What’s the most important factor that determines whether your press release gets read by an editor or thrown away? It’s the headline. With editors and journalists receiving hundreds of press releases each day, they typically scan over the headlines to determine which ones seem interesting enough to read fully.
With that in mind, your goal is to write a powerful headline that sucks cynical editors and journalists in, making them want to learn more about your story. This gives your press release the best chance of getting picked up, earning your company valuable coverage.
Here are some tips to write better press release headlines.
- Strive for being clear rather than clever—Don’t write your headline to impress other writers by showing how “clever” you are. Editors are only concerned with trying to figure out what your story is about. Your press release headline should clearly reflect what’s covered in the body of your press release. Focus on answering as many of the who, what, when, where, why, and how questions in your headline as possible.
Here’s a little test you can run to determine if your headline is clear enough or not. Send just the headline to several friends. Ask them to describe what they think the rest of the story is about. If they can’t make a decent guess, it’s probably time to rewrite your headline.
- Make sure the headline is accurate—Don’t try to trick editors into reading your press release by misleading them in your headline. A misleading headline might grab their attention for a moment, but it will lead to them getting upset when they find out you’ve duped them. This will cause you to lose all credibility, and it will burn any potential relationships you have with the media.
- Ditch the hype—Sure, the goal of press release distribution is to build brand awareness and to create a buzz around your brand. However, that doesn’t mean you should treat your press release like an advertisement for your products and services. It’s not. So, your headline shouldn’t sound like Billy Mays (RIP) wrote it. By all means, be interesting, but above all else, be factual and straightforward.
- Lists work—There’s no denying it: List headlines just work. You see them on blogs, magazine covers, and in newspapers. The reasons lists work are because they clearly describe what the story is about, are easy to scan through quickly, and can create controversy and debate.
So, when you’re thinking of an angle for your press release, try to find a way to structure it in list form. I think you’ll find it gets a lot more attention than most other headline formats.
- Keep it short—If you can’t get the main idea across in about 10 words or less, you don’t have a good enough grasp on what your message really is. Remember, the reporters and editors you’re sending your press release to are in a hurry. They’ll likely only give you a few seconds of their attention, so you need to get your message across quickly. Focus on creating concise headlines that clearly deliver your message. Write several different versions of your headline to find the perfect combination of brevity and clarity.
- Include the targeted keyword—Never forget the importance of optimizing your press release. The search engines tend to favor press releases, giving them high rankings for the targeted keywords. Always try to get your main keyword in the headline, and whenever possible, place it toward the front of the headline.
Do you use press releases to spread the word about your business? How have your press release marketing efforts helped your business? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment.
This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases, the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Grab your free copy of the Big Press Release Book – Press Releases for Every Occasion and Industry here: press release samples
I’ve entered a Guest Blogging contest over at Famousbloggers.net. Here is a link to the post if you want to check it out How to Put the Kibosh on Content Scrapers & Thieves
If you are interested in participating in the contest here are the details.
FamousBloggers.net – contest organizer
MyBlogGuest.com our contest media partner
MMO social network – making money online tips
DesignGizer.com a new design bookmark site
IBlogZone.com a making money online blog
CrazyEgg.com heat mapping tools
SimplyFreshThemes.com Fresh Journal WP theme
Contest Prizes started at $248 and reached $447.75
$50 Cash via PayPal from MMO social network
$50 cash via PayPal from DesignGizer.com design bookmark site
$15 cash via PayPal from making money online IBlogZone.com
$199.75 worth 5 copies of Fresh Journal theme from SimplyFreshThemes.com ($39.95 for each theme)
$95 worth 5 copies of 70 Posting Ideas from BetterBloggingforBloggers.com ($18.95 for each copy)
$38 worth of 2 free one month memberships (see where people click on your site) from CrazyEgg
The contest is going to have 5 winners, which means a very big chance for you to win one of our prizes, and if you think about the great benefits of guest blogging you will find your self a winner in all cases.
Who can participate?
