The media relations landscape has changed as traditional publications have downsized, re-focused online or been eliminated altogether.
Fundamentally, Public Relations serves two groups: The companies that pay for representation and the journalists, analysts, reporters and increasingly, bloggers, that rely on PR professionals as a source of news content.
Ad dollars shifting online combined with changes in consumer information discovery, consumption and sharing habits via the social web present both challenges and opportunities for PR agencies to deliver more value to their clients. That value can be provided through integration of SEO and social media with news content.
In a 2008 Journalists Use of Search Survey by TopRank, 91% of respondents reported using standard search engines to perform activities such as research companies, past media coverage and subject matter experts. In the same study, 64% reported using social networks, 55% use blogs and 50% use Wikis as social media tools.
The increased use of search and social media both by the media and by end consumers should motivate PR professionals to better understand the digital PR strategies and mechanics of successful SEO and social web participation. Keyword research, content optimization and promotion along with link building make up the core of search engine optimization for news content. Press releases, archived webinars, white papers, video, podcasts, blogs and past media coverage are all opportunities for news SEO.
Optimized news content can be combined with social features such as RSS feeds, bookmarking, “Tweet this” and social news submission links. News can be keyword optimized and packaged according to relevant channels whether it’s a press release, social media release, video or blog posts.
Making it easy for journalists or end consumers to find and interact with news content can provide a substantial boost to PR results in a time where the value of PR budgets are in question.
In about 2 weeks I will be doing a session at the PRSA Digital Impact conference on New York about SEO and Public Relations. If you’re in the area, check it out. The whole event has sessions on many digital PR topics with a Keynote from Social Media PR Guru, Brian Solis.