Benefits of Using a Press Release

Back in January, I wrote about the benefits of working with public relations professionals. More specifically, how developing engaging, keyword-and-human-friendly content is the key to creating high-quality websites. I also briefly touched upon the press release as an effective SEO tactic.

Today, I am going to discuss the benefits of using a press release, in regards to your website and overall brand reputation. The purpose of writing and distributing a press release is to get your news in front of as many people as possible. An online press release distribution service is the quickest and easiest way to do this. The beauty of using a distribution service is that thousands of journalists have access to these services. And the media are always looking for new and interesting information that they can transform into a newsworthy story. Here are the benefits of using a press release:

Build Brand Awareness

A common goal of a press release is to promote your company, products and/or services to potential customers and influencers (bloggers and journalists) within your industry. A distributed press release can do exactly that. By developing newsworthy content and distributing it to the appropriate outlets, you can achieve your goal of getting your brand in front of the right audience. Likewise, you should engage your audience to ensure that people not only know about your brand but are also interested in it.

Increase Sales

In addition to building brand awareness, increasing sales is another goal of press release distribution. This tactic is particularly common among smaller businesses with limited budgets. Press releases that contain some type of free offer or incentive to the customer can generate serious business leads. You would be surprised how many people are willing to trade their contact information for free stuff. Even if just one lead turns into a hard sale, you will have achieved your goal.

Link Building and SEO Benefits

As a SEO specialist, I cannot forget the link building and SEO benefits of the press release. The mistake that many small businesses make is putting up a website and expecting people to find you without taking any steps to market the site. Well folks, let me let you in on a little secret: optimizing a press release is one of the easiest ways to market your website. The simple truth is that millions of people today use the Internet to get their news (myself included). By including high-quality and fully optimized links in your press release, you can build more backlinks and ultimately improve the search engine rankings of your website. Pretty awesome, right?

Position Yourself as a Thought Leader

As I mentioned in my most recent blog post, positioning yourself as a thought leader within your industry is another way to build powerful backlinks. Therefore, when writing your press release you want bloggers and journalists to consider you an industry expert. This can help you earn media coverage from influencers. It will also help you to build lasting relationships with bloggers and journalists. Plus, the more customers see you in the news, the more credible your business becomes. As you can see, the benefits of positioning yourself as a thought leader are actually three-fold.

To wrap things up, the benefits of using a press release are this: brand awareness, lead generation, SEO maximization and thought leadership. However, keep in mind that one press release is not going to solve all of your business goals and ambitions. The best way to get noticed is to create consistency by distributing well-written, SEO-friendly press releases on a regular basis. And when I say regular basis, I mean as often as something newsworthy occurs in your company be that events, promotions, awards, new products or services, and other accomplishments.

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Your Brand and the New Google+ Cover Photos

If you’re not on Google+ yet, you should be. If you recall in a previous article, I mentioned the reasons why Google+ is an important social media network to be on in 2013, and with recent changes to their platform, there’s no better time than now to jump in. One of the most recent changes you might notice is the increased size of cover photos on profile and business pages. Rather than the previous 180 px cover photo size, they are now sized at 2120 x 1192. While this dramatic size change is forcing brands to replace their old images with new ones, finding the perfect image to fill this rather large space is important for your brand. Make the most of your Google+ cover photo by following the tips below.

Show off your company

As a consumer, when you’re looking to use or purchase from a company or business, what’s important to you? When it comes to their online presence, people love to see businesses that are active on social media who show their personalities through content and visuals. Personally, when I see a company promoting employee satisfaction and showcases a positive working environment, it correlates to a higher level of trust with the brand.

This is why the new Google+ cover photo size is perfect for showcasing your employees. Whether it’s a team picture with everyone wearing the same t-shirts or a goofy picture showing a peek of the brand culture, use this cover photo to paint a positive image of your company and the people who work there.

Highlight services or products

Another great option when coming up with ideas for your newly sized Google+ cover photo is to highlight the products or services that your company offers. This is a perfect opportunity to draw attention to something your company is most proud of or the newest product you’re currently working to promote. It doesn’t have to be a single product either. A personal favorite of mine to follow on Google+ is Taco Bell who kills it with their social media marketing, especially when they have a new menu item coming out, such as the Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Taco.

