Wednesday, October 3, 2012, 1:35 PM
At the recent Ragan Communications Best Practices Summit, Ruth Sarfaty of Spark PR and I gave a presentation on the subject of press-release best practices. This particular discussion is one I have often, and the answer is ever-evolving. I say “ever-evolving” because we operate in a fluid environment today. The algorithms that dictate what we see in social networks and search engines can change dramatically day to day, rendering last week’s best practice a worthless tactic today.
Their House, Their Rules
It’s important to remember a few things about the search engines and social networks that drive so much visibility for our messages today:
1) Google does not exist to promote your press releases. Many people forget that the reason Google exists is to return a profit to their shareholders. They do so by selling ads. Those ads are effective because of the immense utility most of us derive from using Google to search for stuff. It’s very important to Google that people find their search engine useful. Ergo, the best way to get visibility in Google? Publish useful and interesting stuff.
2) Social networks are social. Not commercial. Not advertorial (for the most part). People go on to Facebook to hang out, for example. Twitter, however, is often about the exchange of information, especially niche info and breaking news. Point is, if your message doesn’t fit the context of why people are using a particular social network, you’ll have difficulty gaining traction there. You’ve heard the adage “horses for courses”? Well, the same applies for content and social networks. Content that plays well on Facebook won’t necessarily work on LinkedIn.
A lot of time and energy is spent on the optimization of press releases. Without a doubt, some of the best practices outlined in the deck above will help improve message visibility. However, at the end of the day, the best way to ensure your message is to provide content that is interesting and useful to your audience.
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