While news consumption continues its shift to search engines and social media, content marketers using publishing and distribution platforms beyond the press release have winning options.
For brands, publishing news to a paid wire service reaching traditional media and search engines is nothing new. But two companies bubble to the top, offering SEO and SMO savvy ways to reach and engage directly with your audience.
PRWeb Wins SEO War in Press Release Distribution Services
According to a recently published news release, PRWeb announced it beat out major competitors for press release distribution by multiple measures including:
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Social and blog shares
- Most overall releases
“PRWeb has turned the traditional press release designed purely for mass communications and press appeal into a more powerful form of search, social and content marketing designed for reaching targeted communities online,” says Vocus Senior Vice President of Products, You Mon Tsang.
Besides Good PR SEO Results, PRWeb’s Customers Hit the Like Button
“We started using PRWeb in 2008 and it’s been one of the best decisions we’ve ever made,” says Ed Adams, Manager for the Global Public Affairs Department at the DuPont Company. “PRWeb was quick to embrace new social media features and its latest distribution system has made a tremendous difference – there is no comparison.”
"I’ve used PRWeb since 2001 and have been working with PRWeb to optimize their platform for better SEO over the past four years or so. PRWeb based on my personal experience is easily the most SEO friendly news distribution service. That’s the reason I used them for 7 years before they became a SEO client for TopRank," Odden notes.
PRWeb at a Glance
- Ranges from $89 to $499 per release.
- The basic $89 release includes hosting on PRWeb and distribution to major search outlets including Google and Bing.
- Images, social sharing, video, expanded distribution, custom RSS and file attachments come with the upgraded packages.
But, online marketers, here’s a few content strategy questions: Is getting indexed with the search engines enough? Does everything need to be a press release to be published? Can your brand’s bottom line work with the fees associated with paid distribution news services?
While it is easy to get caught up in the SEO juice of links, search results and more online visibility; online marketers need to also focus on the delivery of referring traffic to a website, page views and time spent on the content – regardless of where that content is hosted. Yes, your press release is getting online visibility in search and pulling rank, but is anyone really opening it and reading it?
One alternative to the traditional news service is a social media platform that focuses on engagement with a social boost.
PitchEngine Lets the Brands Act Like Journalists
In partnership with Cision, PitchEngine is a social media news platform with more than 45,000 brands. PitchEngine allows brands to easily tell a story, called a Pitch, whether it be a news release, sales announcement or event. Like PRWeb, PitchEngine also allows brands to share news information quickly via an an SEO and SMO friendly platform.
The Price of Brand Engagement
Search and social industry experts predict that tomorrow’s best publishers will be today’s most engaging brands. Tools like PitchEngine emulate that vision by offering a pop-up one-page site that allows brands to tell an engaging and optimized story, add images and video, and publish it to the search and social world – for as little as free.
Much like paid distribution press release services, PitchEngine’s free version publishes to search engines, social media news sites, mobile/tablet users and offers an email sharing feature.
Unlike the traditional paid distribution news services, Pitch Engine’s free version allows users to add as much multimedia (videos, images and other content as you like) for no additional fee. This is a big differentiator when brands want to bring the No. 2 search engine, YouTube, into the storytelling mix.
“Brands are starting to ask ‘How can I engage with our customers’ instead of, ‘Where does my press release go?’ We see the future of PR/online marketing as brand journalists creating consumer-facing PR content,” says Jason Kintzler, CEO and founder of PitchEngine.
“PitchEngine is a good and more cost effective alternative to paid news services such as PRWeb. I think it's fair to say that PitchEngine offers good SEO as well – however, you get the added value of using unlimited multimedia and social media factors to tell your story,” Kintzler added.
An important distinction is that PitchEngine is not just about the press release. It’s about engaging content management for your PR and online marketing, serving up all types of content – marketing, sales collateral, whatever a small business or large brand wants to share!
Some brands are opting out of hosting all content on their website. For example; H&R Block could've put hundreds of tax tips on its corporate website, but used PitchEngine instead.
“The logic is that people will be searching for these specific things, and that they don't want to go to H&R Block to be marketed to,” said KIntzler. While PRWEb boasts more traffic than PitchEngine, people are viewing pitches a lot longer than press releases, according to data on Alexa.com.
As far as the SEO vote of confidence on PitchEngine, Zog Media Founder and CEO Jeff Herzog who is widely known as the founder of marketing giant iCrossing, partnered with PitchEngine in 2010 to develop its proprietary technology that combines both SEO and SMO technology.
PitchEngine at a Glance
- Ranges from free to subscriptions costing from $19 to $99/month.
- The free plan includes unlimited pitches, unlimited multimedia and is hosted forever as well as distribution to major search outlets including Google and Bing, with the social media sites and email sharing.
- Upgraded versions are available at different levels that include enhancements such as analytics, Facebook Newsroom apps and hosted newsroom.
Regardless of the distribution service being used, brands need to remember the writing and optimization will influence the search and social success of your content, whether it's a press release, tweet, post or video. Optimized search and social news content wins the race.