Public relations is an integral part of any full service advertising campaign. A public relations campaign improves the company’s relationship with the local community. These campaigns can work in a way that not only improves your relationship with the community, but also increases your SEO.
SEO often has its own strategy — and by manipulating your public relations (PR) strategy to fall in line with SEO, businesses can achieve maximum reach. Professional SEO specialists can help companies develop a clear vision of how PR and SEO can work together.
What Does Public Relations Entail?
Many people believe that PR is as simple as image management and restoration; while this is certainly one function of PR, there are many others as well. These facets may be known as something other than PR, but with such a wide variety of avenues it is likely that your company is participating in some form of public relations — whether you know it or not.
Social media marketing for example is certainly a form of PR. Presenting your company to the public on Facebook and Twitter and interacting with customers and the general public is not only a good PR strategy, but it works great for SEO as well.
Understanding the multiple facets of PR helps companies identify new avenues in which to implement their SEO campaigns.
Now Add the SEO
Making your keywords match your philanthropic ideals is one key way to align your public relations campaign with your SEO strategy. This general tactic can be implemented everywhere from blog posts to Facebook.
Say your company wants to gain public favor with local Utah residents. As part of this outreach effort your company decides to help raise awareness of endangered Utah wildlife. By involving other Utah businesses and developing a cohesive PR strategy, your business can help Utah wildlife and your company reputation at the same time.
Through the use of relevant keywords in your blog and social media posts about your wildlife outreach efforts and by adding links to these articles, you can increase brand recognition and Web page traffic.
Making room for SEO in your content calendar helps companies to expand their reach. As PR broadens a company’s digital horizons, SEO helps target those horizons and send a company in the right direction.
The world of SEO is constantly evolving. Long gone are the days when buying links was still viewed as an acceptable practice (try that now, and you’ll be punished accordingly by Google). And as the world of search marketing continues to change, one thing is becoming increasingly clear. Google and other search engines value quality content (and quality links) far more than an incredibly large usage of keywords or other practices. And as a result, the lines between quality digital public relations work and good SEO are becoming increasingly blurred.
As Business2Community recently noted, “Both PR and SEO practitioners need to be awesome at creating great content, skilled at running outreach [and] brilliant at building relationships.” These tactics are not only essential for being a top-notch public relations professional, but will also play a key role in getting your company to the top of the search rankings. Here’s how.
It Starts With Content
The baseline for any successful public relations effort starts with generating quality content. Whether it’s presenting well-organized data through an appealing infographic, creating a video that provides a more in-depth look at a particular topic or even simply writing informative, well-written blog posts, quality content is the basis of everything digital marketers should be trying to accomplish.
Why is that? Any public relations practitioner worth his salt knows that a key part in generating results in the world of SEO is establishing oneself as an accessible industry leader. And the best way to do that is by presenting your knowledge and expertise through (you guessed it) content. By presenting information that is useful and helpful to your audience (ie. your customers and potentially your industry at large), you show Google and other influencers that you really know what you’re talking about.
This isn’t to say that the commonly-cited SEO practices of using appropriate keywords, incorporating images, etc. should be tossed aside. But by writing to help your audience and share your expertise and then optimizing for SEO, you are much more likely to create that quality content that is becoming increasingly valued in today’s digital sphere.
The benefits of this are two-fold. First, quality content, when housed on your site or containing links to it, provides a significant SEO boost. More often than not, this content can be one of the biggest factors in determining whether your site moves up or down in search result rankings. Second, establishing yourself as an industry authority makes it easier to accomplish the other public relations goals—influencer outreach and building relationships.
Reaching and Using Influencers
Another key component of public relations that can also pay big dividends for your SEO efforts is influencer outreach. The Internet has made this somewhat easier than before—most journalists and industry influencers are quite active on Twitter, LinkedIn and other digital media platforms, but the fact remains that successfully reaching out is still quite often easier said than done.
After all, you can’t simply blast a stock email message promoting your latest, greatest blog post and expect it to get huge results. More likely than not, such messages will simply be deleted and possibly even get you blocked as a spammer on Twitter and other networks.
First things first, you need to research influencers for your particular industry. Figure out what they like and don’t like. And don’t try to sell yourself (or your content) right off the bat. Brandwatch recommends “following them on Twitter, [liking] their posts, [and commenting] on their blog.” Actual engagement with influencers’ content (such as commenting on an article with your own, non-salesy insights) will get you on their radar in a good way.