The contest is open for everyone who writes any related topic to our blog categories, and this means anyone can be part or it as long as you write unique and fresh post specially for the contest. PLZ make sure you have a valid PayPal account, we are not able to use any other service to deliver prizes.
They will accept only high quality articles related to these niches:
Making Money Online, Marketing, Blogging Tips, SEO, Promotion, Branding, Social Networking, Web Design and Development.
Take a look at FamouBloggers.net submit your article page before start writing your post.
Create your account on FamousBloggers.net
Write your post and submit it to your Famous Bloggers account.
Write a very simple post on your blog with links to our sponsors above & prizes
Promote it the way you like! (send it to all your social media friends)
How to win?
First of all (remember) this is a writing/popularity contest, means the useful good content force readers to like it, so be sure to make your post from that type! Then start promoting it using social media, bookmark sites, and even on your blog, this will grantee the maximum exposure for your post and your blog, and don't worry.. we will help you on promoting your post and share it with our community readers.
Contestants will collect points depending on:
Quality of your post
How many valuable comments
How many Tweets
The contest is already running and will end at 31 of March 2010.
Searching on Google is one of the core elements of good SEO research. Find your competition, see who’s listed for certain keywords, and more. But if you know some of the tricks to the Google search query parameters, you can learn a lot more.
Here are 6 Google search query tips to help SEO:
1) “intitle:”/”allintitle:” Using this followed by your keywords will show you who’s strongly targeting these keywords by putting them into their title tag. Using just “intitle:” will show any of the keywords you’ve queried in any order, but not necessarily all the keywords. Using “allintitle:” will show all results with every keyword you’ve listed in their title tag, in any order. Putting your keywords in quotes after “intitle:” or “allintitle:” will show only listings who have all the keywords in that order in the title tag. By doing this, you can see who’s got at least the basic SEO down to compete for this keyword.
2) “inanchor:”/”allinanchor:” This query will show you who Google has found that has the highest number of links with these keywords as the anchor text pointing to these pages. The top listing has the most links pointing to this page with that anchor text, and it goes from there. Again, using quotes will show who’s using the exact phrase for their anchor text. By dusing this query you can see who you have to beat in anchor texted links (according to Google) to rank higher for that keyword.
3) “intext:”/”allintext:” This query isn’t as important as it used to be, since good SEO doesn’t weigh so heavily on keywords in on-page content (more on title tags and anchor text), but it can still be useful. This shows which pages are using the keywords most in their content. PageRank does affect the order of the listings for this query, so a site with a higher PR value will show up higher than another page even with the same keywords used a similar quantity on their page.
4) “link:” This fits well with the “inanchor” query for backlink research. If you put a domain or a page address after this, you’ll find out what other pages are linking back to this page. There are other tools that some people prefer to do this job, but it’s a quick way to find out what backlinks somebody is using.
5) “site:” If you don’t know this trick, this is one you really need to have in your arsenal. Using this followed by a domain name will show all pages in that domain that Google has crawled. If you add keywords after this, it will show only the pages in that domain that match the query. This can be used to find out how many pages from a site Google has in their server cache, as well as looking for specific information within a domain. This trick can even be used to find all sites of a particular class about a certain keyword phrase by typing in something like “site:.edu” with your keyword.
6) “info:” Another trick that is often missed. This will basically give you shortcuts to find out more about a domain or a specific page that you put after this tag. From the results page on this, you can find the cache (which will display the last time the page was crawled) as well as a few of the above options (“link”, “site”) plus pages that are similar to the indicated page (the “related:” tag) or even just a pure query on who has that specific term listed on their site. It’s a mix of the Google query tricks in one place, but if you know each of them uniquely you can do each separately on your own.
Learning how to use each of these can make for very powerful tools to use for your SEO research and goal-setting. It can help find out who your competition is and how effective they are at different SEO elements.
