There are many intersections between earned media and organic search engine rankings, so it makes sense that they would work well together. The PR industry is in an interesting situation right now with so much of the traditional media world moving to digital media. Whether they admit it or not, journalists rely on PR professionals for a pipeline of stories and information. When journalists lose their jobs, media relations professionals lose an essential reason for being in business.
Even if PR departments and organizations are digitally savvy, there are a good number of reasons (7 in fact) to incorporate search engine optimization into their processes:
Reach Journalists where they’re looking - There are many formal studies as well as our own outreach to the media that have illustrated the changing behavior of journalists, analysts and reporters to use search to do their job of research and reporting the news. Optimizing news content and digital assets presents a significant opportunity to “be” where journalists are looking.
Search extends reach of PR & communications - The content produced by Public Relations departments is of value to many audiences outside of the media. Employees, potential employees, investors, partners, customers and even prospective customers are influenced by news content. Whether it’s a press release or an announcement through video, optimizing what can be searched extends the reach of PR and communications efforts far beyond traditional news distribution channels.
Increase unsolicited media placements – TopRank Online Marketing and many other web sites that optimize and promote news content receive unsolicited mentions from industry news sites, blogs, online and offline publications. Optimizing news content for discovery by search can have an amplifying effect on traditional media relations outreach efforts. When a journalist receives a compelling pitch via email, the natural instinct is to go to Google an search the topic. When your content shows prominently in the search results it can be a one-two punch to capture interest and show credibility.
Bypass media channels: direct to consumer – Increasing numbers of companies are taking to heart, the notion of “brand as publisher” and creating their own content strategies for news. Large companies have owned TV stations, radio stations, newspapers and other publishing channels for as long as they have existed. Why should online media be any different? Optimized content can be searched for and found by anyone: Including consumers or companies researching products and services to buy.
Optimized PR facilitates marketing goals – News content is often syndicated and stories re-published. When links are included, they can serve as a link building effort that directly affects marketing objectives through direct traffic to the company site and increase search visibility due to the influence of links.
Protect your brand & online reputation - As many brands have discovered, it takes just a few upset bloggers with time on their hands and savvy connections to bring unwanted attention to negative and dissenting views. Companies that publish content can ensure some of that content is optimized for brand terms, products, company names and any other brand asset they wish to protect in the search results.
For the most part, one domain name can only display up to 2 search results for a single query. That means content that lives outside of the main corporate web site, such as press releases hosted indefinitely by wire services like PRWeb, can serve to occupy additional search results for your brand name. Don’t wait until someone creates a yourbrandsucks.com web site that ranks #1 for your brand name to start working on your search results reputation. Be proactive about optimizing content on and especially, off the corporate web site for brand names.
Demonstrate more value from PR & Communications - As budgets are cut in Marketing and Public Relations departments, PR needs to do a much better job of showing value. Despite giving SEO workshops and seminars for PR professionals for hundreds of Media Relations, Communications and PR practitioners over the past 3-4 years, most PR firms don’t incorporate SEO.
Those that do, can demonstrate more effective Pull PR results, but can also demonstrate the direct and indirect effect on marketing, customer service, recruiting and investor relations by the search traffic earned through optimized news content.
I’ll be discussing these and many other aspects of how companies can enhance their marketing efforts through optimized Public Relations at the Vocus User’s Conference in Washington D.C. today. Actually, I’ll be attending the event today to see Brian Solis and many others. I will be giving my presentation on Friday morning, right after David Meerman Scott does one of his famous keynotes.
At the same time, TopRank’s Adam Singer is in Toronto, for the Search Engine Strategies conference. He’s presenting on a similar topic that also includes a substantial consideration of social media along with search engine optimization and digital PR.
If you’re attending either event, please be sure to connect with Adam or I afterwards. If you’re liveblogging either event and these sessions in particular, be sure to let us know so we can link to your post in our roundup.