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13th August 2015

Online Newsrooms are the Perfect Panda Fodder

Google Panda & Newsrooms Webinar


After much speculation amongst Search experts about a Google update underway, Google has confirmed their suspicions.  There is indeed a new Panda 4,2 algorithm update rolling out.  Panda updates have always been about the quality of the content.  The first one was implemented in 2011.  Since then there have been some minor tweaks and updates.  But this is the first time there has been a major new Panda update, says Google.

So what is this new Panda update all about?  The quality of the content. Google said that while Panda is a site-wide action, it might not affect all pages within a site the same way. Some pages might suffer more than others.  And some, if they comply with the new Panda content rules, might do better than others.

Join us on August 26, 2015 at 10:00 am PT and 1:00 pm ET

Learn what the Panda update requirements for content are and why your newsroom could just be the perfect vehicle to take advantage of this major update and earn much better search visibility.



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25th November 2014

The Power of Google News

Google news 2

Join us for a free webinar on December 3 at 10:00 am Pacific/ 1:00 pm Eastern: 

The Top 7 Reasons to get Published in Google News. 

We will show you how to get your content ranked in the Google News Index.  Register here>>

Hosted by :  Sally Falkow, President of PRESSfeed, the digital news and content hub.  Guest:  Tinu Abayomi-Paul, CEO of Leveraged Promotion

Sally Falkow president PRESSFeed


Over the past year Google News has steadily crept up in the rankings of the Top 15 Mos Popular News websites.  A year ago it was at #4 with 65 million monthly visitors. The November 2014 figures show that it is now at #2 and   chomping at the heels of Yahoo News.  And why should this be of interest to you as a PR practitioner or marketer?

“...what would you say if I said your site could earn 10% more clicks from Google with very little extra work? Would 20% more clicks interest you? What if the number was 30% or more? No, I’m not talking about any unethical, black hat activity – I’m talking about getting found in Google News!”  Search Engine Land.

How does that work?  Google regularly includes a block of content from the News Index showing the top few relevant results right on the Google Web Search results page. So if your news content is regularly found in the tops few results for news for your brand name or keywords, it will also show up on the main Google search page for those search terms.  And that means more clicks and qualified, interested visitors to your site or newsroom.

Apples news block outlined

You often see this with well-known brands or Fortune 100 companies, but you can do it too.  Join us on December 3 and learn how to leverage the power of Google News to drive traffic to your site or newsroom.

Register now



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29th August 2014

CIPR State of PR in 2014

CIPR state of pr

Take alook at the 2014 CIPR State of PR report.

You can see the full report here

One of the areas I was particularly interested in is how the profession sees their skill level.  65% say they are satisfied that they have the appropriate skills and knowledge required at the current time.  Only 1 in 6 says they have the required skills and knowledge for the future.

The PRSA National conference held in Philadelphia last year called “big data” the future of public relations. Yet only 53% of attendees said they understood what Big Data is. At a recent gathering of some of the most senior PR executives at Fortune 100 global companies less than one-third could define Big Data and only ten percent of those in the room had the knowledge and skills to use it.

Technology is changing the practice of PR at an alarmingly rapid pace.  Keeping up with the changes means constantly learning new skills.  Monitoring, analyzing and creating a measurement plan that show the value of PR activities and content should be a priority for every PR practitioner.

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28th August 2014

Brand Consistency and Trust



brand consistency builds trust

Social media is here to stay. That isn’t even a point of debate anymore.  The 2014 PRESSfeed survey of the Fortune 100, Fortune 500 and Inc 500 companies shows that 89% have account son the main social media platforms –  Facebook fan pages, Twitter accounts for customer support, LinkedIn and YouTube.

However, a lot of what you see on these profiles looks like someone just threw together some random content and with a profile photo that had no thought put into it. It would appear that their social media is tactical, not strategic. There’s no background image or brand specific header on the account and they just assumed that because they “have a Facebook page” that they can check o ff that box and forget about it.

Social media is a constant conversation, not a one-off action, It’s not a campaign.  “If I build it they will come” does not apply.

Social media requires constant attention and relevant, fresh content being posted consistently. But the most important element is engagement. Unless you are engaging with your audience, you’re not being heard. Literally.

And speaking of consistency, from a design standpoint your social profiles must follow your branding look and feel. Visual consistency is key. Consistency translates into reliability and trustworthiness. Even on a subliminal level. But it does translate.

As users move from channel to channel to complete a specific task or many different tasks over time, they are exposed to the visual design, functionality, interactions and overall tone of voice of the company or organization. Creating consistency across these disciplines, regardless of channel, helps users build expectations for future interactions with the organization. Users crave consistency and companies that can provide consistent experiences across channels will quickly earn users’ trust. The Norman/Nielsen Group.  Consistency in Cross-channel Experience

Branding is everything when it comes to the public’s first impression of your business. If your social profiles have zero effort put in to maintain brand consistency, there is a negative mental impression left with the viewer. And that old adage – you never get a second chance to make a first impression – holds true online.

Your social profiles are an extension of your brand, and should deliver that seamless, consistent experience that builds trust.

