Like advertising agencies, press release agencies are also a bit conservative in their approach to business. This as a result of writers who agonise over the position of a comma, the correct word in a sentence and the number of words in a release, triple check spelling and run the release by any number of people before pushing the ‘go’ button.
This attitude also spills over into business dealings and the Public Relations industry as a whole is wary of adopting and committing resources to any new tool.
At MyPR we have long been a proponent of the use of Twitter as it suits the nature of our product – not too wordy, quick and efficient. In addition Twitter allows more indexing by the Search Engine robots than Facebook for instance. Click here to see the Twitter Robots.txt and here to see the Facebook Robots.txt for a comparison.
Before this becomes too wordy the meat of this article is that we have now expanded our reach to Facebook and Pinterest in addition to Twitter – giving you many more avenues for exposure from placing your press releases on MyPR. Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest.
We have added a Facebook comment facility at the bottom of each press release.
In addition you will see that each image published on MyPR can now also be easily shared to your Pinterest account – just hover over any image and the Pinterest Share button wil appear in the top left hand corner.
Read on if you are interested in our ‘reservations’ around adopting social media.
What held us back from employing a shotgun approach to social media and utilising as many versions as possible has been the fact that any social media post does not gain traction in the major search engines. Reason: Every single hyperlink back to your (or any other) site from any social media site has the following attribute: rel=”nofollow” which is a signal to Search Engine robots to not follow the link to the page.
Compounding the above is that Social Media sites also actively discourage search engine robots from crawling and indexing their sites. For example Facebooks robots.txt file states in the first line: Notice: Crawling Facebook is prohibited unless you have express written permission. See: http://www.facebook.com/apps/site_scraping_tos_terms.php and goes on to issue instructions to robots to not crawl certain sections of the site.
Lets use plain language rather – ‘crawling’ is defined as a robot travelling through a site looking for content and ‘indexing’ is that robot copying new content and placing it on the robots own server. In essence we allow search engines to copy and use our own content and in return we hope for them to send visitors our way.
There is a war going on between search engines and social media that we are mostly unaware of.
That war is to get a large number of people to use the different sites and, in the case of Facebook usage, the top three African countries are Egypt (16.8 million), Nigeria (11 million) and South Africa (9.4 million). Most are male and under the age of 25.
A study released in August 2014 by Pillay, K. & Maharaj, M.S.* on the usage patterns of Social networking by South Africa Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) reports that 37.8% of organisations have attracted at least 1000 visitors to their social networking sites. The Internet research organisation Socialbakers (2011) estimates that there were approximately 4 511 220 Facebook users in South Africa as at January 2012, which implies that South African CSOs had managed to attract just 0.02% of South African Facebook users to their sites. Only 2.5% of organisations have managed to attract more than 50 000 users to their social network sites.
Sure – most search engines say that they use the number and type of social media mentions as an indicator of popularity and ranking but surely that implies that they then do crawl and take note of all the hyperlinks pointing back to a site. But doing so would be in clear contravention of directives in some robots.txt files.
Frankly – your press releases and MyPR will get far better exposure if you place our RSS feed on your web site. This has also been proven to help with Search Engine Optimisation as the RSS feed changes regularly making your web site pages fresher and acting as a magnet to the ever hungry search engine robots searching for more content to copy. People visiting your site will also appreciate your linking to news relevant to them.
If you have a WordPress web site placing one of our RSS feeds on your site is as follows:
- Choose the feed you want to use from the list here: http://mypr.co.za/free-south-african-press-releases#RSS
- Log in to your WordPress admin account
- Go to ‘Appearance’ –> ‘Widgets’
- Drag the RSS widget to your desired position – Sidebar, Footer etc.
- Paste the RSS feed URL you copied from MyPR into the first line
- Name the feed – e.g. Press Releases from MyPR
- Choose from the options
Hint: You can find the RSS feed URL for just about any WordPress site by adding /feed/ to the sites URl, e.g. http://mype.co.za/new/feed/
* Pillay, K. & Maharaj, M.S., 2014, ‘Social media and mobile communications adoption patterns of South African civil society organisations’, SA Journal of Information Management 16(1), Art.#595, 8 pages. http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/sajim.v16i1.595