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Online Newsrooms Grow Up, Go Social, Get Optimized

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Online Newsrooms Grow Up Go Social Get Optimized

With all the Google algorithm buzz (kill) about the need for fresh and frequent quality content, the answer could start with a press release and be buried in your company’s online newsroom.

While most brands report having an online newsroom as part of the company website, only 14 percent of press releases were optimized for search and recent surveys indicate the entire newsroom is lacking optimization.

Shocker? Maybe. But, smart marketers can take it as a digital smoke signal for SEO and PR to spark up a better relationship.

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The 2013 newsroom report “How the World’s Top 100 Brands Are Using Online Newsrooms to Tell Their Stories” cites these statistics:

  • 98 percent of brands report they now have an online newsroom.
  • 35 percent say they fail to keep news up to date.
  • 51 percent fail to present quality images.
  • 29 percent are using video in news releases.
  • 65 percent of brands are linking from their homepages directly to their newsrooms.
  • 38 percent of online newsrooms are lacking functions such as categories, tagging, and search.

Since the early website days of the roaring 1990s, the “news” section has been part of the main navigation of most corporate websites. But who should be responsible for this potential “content goldmine” called the online newsroom?

SEO is From Mars, PR is From Venus

In the past, SEO and public relations have worked on separate agendas but with the same cause - more visibility. But today, as search continues to grow, thanks to social media, the search results pages include not only blue links, but also blogs, video, images, news, press releases, and customer reviews.

“The SEO specialists and PR people are often on different floors or in different buildings. Heck, they often act like they are on different planets,” said Greg Jarboe, president and co-founder of SEO-PR.

Water cooler gossipers might overhear PR peeps say: “Who needs meta tags and titles! We’re on deadline and don’t have time for SEO!” Meanwhile SEO pros are drinking the link juice and speaking in foreign languages like html and might say something like: “PR people just don’t get it!”

SEOs Want Traffic & Leads, PR Wants Love & Attention

Brands that act like true publishers by posting quality content on the online newsroom, distributing it via social media, and leveraging all optimization techniques are reaping the measurable increase of traffic to their company news, to their corporate website, and even generate leads for their organization.

“Over the past several years we have seen clear examples of how using an online newsroom for “content marketing” can be an effective piece of the overall SEO strategy.” said Steve Momorella of TekGroup.

The Online Newsroom Opportunity

Online newsrooms actually present an opportunity for digital marketers trying to find new ways to engage their audience with relevant content at the right time. To help drive traffic, marketers are now shifting their priorities to inbound marketing efforts like creating effective content such as such as blogs, webinars, white papers and press releases according to MarketingSherpa’s eighth annual benchmark report. All this newsworthy content can be used inside the online newsroom.

PRESSfeed’s recent online newsroom report found:

  • 72 percent have an image gallery and 61 percent have a video gallery.
  • Less than 30 percent use multimedia with a with a news release and only 14 percent of news releases are search optimized. 
  • 80 percent of journalists and editors say images and video are important. 
  • 61 percent are connecting their newsroom to their social content.
  • 52 percent offer social sharing options in their newsroom.
  • They also lack features the media value.
  • Only 13 percent offer embed codes for images, slideshows and video.
  • Inc. 500 companies have some catching up to do, but have the most opportunity!

“A good newsroom can raise your visibility in the search engines and with the media. Small business that are growing fast, like the INC 500, should definitely upgrade their newsrooms. INC 500 newsroom stats are much worse than the top 100,” notes Sally Falkow.

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Online Newsroom Makeover Tips

Educate the PR and SEO Teams

“The issue that most SEO's face is most of the time their PR or Corporate Communications folks have not fully bought into the idea of optimizing their online news. This requires education to start with and then charting a process wherein SEO is part of the online newsroom process,” says Bob Tripathi.

Keep it Fresh

Newsworthy stories, images, video, social links and blogs would seem an obvious bonus in attracting quality visits. In the past the newsroom’s visitor profile was typically the journalist, but today’s savvy consumer knows to navigate to the online newsroom to find the latest news.

Let’s Define Fresh

"There's a misconception regarding the value of "fresh" content. Most website owners or managers think that applies to ALL content on a site, when in fact, it actually applies to "timely" content. As a result, news channels, especially those a brand controls entirely, are invaluable but only if there is consistent, fresh and timely use of those channels,” says SEO expert Alan Bleiweiss.

Collaborate for the Sake of “Quality Content”

“First, I'd hold a brown bag lunch and invite somebody from both groups to explain why collaboration and cooperation between the departments will enable both of them to meet their marketing goals and business objectives,” Jarboe said. "Believe it or not, both groups need to create 'quality content.' And that quality content will be read by prospects as well as the press.”

Measure the Love: Google Analytics

Finally, to make sure that the budding relationship between SEO and PR professionals turns into something more serious, Jarboe recommends that they both embrace Google Analytics.

In-House SEO/PR Keywords, Links and Platforms

"When SEO and PR teams are working in-house, the communication flow can be a little easier if they work together, but too many SEO and PR departments have independent strategies and as a result there are missed opportunities," said in-house SEO Evangelist Jessica Bowman. "In-house teams need to work together so the news content created drives people deeper into the website by linking to key pages using the right keywords for SEO, this will enhance the internal linking aspect of the SEO strategy.

"It’s also important to make sure the online newsroom solution is SEO-friendly so that search engines can index the content and see the links to important pages on the site," she noted.

Even the Media Uses PR to improve its SEO Results

Jarboe reports he has seen a series of press releases from major media outlets generate a 36 percent increase in brand searches topped off with 859 inlinks to the site's landing page.

Get Visual!

Let the statistics speak for themselves. Journalists prefer images and multimedia. Search results combined with an image have an increased performance and images are the most shared type of messaging on social media.

One more stat: 44 percent say they're more likely to engage with brands if they post pictures than any other media, according to ROI Research. Get creative and add news feeds from Instagram, Tumblr, and Facebook to the online newsroom.

Google Alert: Creating Good Content Pays Off!

"The best way to get other sites to create relevant links to yours is to create unique, relevant content that can quickly gain popularity in the Internet community,” says Google . “The more useful content you have, the greater the chances someone else will find that content valuable to their readers and link to it.

"It is not only the number of links you have pointing to your site that matters, but also the quality and relevance of those links. Creating good content pays off: Links are usually editorial votes given by choice, and the buzzing blogger community can be an excellent place to generate interest."

The PR side of the house will be happy to hear that an online newsroom can be a link magnet. The SEO side might want to meet up with the PR side, after all they are the content generators who just need a little “need to know” SEO guidance.

Bottom Line

Online newsrooms are the mother lode of quality content that should be optimized as soon as possible.


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