Earlier I discussed an innovative public/media relations technique known as a search release. I just happened to stumble across a good example of an organization that implemented this in a smart way.
I like this strategy because it benefits journalists as well as organizations doing outreach, by making information easier to find. In my book, this blows away traditional direct distribution of press releases to journalists.
Here’s the example…
Right now, I’m finishing up writing an item for the SEJ Tipsheet on recent energy policy efforts at the state level in the US. I decided to do a quick perusal of Google News to see if there were any last-minute additions I should make concerning key “leader” states in energy policy, such as California or New York.
So I searched Google News for the phrases “California energy policy” and “New York energy policy,” plus for a few other states. I immediately noticed a pattern in the results. Here’s what I found:
- “Report: California Energy Policy Provides Model For President; States Leading Way To End Country’s ‘Addiction To Oil’“
- “Report: New York Energy Policy Provides Model for President; States Leading Way to End Country’s ‘Addiction to Oil’“
…And so on for Texas, New Jersey, Michigan, and several other states. (Although, notably, not for states which aren’t known as front-runners on energy policy, such as Alabama, Ohio, and North Dakota.)
What did the Apollo Alliance do? They took the same press release and spun the headline and metadata so it would show up high in results for state-specific searches on energy policy. This is likely to get the word out in a timely fashion to reporters who, like me, are looking for leads on specific topics.
Is this more work? Yes. Is this more likely to serve the needs of journalists and the public than a traditionally-distributed press release (one headline only, not really optimized for multiple searches, etc.)? I’d bet money on it.
I think it’s helpful that news wire services like US Newswire can get releases plugged into Google News although I wish Google News did a better job of distinguishing press releases from independent news organizations in its search results. This distribution, and especially this level of search optimization, makes it much easier for a journalist to find relevant, timely leads.
It would be even better if they also got their material into Technorati and other popular feed-based aggregation services, too.
Better still would be if the Apollo Alliance used these channels to distribute leads, but abandoned the stodgy traditional press release format for presenting the information. But one step at a time; I’m still tickled to find this level of search optimization. Well done, IMHO!
So, what do you think of this strategy?