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Chicago PR Firm – The Plan Collection Case Study

Chicago PR Firm Paramount Public Relations Client Case Study


The Plan Collection, a pioneer of online home design plans, offers more than 20,000 affordable house plans developed by the nation’s most talented architects and designers. Through the use of pre-drawn yet customizable plans, both builders and those looking to build can develop their dream homes at a lower cost.


Through media coverage, The Plan Collection wanted to reach their target audiences – consumers, potential and existing homeowners, builders, designers and architects.  The goals were to increase brand awareness, position the company as an industry leader and drive traffic to their website through direct links.  Online press coverage supported their digital marketing efforts by generating traffic and links from popular, credible media websites back to


Due to the Fall timing of the campaign, Chicago PR Firm Paramount Public Relations recommended a media relations program that focused on the following year’s home design building trend forecast and predictions.  Since the press typically covers stories towards the end of the year, the PR team wanted to get started on an industry predictions outreach program early to ensure the client would be included in these annual industry stories and reinforce their category leadership.

To leverage their spokesperson as an industry expert, the PR team secured quotes in several articles and coordinated guest blog posts.


The successful campaign generated nearly 300 million online impressions and meaningful referral traffic to The Plan Collection.

Result highlights include media coverage in U.S. News & World Report, Realty Times, HFN, House Beautiful, Yahoo Finance, Builder and Developer, among many others.


The Plan Collection offers more than 20,000 affordable house plans developed by the nation’s most talented architects and designers. Through the use of pre-drawn yet customizable plans, both builders and those looking to build can develop their dream homes at a lower cost. In addition to the wide selection of available plans, the site offers detailed how-to articles and knowledgeable customer service representatives to help visitors find swift answers to their questions. For more information, visit


Founded in 2003, Paramount Public Relations is a full-service public relations and marketing agency in Chicago that offers big-agency expertise with a boutique, entrepreneurial mindset. With every campaign, the firm makes it their goal to solve communications challenges, build brand identity and create visibility in the competitive media marketplace. The agency’s programs aggressively and creatively push client’s position to key audiences—consumers, employees, industry peers, analysts and, of course, national and local media—and they demonstrate a profound understanding of how to work with these audiences and gatekeepers. Above all, Paramount Public Relations works hard and measure their performance by the results. The company has been chosen by as one of the Best PR Firms in Chicago for the fourth year in a row. For more information, please visit, call 312-544-4190 or email

Zuckerburg to Donate 99% of Facebook Stock

Zuckerburg Blog

For Silicon Valley’s newest generation of billionaires, the biggest trend in innovation is actually something old – giving back. As someone who is no stranger to innovation, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerburg is at the forefront of the movement. The 31 year old with a net worth of $37.5 billion announced on Tuesday that he and his wife, Dr. Priscilla Chan, will donate 99 percent of their Facebook stock shares throughout the course of their lives. The stocks are currently worth more than $45 billion and will be donated to charitable causes still to be announced, or even still to be created.

According to a recent New York Times article, Zuckerberg’s charitable plans are the latest indication of a growing interest in philanthropy among Silicon Valley’s young billionaires, who unlike previous generations of business tycoons, appear eager to spread their wealth while they are still young.

Zuckerburg and Chan have a new baby girl, Max, who was born just last week. The couple says the pledge to donate the stocks is all about making the world a better place for her generation and those to follow. Publishing an open letter to her, they explain the better life they wish for her to have. The letter explains that they are making the donation because they wish to help advance human potential, promote equality and help create technology to foster change for the future.

“Today your mother and I are committing to spend our lives doing our small part to help solve these challenges,” writes Zuckerburg. “I will continue to serve as Facebook’s CEO for many, many years to come, but these issues are too important to wait until you or we are older to begin this work.”

Many industry leaders are showing support for the donation and aim for change including one of Zuckerburg’s childhood heroes and the wealthiest man in the world, Bill Gates. Mr. Gates and his wife congratulated his efforts releasing a statement.

“The example you’re setting today is an inspiration to us and the world,” they said. “We can be confident of this: Max and every child born today will grow up in a world that is better than the one we know now. As you say, ‘Seeds planted now will grow.’ Your work will bear fruit for many decades to come.”

Zuckerburg believes that by creating and building new, innovative technology will help drive changes to improve education worldwide. The improved technology would then increase literacy rates and decrease poverty levels in these areas.

To learn more read the full New York Times story here:

3DPrinterOS and Ultimaker Host Free 3D Printing Classes at the Brooklyn Public Library

3D Printing Classes

Interest in 3D printing is steadily increasing—according to CNET, this past year at the CES Conference in Las Vegas, 57 3D printers were showcased, double the amount from the 2014 show. As the popularity continues to grow, an effort to make 3D printers more accessible and affordable for consumers and hobbyists is growing. Ultimaker, a leading 3Dprinter manufacturer, and 3DPrinterOS, the cloud operating system for 3D printing, are teaming up together to offer free classes on the basics of 3D printing technology.

An upcoming class free of charge will be held on February 28, 2015 at the Brooklyn Public Library in New York. This class is perfect for those looking to start learning about 3D printing technology and its applications. Attendees are given a chance to ask questions, become familiar with how the printer works, how the print process happens and different types of printing technology. All guests will be given free access to 3DPrinterOS and can expect to take home a 3D printed object. Ultimaker and 3DPrinterOS anticipate hosting more classes in other communities in the near future.

