I recently interviewed Greg Jarboe, President and Co-Founder of the public relations and search optimization agency, SEO-PR, about his professional client work on optimizing video in press releases, including for news wire services. Greg is also speaking at SES Chicago 2008 on several sessions, includingTurning PR Efforts into SEO Results.
Greg is sharing at this conference many client examples from his company on how SEO can be much more successful in some campaigns when its applied as a public relations tool. Optimizing press releases for natural search offers organizations the opportunity to drive traffic to authoritative third party sites – including popular traditional media – such as television, radio, magazines and newspapers. A goodPR release with video can be evenmore effective at communicating more directly with consumers, and still cost a lotless costly than traditional advertising programs.
Greg's company has done a lot of press releases for major companies, and some of them involving video campaigns. In this interview you'll get to hear me asking Greg, what are some of the ways that video be used to optimize press releases? Also, I ask Greg what are his preferred news wire services for video features? How to decide on a strategy involving SEO, PR and video? And what examples can he provide, both good and bad.
Grant:How can video be used to enhance online press releases for SEO results and consumer response? Greg: The good news is you can now embed video in a press release. There are a number of wire services that let you do that. At SES Chicago, I'm sharing a case study of a press release with video we did for Better Homes and Gardens including holiday themes. One of the things we did was a Halloween press release about carving pumpkin stencils in the shape of the U.S. Presidential and VP Candidates. It became an obviously thing to video for. The people from Better Homes and Gardens put together a very short, funny video of talking pumpkins in the voices of the different candidates, which we included in the press release. It got a couple thousand views in the few weeks that it was up. But more interestingly, it got picked up by CNN, who spliced it into their own news story on getting ready for Halloween. So embedding video into your press release can not only get more people to read it [from SEO], but the media is increasingly looking for video to illustrate stories, so it can get picked up that way, too.
Do you have a preferred news wire service when it comes to video features?
We certainly have used different wire services over the years. PRWeb and BusinessWire both have their version of what they call "smart" press releases, where you can attach video to a release. MarketWire and PRWeb enable you to embed YouTube video right into the body of the press release. We've used all these services, part as a test to see what would work. We find that different things work in different ways. The video we embedded in a release we were promoting for Christian Science Monitor with PRWeb news wire a couple years ago, got picked up and generated a lot of views in a very short period of time, which was critical since we were announcing news that was going to be breaking on a Monday, and the release was going out on a Friday. Video in press releases adds views, and value to the text.
Is there a strategy for video in a press release that tends to work better than for other types of promotions? Or does it really depend on the content of the release itself?
It really does depend on the content. If we're doing a serious press release, then you want to do a video in it that's newsworthy. If its a news release about a product launch, then you may want to include a video with a product demonstration. That product demo could be very serious, straightforward, and practical in nature. On the other hand, we were doing some promotion around the holidays, particular around Halloween, and its pretty hard to be serious about carving a pumpkin in the shape of Obama, McCain, Palin or Biden (laughs). It sort of prompted us to come up with something tongue-in-check. So the video really needs to be appropriate to the content of what it is you're announcing, but there really isn't a one-size-fits-all strategy.
Have you ever seen a use of video in a press release you thought was really bad?
Yes, it wasn't one we did, though! I once saw a press release announcing an 'interactive toilet.' The video attached to it had the lid flipping up-and-down, up-and-down. I looked at that and though, oh geez (laughs), this is a strange announcement to begin with, and an even stranger way to illustrate it.