Many companies have RSS feeds for company updates, as this provides people another way to stay up-to-date on your company news and press releases without having to come to the website every other day. Though it’s important to syndicate/distribute news via RSS, you also have to track RSS feeds this as well.
Why? Because if you’re successful in having people subscribe to the feeds, theoretically the site traffic numbers may decrease. From a marketing perspective, if you experience a dip in traffic, you need to demonstrate that subscriptions to your feeds were increasing. Furthermore, this provides you feedback on what content resonates with your audience.
Researching this intriguing question, here is what I found out - some are more laborous than others:
1. Check the server logs: If a request is made, then this is logged on the server. However, RSS feeds are not representative of a person requesting the information , but rather how you set up the feeds to refresh the information. So this may skew the information even if you didn’t look at your feed for weeks.
2. Request an email: You can request an email to track the RSS feed. Though you can track who is subscribing, I believe that anonymity is key for incorporating RSS feeds.
3. Give each subscriber an unique identifier: There are different ways to track unique users but I recommend reading posts on Ask Leo and ongoing as they provide in-depth information on the various ways. Much better than I can.
4. Use an RSS Aggregator: In the end, I like the idea of using FeedBurner to track RSS feeds. It provides a convenient way to view all of your feeds, site numbers and additional options for optimizing your feeds for SEO.
I’m still learning about FeedBurner and will provide a follow-up post on how to best set up the RSS feed. Please leave me a comment if you have any advice/tips & tricks for optimizing RSS feeds.
Press releases are an important component of PR. Typically, I focus on writing the right headline to catch a reporter’s attention, while crafting intelligent quotes for my spokesperson. But sometimes, a catchy headline and eloquent phrasing may fall short of helping your client from a marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) perspective.
2) Title Tags: This is the description that appears when you navigate to a web page. Many search engines weigh title tags heavily for ranking the content of the site. By understanding your client’s general key word groupings, you can craft a title tag that a) includes these keywords and b) accurately describes the content of the press release.
3) Header, subhead, first paragraph: These three elements of your release are important for search engines to evaluate the content of your release. Balance the use of keywords with your client’s messages. Though keyword density (the number of times a keyword appears in the release) is important, don’t overdue as it may be seen as trying to game the search engines.
4) News Wires: If you client is incorporating SEO, then consider paying extra money to SEO your press release. Why? Since the release is distributed to various sites, this can increase the number of links pointing to your client’s website. Since the boilerplate is included in every release, the boilerplate is a great way to incorporate keywords and appropriate links for SEO.
One of the difficulties of PR is knowing the impact that press releases, articles and even emails have on initiatives. URL redirects can be used to help track traffic going to a particular webpage. An URL redirect enables you to go to the same page with various URLs.
For example, a client can see that traffic originating from “pr.companyname.com” was for general PR activities, while traffic for “launch.companyname.com” could have been for an upcoming launch.
These URLs can be provided to journalists, embedded in a press release, or included on blog postings, enabling you to measure traffic to your client’s website. Just keep in mind that people may go directly to a website as a result of media and banner advertising (DoubleClick Touchpoints IV report). At least this method gives you another tangible way to measure the impact of your PR efforts.
I originally posted this on my friend’s blog, Tech for PR. I’m reposting an edited version (in italics) here to kick off this blog!
While working at Blanc & Otus, I was proud of how my team responded to clients and the quality of our communications. My team may have hated me for it, but I was very nitpicky about grammar, spelling and formatting for any client facing documentation, such as weekly reports, emails, briefing sheets, etc.
Since moving in-house, I’ve reviewed the work of two agencies and one PR contractor. This has opened my eyes to the vast number of PR agencies – large, boutique and everything in-between – and the level of service available within the industry.
I recognize that PR agencies desire to work with the CMO to ensure that PR is integrated within the marketing strategy. I agree. PR undertaken as an island from marketing doesn’t help a company provide a consistent face to the public.
As a person who may be involved in selecting a PR agency or contractor, my trust is earned by the attention to detail and how results truly map back to my company’s goals. With all the priorities on my plate, I have to confirm that providing this information will truly benefit my company’s marketing goals and not waste time.
Here are my recommendations – based on a start-up company with less than $15,000 a month retainer:
- 1) Use spell check/grammar check – First impressions are key. Paying attention to spelling and basic grammar indicates that you can write well.
- 2) Correct names – This goes to attention to detail. I’ve lost count how many times my name (Cece – the second “c” is NOT capitalized) has been misspelled. Check the signature. Spelling my name and my company’s name correctly tells me that you care about me as a potential client.
- 3) Deliver what you promise – I have a tight budget and demanding deliverables. Be truthful about what you can or cannot do with the budget I have. If you promise me the moon or my budget, I’ll hold you to that. My expectations have been set.
- 4) Staff appropriately – I think the biggest concern I have about PR agencies is the number of accounts an account person manages/staffs. This goes back to being realistic. Smaller accounts require less people who can devote more hours on the account. If you can’t support this, don’t pitch the business.
- 5) Simple measurements – It’s key to provide recommendations on how to consistently and simply measure PR. This will provide a foundation on how to track this back to my organization’s marketing programs.
- 6) Courtesy of Kevin Dugan’s comments: Honesty – Admit when you’re wrong. It’s human nature to hide when you’ve done something wrong, especially in an agency environment when you’re the “expert”. But with emails and status reports, the possibility of being caught in a lie is high. We all make mistakes. Those who admit mistakes demonstrate a maturity and confidence that will reassure me in the long-term. Those who don’t just tells me you don’t know what you’re talking about.
With these tips in mind, go earn my trust!
Cece Salomon-Lee is director of product marketing for Lanyon Solutions, Inc. and author of PR Meets Marketing, which explores the intersection of public relations, marketing, and social media.
This blog contains Cece's personal opinions and are not representative of her company's.
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