How to use the Google Adwords Key Tool to assess what tech PR buyers are looking for


Google’s Adword Keyword Tool is a very useful aid for determining how much you can expect to pay for a key word or phrase associated with a Google ad. It also tells you the level of competition for a particular keyword or phrase as well as search volumes over time – helpful for detecting trends in searches.

On a whim, I had a look at the prices and trends for a host of relevant tech PR terms – ones that potential purchasers of tech PR sevices might use eg :

high tech pr
technology pr
tech pr

It produced some interesting results. The figures refer to the expected average Cost Per Click (CPC) of a term to gain a placing from 1 – 3 in the right hand ad section:

tech pr firm    £8.00   
high tech pr agencies    £7.58   
tech pr agencies    £7.22   
technology pr agencies    £6.28   
high tech pr firm    £6.13   
technology pr agency    £6.10   
high tech pr firms    £6.07   
high tech pr    £6.01   
tech pr agency    £5.59   
technology pr    £5.26   
technology pr firms    £4.89   
tech pr    £4.34   
consumer tech pr    £0.04   
consumer technology pr    £0.04   
high tech pr agency    £0.04   
maps pr tech    £0.04   
tech pr blog    £0.04   
technology pr companies    £0.04   
technology pr firm    £0.04   
technology pr london    £0.04   

At £8.00 per click through, the phrase “tech pr firm” commands a hefty premium. Yet, according to the Keyword Tool, there is very little competition for the phrase. And the average search volume for this term is low compared with others. Generally, the trends for various terms seems to rise and fall like the Persian Empire. In other words, potential buyers of tech PR services (who you would have thought might be the most likely people to use such search terms), seem to vary the way in which they seek out information. One month they are looking for a high tech PR firm, next month a technology PR agency.

Also interesting that a term like “consumer tech pr” has low search volumes – and very low CPC at 4p. Which could mean buyers aren’t searching for consumer tech PR – and why  consumer tech agencies aren’t using Google ads – or paying a low price for doing so.

However, its this kind of data that gives a brief glimpse of how analytics can be used for business development in tech PR. And how the same principles could be applied in the context of developing PR programmes.

Four Hour Work Week (4HWW) – excellent summary


Tim Walker has an excellent summary of Tim Ferriss’ Four Hour Work Week – well worth a read.

The Low Information Diet (Tim Ferriss)


Tim Ferriss’ book, The Four Hour Work Week, is clearly the business/lifestyle title du jour. Having now topped the New York Times and WSJ best seller lists, he is gaining a cult following over here in the UK and Europe.

In simple terms, it is a book about "lifestyle design" – or how to do the things you really want to do in your life and earn enough cash to do them without having to work 80 hours a week-  and wait until 60 to retire.

There’s obviously a lot more to it than this – he’s very cleverly taken a lot of themes from existing business books on things like the 80/20 rule and wrapped them up with some original insights of his own.

One of the cornerstones of his approach is what he describes as the "Low Information Diet". A common theme running throughout the book is the call to minimise the amount of information input you have to deal with – and focus on maximum output. For example, in terms of e-mail, he recommends an auto responder that says you will only check e-mail twice a day – once at 11am and once at 4pm. If people really need to call you, then you give them a mobile number – according to Ferris, this drastically reduces the number of so-called urgent disruptions you get in a day. (Wonder how many PRs or journalists could get away with this?)

However, he has an even more radical approach to reading newspapers and magazines  – namely, not reading them at all. He claims to have not read a newspaper in 5 years. He devotes a couple of hours per month to reading one trade mag. And according to him, it has had no negative impact on his life or ability to generate income whatsover. In fact, quite the reverse.

From a PR and publishing perspective, this has some interesting implications. His book is clearly very popular. So what if people start adopting Ferriss’ low information diet in great numbers? Will magazine and newspaper circulations begin to fall further as people take this credo to heart and ignore virtually all printed mattter (or other media)?

To be fair to Ferris, he does suggest trying the low information diet for a week or month to see if you can truly remove your addiction – would be interesting to see how many PRs or journalists could get away with adpoting this approach – but perhaps we can indulge in a mass experiment to see if our lives are significantly changed in any way by doing it……

The value (or otherwise) of media relations


My good friend Mr Waddington at Rainier has been bemoaning PRs who still see print coverage as the primary goal of their work.

He says: "This reality, alas, hasn’t sunk into the UK PR
industry yet, which still regards hard copy coverage as delivering the
best value to clients when in reality web hits and increased search
engine optimisation (SEO) is the way forward. It’s the same old issue; the PR industry needs an effective model to prove return on investment."

I’m in general agreement with Stephen on this – and would add the following:

1. Why do PR agencies  continue to churn out so many press releases? (And waste client’s money?)

In his recent book on PR in the UK, leading business journalist Peter Bartram noted that in 2006, a sample of 89 UK tech and business journalists received on average more than 19,100 press releases a week. Put another way, 993,200 per year. According to Bartram, “the vast bulk of these releases, say the journalists concerned, are either irrelevant to their interests or contain no discernible story.”  In short, a huge amount of time, resource and effort is being devoted to writing and distributing press releases that have no impact whatsoever.

Couple this with:

2. Print Media Environment

Fewer tech titles + Fewer journalists + Fewer editorial pages
Fewer opportunities for coverage + Lowering circulations + Fewer readers = not a happy picture.

And do these dwindling band of print readers actually read the magazines they receive? Having talked to numerous senior IT directors in recent months, the general consensus appears to be a resounding NO. Reasons range from lack of time to a sense that there is no really actionable information to be gained by reading the trad IT pubs.

So is online the panacea? Not necessarily. As per previous postings on print vs online, readerships figures for both seem to be similiar – or indeed in favour of print.

Which does suggest that it is media relations generally – whether targetting print or online – that needs examining in terms of its value to the client.

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