Announcements

Because the new cover photo is so large, brands have the opportunity to really get creative with imagery. Teasers and announcements are some of the best ways to make use of this additional space, especially if you need to include a short message or tag line. Announcing something visually is perfect for anything from an upcoming album release, new product introduction or even a highly anticipated event announcement. If this is the route you plan on taking, just be careful of one thing – once your event or announcement is over, don’t forget to take down the image and replace it with something more relevant and timely.

Brands that take advantage of the massive real estate space that Google+ now offers in their profiles are definitely doing it right, and it’s evident with their fan base. As Google+ is growing at a rapid pace, being ahead of the curve is going to help you succeed in your efforts to engage and interact with your target audience and demographic. By following the tips above, you have a fighting chance to have a seriously awesome Google+ profile. Remember to be creative, be relevant and showcase your company as positively as you can and you’ll see the positives that can result from it.

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Introducing the Web Payment Software Card Swiper App

Picture this: you’re out at a trade show or convention, selling your products or services to the thousands of people walking past your booth, when finally a customer approaches you with a serious inquiry into what you’re selling. They’re more than interested – they actually want to buy, right then, right there. They pull out their wallet only to ask you if you accept credit cards because they don’t carry cash, and what can you say, other than, “I’m sorry, we don’t have the capability of accepting credit cards on the go”?

Web Payment Software can now help change all of that for you. Whether you’re an existing WPS customer or you need a new account to accept mobile payments, the new WPS Swiper App is built to handle commerce on the go across any and every industry. Mountain Media is proud to announce the launch of this new Web Payment Software app that is now available on the iTunes store.

How it Works

Once you sign up for a Web Payment Software merchant account, using the new Swiper App is easy. With your new account, we’ll send you an iMag Pro Mobile MagStripe Reader that plugs directly into the dock connector of any iOS device, including iPod Touch, iPad and iPhone, prior to iPhone 5 (iPhone 5 support is coming soon – this card reader will plug into the headphone jack of the new iPhone 5 devices).

From there, you simply log in to your account from your iOS device and you can begin accepting credit card payments using the app. Enter the amount for the transaction and run the customer’s credit card through the swiper mechanism on the bottom of your iOS device. The card reader will automatically pull the information off the credit card and bring you to a screen that allows your customer to sign to authorize the payment. They can then opt to have their receipt emailed directly to them.

It’s as easy as that – accepting payments on the go has never been more fast and easy, and now every retailer can accept credit cards anytime and from anywhere.

The Benefits

For starters, the major benefit of this app is that it’s free to download, plus with the Web Payment Software transaction fees currently in place, you won’t be overcharged for any transaction made through the WPS Swiper app. Our fees are lower than PayPal and our other competitors, plus, you get more one-on-one merchant support from our developers and programmers should you ever run into any issues with your account.

The ability to accept credit cards from any location at any time can be hugely beneficial to your business as it allows you the ease of selling everywhere you go. Whether you’re heading to a trade show, a farmers’ or flea market, a convention or otherwise, you will no longer have the worry of attracting a customer who only carries plastic in their wallets.

So head on over to the Web Payment Software website to find out more or sign up online for a new account, then download the Swiper App and start accepting mobile payments right away! Be sure to check out our introductory app video, as well, before you begin using the Swiper App:

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The Basics of Google Authorship Markup

With another impending Google update seemingly just around the corner, Internet marketers worldwide are now scrambling to see if they can’t figure out what the “next big thing” in SEO will be. It seems to most web professionals that Google is working to maximize their own social media platform use by incorporating Google Authorship signals into its algorithm when determining search engine rankings. So, what does this mean for small businesses, bloggers and webbies alike? It means we better get familiar with Google Authorship, and we better get familiar with it now.

What is Google Authorship?

Google Authorship is basically Google’s way of making their social media platform more significant to search engine results than any other social platform. It’s also a way for Google to identify “authors” with authority. What Google Authorship does is identifies an actual human being associated with a page or blog post on a website. And since Google loves humans and users, of course this is going to quickly become a major factor in signaling a “good” page to Google. The fact is, if a real person is associated with a page in cyberspace, it’s likely to be more reliable than a page without the author linking, as those pages might as well be run by robots as far as the search engines are concerned.

So in a digital world of user-friendliness, it actually makes a lot of sense that Google’s next update would put a shift in focus much heavier on the actual users themselves. Visitors to websites want to see content and read words written by humans. Google Authorship is Google’s way of identifying those pages that comply with this idea.

