Marketing and Public Relations
Most web domain names cost under $10 per year. Unless someone already owns the domain, in which case prices may vary — you‘ll need to work a deal out with the owner.
You must continue to renew your domain registration
Once you purchase a domain name, it’s yours to keep, as long as you renew it. There are exceptions — you might lose the domain if there’s some kind funky trademark dispute — but that’s a rare occurrence.
Domain registries send reminders when it’s time to renew, and you can set up an auto-renew, too. So the process is fairly foolproof.
Unless you happen to be distracted, as recently happened to the Dallas Cowboys football team, which fumbled the renewal of its website at http://www.dallascowboys.com.
Dallas Cowboys drop the ball on web domain registration
As noted in an article in The Dallas Morning News, the Cowboys neglected to renew their registration and their site went down on Sunday (as did the Cowboys, who lost to the Green Bay Packers).
On Sunday night, if you went to dallascowboys.com, you got a placeholder site that showed kids kicking a soccer ball, of all things:
Once the mistake was discovered the Cowboys quickly renewed the registration; however, it took more than a day till their site was restored. In-between, sports fans and writers were quick to call a penalty on the team.
The Cowboys have reportedly put the domain registration on auto renew to avoid future interference of this kind.
If you fail to renew you can lose your domain
The parting tip here: If you own a website, pay attention to those emails from your domain registrar. Be sure to pay the renewal bill before the expiration date.
If you don’t renew by the cut off date, the site can be taken down, the domain can be put up for sale, and someone else may snatch it up. Keep on top of this seemingly small detail and you’ll always be the master of your domain.
FYI, according to ComScore, Dallascowboys.com is the second most popular NFL website; number one being NFL.com.
Which goes to show, even in the world of web domains, there’s no such thing as being too big to fail.
The field is now open for comments. What do YOU think of the Cowboy’s failing to renew their website domain registration?Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Seeing as we all seek out information by hitting the web – frequently using a search engine as our guide — you can bet people other than the press are discovering and reading your releases.
Most PR practitioners, however, still write press releases in a rigid format specifically aimed at reporters. It’s a style developed long before the web came into being and best suited to the printed page.
Press releases posted online should be in web style
News flash: Web content should be written for the way we read web content. Or rather, how we glance over web content. Studies show when we first hit a web page we scan it. Our eyes skip around looking for clues to see if the page has information we can use. If it takes too long to figure out we hop off and scan elsewhere.
This applies to all areas of a website. Including the press section.
Press releases as information, plain and simple
OK, this is not groundbreaking news: Jakob Nielson, a pioneer of web usability, has beaten this drum for years. He’s posted numerous articles on the subject, including How Users Read on the Web.
Still, even companies that follow good web style elsewhere on their website often disregard it in the press area.
That’s a mistake. Usability studies by Janice (Ginny) Redish — as noted in her excellent book Letting Go of the Words: Writing Web Content that Works – show the general web user is confused (and even frustrated) by traditional “wall-to-wall text” press releases that appear online.
And so, with hat tips to Nielson and Redish, here’s a handy list of guidelines for writing press releases for the web.
Best Practices: Writing Press Releases for the Web
1. Write short paragraphs
Keep it concise. Nielson suggests having one idea per paragraph.
2. Increase scanability with subheads in bold type
Subheads give instant clues about the full content of the release. Readers can know right away if the content is of interest, or not. Suggested length for headings is eight words or less.
3. Break up information with bulleted or numbered lists
Bullets act as graphical elements that stand out from blocks of text. Our eyes are naturally and psychologically drawn to lists with brief chunks of information.
4. Display data in tables and graphs
It’s difficult to digest lots of data rendered in paragraph format. You’re better off putting this information into tables and graphs that are more readily understood.
5. Use the same template as other informational pages
As noted, the general public does not make a distinction between press releases and other useful web content. A press release should have the same look and feel as other informational pages on your website.
6. Include hyperlinks and external documents for additional information
Provide more value to a release by linking to other areas of your site with related information.
If you need to go into more depth with statistics or research findings, create and post documents with these details. Write the press release as a summary fact sheet and put links to these documents in the release.
7. Include keywords
Use language that appeals to your customer base. Put special emphasis on terms and phrases someone might use to find your product or service through a search engine, a.k.a. keywords.
8. Be mindful of who’s listed as the company contact
Typical press releases list the person in your public relations/communications department who wrote the release as the contact for additional information. But is this the right person to respond to queries from the general public? And what happens when this PR flack leaves your company? Do you go back and changes all the releases?
Once a release is posted on the web you may want to list your main PR office number, and identify it as such, to better field calls that come in response to the release.
- Deni Kasrel
What do YOU think? Comments welcome.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 3 so far )
No way, you say?
You may be doing so without even realizing it.
In which case, you’re on par with about half the Fortune 1000 companies
Marketers miss out on the Hispanic community
Orci, a Los Angeles-based agency, recently conducted a survey of marketing and advertising executives at Fortune 1000 businesses. The survey indicates 51% of respondents do not specifically market to Hispanics or Latinos — the fastest growing ethnic population in the U.S.
Meanwhile, most of these same execs agree that Latinos will impact U.S. companies’ product and service offerings in the next five years, particularly in food tastes, fashion and technology.
Hmm… sure looks like an opening for savvy marketers to seize on.
Time to focus on the opportunity
Orci’s survey is timed to tie into the 2010 census, which is projected to show 50 million Hispanics live in the U.S.
CEO Hector Orci commented on his agency’s research in an article titled Latinos are a Driver of Business: Which Companies Will Take the Ride?, where he laments, “We feel like we’re in a time warp.”
Still, he reckons, “Rather than shake my head at the findings and talk about how I wished American businesses had changed over the last 20-30 years, I suggest we focus on the bigger story: the opportunity.”
Orci goes on to dispel certain notions about Hispanic habits: “What does it say to us when El Paso is the texting capital of the U.S.? Time to dispel myths about Latinos and the so-called digital divide. When Hispanics are the heaviest users of wireless through mobile phones and laptops, there is no divide.”
Guidelines to consider when marketing to Hispanics
Now maybe you’re a local business in an locale where few Latinos reside. Or perhaps you’re a niche business where this type of segmentation isn’t relevant.
Fair enough. Still, for many businesses there’s an untapped market here. And don’t forget social media — Orci claims nearly 80% of Latinos “engage in some kind of online socializing.”
Of course, you’ll want to do planning and strategizing. Here are a few points to consider:
- Be aware one size does not fill all. Preferences for Latinos hailing from Mexico may differ from Latinos native to South America. You’ll want to determine who makes your market and create campaigns specific to those populations.
- Hire an agency or consultant that understands and speaks the language of the specific target segment(s) you aim to reach. That way you stay aware of cultural nuances and can avoid creating campaigns that may be perceived as culturally offensive.
- Meet your market via its preferred media. Target the publications, TV/radio stations, websites and social media favored by your Hispanic communities.
I’ll close with another quote from Hector Orci. It offers as good a reason as any to pay attention to this demographic: “At a time when American businesses are fighting to regain market share, the opportunity to effectively engage the Hispanic market as a growth strategy is just too compelling to ignore.”
- Deni Kasrel
What do YOU think of the survey cited here? Does your business take advantage of the Hispanic market? Please share your thoughts.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
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