The current age of online marketing is showing a need for integrating public relation strategies with those of your SEO campaign. Studies have made it increasingly clear why these two fields should coordinate together. One of the core goals for your marketing strategy should be to continually build and nurture relationships throughout your community, and this is precisely what a well thought out plan that incorporates the best from both these worlds will do. Understanding how to maximize these efforts together is the key to a holistic approach to marketing.
The Human Element
As a recent Forbes article points out, content has become the glue that binds search engine optimization and public relations together. The best pieces online are those that are clearly designed for people and not computers. The goal is to engage your audience through a story that develops a connection. However, if you’ve done the right research, the practices of SEO can influence the likelihood it is viewed and then shared across the web.
Many problems of digital marketing can be solved through the efforts of public relations. For example, an important determinant for SEO is identifying the target audience and creating an online persona for the product or brand being advertised. Traditional methods of public relations can be used to create this online persona, through online and offline research, surveys and CRM databases. PR professionals are skilled in market research and can thus provide the human element, the yin to the SEO yang.
Authority and Trust
Google’s algorithm for ranking websites is rewarding sites that are trusted sources within their niches. That’s why SEO experts are giving more attention to analytical metrics such as Domain Authority and Trust Flow when developing their content calendars. Since an important part of link building relies on professional outreach, those well versed in public relations will have more success in seeking out relationships with those leaders of influence.
A Symbiotic Cycle
The process can work like this:
- Preplanning: Use SEO techniques to identify trusted and well ranked sources to promote your content. Incorporate PR to reach out to professionals, publishers, bloggers, and others it will take to accomplish your goals.
- Content Development: In creating content, use SEO to identify important keywords, anchor text, surrounding text that should be placed organically in the piece. Use research from PR to bring the human element forward in the content, identify the story, the tone, what will be the connection to the reader. Your content should be tailored made to fit into where it will be published. Show publishers you’re not just interested in using them for the link juice they’ll provide, but that you want this to be an ongoing relationship that benefits both parties mutually.
- Promotion: By building a positive relationship with your publisher you are creating a strong ally in your efforts to have your content go as viral as possible. Not only will you have your audience to spread the message to, but if you have nurtured the partnership properly, they will join you in promotion, multiplying the extent of your reach.
PR campaigns are given valuable feedback from SEO research which provides concrete details to otherwise ambiguous outcomes that can be used to inform future projects.
Since links are shared organically through various social media channels, Google is slowly but surely looking at social media as an indicator of trust. You can use SEO to identify which channels are most appropriate for your audience, and focus your PR efforts around that knowledge.
The goals of SEO and PR are similar, in that their strategies revolve around gaining and maintaining attention on the brand. Social Media is the perfect place for these discussions to take place. SEO experts can help determine how your online audience interacts within your industry and community, while your Public Relations team monitors and advises the actual communication.
For instance, it’s become increasingly popular for apologies to be handled through social media. Sports pundit Jim Rome is a noted antagonist whose abrasive manner actually led to an athlete attempting to attack him during an interview, and he recently came under fire for this tweet:
Band members fought back on Twitter, eventually surfacing hashtags such as #marchonrome and #dorkswin. Rome has over a million Twitter followers, and it is the social media platform he engages in most with his audience. He quickly deleted the tweet once bombarded by messages from upset followers and issued this apology:
The lesson here, is when controversy develops, the best PR response can be to speak directly to your audience through the most appropriate social media channel, which your SEO manager can identify through research on their end. Remember, the foundation to SEO and PR is establishing trust, and people are more likely to respond well to a sincere apology outside of the filter that comes with speaking through traditional media. In this instance, Rome found a way to control the message, ended up winning some respect for his response, and ultimately put the flames out on a potential growing fire.
So now that you understand the shared interests between SEO and PR, it’s time to make sure that the left hand knows what the right hand is doing. Create meetings each week where both groups are involved in project planning, and look for ideas on how each side can contribute to the other’s efforts. When it comes to planning events, PR stunts, or arranging your long range content calendar, you’re doing yourself a great disservice if you’re not asking yourself a vital question, how can SEO compliment my PR campaign, and vice versa.