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Google Cracks Down on Press Releases

Dan Janal, president of PR LEADSGoogle is cracking down on press releases – and that’s a good thing!

Google wants to present information that people are searching for. That’s their mission. They want to do everything they can to prevent people from manipulating their results. That’s good news for people who are actively searching for your products and services.

Google’s mantra is “If you can manipulate the data, we won’t value that data.” In other words, in the past, you could manipulate Google by stuffing keywords, using title tags and so on. None of that works well any more.

Google looks mainly to see that the material is written as pure content that is designed to help readers. In other words, if you are looking for a book on how to solve a problem, you are very likely to find books in that genre. You won’t find infomercials showing you how to get rich – or poor – fast. That’s good for everyone.

The bottom line is that when you write press releases, blog posts, articles or produce videos, you need to offer real content that people find valuable – that can mean information or entertainment. If you do that, Google will look kindly on your content.

I still believe you need to add a few keywords to help Google clearly identify you. So I think it is okay to add keywords like “author, speaker, consultant,” and state which industry you work in or focus on (such as health care, manufacturing, mid-market companies, etc.). Without that information, Google wouldn’t know how to display your content. Just don’t repeat the same information. That will get you into trouble.

You can have links to material that helps readers learn more about your services. And you can include calls to action for people to buy your products or schedule an appointment.

I’d also suggest you place those keywords high in the story – in the headline and first paragraph. That way Google knows it is important. If you put that info in the middle or the end, Google might think you don’t consider it important – and if you don’t, why should Google?

Another important thing to remember is that there is no “front page of Google” any longer. That’s because everyone sees a different set of results when they search. That’s because Google knows who you are and what you are looking for. They read that information and take it into account when they display results. For example, if you are looking for a doctor, they are likely to show you a list of doctors in your local area. They know where you live! They know you don’t want to see every doctor in the United States, only the ones close to you. That’s a win-win solution for everyone. And it means that everyone sees something different.

What tips do you have for working effectively with Google?

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The Sound of Marketing: Lessons from the Grammys

Dan Janal, president of PR LEADS

If you didn’t watch the Grammy Awards last night, you probably missed these marketing messages that can help take your business to the next level.

1.     You hadn’t heard of Sam Smith a year ago. Now he’s best new artist of the year, nominated for six Grammys and winner of four. Lesson: Everyone starts from nowhere. You can wind up somewhere.
2.     Collaboration is in the air. Tony Bennett sang with Lady Gaga. Lesson: You can find joint venture partners anywhere – even in the most unlikely of places.
3.     Taylor Swift had an amazing year but didn’t win any individual awards. She’s the ambassador for New York City, has one of the best-selling albums of the year plus a cover story in Businessweek. Lesson: There’s plenty of room at the top for everyone.
4.     Pharrell reimagined his “Happy” song with a full choir. Lesson: You can re-use your content in many forms. Give your content a new life.
5.     AC/DC opened the show. Lesson: Old never goes out of style.
6.     Very few awards were given and very few speeches were made. In fact, nearly 80 awards were given out before the show. Lesson: Listen to your audience. They don’t want to hear long speeches. They want entertainment. The Grammys listened.
7.     When award winners neared the end of their allotted time for speaking the music warning them to stop got louder and louder. Lesson. If we speak – or write – beyond our audience’s attention span, they tune out.

That seems to be good advice, so I’ll sign off now!

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The NFL Fumbles Publicity

Dan Janal, president of PR LEADS
You don’t need to a be PR genius to realize the NFL has a publicity problem. Consider that instead of celebrating a year of record-breaking profits and high TV ratings, these were the story lines I read in various newspapers and online sites:

1.     The city of Glendale, where the game was played, has to pay millions in security costs, but reaps none of the benefits of hosting the game since many people stayed in hotels in Phoenix and ate in Phoenix.
2.     A longtime sports columnist complained that the festivies week before the game is a long, boring sideshow.
3.     Ticket prices for the game are out of reach for many fans.
4.     More and more parents are refusing to let their kids play football for fear of injuries.
5.     Old-time players are complaining about concussions and long-term effects of injuries.
6.     The headline on the commissioner’s state of the game address was along the lines of “we had a terrible year.”
7.     Deflate-gate.
8.     Oh, and let’s not forget domestic abuse and child abuse charges against players.
9.     And then there’s the story of a former New England Patriots player being charged with homicide.
10.  A press conference at “media day” where one player, Marshawn Lynch said, repeatedly, “You know why I’m here” as he refused to answer question after question. “So I won’t get fined” was his answer.

And finally, the worst thing you can possibly say about the big game – most of the commercials weren’t funny!

If the NFL wants to begin tackling these PR problems, they know where to find me.

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