If you do things the right way, this will likely allow for you to generate online conversations with the influencer as you comment on and share his or her content. This in turn builds a positive relationship with said influencer, which will subsequently make him or her more likely to share your content or accept your guest post idea when you pitch them.
What does this have to do with SEO, you might ask? These public relations efforts may not immediately bear fruit in helping you move up the search rankings, but the promotion of your content or publication of a guest post by an industry influencer can do wonders for your site traffic. And it’s much easier to get that promotion if you’ve already established a solid relationship with an influencer and proven that you can produce quality content of your own.
After all, influencers are called influencers for a reason. These individuals are viewed as authority figures, and as such, tend to have large digital followings. If such a person were to share a link to your site’s latest blog post, you have tapped into a potentially much larger audience than you have ever had access to before. Guest blogging on an influencer’s site also provides the opportunity to reach these larger audiences and gain authoritative links back to your own site. But in order to get an influencer to be willing to do this for you, you must build and maintain a meaningful digital relationship.
These influential shares in turn boost SEO rankings as your site gains higher engagement and high-quality backlinks. Of course, before reaching out to influencers for guest blogging and other opportunities, be sure that their content and site are actually of high quality. You don’t want to accidentally hurt your SEO by posting on a lower-quality site.
By combining these public relations and SEO practices, digital marketers can improve their clients’ search rankings and achieve the long-lasting success that yields real results.
In the world of PR, sometimes it feels like you’re pitching into a big empty space and the only person responding is your own echo. Digital marketing firms who understand the importance of getting a story out there know this process can be rough. From ignored phone calls to blocked emails, everyone has taken his turn at rejection.
If you’re having a particularly difficult time getting journalists to notice your pitches, it might be time to take a step back and take closer look at your strategy. Based off of common journalist pet peeves and expert advice, here are a few things to keep in mind before you send that next email.
As far as marketing agencies are concerned, the world of professional communications is no stranger to change. What was once very much a field built upon yellow legal pads and ink pens is currently digital in every facet of its existence.
As a direct byproduct of such a change, public relations—and the innumerable specialists and managers who work in said field—have had to adapt their communicative tactics to account for the transformation.
Long gone are the days when traditional reporters, direct mail and simple phone pitches earned proper media placement. Interested in a few more of the specifics? Take a look at the following infographic to see what’s presently going down in the world of PR:
Defining the subtle differences between advertising, marketing and public relations can be a difficult endeavor, even for the country’s most successful ad agencies. While answers certainly exist as to what barely separates and drives the booming communicative fields, most communications professionals have always felt that—on the flip side of things—content marketing and digital PR were held at opposite ends of the spectrum by way of huge distinguishing factors.
In reality, however, the overlap is prominent, to say the least. In fact, so joined at the hip are the two practices that—sooner, rather than later—you’re bound to hear the term “Content PR” being tossed around down at the office. Needless to say, whether it’s content marketing or digital PR that you consider your God-given forte, there’s bound to be a heavy mixture of both advertorial tactics.
As an improved spinoff of traditional marketing, content marketing is focused primarily on the creation and distribution of meaningful content which, when consumed, both engages and acquires a target audience. Interestingly enough, PR strives to do something very similar: build rapport and trust with a predetermined demographic. In time, as the aforementioned specialties continue to evolve, the dividing line of separation between content marketing and PR promises to become thin.
Distribution Is Just as Important as Production
Does the term “churnalism” ring a bell? You might’ve heard it mentioned a few times during an introductory journalism course in college or while working an entry-level gig at any one of America’s many ad agencies. “Churnalism” refers to a writing style that’s centered on quantity, rather than quality.
When done properly, content marketing needn’t be an activity in speedwriting; moreover, an exercise that aims to examine the questions and concerns of consumers—a very PR-driven concentration, in its own right—and address them through published content. Sure, production is important for content marketing to take effect, but it means absolutely nothing without sound distribution techniques.
This is where PR comes into play for marketing agencies. Content marketers and their respective agencies tend to allocate the majority of their publication efforts towards channels that they rightfully own and manage. Owned media helps with long-term growth, search-engine rank and becoming an industry-specific thought leader, but there’s more out there to be discovered.
On the other hand, PR spotlights the importance of earned media. Of the matter, says ContentMarketingInstitute.com, “Key elements of marketing are to attract an even greater audience, lead pool, and increasing brand awareness. While content marketing beefs up one’s owned-media outlets, PR bolsters earned media and likely garners new eyes for a brand.”
