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Katrina, Katrina, Hurricane Katrina Everywhere You Look

Dave Platter reports that Hurricane Katrina is still the hottest ticket in the Internet town.

It’s still all Katrina, all the Time in the news and public relations business. A survey of Google news shows 330,000 news stories mentioning the term “Hurricane Katrina.” Over at Yahoo, the total is 218,366 news stories.

Those numbers are staggering. His post, though, is fascinating. He highlights the fact that if you want to grab attention to your site and then help attract journalists and bloggers reporting on various aspects of the hurricane by writing on topics that deal with oil and gas, lodging, crime, business involved or impacted by the hurricane, and other human or economic angles worthy of exploring by the media.

I’m torn. I admire these suggestions as they are part of the marketing world, helping to promote your business by taking advantage of current events. This can be done in a good and sensitive way which will benefit everyone. Yet, it can be done in a nasty and spammy way that makes my skin crawl.

We have discussed Hurricane Katrina a few times here. Not so much as to attract attention as to provide information, which in turn did attract a lot of traffic to this site. Our lives were directly impacted as we had to evacuate the Gulf Coast as Katrina bore down on us, so my blogs were about what and how I was learning about what was happening as we sat in Atlanta and weathered the storm from afar.

When Hurricane Katrina comment spam hit my site, I knew it was hitting yours and a warning was necessary. The blog rumor heard around the world dealt with the insanity of how fast rumors spread around the web via blogs. But it also brought up other topical information and application such as a news story I heard on banks putting their backup data in caves, which reminded me to remind you to back up WordPress.

Are these sleazy ways of attacting traffic and attention to this site? Well, it depends upon your point of view. If you want to think that I’m just in this for the money and attention, then yes, this would be a method that I would choose. If you think I’m in this for the help and assistance I can provide to bloggers and WordPress users, then this is just another method of connecting current events to the subject at hand – blogging, since blogging is helping cover this event like few historical events previously.

Platter’s statistics only include news stories. So I did a little survey of my own. On Google, there are 367,000,000 results for “Hurricane Katrina”. There are 151,000,000 search results for Yahoo. Technorati listed 159,557 posts about “Hurricane Katrina”.

Blogging With Current Event Keywords in Mind

Whether it is good or bad, if you have something to say that needs to be heard, it helps to tie it in with a current event. The key is to do it with good keywords.

I’ll be beginning a long series of posts which will discuss how keywords impact your search engine optimization (SEO) and your writing. Keywords help to focus your subject matter, but writing with keywords in mind also helps you focus your writing on the subject, so this is of benefit to you no matter what your end result is.

For now, think about all the different ways you could tie in your writing with current events, be it Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Rita, the pull-out from Gaza, the increase in terrorist attacks and pre-civil war fighting in Iraq, the next Supreme Court Justice, or the video tapes of the bombing terrorists from the London bombings. Can you find a connection that isn’t sleazy or blatant that works for you?

Have you used current events to attract attention to your site? How?

Update: With Hurricane Rita bearing down on Louisiana and Texas – more hurricane related stories are going to be highly in demand.

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