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25th August 2014

Digital PR Analytics


Graphs and Charts Report

As a rule, PR folk are not stats and metrics buffs.  Few university communication courses emphasize the need for metrics. Some teach a statistics course, but not many teach online analytics. In the digital age, however, this is a vital part of the practice.

[A benchmark for you: If you are not spending 30% of your time with data, Ms/Mr Marketer, you’ll fail to achieve professional success.] Avinash Kaushik, Digital Marketing Evangelist for Google.

Does this statement apply to PR people too?  After all, we’re not the ones watching the website and the traffic. True, but the parameters of your job have changed and a large part of it is done online now. You’re producing content – or you should be. You have an online newsroom that also serves as a content hub – or you should have one.  And it needs to be under the control of the PR department, not I.T.

It’s time for PR pros to step and join the online team. So yes, that 30% statement applies.

One of the joys of digital content is that we can measure everything. What to measure is the trick.  How to measure it requires learning new skills.

Google Analytics is a great tool for PR practitioners. It’s free and it’s not hard to master. Start by reading SAMS Teach Yourself Google Analytics in 10 Minutes. Once you have that under your belt follow Avinash Kaushik and read his blog, Occam’s Razor.

The Top Digital PR Google Analytics Reports

1.     Traffic Overview:

What to look for – what is the percentage of traffic coming from search, referrals from other sites, people who type in your URL directly and campaigns you’re running. For PR a campaign could be a press release with a link to download a whitepaper or outreach to bloggers.

What it tells you – A growing percentage of direct traffic indicates increased brand awareness.  Increased search traffic shows you have more phrases ranking highly and being found.  An increase in referral traffic means others are mentioning your content and linking to it.

 2.     Landing Page Report

What to look for:  You’ll find this report under Site Content.  You should be including a call-to-action in all your digital content and directing the reader to a specific landing page where they can get more information–either on your  website or in your newsroom. Check how many visitors came to each landing page and what the bounce rate for each page is.

What it tells you – You can get a sense of what people are responding to.  The bounce rate means that the person only looked at that page and then left.  It might mean that they found what they wanted on that page. But it also means they did not look at any other content on your site, blog or newsroom. If your intention was to lead them to other content and the bounce rate is high, it tells you that you need to fix the content on that page.

  • Is the content not relevant to the call-to-action in the release?
  • Does it have broken links?
  • Not enough content?
  • Too much content?
  • Form too long?

Test using new content till you get the bounce rate down.

3.     Top Referrers

This shows you who is mentioning your content and sending traffic to your blog or newsroom.

What to look for – Which are the top twenty sites sending you traffic. Are these sites you have been working with are are they new to you? You might be surprised by what you find.

What it tells you – Which sites have mentioned you and linked to your content. It indicates which sites you should reach out to and which ones you should build a relationship with.  It will reveal blogs and media sites that have mentioned your brand. When you are doing blogger outreach this report tells you who your real influencers are.

4.     Social Traffic

Google Analytics now has a Social Media Dashboard. To have this report show up in your Google Analytics you should have social sharing buttons on your website, blog or newsroom, have set goals and assigned a value to each goal.  An easy way to create a social dashboard is to use this plug in from Dashboard Junkie

What to look for –

  • How many new visitors came from social sites
  • The value of those visits( if you have set up goals)
  • Traffic from social with visits and bounce rates
  • The most socially shared content

 What it tells you –

  • How effective your social media activity is
  • What content is being seen and shared
  • Where people are talking about and sharing your site
  • Where your social traffic comes from and how much it’s worth
  • Loyalty of your social visitors
  • How many social shares your pages get on-site

You can curate all your monitoring and Google Analytics charts in an easy to use Dashboard by Netvibes, so you can see it all at one glance.

There is much more you can learn once you master analytics.  A data-driven content strategy is much more effective than flying by the seat of your pants.

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24th August 2014

Nurturing your Digital Following


fb like icon

The increasing interest in metrics and analytics had led to many brands questioning the value of fans and followers.  Turns out that they do have a value.

According to a study sponsored by digital ad company Socialvibe 70 percent of actively engaged social users make a purchase as a result of being connected to a brand on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+ or Pinterest.  61 percent say they consider these brands first when making a purchase. IN January 2014 a report  from Javelin Strategy & Research revealed that almost 1 in 5 social network users will make a purchase directly through a social platform this year.

So does this validate the scramble to gather more and more fans and followers?   Does a large community automatically guarantee you a boost in sales?

Read that survey result again – it says 70 percent of actively engaged social users.  Just having a large fan base does nothing.  Admittedly you can’t engage with someone who is not even there, so building the community of like-minded people interested in your content and your brand is a valid first step.  But once they are there you have to get them actively engaged. If you want to know how many of your social community have your brand top of mind when they purchase, figure out how many of them are actively engaged with you.

What does that mean?

The dictionary definition of engaged that fits this context is:

“to occupy the attention or efforts of someone, to be involved”

That means that you have to actually get their attention and get them involved. How do you do that?

