Lee Odden

3 Things You Should Know About the New PRWeb

new PRWebAs a longtime customer of PRWeb, I’ve seen many changes over the years. The oldest optimized press release I could find of mine that’s still online dates back to mid 2001 and in the years since, it’s been an evolving relationship moving from customer to consultant.

From the days of talking new features as a super user with founder David McInnis to our current role as search and social media consultants, the focus on innovation and serving customers has always been a mutual focus. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Vocus Product Manager for PRWeb, Jiyan Wei, Director of Online Marketing, Meg Walker and Vocus CMO Bill Wagner as well as other members of the Vocus team and they’ve been working very hard to make an array of substantial changes to the PRWeb platform to better serve customers.

PRWeb innovated the entire idea of the optimized press release and was in use by hundreds if not thousands of SEOs long before any other wire service thought to start following their lead and offer SEO friendly features. Now PRWeb has launched a new design, site architecture, press release templates and resource center that provides even greater Search Engine Optimization and Social Media exposure benefits.

More SEO & Social “Built Into” the Template – The press release template that PRWeb uses to publish press releases offers critical opportunities for customer discovery, consumption and sharing. That means making it easier for readers to find press releases by baking in more search engine friendly features, providing more room for media such as images and video, offering social sharing options and optimizing code for faster loading pages.

Centralized News – In particular, the move away from showing over 100 press releases on the PRWeb home page to a dedicated news center with specific industry category pages will allow even more entry points via search and give customer press releases even more exposure, especially in the long term. With over 500,000 pages, implementing SEO friendly design and architecture changes to a site like PRWeb is no small feat. Structuring the news center according to industry categories creates more of a news destination vs. a repository of press releases. Better design and content organization provides a better user experience and will attract more links.

More How To Online Marketing Resources – Another major enhancement for the new PRWeb site is the resource center with a growing collection of useful how to tips, articles, videos, webinars and white papers for everything from press release writing tips to general online marketing topics. Seeing examples of press releases organized by specific industry gives marketers useful insight for making their use of press releases successful.

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on integrated content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely on a beach somewhere doing absolutely nothing.

Comments

  1. PRWeb looks great. How much is the cost, if there is any?

  2. I guess I still have the same problems I've always had with these things. First of all, the SEO argument is a little weak when you actually start to delve into the page ranks of these sites. The reality is that you can probably build better page ranks on your own site in a few months and get the same or better search results from posting your releases there for free. Secondly, the concept of journalists going to wire services for story ideas is a little dated. Beat reporters are much more likely to have Google Alerts set up for this purpose and are rarely so strapped for an idea that they go to sites like this. I think the best thing going for PR Web is the relatively small price tag but wire services are more for old school piece of mind (“Well, I did something to promote this, I guess”) than actually providing genuine distribution to key stakeholders.

    • Peeta, the thing about the sweeping generalizations you’re making is that they’re weak and potentially misleading.

      The SEO value of press releases is not building link popularity directly from the hosted release. That’s been public knowledge in the SEO world for years since Matt Cutts mentioned it in a blog post that reacted to a Newsweek article on Rand Fishkin.

      The most valuable links come from release distribution and syndication. We gain as few as 25 and as many as 1,500 unique domain name inbound links from a single release. Marketers should continuously refine their website SEO but a few months of work is not “free”.

      Reporters do indeed use Google Alerts and where do you think much of the content comes from in Google News? Press releases distributed through services like PRWeb.

      It’s classic backseat or sideline marketing advice when people who don’t actually use a particular service or are not especially proficient at it make such trollish comments.

      Do services like PRWeb work for every business? Of course not. I was a PRWeb customer for 8 years before we started consulting for them and can say from personal experience that they’ve been substantially more than a item on an obligatory checklist of promotion tasks. Tools are only as good as the expertise of the people using them.

    • Peeta, the thing about the sweeping generalizations you’re making is that they’re misleading.

      The SEO value of press releases is not building link popularity directly from the hosted release. That’s been public knowledge in the SEO world for years since Matt Cutts mentioned it in a blog post that reacted to a Newsweek article on Rand Fishkin.

      The most valuable links come from release distribution and syndication. We gain as few as 25 and as many as 1,500 unique domain name inbound links from a single release. That's an incredible return on investment. While Marketers should continuously refine their website SEO, a few months of work is not “free”.

