PR Start by Nick Lucido

How to start in the public relations industry.

Why You Should Know About SEO

One of the buzzwords for 2009 already is SEO, which stands for search engine optimization. In general, SEO is all about increasing a Web site’s page rank. In terms of Google, the higher the page rank, the higher the site will appear in a search. That’s the simple definition of something that really isn’t that simple.

Everything you would ever need to know about becoming more optimized you can find on the Google Blog. You can also download their SEO guide on that page. Although your site or blog might only be for personal use, it’s good practice to make sure what you are creating is optimized. It’s been my on-going project with this site.

Here are some of the top tips I’ve pulled out from my research this afternoon, and a lot of it relates to basic public relations principles.

  • Key Messages. Think like a PR practitioner and prepare key messages. That is, make sure your content is relevant to your topic. Also, in naming your blog and preparing the subhead, think about who will be reading your blog. Is your content interesting? Does your content connect with your audiences?
  • Brevity. The shorter and more concise the name and headlines of your page, the more likely it is to show up in a search. Again, relate it back to key messaging and make sure everything ties together. With that said, try to keep it unique and differentiate it from other pages with similar purposes.
  • Network. Get to know bloggers online and share their content before you expect them to share yours. Sure, good content will always be appreciated, but building your network ensures that you will have an audience.
  • Know how to write. A huge turnoff is bad grammar, spelling errors, and more. Make sure you proof your content before you embarrass yourself. Yes, I have embarrassed myself. I read through my stuff before I post it now.
  • Consistency. More than just with your blog or Web site be consistent with all of the social networking sites you’re on. I’m “nicklucido” on pretty much everything, and because of that, my profiles for these sites will be up on a google search of my name. You don’t have to have your name if you’d like to stay anonymous, but whatever you choose, keep it consistent. And avoid names like hotlips69, especially if you plan to connect with professionals.

Honestly, the best way to increase the Google PageRank of your site takes more than just your own desire. But overall, if you create good content and have a strong enough network that will share your content, your rank will increase. Here are some tips on how to increase this number. Below are some ways to monitor and increase how SEO friendly your page in.

  • Is your blog registered on Technorati? It should be. You can also check the authority, which is the number of blogs linking to a Web site. Some think this is a good measuring system, and others don’t. Find out for yourself.
  • Digg it. The more diggs you get, the more popular your Web site or blog is.
  • Stumble upon it. This allows users to rate Web pages, and the most dugg stories appear on the front page of the site.
  • Yeah, it’s del.icious. Make sure you bookmark your blog, and if you create content that’s worthwhile, you’ll be lucky to find people think it’s worth sharing.
  • When you do all of this to your own blog, find other bloggers and do the same to them. They will usually return the favor. Even better, you can start building the relationship with them.

For students, recent grads and professionals, making yourself findable is key on the Web. I’ve been working on making myself findable, and if you google “nick lucido,” you’ll see that 8 of the first 10 pages are me. Cool! I’m even ahead of the Nick Lucido that grabbed nicklucido.com before I could. Ha!

Last thing to remember: if content is king, make sure your good content is findable.

Some other SEO resrouces:

  • A Knol on SEO
  • Shannon Paul shares her thoughts on SEO and lists resources here
  • Some useful SEO tools
  • Use Google Webmaster tools for tips and advice
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Filed under: New Media Drivers License, Professional Development, Public Relations, Social Media, , , , , , , , , , ,

Social Networking

There are many posts, columns and articles out there about how to create your own brand online. I’ve read a lot of advice on the subject and learned a lot. I’ve also learned that you really have to find out on your own.

Before I share some different Web sites that I believe to have great value, I encourage you to go through this (if you haven’t already). It’s a presentation by Marta Kagan. This really is hilarious and worth an entire read-through. Also, use it as a guide – even if you’re not doing this stuff for a business. As a general guideline, make sure you are consuming and sharing others stuff before your own.

  • Twitter – microblogging. Some argue it’s a way of life. No matter what, there are many conversations occurring on here and this site is especially important in building your brand online. Connect with me on Twitter here.
  • Facebook – connect with people by friending and maintaining a profile. Facebook is moving in the general direction that most of these services are moving – sharing and consolidation. What’s the point of having 30 profiles on different Web sites when you can update and maintain everything from one? One day, Facebook really will own the world. This scares me, too. Connect with me on Facebook here.
  • LinkedIn – I like to call this the professional Facebook. Connect with and recommend your business connections. This is a great way to keep in touch with people. Connect with me on LinkedIn here.