In the trend report by Arnold Worldwide almost 60 percent of people polled said they expect brands to respond to social media comments regarding service, at least most of the time.  When  fans or followers communicate with you, you do have to respond. If you ignore their communication they will never be actively engaged.

Imagine that your social media community was a real social gathering.  You are in a large room with all these people who have come there because

  1. They genuinely like your brand
  2. You invited them to participate in a deal or a giveaway
  3. They entered a contest in the hope of winning something
  4. Their friends are there

How could you tell which ones are actively engaged with you?  That’s not hard.  Just scan the room – how many are sitting at tables and not talking to anyone, how many are standing quietly against the wall watching.  How many are actively in conversation with your team members and one another?

If someone came up to you and asked a question or made a complaint would you look at them blankly, turn away and continue your conversation with your team?  I bet you wouldn’t.  It’s called social media for a reason.  It’s the online version of a social gathering.  And we do know how to behave in a social gathering.  We do know what is polite and what engages people.

It is of course possible to run your followers off.  If you monopolize the conversation, talk too much, get preachy or sale-sy,  your audience will quietly wander off to find a more interesting group.  The most common reason for un-following or un-liking a brand is too many boring or pushy updates.

How can you find your sweet spot? Use your own analytics.

There are tools you can use to analyze your fan and follower activity.  Find out when they are online and how many of them are commenting, liking, re-tweeting, favoriting and sharing your content.  When they do these things you have their attention and they are involved and active.  They’re doing something.  Figure out the rhythm and volume of communication that gets you the best results. What works for one brand may not be best for another.

It is a valid goal to build a large social following, but take it a step further. Once they have raised their hands and said they like you, get them engaged. Be consistent,  publish good content that meets their needs and interests, and most of all, be there and respond.

A better goal than just a bigger fan base is to increase the number of engaged and active social users. After all, it’s 70 percent of them that are buying your product.


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22nd February 2013

A Good Content Marketing Case Study


If you’re wondering if all the time and expense it takes to produce free content to market your product or service works,  this case study recently posted on Forbes.com should lay that to rest once and for all.

ProjectManager.com started in 2008, they now have 10,000 paying customers and they’re projected to own 80% of the market by 2015.  I think it’s working!

What did they do right?   CEO Jason Westland says it can be summed up in two words: content marketing.

“We gained 250,000 emails by giving away lots of free resources on our website,” says Westland. “We then built the largest “Project Management LinkedIn Group” in the World and pushed our social presence on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. We now have 500,000+ Project Managers follow us socially every day.”

His successful plan is no secret –

  • Establish a community/lay the foundation
  • Develop your content
  • Create a strategy to publish your content
  • Pull it all together to see how your content can lead to new sales
  • And of course never forget about your existing customers

And as brands realize the strength of content in the marketing mix, online newsrooms are becoming more than just a PR archive for press releases. You need a place to “pull it all together” and make it easy to find and share.  A place to house whitepapers, webinars, videos, images, infographics, articles, tips, blog posts, tweets.  A good newsroom will service more than just journalists today – it should meet also the needs of bloggers, investors, analysts, prospective customers and anyone interested in the latest content from your brand.

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22nd December 2012

BtoB firms embrace content marketing

BotB companies are embracing content marketing.  Curata’s “B2B Marketing Trends 2012 Report” found that 87% of US B2B marketers have used content marketing this year—the most popular tactic of any queried. That was up 5 percentage points from usage levels in 2011, impressive considering the already-high level of interest in content marketing.

Creating original content is number one on the list of content challenges, followed by the time to do it and then finding great content to curate.

A good online newsroom can alleviate some of these challenges.  It saves time, makes posting and curating quick and easy and has Google analytics installed to help you track results.

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6th November 2012

Visual Storytelling

There  have been a slew of articles recently about tips to improve your content marketing.  And indeed, marketers are embracing the idea of using content as a marketing tool.

Using stories to spread the brand message is not a new idea for PR people though. It’s been a core part of PR for decades.

What is new is the need for visual material to expand and enhance the story. Rebecca Lieb, author of Content Marketing: think like a Publisher and an analyst at the Altimeter Group has this to say:

“PR professionals have a natural aptitude for storytelling, but primarily their skills are more written-word than technologically based. Research we – and others – have recently conducted indicates strongly that brands are enthusiastically ramping up their content marketing initiatives. However PRs are competing with advertising agencies for this business, and agencies are proficient in technology, design, video and other forms of digital storytelling that matter a lot to marketers.

A study I conducted earlier this year demonstrates that brands are de-emphasizing the written word in favor of infographics, images, and video. In other words, visual storytelling.

This requires a skill shift in PR. Learn visual storytelling, which necessitates both tactical skills and understanding of graphic design and video.”

So as facile as we may be with the written-word – and many PR thought leaders  still emphasize the need to be able to write well –  if you’re keeping your PR eye on the technological ball you will also learn these new skills needed for visual storytelling.

Once you are producing visuals with your stories and news content make sure you have an online newsroom that can display it all in the format the media prefers and the public can easily share.


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10th October 2012

HowSocial Networks Influence Travel Purchase Decisions (Infographic)

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