The fact that you are reading this should be testament enough to the fact that internet publishing is changing the way businesses communicate with consumers. That being said, of the thousands of press releases and/or articles published on the internet every day only a small handful are seen, let alone read and for a number of good reasons. The vast majority of writers producing those releases not only don’t know how to write, most know very little about the world of internet press release distribution, let alone the value of writing optimized, search engine friendly copy.
This blind spot affords aspiring freelancers, an extraordinary opportunity to generate a substantial income writing promotional copy that gets local, regional, national, and international exposure as well as continuing readership on the first page of natural search engine results for months on end. A well placed release will generate 50,000-100,000 online readers in a week or less. An well optimized one will continue to be read month after month.
As a freelance writing opportunity, a knowledge of the intricacies of internet press release distribution and search engine optimization is even opening doors for veteran writers looking for a way to get the attention of prospective clients. Sharon Dotson, President of BayouCityPR.com and highly respected publicist in Houston, can attest to that. “As a traditional publicist and website copywriter, I had been trying for years to get my foot in the door with a large national service provider here in Houston, but I was turned away time and time again.
“That all changed after I completed Fast Track SEOP’s press release promotion and optimization training program. When I showed the company’s marketing director a press release I had written on my own behalf not only sitting in Google and Yahoo News but at the top of Google’s natural search results, I had her attention. When he discovered that I’d placed that release in less than a week, he gave me the proverbial key to the executive washroom, ” she says.
Freelance writing opportunities abound, but the process is cumbersome and the pay is all too often paltry. For the writer without credentials, it’s an experience often fraught with frustration and disenchantment. Typically, the budding freelancer will send a query letter out to a number of editors hoping to generate interest in an particular article. To add insult to injury, writers have to frequently enclose a self-addressed envelop the editors use to mail them a boiler plate rejection letter.
Should an editor express interest, the writer will then spend a couple of days, weeks, or months researching and writing a spec piece, submit it, and then wait for a month or more to find out if it has been accepted. If jumping through those hoops wasn’t enough, even when a piece is accepted, the writer sometimes doesn’t get paid until the article actually appears in print and that may take an additional month or two.
As an internet publicist, freelancers don’t have to cater to editors, let alone play the waiting game. Applying their writing skills to feature stories and promotional copy, they can easily garner a $500 - $1,000 fee for every piece their write and place. What’s more, they get paid within a week or less.
“A skilled writer can put together an 800 - 1,200 word press release in a day or two. Once approved by the client, it can be publihed and distributed to the world the following day. Even better, payment can be exacted immediately, ” Ron Scot, Fast Track SEOP’s president says.
“Devoting most of my energies to teaching, I haven't been doing a lot of writing lately, but when I do have have time to write I charge two fees. The first, an editorial fee of $399.95, is charged when the piece first appears in Google News. The second, an optimization fee of $150 is charged when the editied and optimized version of that press release appears in Google’s natural search results, ” he says. “Pros like Sharon Dotson charge even more. ”
Recognizing that press release optimization affords a rare freelance writing opportunity, Fast Track SEOP has recently added mentoring to its portfolio of services. “We have every reason to believe this particular freelance writing opportunity is sustainable, timely and unique, ” Scott says. “We give writers all the tools they need to make money quickly doing what they love to do. What is more, the writing opportunities our program affords are virtually unlimited. ”
When Scott talks with freelance writers unfamiliar with press release promotion and optimization he provides one example after another. It’s not hard to imagine the impression even a beginning writer can make with a prospective client calling to inquire about his/her press release services. “By way of introduction, our publicists ask callers to Google a specific search term so they can see an illustration of what we can do for them. They can’t help but be impressed when they one press release after another holding a top ranking on eleven of the world’s most popular search engines including Google.
“When we point out that these releases aren’t just sitting at the top of search results, they are sitting at the top of millions of competing pages, we get their undivided attention. Needless to say, once they’ve seen the results we get, the cost of our services is superceded by the need to know how long it will take for us to get them the same kind of exposure, ” Scott says .
And that’s not all. “When we also inform them that a release they are looking at generated 50,000 to 100,000 reads the first week and further explain that our clients don’t pay us anything until they actually see their release online, any resistance they might have put up is buried beneath the positive impression they already have of our ability to perform, ” he says.
Most business owners and publicists these days are savvy enough to know that it is to their advantage to publish their releases on the web but, according to Scott, that’s just not good enough. “Recognizing the value of long term exposure, most of these companies now offer press release optimization services and are charging as much as $250 a release for those services alone, ” he says.
"Unfortunately, none of the articles published by companies charging those optimization fees ever find their way to the top of Google's natural search results, " Scott says.
The market for an internet publicist is not restricted to companies with web sites. “The skills we teach enable freelancers to secure top rankings for their clients even if they don’t have a web presence. A press release posted in Google News and on the first page of natural search results can make the phone ring just as easily as it can be used to drive traffic to a website, ” he says.
Regarding the relative value of top search engine placement, current research shows that more than half of all internet users put greater credence on generic search results than they do sponsored advertisements. “Pay-for-performance (PPC) advertising certainly has its place but it also has its limitations. Getting top search engine placement assures a business owner that at least 85% of the people looking for a particular product and/or service are going to see and read his/her release for an extended period of time. Of those searches, the vast majority find what they are looking for on the first page of natural search results, " Scott says.
“Our personalized, live, online public relations training course usually doesn’t take more than four hours to complete and we’re there to mentor our students through the process until they see one of their releases getting full distribution and holding top Google placement, " Scott says.
Is the training affordable? “That gets to the heart of the matter doesn’t it, ” Scott says. “College students, more often than not Journalism and English students, pay 1,000s of dollars a semester to basically learn how to go to work for someone else. By contrast, Fast Track SEOP offers students the means to not only start their own publishing business in a week or less, but the ability to recoup their investment and actually show a profit when they publish their first release. ”
Writers wanting to know more about this career opportunity are encouraged to visit the company’s website - http://www.fasttrackrankingandplacement.com . “To introduce prospective students to the world of internet public relations, we’ve put together a free introductory webinar, ” Scott says. “It's not a recorded pitch, it's a live, interactive presentation that normally lasts about an hour. Attendees are free to interrupt the presentation at any time to ask questions, " he says.
“To learn more prospective students only need to visit our services page, download the conferencing software, and then drop us an email to let us know when they would like to attend. ”
Ron Scott lives in Southern California and is a full-time internet publicist and educator. He has a degree in journalism and public relations and, at the age of 59, has a broad level of professional business experience to draw upon.