Here’s a couple more services to take your social networking to the next level:

  • WordPress – host your blog here. It’s a great site that tracks all the stats you’ll ever need and has many useful tools.
  • Google – using such apps as Google Reader, Google Groups, etc. make Google social. You can use these apps to share information and contact each other.
  • Friendfeed – combine pretty much everything you’re doing online to your feed. I think Friendfeed is the future of social networking because, like Facebook, it is a way to combine everything easily. Brian Solis wrote a great post about the future of Friendfeed here, and I agree with him.
  • Pandora – play streaming music online. I love Pandora because it is nice to find new music as well as hear some favorites. And yes, this is social networking, especially because you can hook it up to your Friendfeed. You can check out my feed here.
  • Delicious – bookmark your favorite Web sites, articles and blog posts. I installed the Delicious Toolbar for Firefox and because this is hooked up to my blog and feed, people can check it out. Oh yeah, make sure you connect this with your feed, too.
  • Flickr – post and share photos. I wish I took more pictures and had a camera phone so I can use Flickr more, but I don’t. People find this service helpful because it is so easy to share and to post on different platforms.
  • StumbleUpon – find and rate information on the Web. For more information on how to use it, click here.
  • Scribd – upload and share documents with friends. I have seen people use this for group projects (Google Groups can do this, too) and other things. I think this will be gone soon because of how much easier Google’s programs are.
  • YouTube – watch videos online. Come on, there’s something for everyone here!
  • Slideshare – connect with some brilliant minds and share their presentations (or create your own). Look above for an example of an incredible presentation on Slideshare.

It probably seems like a lot of work to maintain all of these accounts, but I’ve found that once you do all the signing up, it’s pretty easy. I don’t spend hours updating and maintaining my profile on each of these services, I simply use them when I need it.

What else do you use? What doesn’t work? Where is the future of social networking? For me, the trick is consolidation.

Filed under: New Media Drivers License, Social Media, , , , , , , , ,

My Experience with AdWords

I saw something today I never thought I would ever see. Check this out:

picture-2

Yes, I bought some words. AdWords, that is. This is how Google makes a lot of money. Because I work in sales at The State News, I recognize the huge value in this product. AdWords isn’t intrusive – it simply shows up on the right side of the screen when you search for something on Google.

This is great for those people who love stats, but AdWords doesn’t allow for traditional branding. To me, it skips that whole creative branding process that I believe is essential for a company to connect with an audience. However, revenue for AdWords continues to increase while the rest of the advertising industry continues to suffer. Where will things be in a year? Five years? It’s a tough questions but nonetheless important for those getting into advertising, marketing and PR.

Anyway, I found the product useful. I did see some traffic increases, but not any comments from new bloggers. Although I would love to see a million people reading my blog every day, I would rather the blog be useful to those looking for advice. I think I have some work to do on targeting and it will take some more exploration on my part. There are many ways to make sure you are getting the most bang for your buck. Google does a really good job explaining everything here.

Here are my search terms:

picture-4I thought about using “super fly” as a search term just to see what would happen, but I realized that there are probably many more ads that are willing to pay more per click than my offer of $0.15. Hey, I’m a broke college kid, don’t make fun of me.

In case you can’t see, here’s my ad. Now I know how my clients feel when they place their first ad in our paper.

picture-5

Filed under: New Media Drivers License, Professional Development, Social Media, , , , , ,

My New Blog Reads

As if I don’t read enough I did some searching around for some new reads. I think that subscribing to a bunch of PR (or whatever industry you’re looking at when you graduate or currently work in) is great, but finding content that is related to your industry is just as beneficial.

Here’s what I came up with and recommend all of them.

The White House Blog. Democrat, Republican… or anything else… you should be reading this. With the new administration’s apparent commitment to transparency and ethics (woo hoo!), one can hope that this blog is going to be used to promote what is actually going on in Washington.

PR Watch Blog by the Center for Media and Democracy. I wrote in my last post about how it’s important to learn from the critics, and I also found out that they had a blog. Check it out.

SPJ Blogs by the Society of Professional Journalists. You’ve got to give SPJ credit for their Code of Ethics. It’s the second result when you search “code of ethics” on Google (a lot higher than PRSA’s code) and they talk about relevant things in the media industry.