It’s a fact: in order to start a successful online business you need to research your market first. Do you struggle finding the right keywords for your niche? It’s not hard if you know how to do your research. Many use Google’s External Keyword tool, the WordTracker tool, or a tool that pulls their data from one of these. And there is nothing wrong with it, but if you want to be ahead of the game, you need to be a little more creative, and research in ways that others don’t.Today we’ll take a look at how eBay can help you with your keyword research.
Go to the home page of EBay, and start typing your main keyword in the search box. Let’s say I was researching “men’s watches”. As soon as I start typing my phrase, there is a drop down box that shows several potential key phrases.
Click on search and you’ll be taken to a page that lists men’s watches, of course.
But what’s important is that you look right under the search box, at the related searches, and you’ll notice some more specific phrases:
mens fossil watches
mens watches seiko
mens watches rolex
If you go over at the google keyword tool and search for “mens watches”, you won’t see any of these searches, yet, they have many exact searches daily. Let’s take a look:
As you see, none of the 3 key phrases discovered above with the eBay search are on this list. So let’s just enter those individually in the Google tool and see what happens.
Surprise, surprise! These key phrases have quite a good number of exact searches.
What you do next, is go back to the EBay search and dig for more key phrases. Click on any of the “related searches” and you’ll get more specific terms. For example, if I click on the “mens fossil watches” which I discovered above, here is what I see:
This search uncovers at least 2 more key phrases I may be interested in: “mens guess watch” with 5,400 exact searches and “mens diesel watches” with 1,600 exact searches. You can go on and on and on, and discover key phrases your competitors won’t, just because you dug a little deeper and thought creatively.
I see this all the time: someone makes a half-hearted attempt to try Twitter and gives up after a day or so because they fail to see the point. While Twitter isn’t for everyone (or every business), I’d bet that 9 times out of 10, that person isn’t seeing the value because they’re not giving it a proper chance and don’t know what to do with it. Twitter isn’t a ride – you can’t just climb in and wait to be wowed. It’s a tool, and you do have to learn how to use it.
Here are some tips for getting ramped up on Twitter, so you can start to see the business value and have a little fun with it too.
Ever have the feeling that you just don’t get Twitter?
- Use a Twitter client
I firmly believe that you need a client to get the most value from Twitter. Most of us on the marketing team at WordStream use TweetDeck, which has a number of advantages over Twitter’s standard Web interface. (Other options include Seesmic and HootSuite.)
For one, it refreshes automatically, with (modifiable) notifications so you can read tweets as they happen. This is important because Twitter’s real value is in real-time use. Reading everything you missed over the weekend is mostly pointless. When you use Twitter in real time, you can interact with people, spot trends as they’re happening and respond to questions and problems before it’s too late. (Likewise, you can get help with questions that aren’t easily answered through search.)
Keep in mind, this doesn’t mean you have to be on Twitter all the time. Like any other social application, Twitter can be a distraction from work. But devoting a little active time to Twitter every day will make its strengths (both for marketing and making connections) much more apparent.
- Be generous with follows at first
You’ll get a lot more value out of Twitter if you have more followers. The larger your audience, the more business contacts you can make, the more traffic you can send to your site, and the more influence and trust you can potentially wield. One of the easiest ways to build up your follower list is to follow others. Start with well-known influencers in your industry and pay attention to who they follow and interact with. Many will follow you back – if not, try sending a relevant @ reply to one of their tweets, which will help get you on their radar.
It takes time to gain a large number of followers, so have patience. Also, remember that you can always unfollow later if someone’s tweets aren’t adding anything to your stream.
- Create lists or groups
Twitter now has a native list feature, which is a great improvement; however, the Web interface only allows you to see one column at a time. With a Twitter client, you can set up columns and view multiple groups side by side.
There are a number of ways you can use columns to your advantage. You can separate those you actively engage with on a regular basis from those you follow more tangentially. You can separate by specialty (for example, if you work in search marketing, you can set up columns for PPC marketing specialists, SEO specialists, social media specialists and so on). You’ll find this organizational ability especially helpful as you expand the number of people and brands you follow.
