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January 06, 2009


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Hanging onto the Bridge

Hey Jon - I like your blog. What's your take on SEO? Is this something PR professionals should invest time and $$ in learning about? Should we be using SEO all the time, with every press release?

Jon Newman


It's definitely worth learning about and is valuable in improving search placement and in turn driving traffic. It is obviously one of many tools that should be used.

What I'm not sure of are those that say an SEO-powered release in and of itself is enough to move the needle on its own.

Sarah Marchetti

Hey Jon,

I enjoyed reading your perspective in this post. I'm surrounded by folks who "drink the koolaid" so to speak so it is great to get a different perspective. Here are my thoughts in relations to some of your points:

-I think press releases are one small tool to help get information out not the be all end all of PR. I've found value in using SEO for press releases usually because of its indirect benefits rather than immediate benefits. I've gotten many a call from reporters months after a release to get an expert on the topic discussed in the release. This still gets your client's name out there, but just not in the way you intended. Since services like PR newswire do it for you and it isn't hard to do yourself, I think it is valuable tool in raising awareness of the brand online.

-As for bloggers, I think it is great that they are raising the standards by which we all interact with them and other journalists. We all need to make lists, but I think it only takes a few more hours of time to do the job in a more targeted manner. No harm in cold contacting as long as you've determined that they would truly be a good fit for the story. Some PR firms contact any and all blogs/journalists to get their message out which is where the problem stems. For example, you probably don't care to write about the newest kitchen appliance on this blog, but if someone did just a bit of research they'd know you might want to write about the new Springsteen album. Check out the Ogilvy code of ethics for more ideas a about working with bloggers and, heck journalists too. http://blog.ogilvypr.com/?p=243.

-I've found that most bloggers are very respectful and nice to work with so I'm sorry that you had a bad experience. I think that rules like embargoes and off the record are tough for bloggers because some of them think of themselves as journalists others don't, so you just need to adjust expectations (yours and the clients) until you know a blogger better and have established a relationship.

-Love your Coke factoid- So true. Word of mouth and sampling is back in a big way.

Jon Newman


Thanks for the kind words. You are in the middle of this (for those that don't know, Sarah works for Ogilvy PR's social marketing arm...nice plug, btw :)) so you know better than most.

I think Sarah's got a good handle on all of this and we should all follow her lead.



great post, Jon. You're mosdef where many of us are and it's nice to read some good commentary on the hype. A bit like coming back to earth after a lot of excitment. Love the name, btw. ;)

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