By Amanda Kerr, Consociate Media Writer and Media Strategist
Public Relations is a time honored pillar of entrepreneurial endeavors for any business.
The role of a PR team is to nurture and maintain a favorable relationship between consumers (i.e. the public) and a company. Traditionally PR has taken the form of messaging, branding, press releases and earned media through news outlets, such as newspapers, television or radio.
But in today’s digital world, those time honored methods just aren’t enough to make sure your business’ message is being heard. Search Engine Optimization, commonly referred to as SEO, must be a key component of any PR plan in 2016. It’s the only way to make sure your company isn’t getting lost in the Internet jungle.
Goals and strategy
The intersection of SEO and PR is a natural one when you think about it. Much like PR, maximizing SEO requires understanding your audience and setting clear goals and objectives.
What is it that you want to achieve with your digital presence? What do your website traffic numbers look like now and how can they be improved? All of these questions must be answered in order to define your SEO strategy.
Then you have to take that data and merge it with the tastes and preferences of your audience. What kind of information do you want to share with consumers? What kind of platforms does your audience prefer? And what tone and style should your content contain that will appeal to potential customers, while meeting your SEO goals?
The best way to create a PR plan that incorporates SEO is to think about each campaign as it comes. If a campaign includes an upcoming event, think of real phrases people may search for and incorporate them as part of your SEO and content strategy. Then concentrate on maximizing content reach by promoting the event on the website and through social media.
Now you’re creating a partnership between SEO and PR.
Just blending SEO and PR strategies isn’t enough, however, to guarantee success. SEO can become a little tricky in the ranking systems and algorithms search engines use to position a company’s website.
Researching keywords and searcher intent are critical to having solid SEO performance. But remember words and tags you incorporate into your content should be authentic and carefully selected. Wildly peppering your website with keywords can actually hurt more than it helps. Search engines, such as Google, penalize websites that overuse keywords.
How well your website functions can also impact SEO. Things like user friendly features, speed, design and conversion rates matter, too.
And are you successfully using link backs to drive web traffic? Search engines evaluate incoming links when ranking a website. High quality SEO content can help attract incoming links from social media, bloggers and news outlets. Getting those links in front of the right audience can improve your SEO success.
Once you fix any technical barriers to SEO success, then you’re back to matters of PR. In the world of the Internet and SEO having fresh, organic content is crucial to keeping your business’ website relevant to search engines.
What does good content look like you ask? Well, it could be blog posts, press releases, website content, white papers, case studies, product copy, podcasts or visual content. But don’t go crazy. Keep any content, whichever form you decide to pursue, meaningful, informative and valuable to your audience.
Having reputable content matters in the world of SEO. A plethora of marginally useful copy laden with keywords isn’t the way to go. Quality over quantity should always win out.
Good content should bring consumers to your website, keep them there and hopefully convince them to make a purchase. Regardless of what form that content takes, it must effectively communicate your business’ values, services and brand.
The most important thing to remember is this: tell your story well. When you do that, the rest will fall into place.