- Create columns for mentions of you and your company
This step is absolutely key to getting the most out of Twitter. If you don’t pay attention to who’s talking to and about you, you’ll never experience Twitter as a conversation – it will just seem like a million people talking to themselves.
In both the Web interface and Twitter clients, you can save searches of your Twitter name and other terms you might want to follow (such as the names of your products), but a client makes it easier to track those mentions in real time. (You’ll get a notification when a new tweet appears in these columns.)
- Follow up on as many mentions as possible
Knowing what people are saying about you is great, but it’s not enough to monitor mentions. Respond to them! This is especially important for reputation management – if someone asks you a question or has an issue with your company’s product or service, you should respond in as timely a manner as possible. (It should go without saying, but don’t just acknowledge them; offer to help.) It’s not worth getting involved in social media at all if your business is going to seem faceless and unresponsive to existing and potential customers.
But Twitter isn’t just a tool for protecting your brand. You can follow up on positive mentions too. If someone retweets your tweet or recommends your product, thank them! If it’s someone you don’t know, follow them. This is a great way to build goodwill and grow your follower base.
If you haven’t tried the above tactics, you haven’t really tried Twitter. So get back on the horse and I guarantee you’ll at least see what all the fuss is about.
Elisa Gabbert is the Content Development Manager at WordStream, a provider of advanced SEO Tools and pay per click software for search engine marketing efforts. To get in touch with Elisa, send a note to egabbert at wordstream dot com, follow her on Twitter, or check out the WordStream Internet Marketing Blog, where she’s a regular contributor.
Of all methods for doing solid search engine optimization, link bait is one of the most alluring (yet mysterious) methods. Good link bait will grab attention and gather links from various pages across the web, but bad link bait won’t grab much attention and will not have the SEO effects desired. Keep in mind that bad link bait and bad attention are two different things – bad attention is still attention, and for the goal of link baiting, this is still accomplishing the desired result.
photo credit: psyberartist
To get good links and grab solid collections of links, here are 3 link baiting tips to try:
- Strong research on a popular topic. This is especially functional if you can find a valuable topic that has yet to be covered. This is also more effective if you can be specific. For example, in a market about dog care, doing a study on which species of dog sheds the most (with actual figures, quantitative values) is something that anyone who cares about a canine impact on their home interior would be interested in. And if it’s solid information, they’d be happy to share it with a link.
- An instructional guide. Showing people how to do something that is not naturally intuitive is a contribution to the web that is appreciated by both humans and the search engines. The more detail that is put into such a guide, the better. This can be done for all sorts of things, from how to operate machinery to how to practice a skill. Again, being tightly specific will help – a guide on how to properly shoot a pool ball (including the proper way to hold the cue stick, with pictures) will likely get more attention and links then a guide on how to play pool.
- Setting up a contest or a competition. This can be of particular value if it’s set up with some sort of reward, specific to the market. Putting a competition up to find the 5 best horror stories about blind dates would be great on multiple levels. If giving something away of relevant value to each winner (free movie tickets, a free dinner at a nice restaurant), it will get good attention from people wanting to win the prizes as well as getting great reception when you post the results. Who wouldn’t want to read the 5 best stories about horrid blind dates? And as the result can also be solid link bait, you can get a double effect from putting together a good competition on your site.
But not all methods of using link bait that are known are good. Be careful about spending time on things that are not really worth the effort. Here are 3 areas to be careful with, when it comes to link baiting:
FaceBook has over 400 million active users. Around 200 million of them log on to Facebook in any given day. An average of over 71 million pieces of content, which include links, images, videos, notes etc., are shared among them everyday. To say I find it difficult to fathom the enormity of viral possibilities on Facebook would be an understatement. Two years ago, Facebook was touted as the go-to social media platform for marketing, viral or not, but now it has become the social platform de rigueur for anyone looking to promote just about anything online. It’s always a good idea to Compare Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus against other social platforms.