      Reporters do indeed use Google Alerts and because much of the content in Google news and Yahoo news comes from Press releases distributed through services like PRWeb, an opportunity exists for marketing and communications professionals to get in front of journalists where they're looking. Our surveys have shown 91% of journalists use search to report the news.

      Do services like PRWeb work for every business? Of course not. However, I was a PRWeb customer for 8 years before we started consulting for them and can say from personal experience that they’ve been an essential piece of our client marketing programs. In the end, tools are only as good as the expertise of the people using them.

      • I can only really speak from my personal experience working for an international PR firm that tried many different SMRs and other forms of online releases. While we did see plenty of sites picking up the releases, they were generally spam blogs and scrapers that may have had a negative effect on SEO in the long run, depending on where you stand on Google's treatment of them. Of course, if you're seeing that many links from credible sites then I'd say that they're well worth the $80+. I just think that sometimes the promise of these kinds of services undermines the value on building search optimized destinations for releases on corporate sites where the conversion to deeper levels of meaningful engagement are much easier.

        • It's a good thing smart online marketers don't treat corporate site newsroom development and press release distribution as mutually exclusive.

    • LEADSExplorer says:

      @Peeta: Correct: Google Alerts is common amongst journalists.
      This is probably due to convenience: Google Alerts gives them a stream of information without any effort, whereas with a centralized website they need to go and search for information (= effort required).
      Additionally Google Alerts scans almost all press releases.

  3. Jiyan Wei says:

    Hey Lee, thanks for sharing the story and of course for sharing your expertise with us on an ongoing basis.

  4. Jiyan Wei says:

    Just to respond to Peeta (especially because he got first comment status), I think you are not fully accounting for how news is distributed through a service like ours. If all we did was host a news release and hope journalists would browse our site looking for stories then your comments would be dead-on.

    However, our notion of distribution is far broader. When the release is published, there are thousands of actions taking place: it is being submitted to engines in various sitemaps, it is being syndicated onto various feeds that are hitting thousands of subscribers, it is being e-mailed out to relevant bloggers and journalists, and it is being syndicated onto hundreds of Web sites potentially. The hosting is one small piece of the overall picture – the actual value that us (or any news distribution service) provides is in the distribution network beyond the hosting of the release.

    That all being said, I actually agree with your underlying point. If you have the ability (and time) to independently produce and syndicate great content, and independently engage with journalists and bloggers, then you may be able to do many of these things on your own.

    • Thanks Jiyan. A proprietary syndication network is much more valuable to most of the clients that I work with than a centralized news center and SEO friendly templates. I only chimed in because I have a problem with the over reliance that some PR people who have been in the industry for a long time put on wire services instead of re-examining the way they disseminate news content as a whole. I don't think it's the fault of PR Web or any other wire service but I think there's sometimes a discrepancy between the promise and reality when people are investing in online press releases in the hopes of “going viral” or getting on social traffic drivers like Digg. While I'd never argue against journalists using search to find content (duh!), I would say that social media certainly hasn't counteracted the waning effect of the press release on journalists.

      • Jiyan Wei says:

        Hey Peeta, I don't think anyone would argue with the underlying premise that the way you get real media hits is through relationship building and dialogue, not by just issuing releases over a wire service. That being said, we don't really consider ourselves to be a wire service. The ability to get a message in front of the media is a piece of what we do but our broader goal is to distribute a customer's news release directly to the end reader, through search, syndication on Web sites and more.

  5. I have been big fan of PRWeb in the past as the one who published releases. Now I am discovering it yet again as a blogger who can benefit from those track backs. I personally believe PRWeb has technology in place to be much better than any other advertising avenue or media.

  6. Steve @Erraticblog says:

    I like the new news center layout, it's much easier on the eyes and for finding the stories that are relevant to what I'm interested in.

  7. Yeah, I signed up and now they are call me at home bugging me about signing up!

  8. I've been using them for submitting press releases for several years now and the new look seems to work well. The results have always been good.

    • Sean Mullen says:

      I’m considering using PRWeb for the first time.  I have a meeting with them next week.  Do you have any advice for a first time user?

      • I have used PRWeb for 10 years and they have been a SEO client of our agency TopRank for about 4 years. My experience is that PRWeb has been a pioneer of many SEO and social media features found in modern press release distribution services. No matter what service you use, the press release must tell a great news story and use media (image or video) to get maximum distribution.

  9. Koco New York says:

    Excellent article