Friday, July 31, 2009
D-Y-I STEPS USING THE WORLD WIDE WEB / BUILDING AN ONLINE PRESENCE
There are many different vendors that offer online news release distribution / posting services. Some are free. Some are low cost. Some are pricey. There's some wisdom to the old adage, "you get what you pay for."
Most of the online free and low cost options, such as http://www.prweb.com, are meant to be online visibility tools. In my experience, most "real journalists" don't pay much attention to online postings and RSS feeds from services like PR Web. The real value of something like PR Web is that you can create an online news room and bank of permanent online news releases. This can boost search engine ratings and create happy "just stumbled upon your news release online" type of business results.
Other free services (some with a premium / paid upgrade option) include:
24-7PressRelease.com – Free release distribution with ad-support
1888PressRelease.com – Free distribution, paid services gives you better placement and permanent archiving.
ClickPress.com – Distributs to sites like Google News and Topix.net, Gold level will also get you to sites like LexisNexis.
EcommWire.com – Focuses on ecommerece and requires you include an image, 3 keywords and links.
Express-Press-Release.com – Free distribution company with offices in 12 states.
Free-Press-Release.com – Easy press release distribution for free, more features for paid accounts.
Free-Press-Release-Center.info – Distributes your release, offers a web page with one keyword link to your site. Pro upgrade will give you three links, permanent archiving and more.
I-Newswire.com – Allows for free distribution to sites and search engines, premium membership differs only slightly in adding in graphics.
NewswireToday.com – All the usual free distribution tools, premium service includes logo, product picture and more.
PR.com – Not only will they distribute your press releases, but you can also set up a full company profile.
PR9.net – Ad supported press distribution site.
PR-Inside.com – European-based free press release distribution site.
PRBuzz.com – Completely free distribution to search engines, news sites, and blogs.
PRCompass.com – Distribute your press release with a free or paid version, others can vote it up ala Digg (Digg) style.
PRUrgent.com – Not only distributes your release, but attempts to teach you how to write one, and even offers downloadbale samples for you to work with.
Press-Base.com – Submit your release for free and get on their front page and the category of your choice.
PressAbout.com – A free press release service formatted as a blog.
PressMethod.com – Free press release distribution no matter what, but extra services based on the size of your contribution.
PRLeap.com – Free distribution to search engines, newswires, and RSS feeds. Fee based bumps get you better placement.
PRLog.org – Free distribution to Google News and other other search engines.
TheOpenPress.com – Gives free distribution for plain formatted releases, fees for HTML-coded releases.
IF YOU WANT BETTER RESULTS, YOU'LL NEED PROFESSIONAL HELP ...
If an organization or individual had a more specific goal of getting a news release in front of a select group of journalists, the best options are to work with a professional PR firm.
Working with a professional PR firm has the following advantages:
1. Relationships with real journalists. Any good PR firm will have cultivated and will constantly be cultivating relationships with a targeted group of media outlets and specific journalists.
2. Access to comprehensive media databases. Any good PR firm will subscribe to a media database so that they can quickly build targeted media distribution lists and glean specific pitching tips for specific journalists. For instance, at my firm, we subscribe to Media Atlas / PR Newswire.
3. Proprietary media lists. Any good PR firm will have developed their own proprietary distribution lists. They won't share this information with you at any cost.
4. Insights about when to use a news release, when to do a virtual or in-person media tour, when to do email or phone pitching, mass blasts or personal outreach, etc.
5. Strong ability to write a compelling news release that will get the attention of the targeted media list or news wire service.
6. Insights on when to use direct distribution to their proprietary list versus a news wire service versus a satellite feed (or a combination thereof).
- Most PR firms use a professional news wire service to supplement their direct email and fax distributions -- for instance BusinessWire or PRNewsWire. We use PRNewsWire and can thus target specific media distribution areas in the US, select the entire US, or opt for global distribution.
- A professionally written news release put out on a good news wire service will get picked up by news aggregation sites such as Yahoo! news, Google news, etc. and various online publications such as Forbes.com, Marketwatch.com, MSNMoney.com, etc. Real journalists watch and search these sites for items of interest and resources that pertain to their "beat." In addition, there is a credibility factor that occurs when a company/advisor links to what looks like a "news article" on a credible outlet such as Forbes.com versus
- Sometimes PR firms will also use an Associated Press satellite feed to ensure it goes right into media outlets and has a higher chance of hitting editors/producers desks.
7. Integration of Web 2.0 and viral marketing strategies with traditional PR tactics.
- For instance, submitting a news release in the most appropriate way(s) as described above. Then finding the top 10 bloggers on the topic and sending them an e-mail, linking to the release somewhere it was published.
- Another example: Blogging, tweeting, participating on social and business networking sites like Facebook, various Ning and/or subscriber-based communities, LinkedIn, etc.
- One last example: Using multi-media news releases and/or an electronic media blitz.
8. Ability track and measure results.
More tips and insights on why PR should be a big part of every independent financial advisor's marketing plan is available here:
www.impactcommunications.org - check the Advisor Resources tab and the In the News tab, which houses almost all of the past articles I've written.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU CAN'T AFFORD TO WORK WITH A PROFESSIONAL PR FIRM ...
1. Get some media training. If you are a member of FPA, NAPFA, IAFSCA, GPN or other professional associations you are probably offered live and virtual media training opportunities. Another option is Media Mastery University: http://tinyurl.com/cxqvje.
2. Practice small before you leap large. Talk to peers about what they have done and how they have been successful. Get into a PR Training and Empowerment group lead by a PR professional.
3. Build one success on another on another on another. Leverage your media successes so that you to become a "slightly famous" planner with your clients and strategic partners. Enjoy the crebility and take the next step as you improve your media skills (e.g., go from a local newspaper bylined column or TV appearances to national outlets and TV appearances, write a white paper then a book, etc.)
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
AdvisorPod.com is an exciting new podcast subscription service for financial services professionals that provides relevant best practices for running an efficient, profitable and enjoyable practice.Advisorpod podcasts have been featured as "New and Notable" in the Podcasts/ Business/Management & Marketing section of iTunes. Find out why!
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Small Businesses Struggle to Remain Competitive in the Recession: Financial Advisors Offer Tips for Controlling Costs
From corporate board rooms to the kitchen table, Americans are at work cutting the fat from over-extended budgets. This switch into survival mode is equally imperative in the small business arena where tight credit and the nation's newly adopted frugality have combined to create unprecedented financial challenges.
Listen to this helpful podcast now.
Financial Planning Gets Personal
More financial advisers are moving beyond money matters and playing counselor with their clients. Not everyone thinks that's a good idea.
Please "comment" here in this blog. Should consumers be wary if their financial planner takes a more personal approach? What types of "best practices" to you embrace?