Brand Reputation Is Strengthened With Every Link Hit
Blogs are important and most content marketers already know it. They have to know it, seeing as how they spend countless hours crafting engaging posts for both blog subscribers and those who might stumble upon their site through random Google searches or social posts. With that in mind, however, blogs aren’t necessarily the most important thing for content marketers and the agencies at which they work.
Let’s say, for example, that the CEO of your tech startup has a new app update that he or she would like to announce to the world. Obviously, a well-written blog post should be crafted to help get the word out. When shared through a company’s numerous social platforms, people are going to learn not only what said update is and how it can help them, but how they can get their hands on it.
That being said, blogs aren’t always the perfect solution for agencies. The problem with blog posts lies in the fact that there’s a certain self-serving stigma that surrounds them. Now, imagine if The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal wrote a piece on your startup’s newest app update. Not only would more people know about it, but they’d be more inclined to believe that such an update could really help them. If this sounds like a worthwhile pursuit, go nab your closest PR representative and get to work on gaining coverage.
Content Marketers Must Think About the Bigger Picture
Writing purists will argue that the world’s greatest authors wrote, write or will write for writing’s sake. This sort of utilitarian approach is fine, but usually there’s a greater good that’s being accomplished. In the case of the aforementioned authors, making a living, providing for loved ones or presenting an important message all might take the proverbial cake as a main motivating factor.
As far as agencies are concerned, content marketing is no different. At its core is a heavy editorial skill set, but there’s so much more that’s being accomplished through the strategic writing process that’s often forgotten. Content marketing agencies must remember that they’re not writing to meet deadlines or to fulfill a quota; they’re working to better serve digital audiences healthy doses of incredible stories, industry-shaping news and groundbreaking ideas.
More often than not, PR helps content marketers fine-tune the emphasis being placed on the public. In the process, fresh insights, new angles and creative perspectives are formed and implemented.
Truthfully, it shouldn’t matter if it’s a basic blog composition or a bit for The Huffington Post, if a target group is kept in mind right from the very start, the end result will be worthy of everyone’s time and energy. With a similar goal driving both content marketing and PR, it won’t be long until “content PR” becomes a mainstay of any communications team.
If you were to go up to just about anybody on the street and ask them to speak of the differences between marketing and public relations, odds are that you’d find yourself hunting for the answer for quite some time. Though subtle, the differences between the two advertorial fields are gargantuan enough that, in recent months, some of the world’s largest and most successful marketing agencies have opened their own PR divisions.
In December of 2014, for example, Havas Worldwide Johannesburg made way for Havas PR to come into full effect. Likewise, just this month, the Black Snow Group decided to take the PR plunge. Could the biggest of PR’s pillars and marketing differentiators—relationship/reputation maintenance, networking and procurement of owned media—really be enough to push the globe’s biggest powerhouses of marketing into full-fledged PR involvement? Apparently, many certainly feel so. Here’s why:
1) The Field of Communications Is Changing
Simply put, traditional marketing no longer works and marketing agencies have taken notice. Yes, there are a few industries that might still benefit from a radio advertisement or highway billboard, but they are few and far between. What was once television commercials and flyers is now sponsored tweets and link-driven articles. No longer do consumers—regardless of industry—want to feel that they’ve been sold.
Instead, they’re demanding transparency and quality with the information that’s being given them. For that very reason, social media and SEO-driven article integration have taken the marketing world by storm. In the near future, in order for complex marketing solutions to be both developed and implemented, public relations will need to play an important role.
2) From a Business Standpoint, PR Is a Necessity
While marketing and advertising certainly fall under the canopy of “professional communications,” public relations, when combined with the aforementioned disciplines, ensures that all communicative channels are efficiently addressed. Long gone are the days when funds devoted to public relations where considered expendable.
Says Chris Verrijdt, Head of Havas PR, “These days, with information being consumed at the rate and across the channels it is, it would be naïve to keep PR out of the mix. Earned and owned media are integral to the conversation our clients have with their customers. Real time and right time communication is a necessity rather than a luxury.”
3) Through PR, the Client Always Comes Out On Top
Truthfully, it’s nearly impossible that a client fail to benefit from the services offered by a reputable PR team. Marketing agencies—specifically content marketing agencies—from all over the world can agree on one thing: “content is king.”
At this point, it’s the biggest buzz-centric phrase that the realm of professional communications has to offer, but it’s true. Public relations places a great deal of emphasis on content and, through content, the solidifying of a specific brand as an industry leader.
By creating helpful, informative content, not only is reputation enhanced, but leaders, potential clients and investors are drawn to a business. Needless to say, whatever your specific company’s marketing needs may be, public relations can help.
