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Picks of the Week: Nov. 6-12, 2010

This week, we share articles on: ensuring a successful website launch, positioning your site to benefit from Google Instant Previews, getting the most out of LinkedIn (for personal profiles and company pages), securing Facebook Community Pages, benefits of blogging for business, and improving media relations by ditching the press release.

Website Development

Launching a New Website: 18 Steps to Successful Metrics & Marketing

Launching a new website is a major investment and marketing initiative. Ensuring that the process is properly managed, and the site is set up from the get-go for optimal performance and tracking, are imperative to serving your customers, measuring results and eventually reaping the business rewards.

In this article, SEO expert Rand Fishkin outlines 18 key steps to ensure a successful website project, including:

  • Installing visitor analytics
  • Setting up Webmaster Tools accounts
  • Establishing a KPI Dashboard
  • Creating and connecting social accounts
  • Building a list of keywords to target
  • Setting targets for key metrics and tracking against them

For details on these and more excellent advice, see Rand’s complete post

Search Marketing

Google Instant Previews

Have you noticed the magnifying glass icon appearing next to Google search results? By clicking the icon, this new feature, Instant Previews, allows a browser to preview a page before clicking through to it.

Direct from the Official Google Webmaster Central Blog: “Instant Previews gives people a glimpse into [the design and structure of your site] and indicates why your pages are relevant to their query. [However,] Instant Previews does not change [Google’s] search algorithm or ranking in any way.”

Google also offers several details for webmasters to review, to ensure that Instant Preview works to your benefit, including:

  • Keep your pages clearly laid out and structured, with a minimum of distractions or extraneous content.
  • Try to avoid interstitial pages, ad pop-ups, or other elements that interfere with your content.
  • Currently, some videos or Flash content in previews appear as a "puzzle piece" icon or a black square. (Though Google is working on this, you may want to review and update and Flash-heavy pages.)

For more on Instant Previews, see the full post from Google. You can also see 4 SEO Tips to Instantly Take Advantage of Google Instant Preview, written by Eric Vreeland.

Social Media

How to Generate Leads with LinkedIn

By Andrew Hunt, this article offers an excellent overview on getting more out of LinkedIn. He starts with the basics of setting up your profile — by focusing on accomplishments, updating your settings, joining groups and adding applications. Then, Andrew offers advice on some more aggressive, ongoing tactics such as:

  • Asking and answering questions
  • Joining discussions
  • Running advanced people searches for sales targeting
  • Updating your status

For details on the above, and additional insight from inside-sales professional Andrew, see his full post

And on the corporate side of social networks, both Facebook and LinkedIn recently made updates to their sites that directly impact brands:

Facebook Now Letting Brands Claim Community Pages 

Though Facebook Community Pages seem to be valuable to personal users, they can often pose problems for brands that had limited ability to connect with potential fans. Now, Facebook allows users to claim community pages by certifying that they are “an official representative” of the brand in question, and waiting a few days for approval. Facebook says that “once you claim the Page, you can post updates to News Feed to people who like this Page, update the Page’s info, and more.”

Set Up Your New LinkedIn Company Page

Until recently, LinkedIn company pages felt rather limited considering the professional focus of the social networking site. However, it recently “rolled out new Company Pages, enabling businesses to develop more robust Company Pages and possess more control over those pages.”

Companies now have the ability to build out their LinkedIn pages with additional details such as:

  • Job opportunities
  • Products and services details
  • Videos
  • Recommendations/reviews from LinkedIn members

Content Marketing

Ten Reasons to Blog Even if Nobody Reads It

This is a great article by Mark Schaefer on the benefits of blogging for business, including:

  • Boosting search engine rankings
  • Establishing marketing differentiation
  • Directly and indirectly impacting sales
  • Enhancing PR outreach

Is your organization reluctant to start blogging because of the lack of "real" business results and ROI? Consider these and additional benefits shared by Mark, which include some personal anecdotes and other real-world examples.

Or, have you started blogging, but don’t see the results yet in readership, engagement or new business? Check out your website analytics for things like increases in keyword terms driving traffic to your site, and think about other ways you can share your blog articles more proactively (for example: in follow-up to sales calls, or in LinkedIn discussions and answers) while you grow your following organically in the meantime.

PR

The Best Press Release is No Press Release

Daniel Burnstein, associate director of editorial content at MarketingShera, answers a question about how PR pros should pitch him with their company news, i.e. "news releases and whatnot."

Daniel's answer: "The best press release is no press release. Just tell me why your proposed case study or article will have value for MarketingSherpa’s 225,000 marketers specifically.”

Money quote: “Talk to me like I’m your older brother, not your mother.” In other words, he’s not going to be proud of anything your company does — he needs to know how your information can benefit his readers.

And Daniel’s colleague, Andrea Johnson, agrees: "Publicity is nothing but sales. Your target market is the editor, blogger or reporter, your product is your news... make it very easy for them to say ‘yes’ to whatever you’re selling; editors simply don’t have the time to figure out why they should care."

I know, I know: This is advice that PR pros have been hearing for years now. But, as we all see in frustrated tweets and blog posts from journalists and bloggers alike, not everyone seems to be listening. So please, forget about massive media email delivery and get targeted.

Does that mean the press release is dead? Not if you get creative, and Use Press Releases for More than Media Relations as Jeremy Porter suggests.

What were your favorite articles of the week? Comments are open for your opinions.

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