Creating An Effective Online Presence Part Two

This month I want to continue the discussion on creating an effective online presence. We will be talking about writing press releases, I am not touting myself as an expert but merely have been a voracious student of this information over the past two years and want to share what I learned and paid a great deal of money to know, hoping to lessen the learning curve for you.

Press Releases

Whenever you are rolling out a new product or service, you want to do a press release however, you want to tie them to something newsworthy so it doesn’t seem like an advertisement described as a press release. Do this by connecting your news or product offering to something currently in the news.

In general, a press release shouldn’t be longer than one page. Keep it concise and write in journalistic language answering the basics of who, what when, where, why and how in the first paragraph. Deal with the facts and avoid marketer’s language. Write it in the third person voice. If appropriate, provide quotes from those in the news.

In about ten words, create a grabbing headline that summarizes the content of the release in an exciting way.

Keep it concise and write in journalistic language answering the basics of who, what when, where, why and how in the first paragraph. End the first paragraph with a “hook,” that will keep your readers interested and reading more but also must be relevant to the news editors.

Write the rest of your press release with the most important information first so that if the editor must cut the length of your release, the less important information is at the end of the release.

At the top of the release write the release date or “For Immediate Release.” Be sure to include your contact information: name, title, address, phone number, fax, email and website addresses.

There are three press release sites I would recommend: http://www.prweb.com, http://www.prnewswire.com and http://www.24-7pressrelease.com. They have free listings but if you want to increase your exposure and the likelihood that your release will be picked up by more venues, then you want to pay. Paying also allows you to include hyperlinks in your release that direct traffic (and search engines) back to your site, another way to increase your traffic.

Directories

There are software programs and companies out there who use them that will automatically register your site with 100s of directories. For some reason unknown to me, apparently search engines don’t look favorably on this kind of activity. They somehow have “intelligence” and can tell when the same submission has been done in bulk like that.

This is why when registering your site with search engines, you want to create about ten different descriptions for your site and alternate those descriptions between different directories.

www.seocompany.ca is a great site that provides free search engine directory listings. I registered at all the ones that didn’t require reciprocal links.

When you can budget for some paid search engine directories, here are the ones that were recommended to me, listed in order from least to most expensive:

www.abilogic.com—express submission
www.greenstalk.com
www.octopedia.com
www.sbd.dcentral.com
www.business.com
dir.yahoo.com
www.seocompany.ca also has paid search engine listings. Add yourself to them as your budget allows. It is always a good idea to do one at a time and track your traffic and conversions so you can determine which are generating the best return on your investment.

eZine Directories-If you are putting out an electronic newsletter or eZine, then google eZine directories and list your eZine there.

Blog Directories-If you have a blog, list your blog in the blog directories.

Podcast Directories-If you have any downloadable audio products on your website, you can list your site in podcast directories.

Software Directories-If you provide any software products such as screensavers or interactive software programs, you can list yourself in the software directories.

The more listings you have, the greater your traffic will be and the more external links you will have pointing to your site.

Search Engine Traffic

The first step in generating search engine traffic is to determine your best keywords and phrases. Generate about 25-30 keywords and phrases for each page of your website. Check them out on http://www.wordtracker.com, http://www.pixelfast.com/overture and http://www.digitalpoint.com/tools/suggestion.

You are not simply looking for the words that receive the most clicks. You actually want to pick keywords that aren’t crowded with competitors. Then carefully place your keywords within the text of your website, as well as in the titles of your pages and the descriptions. You will also want to create metatags that are keyword rich. All of this will assist with increasing organic or natural traffic to your site.

Your goal is to be in the top websites listed when you google your keywords. Organic traffic is what will get you there.

You can also pay for high listing through advertising using your keywords and phrases. This is generally what comes up on the right-hand side of the search engine page. These are companies who have advertised through pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. I use yahoo, google and MIVA. PPC advertising has become less attractive because there is so much competition now often the cost is often prohibitive.

I hope this was helpful. Next month I will be talking about sales funnels, newsletters, blogs, and joint ventures. Stay tuned.