At the risk of sounding like a FaceBook fanatic, let me say this: Facebook’s reach in the US and worldwide is nothing short of phenomenal (okay, I admit, not as phenomenal as Twitter’s), with 94.91% yearly increase in the number of visitors, eclipsing the 8.11 % yearly increase that Google, the world’s most popular site, enjoyed. But the point of the post isn’t to list out the many virtues or quirks of FaceBook, lest you misinterpret my intentions. And I am not intentionally dithering, I just want to you to realize how much Facebook has grown and how much it will continue to grow. But that is not the point of this post either. The point of this post to is to highlight the fact that by growing into the mammoth social networking site it is, Facebook has also made viral marketing opportunities on it bigger and better than ever before!
The following is a list of features and tips that make Facebook so viral-friendly. Consider each one carefully if you wish to embark on a viral journey with Facebook.
- FaceBook Applications – Viral marketing hasn’t been the same ever since Facebook swung the doors to Facebook Platform wide open in 2007. We’ve seen an endless number of applications come our way. Of course, not all have gone viral, there are many that have gone bust as well. But the sheer number of viral successes that have happened on Facebook through apps argues in their favor. Want to launch a viral marketing campaign on Facebook? Create an application or sponsor one. The number of FarmVille invites I have received is in three digits and is responsible for introducing Zynga to a non-gamer like me. The interactive nature of the apps makes them appear less like the marketing props they are and goes a long way in hooking people in.
- FaceBook Pages – FaceBook Pages are essentially (slightly) modified profiles for businesses, brands, celebrities and (other) public figures. You cannot ‘friend’ them, but you can become a ‘fan’. Setting up a Facebook Page for your business is a great way to reach out to your customers, also to lure in new customers. The Page will allow you to set up discussion boards and give your customers a forum to air their views. Having said that, updating your Page regularly is a must, even your most loyal fan can ‘unfan’ you if given the opportunity. To prove just how popular Facebook Pages are, let me give you this piece of statistics: There are over 3 million active Pages on Facebook, and every day, 20 million people become fans of these Pages.
Sending gifts and promotional products has always been a powerful marketing tool. It can be used to improve client retention and to reach out to prospects. The Guinness Book of World Records Most Successful Salesman in the World used to send out greeting cards to every customer and prospect on a monthly basis. He was sending out more than 16,000 cards each month, and it worked. Customers knew him by name, and they came to him for all their car-buying needs.
But now, with the power of social media, gift giving as a marketing tool can make an even bigger splash than before.
I want to share a couple of stories with you of my experiences with receiving promotional products from some of my friends on Twitter.
- 2 Bottles of Wine from St. Supery Winery—I’ve been following @RickBakas, Director of Social Media for St. Supery Winery, for quite a while now. We had a little interaction with each other, but it wasn’t on a regular basis. Then, one day Rick reached out to me for help pushing some content on Twitter. I obliged, and next thing I know, I’m receiving 2 bottles of wine in the mail. By the way, the wine truly was amazing. Thanks again Rick!
So, why did Rick send me the wine? Well, I think there are a couple of savvy marketing reasons he did so.
- To cement our relationship. See, you can only build a relationship through Twitter so much by @replying and DMing. Rick decided to think outside the box by sending me 2 bottles of his companies wine, knowing I’d be forever grateful and pay much closer attention to him.
- To spread the word. After getting the wine from Rick, I of course thanked him through Twitter, and now even felt compelled to write an entire blog post about his company’s effective social media marketing tactics.
- Books from my followers—Rick isn’t my only Twitter follower who has reached out by sending me a promotional product. On a few occasions, my social media pals have sent me books they’ve authored or co-authored. The 2 most recent examples that come to mind are @ConvertBond and @AlisaBowman.
The book I received from @convertbond (Lawrence McDonald) was called A Colossal FAILURE of common sense(a New York Times best seller), and it took a look at the fall of Lehman brothers. Lawrence was a former VP at Lehman Brothers, so he had an interesting story to tell.
