Posts Tagged ‘PR’

Why a Statement from Google's Matt Cutts Means It's Time To Get Serious About PR

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

The press release — a PR rep’s best friend. And in the early days it was the best method for businesses to get their message to the media.  But in the digital age, the focus has shifted.  It has become less about the message and more about the links.  Although the press release has become a staple of most medical Internet marketing strategies as a means of easily earning backlinks, a recent comment from Google’s Matt Cutts suggests its time to rethink your efforts.

If you analyze the backlinks of almost any surgeon or dentist you are bound to find a handful of links to press releases in their backlink profile.  While some of the releases may be meaningful, most are announcements about redesigned websites, new practice partners, or that shiny, new device they bought for their practice.  While these aren’t bad press releases per se, they definitely aren’t going to earn you or your practice much attention from the press.

In most cases these low-level releases are created for one purpose: links.  Admittedly, even Plastic Surgery Studios has been responsible for some of these less-than-stellar PR efforts.   However a comment from Google’s Matt Cutts in a recent Google Webmaster Help thread suggests these efforts may be in vain.  Amidst the discussion about the value of links in a press release, Matt wrote:

“Note: I wouldn’t expect links from press release web sites to benefit your rankings, however.”

PR With a Purpose

With that said, many would turn their backs on press releases and treat them as a dead medium for online marketing.  But what they fail to recognize is that a good, newsworthy press release can earn a practice greater visibility both online and offline, as well as backlinks from outside sources who pick up the press release.  But in order for this to happen you have to do something newsworthy that will not only benefit you, but the press and, ultimately, the reader.

Take a step back and think about the newspaper, your local nightly news, or any other media outlet you regularly consume.  Then, think about your announcement.  Would it interest you if it showed up in your newspaper or nightly newscast?  If not, then it’s probably not press release-worthy.

Your website redesign? Probably not newsworthy.  Your website redesigned with an exclusive breast implant database that would allow patients to get up-to-date information on breast implant warranties, recalls, and the like directly from implant makers? Now that might be a resource worth talking about.

Moving Forward

The search engines are forcing doctors and dentists to, as Wil Reynolds of SEER Interactive says, “Do real company sh*t.”  Links obtained easily through tactics like press releases, article directories, and the like will be harder and harder to come by.  It’s time to focus on doing things that real companies do.  Build relationships, add value, and deliver what your patient base asks for.

As with any content, your press release should serve your audience and offer value.  Charities, patient events, new offerings exclusive to your region, or any other announcements that will benefit the consumer is what you should aim to use press releases for.  You should always ask yourself: “If I were reading this about another business, would I care?”  If not, you may want to reconsider.

Social Media Experts Chime In On The Fake BP Twitter Account

Friday, May 28th, 2010

With an estimated 18 to 39 million gallons of oil already spilled into the Gulf of Mexico and at least an added 504,000 gallons a day, most people do not find the BP oil spill to be a laughing matter. But for one Twitter user under the alias of @BPGlobalPR, it has become just that. The fake account created on May 19th as a satire to poke fun at the BP disaster has bolstered over 69,000 followers at the time of this writing, with no signs of slowing down. It has become a PR nightmare for the BP company gaining both mainstream media attention and the attention of the internet marketing industry.

I first caught wind of the account on May 22 when online marketing strategist Samir Balwani posted ‘What Should BP Do About This Twitter Account?’. At the time the account had just over 1,000 followers and BP had not yet spoken out about the account. Samir’s advice at the time?

“I wouldn’t do anything. I wouldn’t try to get Twitter to close it, I’d let it be, and let it run it’s course. Right now, it’s just a joke – do something and it could be a lot worse.”

The post generated some interesting conversation in the comments. Social media expert and author of The New Community Rules: Marketing On The Social Web, Tamar Weinberg chimed in with an opposing view.

“I disagree that it shouldn’t be closed. Frankly, it’s completely misleading; it uses the BP logo and thus the likeness, and some moron (read: idiot) would probably think that some disgruntled BP employee is really trash talking his employer. Bottom line: it can create confusion. If the guy was using a different logo and username, it would be fine, but once you’re using the company’s likeness, you’re stepping on shaky ground.”

Tamar admitted however that in this case she was speaking as someone with a background in trademark research and copyright and not as a social media strategist.

In a follow up comment Tamar chimed in saying, “I like being the devil’s advocate. To be honest, you’re right – what do they have to lose?”, but she continued to stress the impact the account had on negative PR and the potential legal problems behind it.

A few days later Lisa Barone did a post titled, ‘Why BP Should Embrace the Fake BP Twitter Account’ on the Outspoken Media blog where she states, “I don’t think they should have the account removed. In fact, I think they should embrace it.” Lisa gave a handful of ideas on how BP could improve the situation. In one instance she described how BP could leverage the fake account for good by partnering with the account holder to raise awareness and support fundraising initiatives.

“Now that the satire account is being used to raise money for the Gulf disaster, it can only help BP to become loudly involved. BP should create a national campaign to using the BP Cares slogan to raise money for the Gulf situation and attach some good news for spokespeople to talk about.”

In the end Lisa mentioned closing the account as well, but said that ultimately the damage is already done.

The comments of this post also share a wealth of insight with back and forth between readers and Lisa as well as Rae Hoffman and provide additional points on how the account could both hurt and help the oil giant.

Overall I don’t think there is a wrong or right way for BP to handle this situation, but I think this handful of social media experts have given some great ideas that apply not only to BP, but any organization that is hit with a PR nightmare of this nature. The fact of the matter is BP can’t undo the damage that has already been done. Their best bet is to either embrace it and use it to their advantage or cut it off at the source and hope there is no serious media backlash.  What are your thoughts on the fake BP account?  I’d be even more curious to get your thoughts on what you feel this account is doing right in regards to social media.