Flacker – A Digital Public Relations Weblog by Young PR Flack. This blog offers an interesting perspective on the field and provides some pretty solid content.

PR Works by David Jones of Hill & Knowlton. The thing that sold me on this blog was their video on how the Flight 1549 Wikipedia page updated over 90 minutes. There is also plenty of other worthwhile content, so definitely subscribe to this one.

Learn It, Live It, Love It – the PR book club. Yes, we have plenty to read with work and class, but this is a fun way to network and learn. While I might be one of the group managers and a little biased, we’ve got some great things going on with this. Check it out.

I did some searching with the Google Blog Search, as well as Alltop and Technorati. All are great places to search for topics, as well as clients, future employers and yourself.

Anyone else have any good finds recently?

Filed under: New Media Drivers License, Public Relations, Social Media, , , , , , , ,

Google for Students

Sometimes, I imagine my life without Google. And then I realize how dependent I am on Google – if it’s going down I’m going down with it. As students, Google really does make our lives easier. Literally everything is at our finger tips and we should know how to maximize usage on their products to improve ourselves. Personally, I have found that Google makes things simple and easy to sync with the rest of your life. I can’t recommend it enough, if you can’t tell.

google

After creating a Google account here (be sure to use something along the lines of your name, both for credibility and SEO’s sake). Here’s a list of the things Google offers you should be using, both from experience and recommendations:

  • iGoogle – This is your home page. You can add different widgets and sync many of the features listed below to this page. It’s a nice first page to look at when you get online.
  • Gmail – The Web mail of Google is my favorite Google product. You can fetch mail in other inboxes to use one tool for your multiple accounts, as well as chat, label, and store at your pleasure.Β  I also use Gmail as my to-do list; that is, I keep only the e-mails I need to deal with in my inbox and archive the rest (archiving is not deleting – click on “all mail” to see your archived messages or simply search for it). Oh yeah, your inbox is huge. Like really, really big. Don’t worry about filling it up any time soon.
  • Google Reader – Much more than a tool for news junkies, you can use Google Reader to keep on top of the news, your favorite blogs and even the occasional random feed. If you’re new to blogging, I recommend Alltop – it’s a great place to get started and check out topics that interest you.
  • Google Alerts – This alerts you, either by e-mail or through your reader, when a phrase you select lands anywhere from a news article to a blog post. I recommend using this in two ways. First, it might seem ego-centric, but put a Google Alert on your name. Have this one e-mailed to you so you can know if something is being said about you. Next, put some Google Alerts on the companies you want to work for. I would recommend subscribing these to your reader so you can peruse these at your own pleasure.
  • Google Groups – If you’re in a student organization or you want to keep in touch with friends, Google Groups is where it’s at for you. You can chat, create pages and make your group look fancy.
  • Google Calendar – I’ll be honest, I don’t use this application. I have my physical planner that I wouldn’t know how to live my live without it. However, I’ve heard great things about this easy-to-use app. You can also sync it with your mobile phone – it doesn’t get much better than that.
  • Google Analytics – This gets to the advanced stuff, but you can put a code on your Web page or blog and Google Analytics will show you various statistics on your site usage. Just so you know, visits measures how many times the Web site was accesses, unique visitors measures how many different computers accesses the Web site, and page views measures the total number of pages served to a visitor. The more page views per visitor, the more useful your site.
  • Google Scholar – This is the Google search entire limited to scholarly sources. I’ve used different research tools that MSU has to offer, but honestly, Google Scholar is a lot easier and quicker than anything else. I’m not sure if it yields quite the same content, but this should do the trick for a quick citation on a paper you’re writing.
  • Google on your phone – to die for. I got this on my BlackBerry and it’s done everything from saved to ruined my life. Yes, Google Maps has saved me when I have no idea where I am (this happens more often than I like to admit), and yes, I”m addicted to my crackberry. But hey, I’ve got a world of knowledge in the palm of my hand it’s been more helpful than anything.

So, there you have it – how you should be maximizing all of Google’s capabilities. Google offers so much more than what I put on this short post and I recommend trying out a little bit of everything. The best finds are often the ones that get the least coverage.

How else do you use Google? Do you have anything to add to this list?

If you’re looking for more information about all Google’s apps, check out their how to site.

Filed under: New Media Drivers License, Professional Development, Public Relations, Social Media, Uncategorized, , , , , , ,

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