Alisa Bowman, who gives marriage advice at her blog, and has also collaborated on five New York Times best sellers, sent me a book she co-authored called The Skinny: On Losing Weight Without Being Hungry.
What’s my point? The point is that you need to do something different to stand out from the crowd. Sending a promotional product or a simple greeting card can put you on a first-name basis with influential social media users and your customers. It can also create a buzz, getting your name out there and driving sales.
Do you have a “outside of the box” marketing story? We would love to hear about it in the comments.
Whenever we talk about guest blogging, the conversation usually focuses on the link building benefits of guest blogging. And while this is certainly one of the best reasons to guest post, I’ve personally found that the increased exposure and the ability to position yourself as an expert in your niche are the most profitable effects of guest blogging.
Let me explain.
I’ve been fortunate enough to guest post on several popular marketing blogs throughout the internet. At first, the only reason I was doing this was to get quality back links to my website. But as time went on, I started realizing that I was getting far more from my guest blogging efforts than some good link juice.
Suddenly, I was getting contacted by readers of my guest posts who were interested in becoming clients. I was also getting contacted by other bloggers who wanted me to contribute a post to their blog as well.
But I’m not the only one this happens to. Even in the comments of the post I linked to earlier, Ann Smarty admits
“The most recognition, client work, business contacts came from guest posts. I think I owe my whole marketing career to just a few awesome pieces I posted elsewhere.”
Why does this happen when you guest post? For a few reasons:
- You’re reaching a new audience—No matter how much effort you put into growing your own blog, any time you guest post, you’ll be reaching some new people. Guest blogging is a great tool for building your network. To get the most from your guest blogging efforts, make sure to respond to all comments left on your post. And don’t just respond with a “Thanks for leaving a comment.” Instead, take the time to push the conversation forward by truly engaging with the commenter. This helps you build relationships with this new audience.
- Guest blogging positions you as an expert—Being seen as a thought leader in your industry certainly has its advantages. As an expert, you’ll attract the top-shelf clients who are willing to pay more to get the services of an industry leader. You’ll also have an easier time earning the trust of new customers, a challenge for all online businesses.
- Guest posts act as an endorsement from the other blogger—Think about it. If another blogger allows you to write a post on his or her blog, that’s their way of saying “I endorse this blogger, and I think he has something of value to share with the community.” It’s like whenever a President endorses someone running for Congress. The endorsement builds your credibility and name recognition.
Tips for Guest Blogging Success
- submit your best content. This is your one chance to make a good impression on a new audience.
- Interact in the comments to build relationships
- Always look for guest blogging opportunities, even outside of your niche
- Use MyBlogGuest to find the latest guest blogging opportunities
Do you guest blog on a regular basis? How has it helped you? Share your experiences by leaving a comment.
There are hundreds, if not thousands of different ways you can acquire links. Every link buildling tactic comes with pros and cons. I have found that the most effective way to build links is by taking the time to build relationships with experts in your industry, than to just dropping a link in a directory or forum. I understand this is a time intensive process and it requires a lot more work, but the end result are highly relevant, authoritative links. Below is a step by step process to effectively approach potential link partners.
Follow this 4 step process:
1. Make a Potential Link Partner List
If you read industry blogs, than you probably have a pretty good idea who the major influencers are in the industry. Start by generating a list of potential experts/bloggers you would like to contact. Take note of their blog (if they have one), what sites they contribute to, and any social media sites they engage in.
2. Start Following Them
Before you even begin contacting anyone, start following them. If they are on Twitter, start following them. Pay attention to what they tweet about, who they tweet about, who they are tweeting with, and pay attention to their style/personality.
If they manage or contribute to a blog, sign up for their RSS feed and being reading recent and upcoming posts. Start to understand their style of writing, how often they blog, and what topics they cover.
If they use social bookmarking sites like StumbleUpon, Digg, Reddit, start following their bookmarks. See what type of sites interest them. Find out if they have other types of passions besides just the industry you are in. You may be able to connect with someone on a deeper level (similar intersts, location, background, experience).