7 methods to effectively blend SEO & PR
Take away the fancy acronyms and scientific methods of ranking in Google and what are we left with? Just marketing.
Beneath the hype and buzzwords, it always boils down to the same concept: hard-earned relationships.
It could be argued that such relations underpin pretty much everything we do online. Without them, a marketer’s job could be likened to climbing a wall of sand.
PR has evolved. Remember when press releases were sent out solely for 'brand exposure'? Nobody worried about optimizing releases for search engines or distributing the news across nine social media platforms! SEO has followed suit in its advancement; gone are the days when you could rank number one in Google after buying 5,000 backlinks.
Times have changed. Forget the job titles. Unify your perceptions of SEO and PR to successfully propel your brand into greater realms.
1. Break down the silos between SEO and PR.
They are now one in the same. Make a conscious effort to connect with all marketing teams in your company in a bid to create a multi-pronged strategy; even something as simple as a weekly internal email to keep everybody up-to-date with current projects, encouraging collaboration and input. This will ultimately become more powerful than any single-channel campaign.
Is your SEO team targeting a link on an authoritative website? Perhaps the PR team has an existing relationship with the editor there. These opportunities are easily missed if internal communication is poor.
2. Encourage regular cross-agency meetings if you hire multiple agents to look after each channel of marketing.
This will ensure all projects are harmonious and squeezed to their full potential.
With 25 percent of brands saying customer experience (and the value it brings) is key to success, it would be hugely neglectful to treat your agency partners as separate entities. This divide will not only interfere with internal flow, but will become obvious to your potential customers through disjointed marketing campaigns and inconsistent messaging across each of your channels.
3. Focus your efforts on relationships.
Forget SEO in its literal sense. Relationships will earn you great links and guest posts time and time again. My inclusion in this article and numerous others is the result of exactly that. Be sure to target your efforts and be patient. This process can span weeks, months or years but it's always worth it. Be genuine, show personality and always take the time to lend a hand if needed. This is imperative.
Social media is a great place to start. Listen to what your followers and fans are saying. Hear what your competitors are discussing. Who's influential in your industry and how socially active are they?
Keep your ear to the ground with tools like Hootsuite and Social Mention, then schedule time to interact with those who can open gateways.
Reach out to these people through a friendly tweet or email and don't be afraid to be direct when the time feels right.
4. Apply modern SEO to press releases.
Create a 500-1000 word piece for your website (with internal links) and provide a trimmed down version to be syndicated across PR distribution networks. In the syndicated version, ensure all links are naked URLs and apply the ‘nofollow’ attribute. Also ensure anyone who uses your content applies cross domain canonical tags to direct Google to yours as the master piece.
This can be taken a step further by applying a four-step combo of industry tools:
Use Ahrefs to discover all the websites who used your content (view your recent nofollow links within the tool). Now, use Muck Rack to discover the best people to tap up within those companies, exploring opportunities for guest posts where you can gain targeted, ‘followed’ links from their websites to yours.
Followed links pass equity (SEO juice) from one website to another and help with Google rankings.
Monitor the effect of such juicy links by using SEMrush – one of the most comprehensive yet intuitive SEO apps I have used since the beginning of my career. You can monitor organic market share using this tool, which is very handy and saves heaps of time when reporting.
Another tool I’ve recently been testing is CanIRank – different to the others I’ve used, it actually provides you with actionable suggestions to increase your ranking potential. (Pretty nifty if you’re brand new to SEO and ideal for those in PR looking to learn optimisation techniques.)
5. Always spend time researching the best person to contact for opportunities.
Editors, content managers, community managers and PR specialists are great starting points. Find who's most active on social media using tools like Followerwonk and Buzzsumo. I covered these actionable techniques from the ground up on Salesforce.
Minimize your efforts chasing the CEO or brand accounts. This is usually ineffective, although I have been fortunate using this technique in the past. It all depends on circumstance. Test and test some more to find what works for you.
6. Give, then take. In that order.
Nobody is going to listen if you don't offer them something in return. Naturally, content crafters will love to take your fresh content – it helps them provide more great perspectives to their readership and they also gain the reach of your audience.
You can also consider going above and beyond; provide them with a feature in your next big piece, including a large head-shot of your contact and regular shares of the piece to your social media channels.
Perhaps they could provide some expert advice on a blog roundup you're working on. For instance, if you provide SaaS which can assist their business model, offer an exclusive free trial so they can test the platform. Never expect something for nothing. Apply the ‘you scratch my back’ mentality.
7. Keep track of all outreach and communications using industry-recognized tools (ideal for solopreneurs and large teams alike).
I would be lost without some of my favourite outreach tools – give them a try:
Sidekick simply connects with MS Outlook to track when/if your emails have been opened or if any links have been clicked.
Buzzstream quickly scours any website you visit at the touch of a button in your browser, retrieving the owner’s details and all their social profile information.
Muck Rack is an intuitive, all in one hub for outreach campaigns. It allows you to organise your media lists and sends meaningful alerts to your email inbox in real-time. So, whenever journos tweet or even link to articles based on your criteria, you’ll know about it. Muck Rack even collates total social shares for these articles as an extra quick analysis tool.
We no longer live in a world of silos. Business isn’t any different – marketing teams must collaborate to become successful. Process is critical, without it you might as well launch your new product or service in the dark...
If the above tips are new to you, it’s never too late to make a change. Begin enforcing a solid internal structure and workflow which makes communication between teams enjoyable, practical and beneficial.
Play to your brand’s strengths and listen to what your staff or colleagues are saying. Feedback is crucial so never dismiss it. Frustrations may come in the form of budget restrictions, time and disorganisation. Fortunately, all of these issues can be rectified through weekly team meetings which additionally aids the ‘togetherness’ of a company. SEO and PR campaigns rely on unity!
Photo: Search engine via Shutterstock