SPECIAL NOTE:

This session/page is not updated beyond the conference of January 30, 1998,
so the links on it may change or become outdated


Hawking Your Message in the Virtual Marketplace:
Using the Web as a Marketing Tool

by Eric Ward - The WardGroup (NetPOST & URLwire tm)
Awareness Building For Significant Web Launches and Events

This presentation and all hyperlinks can be found at
http://www.netpost.com/speaking/npodc/

During this presentation, we will cover the following topics...


-  Holistic Site Promotion - finding the right resources to publicize/increase
   awareness of your Web site content, from directories to zines and beyond

-  Appropriate methods for leveraging the search engines today

-  Special opportunities exist just for non-profits

-  Press-seeking for Web site launches & events

-  Third parties & automated submission engines - help or hurt?

-  Maintaining your online presence over time - see beyond the URL



Finding Resources To Promote Your Site, Online and Offline

Remember that your Web site is not the only thing you have to promote.
There may well be features within your site that also offer opportunities
for promotion. The classic example is the mailing list. More later
Online promotion outlets for the overall site should include...

        => Announce Sites -
       High end example:Netscape's What's New - http://guide.netscape.com/guide/whats_new.html
       Other examples:
What's New Too , WhatsNew.Com
       To find others, look at Yahoo's list of announcement sites & services
          http://www.yahoo.com/Computers_and_Internet/Internet/World_Wide_Web/Searching_the_Web/Indices_to_Web_Documents/What_s_New/

=> Search Engines -
       "The Big Seven" Infoseek, AltaVista, Lycos , Webcrawler, Excite, HotBot, OpenText
       Others:  PlanetSearch , NorthernLight , Anzers(AU/US)
       To find others, look at Yahoo list of Search Engines
          http://www.yahoo.com/Computers_and_Internet/Internet/World_Wide_Web/Searching_the_Web/Search_Engines/

=> Directories -
       Examples include: Yahoo, Magellan, MiningCo, Encyclopedia Brittanica Online
       To find others, start at Yahoo's Directory List
          http://www.yahoo.com/Computers_and_Internet/Internet/World_Wide_Web/Searching_the_Web/Web_Directories/

=> Web-Zines -
       Examples include: WebVantage, Netsurfer Digest
       To find others, start at a good Web-Zine directory like The ZineRack (http://www.zinerack.com) and do a search

=> E-Zines/E-newsletters -
       Examples include: Cowles Media Central Digest
       To find others, start at John Labovitz's E-ZINE-LIST ( http://www.meer.net/~johnl/e-zine-list/ )

=> Mailing Lists / Newsletters -
       Examples include: Net-Happenings,
       To find others, start at either of the below, each of which has thousands by subject
       PAML-- P-ublically A-ccessable M-ailing L-ists
http://www.neosoft.com/internet/paml/
       The Liszt -- http://www.liszt.com/
       Yahoo Newsletter Section
-- http://www.yahoo.com/Computers_and_Internet/Internet/Newsletters/

=> Special Selection Sites -
       Examples include: Cool Site Of The Day, WebScout
       There are literally hundreds of "site of the day" awards sites, and
       they vary tremendously in their value. To find others, start at (you guessed it)
       http://www.yahoo.com/Computers_and_Internet/Internet/World_Wide_W eb/
       Best_of_the_Web/Sites_of_the___/     |     A service not worth the money? (x)

=> Web News Services -  
       Examples include: WIRED News, InternetNews.com, Newslinx, Internet-Watch

=> USENET Newsgroups -
      A dying resource? Migrating to moderated mailing lists

Newsgroups often have just the niche you'd like to reach, however not all accept blatant
commercial posts. Also, the specific groups available will vary by service provider.
The best way to approach them? Begin by reading the newsgroup charters, and
by actually participating...

Usenet Charters- http://www.lib.ox.ac.uk/internet/news/faq/by_group.index.html


OFF-LINE Awareness Building -

Off-line isn't always offline. Print publications now typically have an
online counterpart, with different or more frequently updated content

   Print Magazines focusing on the Internet - Internet WORLD, Web Magazine
   Books & Book/CD Rom combo's - Rough Guides To The Internet
   Other Guides, Encyclopedias, etc. - Yahoo Unplugged

   Do newspapers, TV and radio stations really care?


Next, and just as important as ALL of the above categories are...

Subject specific submission sites



            A whole new opportunity, and paradigm

            A new genre of media and editorial publications & contacts

            Standard services like PRNewswire must be augmented to reach
            the right online media contacts

            Make sure you find the right editors for your your subject

               Subtleties of the Email News-release

            Understand the differences between the many Email
            news-release services -

            Here's a Comparitive Feature Chart for the better known Email
            news release services. Use it to help decide which servie is best for you.
    
                         For Web site launches, events, and Web products, a service like The URLwire
                         For tech products, a more general service like GINA, or BizWire
                         Automated vs. Non Automated - a different worry...


    1). You are using the auto-submitter's submission form, not the actual search engine's form. This means that you are depending on whoever created the automatic submitter to create a perfect "mirror image" of the "real" submission form for every search engine. My experience has proven to me that they fail more often than they work.

    2). They completely miss most powerful outlets that you need to be reaching, because they only submit to the the most basic and "automate-able" outlets. They totally miss the "people" outlets.

    After 4 years of experience making submissions individually, and hearing the horror stories from clients who tried to use an automated tool and had terrible results, I do not recommend the use of "auto-submission" services.  If you do choose to use an automated tool, I feel that Scott Bannister's "Submit-It" (Web or New Desktop Software) will cause you the least pain and suffering.

    Note however, that these services themselves hedge and disclaim.

             Submit-it disclaimer

    One last thought on the human factor and missed opportunites


    Some personal observations and recommendations for maintaining your presence over time...

      Search engines and directories represent just one part of the awareness-building process. Search engines and directories are a good starting point, but you are missing an enormous number of other resources if they are all you submit to. What I recommend you do is accept that YOU must WORK at it regularly, even if you do outsource parts of the process to a third party service.

    Holistic Promotion:


    About outsourcing...

    Outsourcing the URL submissions and news-releases, or other awareness-building activities to a third party makes sense if you have few staff and if your time is at a premium.

    ***  If you do outsource, never select a service based only on the number of submissions they make for you, because numbers are meaningless. Why? Because not all submission sites are equal in their value, and some submission sites aren't legitimate. They are "fronts" for other businesses, and not really in the directory business at all. Anyone can submit your site to 500 of them, but those 500 submissions might be totally worthless, too.

    To find some high quality, proven companies that specialize in awareness building for Web sites, use the following:

    Paid Promotion Resources
    http://www.olympus.net/okeefe/Pubnet/ResPaid.html

    When opting for a 3rd party submission service, the cost can vary wildly, depending on who's doing the submissions and how deeply they are customizing the campaign for your site.   A quality site launch submission campaign should cost about $1,500 or less for a one-time service. For ongoing services, prices are typically negotiable.


Articles:

Ten Things to ask any Web Site Promotion Company Before Hiring Them  http://www.netpost.com/tentoask.html

Clickviews: Writings on the art and insanity of Web site promotion
http://www.netpost.com/clickview

Collection of Site Announcement and Promotion Links