May 7, 2012
Online News Optimization: Maximizing the Benefits of Positive Media Coverage
By Jacques Hart, CEO, Roar Media
Marketers are beginning to deploy a new strategy, "online news optimization," to bring tremendous additional ROI to their marketing programs by extending the reach, impact and longevity of their media coverage. Although news optimization is an art that requires Internet-marketing skills, traditional marketers who lack this specialized knowledge can follow a good number of the basic steps.
At it is core, online news optimization converts "push" media vehicles into "pull" vehicles that are search-driven. In this way, it makes hard-earned media coverage infinitely more valuable.
Here's why: Print, television and radio media outlets are push-marketing vehicles that push their content and coverage out to the public. While this is effective for stimulating demand and interest, it has short shelf life and longevity. On the other hand, pull-marketing vehicles like search-engine marketing (SEM) provide much longer staying power and shelf life, as the content is indexed and archived by top search engines. As such, SEM is effective for capturing demand and marketing share.
But even being featured in online media outlets does not guarantee news longevity. Why? Because many of the world's top media companies feature their news articles online for a limited time. In order to maximize the revenue contribution of their content, they often quickly move it behind firewalls where they charge subscribers or visitors to access content on a per article basis.
So, what can marketers do to maximize the impact and staying power of their prized media coverage? They can optimize it.
While the concept of news optimization is simple, the application more complicated. Conceptually, the practice entails capturing the most coveted media coverage, posting it to a webpage and publishing it to the Web. Let's break this down.
Capturing media coverage can be tricky. We recommend:
- Media monitoring: For comprehensive media monitoring, you may consider using a service like Meltwater News, Radian 6, Cision or one of the countless others services in the marketplace mix. This way you will always be privy to the media mentions surrounding your brand and can choose to optimize the coverage that you feel is most impactful to your brand. Free services such as Google alerts and Socialmention.com are also useful.
- Media clipping: After you've secured the media coverage, you must capture it. We recommend contracting a reputable media clipping service to obtain these clips. These companies have relationships with top-tier publishers and by using them you will avoid any violations of intellectual property and licensing rights.
Now that you have obtained your media clips, it is time to post them to a webpage.
- Create a media room: The most logical venue for this is the company's own media room. Be sure to design the newsroom so that one of the sections only features the media coverage. Some recommended names for this page may be "In the News," "Media Coverage," or "News Coverage."
- Boost credibility: To really boost your company's credibility, create a feed that pulls these media clips into your company's home-page for maximized visibility. Adding the media company's logo to the home-page can help establish instant credibly for those visitors who don't the take time to read the pieces, but simply glance over the page.
- Organize your news: It is best to organize your media coverage chronologically by publication date. Post the article headline, media source and date for each article.
- Give credit where credit is due: Cite the author and provide a link to the original article online. Beware: many of the top media companies will remove the article so your link may end up pointing to an error page. To avoid this, grab a screen shot of the original article, convert to it PDF and link to that PDF hosted online on your website.
- Call in the spiders and crawlers: Make sure that your news coverage is frequently indexed by search engines by adding Webmaster codes to your site. This free service offered by Google, Bing and Yahoo will ensure that your news is more frequently crawled and indexed.
The final and most important step it is to publish your media pieces to the web. Before you do, follow these steps:
- Meta-data: Use the most compelling meta-data by selecting keyword phases that the target audiences may use to seek out your subject matter. Vary the title and description tag from the news article headline, as headlines are usually newsy and editorialized and not so direct as a highly targeted selection of keyword phrases. Also, it is likely that the headline will easily be found in the search engine results pages (SERPS), so cover more territory by selecting keyword terms that your target audiences are more likely to be searching for.
- Designate H-tags: If the article has sub-headlines, be sure to label them as H-tags (H1, H2, and H3 tags are sufficient).
- Diffuse your news: Once you've published to the web, you are ready to diffuse your news to the web. Create a tiny URL of your new media page and post it to your social media channels, submit it to StumbleUpon and Digg and share it with your circles of influence and brand ambassadors.
- Monitor and measure: Close the feedback loop by checking the SERPS frequently to see how your news is being featured, and check your website analytics to see how the pages are helping to build traffic to your site and credibility to your brand.
In today's competitive landscape, it is not enough to simply secure positive media coverage. It's important to build a highly optimized newsroom platform and diffuse the news to the Web in order to extend the reach and impact of the media coverage and make it available for the long-tail of Internet searches. Marketers who embrace this advanced strategy will provide their companies a significant competitive advantage. Combining the push- and pull-marketing benefits of positive news coverage makes for a deadly one-two punch for boosting brand equity!