Live blogging from HME Business Summit: Guerrilla marketing
Consultant Lisa Wells is quizzing attendees on their presence on the Internet. Does your company have a website? Are you on Facebook?
She's asking attendees if they've ever sent out online press releases. A few hands go up. She says you have to write online press releases for two audiences: for the people who are searching for your products and for search engines. Possible topics include holding events and winning an award or contest.
She's explaining search engine optimization or SEO ("improving the volume and quality of a website via search results for targeted keywords"). She says 99% of press releases aren't optimized for the Web.
SEO tips: Make your press releases friendly to search engines by using keywords in headlines, sub-heads and throughout the text; when you mention products, link the product's name in the release back to your website; and add multimedia content like photos and video.
Google has a keyword tool that allows you to determine what keywords are embedded in your website and how many searches are done on Google for those words.
There are various ways to distribute press releases online. Some cost money like PRWeb and PRNewswire, and others are free like www.prlog.com.
A successful press release will include things like a news peg (a reason to feature your story), a high-resolution photo and an option to arrange an interview.
You can monitor the results of your press releases by going to Google and setting up "alerts" for your keywords. Google will send you an e-mail every time those words are used online, allowing you to track who picks up your release.
Also send releases to media outlets.
Wells says that the idea that everyone should have a Facebook and Twitter page isn't true. Sigvaris, for example, doesn't need a Facebook page because people don't really like to talk about how they need compression hosiery.
In addition to press releases, providers should incorporate videos into their marketing efforts. A video of how to put on compression hosiery has been watched more than 100,000 times on You Tube. Possible video topics: product demos, how-to videos, staff introductions, testimonials.