goals you would like for the content to accomplish, and know at least the reasoning behind the different options for hosting the video. Your website, and your brand, will both thank you!

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What NOT to do When Writing a Press Release

The quickest way to kill a relationship with the news media is by sending a bad press release. In addition to good grammar, a press release should be newsworthy and pique a reporter’s interest. Keep in mind, that a reporter’s mailbox is flooded with press releases from other companies and non-profits on a daily basis. Therefore, you want your release to stand out from the bunch.

Here are five things NOT to do when writing a press release:

Write a boring headline

It’s true, first impressions really do last a lifetime. Because the headline is the first thing reporters will read, it’s the most important. If you do not start out with a strong, attention-grabbing headline, your release will mostly get thrown into the recycle bin.

Drag out the story

Like most of us, reporters are busy people. The last thing they want to do is read the entire release to get to the story. Reporters should be able to read the first sentence of the release and know exactly what it is about. Get to the point!

Lack of structure

A press release that lacks structure will not be taken seriously. Here’s a little bit of housekeeping: a press release should be no longer than a page. If you have babbled into the second page, start over. The words “FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE” should be at the top of every page. And while some like to write the headline in bold or capital letters, I try to stick to the AP Style guide. I capitalize the first word and nouns, but no bold. Underneath the headline you should include a catchy subhead. This is often italicized.

No coherent message

One of the most common press release writing mistakes is not including a message. Before you even begin typing, ask yourself what are you trying to get across. It can be hard for a PR professional to put their ego aside and write something the news media will actually care about. For example, your company is launching a new product, who cares? Explain how this new product is going to benefit the consumer. Think like a journalist.

Make grammatical errors

This, I cannot emphasize enough. Proofread your release a couple times and let a co-worker look it over too. One single mistake can deter a reporter from publishing your release. More important, a grammatically correct press release will make a good impression of you and your company (recall what I said about impressions).

The purpose of a press release is to inform the news media and the industry-at-large of your company’s latest developments. This includes product launches, new hires, announcements, you name it. The press release has many benefits. But, remember, what may be newsworthy to you may not be newsworthy to the reporter. Always avoid wordy sentences and corporate jargon. Be succinct, and get to the point!

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