"The Social Press Release: Multimedia, Two-Way, Direct To The Public"
One of the sparks for this story was a recent email I received from a publicist for Business Wire, a wire service for press releases, who noted the newfound power of company press releases:
Business Wire has morphed into what can be called a high-speed ‘search engine news delivery service’ with newfound capabilities to aggressively shoot to the top of search engines, news sites and social media with clientele’s materials. When press releases can be coded and stuffed with multimedia to the point that they receive more traffic and linkage than the same news stories which add the nuance and interpretation, who is doing an end run around whom?
The example Business Wire gives was the recent story of AOL buying Bebo, with the Business Wire story taking top billing on the Techmeme aggregation of stories on the subject. Laura Sturaitis, senior vice president of media services & product strategy for Business Wire, told me she was spending a lot of time educating clients on new ways of optimizing press releases for search engines.“We’re writing for reporters and writing for robots, and our clients really have to do both,” she said. “We’re in a three-year process of teaching our clients that at the time they start a press release [to consider] what they can do that’s great for a reporter, to pitch the story, but also recognize that the release is crossing out onto the Internet onto aggregators… If we have a logo or image or photograph, that shows up as a thumbnail on Google News. And we found that two and a half times more people will click on it if there’s an image than if not. People scan it and are drawn to photos.”