Ultimaker 3D Printer

Ultimaker has recently launched the Ultimaker² Go and Ultimaker² Extended at CES 2015, two cutting-edge desktop 3D printers that are available for pre-order in March 2015 and will be made available in April 2015. The releases of these two new 3D printers are following the success of its top-rated Ultimaker². The Ultimaker² Go is compact 3D printer that is the perfect solution for makers who want to start with 3D printing on a premium level while the Ultimaker² Extended is a larger 3D printer that boasts some of the highest speed and accuracy found on any desktop 3D printer.

For more information and to sign up to attend the class visit:

The SEO Role PR Pros Play

PR-SEO-PuzzleA recent Cision article by Kevin Bailey stressed the importance of SEO in today’s branding world–in particular, hard links. For PR professionals, securing fantastic media placements for clients also means securing the “hard link” that comes with it.

According to Bailey, “PR pros have a huge leg up in terms of earning the hard links. They have the ability to reach top media outlets and get content assets covered—content assets that are more about solving a large problem in a given industry than they are about touting a brand and its products.”

Read more here:


Google’s “Hummingbird” Algorithm Launches: How It Will Affect SEO, Marketing and Public Relations

Recently, Google announced the launch of “Hummingbird,” a new platform of Google to make search results more accurate and easy to find. Hummingbird will ultimately return more relevant results with its “knowledge graph,” a tool that recognizes intent and maps the relationships to past searches, ultimately answering more complex search questions.

Although the implications for the future of SEO and content marketing are still unclear, Social Media Today’s Steve Rayson shares the 10 ways Hummingbird will affect future SEO and Content Marketing:

1. The future is mobile

2. Mobile will lead to greater voice search

3. More natural language and complex queries

4. Semantic search to deliver accurate results

5. Content must be helpful

6. Content must have authority

7. The SMO of SEO

8. Prediction and knowledge building

9. Links can actually be negative in a social world

10. Google Plus is the future

To read the full article click here.

6 SEO rules every PR pro should live by

Here is an excellent article from PR Daily every PR person should read as a reminder of the importance of SEO in any PR campaign.

6 SEO rules every PR pro should live by

Search engine optimization (SEO) determines where and how businesses rank on search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo. As the competition for online real estate continues to heat up, B2B and B2C marketers have planned to increase their SEO budgets by 43 percent and 45 percent, respectively.

With marketing departments increasingly seeing more value in digital services, PR professionals must understand how to best incorporate SEO tactics into their service offerings. Become your client’s trusted SEO consultant with these six rules to live by:

1. Take advantage of Google’s free tools. Claim your business’s location on Places for Business, and suggest that your clients follow suit. The same goes for Google+, which can and does influence Google Search. A +1 is similar to link-backs and Web traffic, in that it helps Google determine which sites people deem important. Last, identify the top search terms in your client’s industry for which they’d like to “own” a top spot in search results, and then use the Google AdWords Keyword Tool to find which phrases are searched most frequently. Sprinkle these words throughout your news releases and media advisories.

2. Always link to your client’s homepage in an email pitch. News outlets’ websites can generate some of the strongest link-backs for your clients. To increase the chances that your client’s name will be hyperlinked in a reporter’s story, always include it in your email correspondence with media contacts.

3. Never distribute a hyperlink-free news release. Take every opportunity to drive traffic to your client’s website, whether it’s through a release that crosses the national newswire or one that’s simply emailed to a media list. The rule of thumb is to use three to four hyperlinked keywords per every 400 words. Anchor text should direct clicks to pages within the company website that are most relevant, such as a page where a study’s full report can be found, where people can download an infographic, or where a particular service offering is described in detail.

4. Make the most of your news release’s lead paragraph. Search engine results often display only the first 75 to 100 characters of body text. Start with the most important, keyword-rich information to ensure that’s what Google uses to describe the release.

5. Start blogging. A company blog is one of the best ways to continually update your site with strong keywords. Blogs can be shared on popular social networks, thus creating a channel to increase site traffic. Plus, guest blogging opportunities may arise, and these can generate powerful link-backs from other sites. Map out a content strategy, know which keywords you want to target and stick to a publishing schedule. Blog posts published on Monday and Tuesday mornings often do best, traffic-wise.

6. Become the Web developer’s best friend. If your client is launching a website, you will likely be brought on to write the copy for each page. Take this project a step further by working closely with the developer to see how the site is being built to accommodate strong SEO. Meta title text—the page title you see in search results and at the top of your browser—is extremely important for SEO. Suggest title text for every page on the site by using Google’s Keyword Tool and your client’s Google Analytics account, which will show you how they’re already being found online.

What other SEO tactics have you embraced in your PR work?

Kathleen McFadden is an account executive as Buchanan Public Relations and co-chair of the PR Committee for the Public Relations Global Network. Follow her on Twitter @kathleenmcf. A version of this story originally appeared on the agency’s blog.

50% of Consumers Value a Brand’s Facebook Page More Than Its Website

It is apparent more than ever that social media plays an important role in society, even for businesses. A recent article by Mashable announced that 50% of consumers value a brand’s Facebook page more than its website. While websites are commonly created to drive traffic and entice online shoppers, it seems that consumers are also turning to a brand’s Facebook page for information as well.

Possible reasons for this statistic could be that Facebook pages often make a brand seem more reachable and personable. According to the study, 75% of participants feel more connected to a brand on Facebook. Also, Facebook offers businesses an outlet to showcase discounts that reach a large audience.  Mashable reports that as a result of liking a brand on Facebook, 77% have saved money.

Although stores may hang “50% off” and “Final Sale!” signs in their windows for those passing by to notice, the sales world is changing. While in-store sale signs may go unnoticed, with social media, sales as well as other information is available with an easily navigated click of the mouse.