For most, the differences between marketing, advertising and public relations are seemingly insignificant and hard to define. While marketing and advertising agencies might have their own specific explanations as to why one is more important than the other, generally speaking, both marketing and advertising take a first-person, representative approach to product and service pushing, while public relations opts for a more distant, removed approach.
Though both can be performed by marketing agencies in a respectable, ethical manner during this—the digital age of communication—digital public relations strategies are proving to be the more favorable option.
An Advertorial Atrocity
In recent years, both advertising and marketing have made it a point to interrupt potential clients in an effort to divert their attention from smartphones, tablets, laptops or flatscreen television sets to something of a more commercial nature.
Well, unfortunately for those who subscribe to this sort of advertising philosophy, the customer revolution is in full swing. Recent studies have shown that 60% of consumers feel more negatively about advertising than they did in the past. Additionally, 61% view advertising as a forced, intrusive and out of control industry. Lastly, and perhaps most disheartening, 65% of people genuinely consider themselves overwhelmed by advertisers. Victims of the process, if you will.
The Value of Digital Media
The perfect solution for marketing agencies is not only public relations, but more specifically digital media. Presenting itself through valuable formats such as graphic design, web design, video production, content marketing and—most powerfully—social media, digital media appears to be here to stay.
Consider the following: one in nine people on earth are on Facebook. Of those people, each user spends an average of 15 hours and 33 minutes a month on the site. YouTube, a different network with similar social roots, lays claim to 490 million unique visitors every month. Their activity on YouTube generates about 92 billion page views per month. All across the digital media board, trends are strikingly similar.
Public Relations as a Viable Solution
“The customer is always right,” claims an old sales adage. Wiser sales-centric words have yet to have been spoken, especially for outdated marketing agencies. As far as the world of public relations is concerned, however, there needn’t be any glittering generalities, reading of subtle nonverbal communications methods or sly hard closing maneuvers.
The field focuses on providing something of value to consumers, more often than not, through reliable journalists, news outlets and publications. Take, for example, the new, up-and-coming practice of content marketing: on average, American marketers spend one-fourth of their budgets on content marketing. In fact, 70% of people say that content marketing makes them feel closer to a sponsoring company.
Furthermore, with respect to the value of widespread public appeal, testimonials have been known to increase sales by 250% or more. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that 75% of buying decisions are based on emotion.
All the world’s marketing agencies are more than familiar with the cutthroat state of their craft of choice. In order to gain a competitive edge, an additional, conscious emphasis must be placed on a target audience through digital public relations. Soon enough, with an increase of satisfied clients on the horizon, you’ll be glad you did.
Any and all marketing agencies here in Utah—and in other parts of the country, for that matter—are quickly discovering that the timely, routine creation of quality content is one of the best ways to get your business and/or product noticed. Though content marketing in its current, digital, SEO-centric fashion is a relatively new advertorial trend for small and large businesses alike, the tactic of providing target audiences with valuable information as a way of both gaining trust and building a pool of potential clients has been around for over a century. Whatever your feelings are towards content marketing, one truth remains constant: this method of advertising has existed for longer than most people realize.
On July 31, 1993, “Two Princes,” a song by the New York City-based band Spin Doctors, reached no. 7 in the United States. After the song’s initial release, however, it was all downhill for the one-hit-wonder of a band. In fact, Blender magazine gave the song its no. 21 spot on its “50 Worst Songs Ever” list. Fortunately, when people mention the term “spin doctors” in today’s day and age, rarely are they referring to the gosh-awful 90s band; moreover, they’re speaking of one of the world’s fastest growing industries: public relations.
Public relations firms and—in many instances, marketing agencies—have the task of maintaining a favorable public image for their respective clients. Currently, that’s primarily accomplished through digital means: social media, content marketing, top-tier digital publications, etc. With respect to public relations, seeing as how things are drastically different now than they’ve ever been before, it’s interesting to take a peek into the past to see what’s worked.
Any one of America’s many marketing agencies will be more than willing to talk your ear off about the importance of blogging in today’s digital world of communication. Unbeknownst to hermits, the socially inept and those creepy adults who continue to live with the confines of their parents respective basements, blogging isn’t only for soccer moms with too much time on their hands; it’s for everyone, especially up-and-coming businesses.
Simply put, if you’re looking to increase your market reach and attractivity with the United States’ most powerful entity — The Google Machine — blogging is a must. Though the practice requires a great deal of upkeep, your guaranteed increase in productivity, revenue and digital recognition will be well worth the time and effort.