Webcertain Online PR service Frequently Asked Questions

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Online PR - Frequently Asked Questions

General questions
Content of multilingual PR
Campaign reporting
International news distribution channels

General questions about the Webcertain online PR service

What is Online PR?

The dictionary definition is: "A blend of search engine visibility and traditional public relations that disperses a company's message across the internet by way of online media outlets and search engines."

Otherwise known as SEO PR, this is a means to improving your online presence through news.

How does it differ from the traditional definition of PR?

Our focus is gaining visibility on key search terms, so the news contacts we have are different to those at a conventional PR agency.

We are also able to report in great detail, using our SEO expertise.

What can you achieve through online PR?

  • We can achieve prominent (top 10) results in the search engines very quickly.
    News search results - within the day
    Blog search results - within the hour (or minutes in some cases!)
    General web search results - usually within the week, depending on the competitiveness of the keywords
  • PR also generates back links. As news sites are well respected by the search engines, these are valuable links that can boost the page rank of a site.
  • Communicate directly with journalists and potential customers - highlighting important products and services.
  • Manage (and create) online brand reputation. PR is the most effective way to respond to negative search results and get ahead of competitors - it is easy to achieve multiple top level listings for your important search terms. It's also a cost effective and rapid way to establish a new brand

If you are publishing news on many sites, isn't this duplicate content and therefore frowned upon by the search engines?

Technically yes, but news distribution is recognised as a legitimate means to promote a site.

We also make efforts to produce different headlines and introductory sections to counter the duplicate content issue and to give the stories as much power as possible.

Questions about the content of multilingual press releases / news stories

I have some news in English, but my market is global. Can you help me with PR in a number of languages?

Yes, this is the situation for many clients. We often use an English story as the basis for releases in other languages.

We will take the English release and re-work it (not simply translate) to fit the needs of the particular country.

Why do you re-write the stories that you distribute for us?

It's not a criticism of the original author, but we are writing for search engines as well as human editors, so content needs to be re-worked to get the most impact.

When you re-wrote my story, there were lots of repetitions and the headline wasn't as 'snappy' as the original - why?

Search engines like repetitions (although not too many). If our brief is to rank for "London hotel" we need that phrase to appear several times in the story, rather than "the company", "the south-east based accommodation specialists".

Therefore the traditional rule of good writing to avoid repetitions goes out of the window. Often the first thing we change when optimising a release is to correct the synonyms.

This is partly why the headline may be less snappy. A pun, or an exaggerated summary may be effective with humans, but again, we have search engines to consider too.

Questions about reporting on the performance of PR campaigns

How do you measure performance?

During the month following distribution, we -

  • Track the keyword performance of the story on selected news sites
  • Collate clippings of the story's appearance
  • Calculate a "visibility score"

How long do news / PR generated results last?

Many sites create permanent links for stories, giving them a unique, permanent url. These are as permanent as any organic results can be.

Google News (the most important news search engine) lists news posted within the last month.
Blog postings are generally permanent; again each post will have a unique url.
Some temporary results are generated by sites picking up news for their "latest news" sections which show a selection of recent stories (picked by RSS) - they are refreshed very regularly, usually daily.

I want to know every news site my story appeared on, can you report on this to me?

We identify around 99% of the sites our stories appear on by tracking this at regular points during the month following distribution.

We might miss some appearances of the story being temporarily published on "latest news" sections if it has been refreshed before we've spotted it. Very occasionally a story would have been re-worded substantially enough by an editor for it not to come to our attention, but this is very rare.

I want a score of some kind to compare the success of different press releases, can you provide this report?

Yes, we can. We provide a "Visibility Score" in each press release performance report. This is based on the keyword prominence gained by a selection of the news sites that published the story.

While there are many different factors that affect a story's impact (seasonal, other news, competitiveness of subject matter etc.), this is a useful guide.

Can I see if the people who read my news stories went onto buy something from me?

Unfortunately the only way to do this is to use tracking code and because we are using external sites, we are unable to do this.

We can and do track the visibility of releases and will report on the back links created by the press release.

Questions about international news distribution channels

What are the criteria for choosing where you send your news to?

Our ideal news sites would tick the following boxes -

  • Prominence in search engine
  • High page rank
  • Well respected
  • High traffic
  • Relevant to subject matter
  • Allows hyperlinks
  • Allows image publishing
  • Good network of media contacts (for press wires)

Obviously not every site covers all these points. The sites we have had the best results from include international news wire services, online versions of print magazines, blogs and social bookmarking sites.

Why do my stories appear on social bookmarking sites?

In our experience, these types of sites can have a huge impact online as they -

  • Perform strongly in the search engines
  • Allow html links to be included in news releases
  • Create backlinks to your site
  • Have millions of regular subscribers

They are increasingly popular and well respected among web users and your news will sit within the appropriate category.

Using social bookmarks is a very effective way share news and we have seen the boost this method has given to our own news site http://www.newscertain.com

I've found my news story on a news site, but there aren't any links in it even though I sent you the links to include. Why is that?

We are at the mercy of the editors we send our news to. Many news sites strip out all html, or have the policy of not allowing external links.

However, most press wires do allow the addition of a link to be included in the contact information next to the main content.

So, is there a way around this?

Yes, we always include the full address of the client's homepage in the release text several times. This makes it easy for the reader to visit our clients' sites by copying and pasting the address.

One way of doing this is to use the website address as the brand name. For example: "...international web agency www.webcertain.com report..."

Or naturally mentioning the address where it is relevant to the story,

"...more information on the revolutionary modular buildings can be found on the Portakabin website www.portakabin.co.uk ..."

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