Monday, April 23, 2012

Determining press release distribution

So let's say that you have written a press release or media advisory and know the reporters or media outlets that you want to reach. What is the best way to send them the material? Well, it depends.

TV Anchor Peter Jennings
If you work for, or your client is, a publicly-held company, then the press release should go out on a wire service such as Business Wire or PR Newswire to satisfy disclosure requirements. I have generally found, though, that reporters are not able to capture all of the information that goes out on the wires and might not see your news.

Therefore, it helps to supplement the wire distribution with direct reporter contact. This involves sending the material to the reporter in whatever way he or she chooses to receive it (e-mail, fax, mail). Those preferences for receiving information can be found in a media database such as Cision or Vocus. Another powerful feature of media databases is the ability to send individual e-mails to contacts in a media list. Otherwise, you can just use your regular e-mail program to reach out to reporters.

Given that reporters have busy schedules, it also helps to follow up your press release distribution with a phone call. This call should be a brief, 30-second pitch about why the story would be of interest to the media outlet's readers or viewers.

Good luck with your media pitching!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Understanding HTML IMG alt text

Understanding HTML IMG Alt TextSearch engines are "blind." Many people think that images make for an excellent website. While images can be visually appealing for the user, they don't really help for search engine optimization (SEO) unless they incorporate Alt IMG attributes.

Search engines are essentially text readers. Each image on a website has the opportunity to have Alt IMG text associated with it. For SEO purposes, take advantage of this; this provides another opportunity to be more relevant to search queries.

One of the easiest ways to determine if an image has Alt IMG attributes is to right click on the image in Mozilla Firefox and click "View Image Info."

In the instance above, you see the associated text for the image is "Mobile Technologies and Cloud Computing for AEC Firms." Here is the respective HTML:

<img width="814px" height="278px" src="/portals/0/mainheader.jpg" alt="Mobile Technologies and Cloud Computing for AEC Firms" />

When adding Alt IMG attributes, take into consideration your target keywords. Alt IMG attributes also provide an important way for visually-impaired users to browse your content.
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