Tag: PR

Why SEO is a key component of a PR plan in 2016

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.

Technical challenges

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.

Content matters

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.

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Why podcasting is an effective marketing tool

By Matt Sabo, Consociate Media Lead Writer and Media Strategist

We are wired to tell and listen to stories, an ancient method of communication that we’ve used for millennia to help make sense of the world around us.

We relate to stories. We gain insights, arrive at conclusions and learn from them. We experience the range of emotions through storytelling. We marvel, we may be surprised or shocked and we may react in anger or sadness. Often we tell stories to entertain and laugh.

Stories are a way to shrink a very big world and make connections in previously unimaginable ways that cross culture, gender, demographics and even societal status. As a marketing tool, stories are essential to connecting with an audience, whether it’s broad or targeted.

But stories are worthless without an audience; their very purpose is to share. Which makes podcasting a natural fit as a marketing tool to connect with an expansive new audience. It’s verbal storytelling reimagined, repurposed and recast.

One of the beauties of podcasting is its mobility and accessibility, making it a marketing dream. With the advent of smartphones, a podcast can be listened to anywhere — in a car, at an office, in a coffee shop, on a treadmill and a host of other places and even during a host of other activities.

Podcasters can use it as a tool to mold and shape their brand because they can control the message. They can also reach new, untapped audiences and connect with them in inventive ways.

Podcasting is a means to elevating a company’s brand and raising the profile of company executives. By telling their stories, hearing their musings on their successes and failures, what they are focused on, what they value in employees, industry trends — do you get the idea that there’s an endless supply of potential podcast subjects — you can take the audience on a journey inside the company’s walls.

You can also engage with an audience, soliciting questions and comments and building a rapport that you can’t get in other spaces. It’s also a direct line to customers, partners, potential patrons or clients and others.

Another selling point of podcasting is it helps cultivate a company’s cross-pollination efforts by incorporating other social media elements. It can widen a company’s reach as well by reaching out to contacts inside — and even outside — its industry to highlight trends, divulge what’s new, predict the future, tell war stories, frame discussions and offer insights into other topics of interest.

Before getting started, however, there are a couple of essentials to launching a successful podcast. Quality is key and it’s well worth the money — which can be surprisingly inexpensive at an investment under $1,000 — to ensure you have a podcast that sounds professional.

Also, have at least three to five podcast episodes edited and ready to upload and launch a social media blitz in conjunction with their release. You want to get noticed — there’s no point in making the time and effort to do podcasting if no one is listening — and use the tools at your disposal to drive traffic both to your podcast and from your podcast to a website and social media channels.

The times have certainly changed but whether it’s oral storytelling traditions in primitive cultures or podcasting, the story is still the same: It’s about the story.

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Consociate Media Earns Contract With Cybersecurity Firm Sera-Brynn

Consociate Media is pleased to announce it has been named the marketing and public relations firm for Sera-Brynn, a Virginia-based cybersecurity firm recently named 16th in a global list of the top 500 cybersecurity firms to watch in 2015.

Consociate, a marketing, media, public relations and management consulting firm, based in Gloucester, Va., has developed a multi-pronged approach to assist Sera-Brynn educate more of the consumer and business community on the importance of cybersecurity, prevention techniques and evaluation of insurance options to best protect companies and individuals’ private information.

“There is nothing that touches all of our lives more deeply than technology,” said Stephanie Heinatz, Consociate’s Founder and CEO. “To have the opportunity to help Sera-Brynn educate the community on what they can do to protect themselves is an honor. In many ways, we consider what they do a public service.”

Sera-Brynn offers cybersecurity expertise

With headquarters in Suffolk, Va., Sera-Brynn works with companies as small as 15 to 20 employees to Fortune 500 firms with thousands of workers. The company assists clients in securing their computing environments, ensuring their cybersecurity insurance plans adequately cover their needs and meeting mandatory industry and government compliance requirements.

In addition, Sera-Brynn’s services include penetration testing, incident response, security consulting, managed security and other assistance. The company focuses on prevention to keep clients, their businesses, customers and lives safe from cyber-related threats.

Certain types of cybersecurity threats can occur nonstop, said Sera-Brynn co-founder and Chief Operating Officer John Kipp.

“Your jaw would drop,” Kipp said. “Scanning is a perpetual thing. It’s just nonstop.”

Targeted cyber-attacks are highly frequent, as is phishing and other threats. The attacks can even come in the manner of people impersonating tech support workers or showing up as repairmen to gain entry to businesses.

“There are more and more compromises,” Kipp said.

He personally empathizes with victims of cybercrime; not only was he notified recently that his credit card had been compromised but his family was also among the 80 million victims of the recent cybertheft of data from Anthem.

Sera-Brynn educates companies on these types of threats, conducts test threats and offers solutions to ensure cybersecurity.

Kipp drew an analogy of a burglar casing a neighborhood. If you have one or more dogs and home security features but your neighbor doesn’t, which house will be hit?

“He could still break into your house, but it’s a lot more trouble,” Kipp said.

Credit card payment security

Another service offered by Sera-Brynn is as a Payment Card Industry Qualified Security Assessor. Companies that accept, process or transmit credit card data, no matter how small, are required to meet PCI Data Security Standards.

Sera-Brynn helps any size organization or business achieve compliance with these standards. Ignore them at your own risk, Kipp said.

“If you ignore them the bank will usually assess a monthly non-compliance fee,” he said. “And, when you get breached, you can expect legal action against you.’”

Kipp said smaller companies can be devastated by cybercrime because they don’t have the resources to recover from attacks.

Companies such as Target or Home Depot, both of which have been the subjects of well-publicized cyber breaches recently, can tap lines of credit, liquidate assets and take other measures to recover from the crimes.

“A Congressional study found that 60 percent of the smaller businesses that were breached went out of business within six months,” Kipp said. “Why don’t we hear about it? A small company doesn’t make headlines because the consumer impact is less. But collectively, all those small companies add up.”

Branding and promotion

The Sera-Brynn executive team, including Kipp, comes from backgrounds of working with classified information for the federal government and contractors, so self-promotion is a foreign concept.

“You don’t talk about work,” he said.

And some companies they work with to avert cyber threats and assist following breaches don’t exactly want it publicized how Sera-Brynn has helped, he said.

But Kipp said Sera-Brynn executives recognized they needed to get the word out about what they do and how they can help protect businesses and individuals from the growing threat of cybercrime. Using social media, graphic design, advertising and publicity, Sera-Brynn has seen immediate benefits of working with Consociate, Kipp said.

“We had no social media presence before contracting with Consociate, but in a matter of days they were able to get us everywhere we needed to be — and they’re doing an awesome job at keeping it all fresh and interesting,” Kipp said. “We’ve definitely seen an increase in web traffic and direct calls due to their continued support.”

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