Small Business Marketing Solution – Scrape Up Some News

Have you ever noticed how much of the news really isn’t that new? Here’s an exercise that focuses on your examining the stories in the news, and then searching within your own company to find themes which can be fashioned into newsworthy items.

One thing you’ll notice immediately: the news moves quickly, but it moves around major themes. Sports, Entertainment, Business, Health–these are all themes that one finds throughout the week in any newspaper or on an internet news site such as Google News or Yahoo google search scraper. As you scan through the news, focus on these categories, but also keep your mind open to “breaking news”.

For example, if your small, local company has some connection to a breaking national or international story, a quick call or email to the local paper may be in order. Let’s say your company sells cellular phones made in an area of the world just hit by a natural disaster. Fortunately, it appears all your suppliers are intact and there won’t be any interruption in providing your product to your local customers. A good headline for the story would be: “Asia disaster unlikely to increase cell phone prices anytime soon.” Of course, the reporter might expand the story to include the general category of “consumer electronics” to give the story a greater appeal.

And how do you know this? You probably don’t have contacts in Asia, but you possibly do at your trade association and certainly from the salespeople who sell the phones to you. A quick call to either will confirm whether or not cell phone delivery and production will likely be interrupted by the disaster.

Remember your goal: get your name in the paper or on the internet or possibly on radio or television as a reputable source. Journalists aren’t going to try and build your brand; they need a story. It doesn’t matter: as long as you and your company are mentioned you will boost your brand by being quoted in the press.

But, what if there’s no breaking news story you can tie into? That’s the reason for this little exercise. Take a few minutes and read several stories from different sections of your local paper. Don’t just stick to the business news; this is the time to use your imagination. As you read through the stories, let your mind associate the story content with how your business solves customer problems. Remember, your customers come to you not so much to buy your product but to buy the solution to their problem that your product solves.

When you allow your mind to connect your company-supplied solutions to the articles you read in the news, then you open up your imagination to creating connections between your business and the newspaper audience. Remember, you can’t blatantly pitch your product to a newspaper reporter and expect the reporter to run it.

Most of SEO (Search engine optimization) to drive business opportunity leads to your web site involves off page optimization. This involves writing content such as in articles or press releases, posting to your site, among many other things. You goal is in getting high page ranked sites to link back to you. You still have to make sure your on page optimization is maximized for search engines. This deals with your web site itself.

Here is a tip. Something you might not be aware about and something that is easy to miss. The spider.txt file.

In your root directory should be a file called “spider.txt”. This is what search engines look at when they come and crawl your site. If it isn’t there, search engines like Google will not be able to crawl and index your site.

The robot.txt file is part of what is called the Robots Exclusion Protocol and is there to “keep” search engines from crawling all or part of your site so that information you deem to be private won’t be placed on the internet.

Let’s say you are using WordPress and searching for a template. You find one you really like and decide to use it. You really need to make sure it has a spider.txt file. Not all of those thousands of free templates are built the same. I have had many and usually, for some reason or another, they have limitations that cause me to look for something else. A given template might not be optimized for SEO and not even have the spider.txt file in it.

Another reason you might want this spider.txt file is that it can be edited to ensure search engines “do not” scrape certain directories. There might be files on your site that you don’t want to be publicly shown. You can edit spider.txt to ensure that doesn’t happen.

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