How do you implement Google Authorship?

There are a few basic steps to follow to make sure you implement Google Authorship markup correctly. First, you need to decide where you’ll be implementing the authorship markup – will it go on a page of your website or on a post on your blog? Using Authorship markup on a blog is probably the easiest way to start, as it will identify the actual author of each and every blog post and put more trust in that post when it appears in search engines. Each author who writes for your blog should have their own Google+ account, complete with a photo of themselves that’s simple and professional (the photo itself will actually show up in search results if the markup is implemented correctly).

If you’re going to associate Authorship with a page of your website, you need to choose someone to be the “face” of your company, or choose a photo that reflects your brand. This person (don’t use a company page – I’ll explain why in a moment) should have a Google+ page that they are comfortable associating with your entire website.

The next step is to link the Google+ profile of your author to your actual blog or website. This part is easy – just log in to your Google+ account and click through to your “About” section. There should be a box labeled “Links” that gives you an opportunity to link to other profiles of yours, websites that you own or pages that you contribute to. Click “Edit” in this box.

You’ll want to focus on the “Contributor to” section of the next edit screen. If you’re an author for a blog, just enter the blog’s name and its URL path.

Save changes, and your Google+ profile is now linked to the blog for which you are an author.

Implementing Authorship Markup

The next step gets a big technical, and that’s why I thought it would be important to outline it in an easy way to understand. Now that your Google+ profile is connected to the site to which you are contributing, it’s time to add Authorship markup to the post itself that you’re linking your author profile to.

It’s easy on most blogs – all you have to do is include a link to your Google+ page at the end of your blog post. Here at Mountain Media, we like to add a little line at the bottom of each of our blog posts that simply says “Connect with [author name] on Google+!” Of course, you could get more creative or more in depth by adding links to your other social profiles (namely Facebook and Twitter), as well, but we like to keep things simple.

In order to add the Authorship markup to this statement, you need to switch to the HTML editor of your content management system for your blog and enter the following code:

Except instead of using the link that’s in this image, insert the link to your Google+ profile that’s connected to your blog. Change it to your name and you’re all set. This is called a <rel=”author”> tag, as it’s simply an HTML link that contains a tiny bit of additional markup to signify that the author of the post is also on Google+.

The Result

After you’ve linked your Google+ profile to the page you’re contributing to and you’ve implemented your rel=”author” tag, here’s what a standard search result for which your blog post is found will look like:

That’s considered a rich snippet search result, and it might soon become the most important type of rich snippet result you can implement yourself with the next Google algorithm update. It shows that I’m the author associated with that particular post, which signifies to Google that the post is trustworthy and truly written by a human.

Additional Things to Remember

While this is considered Authorship in its most standard and basic form, there’s a lot more to it than just linking your Google+ page to your blog or website. For starters, the more Author Rank you can build, the more trustworthy the posts with which you are associated will become. That means that if people +1 your posts, share your posts and interact with your Google+ page on a regular basis, your Author Rank will improve. Make sure you stay an active user on Google+ if you want to improve your Author Rank.

Additionally, Google doesn’t exactly allow you to link a brand to a blog post or web page as easily as they allow you to link a person. In order to link a business Google+ page to a post or page, you’ll have to implement a <rel=”publisher”> tag, which, at the moment, isn’t quite as powerful as a <rel=”author”> tag. Remember, Google likes people. So, if you wish to associate your brand page with your website, just remember to use <rel=”publisher”>, but for a more powerful “human” link, try to choose an individual person to represent your company that will link their own personal page to your blog or website.

If you’re implementing <rel=”author”> on a blog, make sure each author, or contributor, to the blog has their own author page. With WordPress blogs, this is easily accomplished and simply requires each author to have their own unique login information to the blog. That way, when each author’s posts appear on the blog, if you click on their name in the byline, you’re directed to a page of posts authored by that contributor only. This helps Google distinguish between authors on your blog and helps strengthen the link between your authors’ Google+ pages and your blog.

So fear not the impending Google algorithm change! Just be sure to be aware of and familiar with Google Authorship, what it means and what it does. We’re still conducting research into the topic here at Mountain Media, and we have to say, the best way to learn something new such as this is to just try it. See how it works. Then research a bit more and tweak your approach from there.

This should help you get started using Google Authorship linking and markup, so pick a page on your website or a post on your blog and get started experimenting before the next Google algorithm hits!

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