Lee Odden

Leveraging Social Media and SEO for Public Relations


Coming up very quickly next week is the Media Relations Summit in Washington D.C. and I’ll be bringing one of our account managers, Mike Yanke, who works with many of our public relations clients to learn from some of the best and brightest in the PR and media relations industry.

I’ll be joining fellow SEO/social media/PR practitioners Jamie O’Donnell and Sally Falkow, who are both flying in from California, in a session called “Media Relations Unbound: How SEO and Social Media Have Revolutionized Our Reach”. I’m speculating that Greg Jarboe is on yet another exotic island vacation. 🙂

In this session we’ll be providing both high level and practical insight into how public relations practitioners can and should leverage social media and search engine optimization to extend their reach and media relations effectiveness. Here’s the official session description:

“Search engine optimization, citizen journalism, user-generated content and social networks let us reach millions of consumers and prospects—independently of traditional media. Learn how to harness these new vehicles to increase your impact.”

My presentation will cover:

The notion of Push and Pull PR – Push is basically traditional means of news distribution (via wire services) and outreach (via pitching). Pull deals with making it easy for members of the media to find your news via search and social channels. Working together, push and pull PR is a very powerful strategy.

Holistic Content Optimization – Search permeates the web in many forms including images, audio, video and in many formats and platforms, tagging, social networking and communities, news, blogs, shopping, bookmarking, wikis , mobile and the list continues to evolve. Optimization is no longer a tactical execution limited to text – it’s something that in combination with keyword insight, can be incorporated across a company’s communications. It is a holistic perspective that is far more strategic than most marketers are taking advantage of.

Optimization Specific to Public Relations – In the course of executing media relations and PR campaigns, there are content types that can be optimized for push and pull benefit. I will be talking specifically about press release optimization and blog powered media rooms. Optimized releases are easier to find in both news and standard search with pickups providing long term link popularity benefits. A blog powered media room provides a central resource about a company and in some cases, an industry, for the media to subscribe to. News consumption and reporting is changing in a very big way. PR practitioners that keep abreast of these changes and optimize the kinds of content that are unique to PR will gain a competitive advantage.

Extending PR Visibility with Social Media – Along the lines of holistic content optimization is digital asset optimization. Leveraging social media channels provides the ability for news to travel outside the traditional “push” channels of wire service distribution and pitching. However, there are some caveats: social communities do not respond well to direct news and marketing communications. The approach to extending visibility of news must be on the terms of these communities, which is not what most PR practitioners are used to. For example, do not submit press releases to social news site like Digg or Reddit. A more productive approach is to submit coverage of the news to those resources, whether it’s from a mainstream publication or a prominent blog.

I know from the inquiries we get from public relations firms there are many questions about how to best leverage social media and still, search engine optimization to achieve media relations goals. The challenge of accepting these new channels is being overcome and interest levels have risen accordingly. The next challenge is to help PR practitioners understand that optimization is a never ending, moving target. You cannot hang your hat on a certain set of tactics and excel with them long term. As the web changes, so must the strategies of marketers evolve along with tactics.

Media Relations Summit is the largest media relations conference in the world and I’m very much looking forward to it. I will do my best to capture photos and do some blogging while I’m there. I will have some time on Wed to see a bit of D.C. so if there are any Online Marketing Blog readers from or familiar with the area, please make suggestions in the comments.

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.


  1. Avatar Wayne Smallman says

    “For example, do not submit press releases to social news site like Digg or Reddit. A more productive approach is to submit coverage of the news to those resources, whether it’s from a mainstream publication or a prominent blog.”

    Is that PR at all?

    And wouldn’t it be cheaper and easier just to hire the top users of the likes of Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon?

    The playing field is getting tilted one way and then t’other so often, only the basic strategic rules of marketing apply, while the rest seems to be made us we go along!

    But that to me seems to be an artifact of this newfangled social media thing — that the media has to match and meet with the social norms and sensibilities of some very distinct cliques and groups of people.

    All good fun…

  2. That would be very interesting.

    The thing about all of social PR etc is that explaining its benefit to medium to large companies is a nightmare. Hell, even some smaller ones too!

  3. Avatar Karen Bryan says

    I heard that Social Networking sites are a good way to promote your business. I have an UK online travel business so decided to give it a try. Stumbleupon has been the best so far because it has a travel category. You can be upfront about being there for business in your profile. I kick started with a $100 advertising,a couple of weeks ago, showing my website to UK members interested in travel. I spend some time stumbled through random travel sites, highlighting pages I like and emailing members who visit my page. It is beginning to bring results with more visitors coming to the site through stumbleupon. However I think it will take a lot more time and effort which I am prepared to do. I just don’t think there is a cheap easy way to market your business in any industry.


  1. […] Copy, like a lady’s skirt, needs to be long enough to cover the essentials and short enough to be interesting. Leveraging Social Media and SEO for Public Relations […]

  2. […] I’ve written an outline of what I’ll be presenting on over at Online Marketing Blog in a post called, “Leveraging Social Media and SEO for Public Relations“. […]