During the planning of Buzz2009, we reached out to Business Wire, our partner in industry-specific press release listings, to try out their new EON (Enhanced Online News) service. We mostly employed free word-of-mouth techniques to generate interest in Buzz2009 and wanted to see how an enhanced version of the more traditional PR route measured up against the flurry of WOM activity that was going on around the event. [Disclosure: Business Wire agreed to give us a free trial (value $295) in exchange for this review.]

We liked that EON does a lot of the painful stuff for you: Distributing the press release via RSS feeds for news hounds, consumers, and journalists. When you create the release, the Enhanced Online News service prompts you to tag it by industry, subject, geography and keywords so it can target your announcement to the most relevant readers possible. To optimize search engine placement, EON requires you to select keywords from your press release that might be hot search words. The service then recommends how many times you should use these keywords in your release — for example: we were told to use “Webcast” 5 times for search engine optimization.

Next, EON allows you to add multimedia in the form of links and photos. The process of embedding and attaching graphics is easy and gives the release a sleek, updated feel. Here’s our final product.

After the EON copy editors make sure everything is in order, the release is displayed on the front page of EON — in chronological order of the news distributed that day — and distributed via RSS. It is also made available to Google News, which quickly indexes it for display via Google keyword searches.

The results?

  • The headline of our release was viewed 8,861 times
  • The entire release was viewed a total of 918 times
  • The release made its way to Facebook and Twitter and was clicked 19 times
  • The links within the release were clicked 213 times.

That’s exposure we might not have gotten otherwise, and we know for a fact that the chairman of our board read the release via an EON feed, which is probably worth the price of admission right there! At the end of the day, however, we do know that the vast majority of registrations for our event came from our WOM activities.

Depending on who you’re trying to reach and if press releases are a major part of your marketing strategy, you may want to give EON a try. For us, it was definitely an interesting experiment.

Image credit, enot-poloskun, iStock

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5 responses to “Review of Business Wire’s social media PR tool”

  1. Dave Tinker says:

    Can you measure the ROI in terms of $ for us?

  2. Merritt Colaizzi says:

    Great question, Dave. Like most forms of PR, it's tough to pinpoint ROI on a press release. The only quantifiable metrics are the views and clicks listed above. That said, I do know that almost all of the signups we received for our Webcast did not come from viewers of this release, they came from house ads we placed in our own SmartBrief newsletters.

    If we do another free offering like the Webcast we were announcing with this release, I'm not sure we will use EON again, to be perfectly honest, since it costs $295 and we have our own newsletters that can be vehicles for our messages. But then again, we at SmartBrief have never relied on press releases to get our news out, so that's also probably part of it. Hope this helps.

  3. […] can read the entire review at SmartBlog.com or take a look at SmartBrief’s press release for more […]

  4. Thanks for informative and useful post. This is interesting for me.