A clash of old and new is bound to happen in any walks of life.
But often two can also coexist and complement one another. In business, digital marketing has taken over traditional advertising in recent years. But some of the conventional advertising methods are still being used.
It’s no different in how businesses use PR (public relations) tactics to build brand awareness.
While traditional PR relies on organic approach of developing relationships in person, digital marketing mainly focuses on SEO and analytics such as traffic stats, search engine ranking and domain authority.
These two disciplines seem like two different entities, but a business can find more ways to succeed when they work together to achieve the same goal.
What is PR?
PR (Public relations) refers to businesses or organizations’ strategic efforts of reaching out to media to create a positive brand perception among the public.
In other words, you try to spread the good word about your business by reaching out to media.
If your company was featured in a magazine or on TV, it’s kind of big deal, isn’t it?
It gives you exposure and credibility. By nature PR doesn’t intend to promote sales unlike advertising.
For example, a radio show or podcast might interview you and ask about what exactly your business does and you have a chance to tell that to people out there.
It’s easy to mix up PR with advertising, but the goal of advertising is making profit while PR intends to create a brand awareness and positive perception among the public.
Different types of PR campaigns
- Print: press release, newspaper, magazine feature story, interview
- Radio and television: interview
- Online: online press release, social media, podcast, interview
The thing about advertising is, today people are becoming more weary of ads.
According to NewsCred, 86% of people skip television ads.
But a TV show interviewing your company or publication writing a feature article about your brand can bring a lot of exposure.
Old School PR Vs New School PR
PR has been around for more than a century, as early as 1906. Some of the traditional PR tactics include events, trade shows, sponsorship opportunities and press releases, phone calls, emails, and face-to-face meetings.
New school PR – digital marketing or SEO – has been around only since the inception of the Internet, and heavily relies on technology.
More recently, social media marketing has evolved and the line between old and new has become blurry.
You might think these are two separate entities, but today traditional PR and SEO need one another to achieve greater SEO results, more specifically, link building and ultimately, business success.
So, how exactly do SEO and PR work together?
Before talking about how your SEO and PR strategies can work together to build more links, here is a little bit of background…
The Days of Black Hat Techniques Are Long Gone
Google’s Penguin Algorithm change in 2012 drastically changed how marketers and content creators publish content.
Previously, putting a bunch of keywords on your page worked fine and it ranked in search engines easily. But today competition has become much more fierce and you need quality content and well-thought out strategies to rank well.
Quality over Quantity
Now a few years after the Penguin, Google puts much more emphasis on quality of content.
Quality content is what draws people to the site and it’s the backbone of everything.
However, nowadays with more and more businesses turning to digital and publishing content of similar nature, it’s very hard to stand out from the pack even if you are publishing decent quality content.
Use Traditional PR to Build More Links
Another one of Google algorithm factors that influences search engine ranking is the number of backlinks you have from authoritative sites.
From an SEO perspective, there are a number of ways to earn links from other sites. Just to name a few, they are:
- Long form blog post
- case study
But we all know crafting compelling content everyone wants to link to is time-consuming and requires talent.
If you try to build links in a shady way, you might even get penalized by Google, so that’s not what you want to do.
Earning links requires hard work for sure.
And that’s where traditional PR (public relations) comes in.
But chances are, I don’t know if your company has a PR team.
The good news is that today social media has become digital PR tools and they are available to anyone.
So, how you present yourself on social media and beyond to people out there is all up to you.
How Should Your SEO and PR Strategies Work Together for Link building?
1. Educate each other
In today’s digital marketing landscape, writing for both people and SEO is equally important. Therefore, it just makes sense for SEO and PR to work together and become one force.
They both create content, but with a little bit of different focus.
SEOs create content with the focus on analytics such as traffic stats, search engine ranking and domain authority. They research keywords and try to drive traffic to the site. Data tells you what adjustments you need to make.
PRs create content with the focus on engaging content and developing relationships with outreach (journalists, TV stations, bloggers and influencers).
I know earning media coverage like TV, radio or magazine isn’t easy, but approaching bloggers or social media influencers is more doable.
So, an SEO team could use some help from a PR team with people skills.
A PR team may not be all that familiar with an on-page optimization technique and keyword research.
So, if a PR and SEO team put their heads together, it can boost your chances of success.
2. Communicate Each Oher to Arrange Outreach
In marketing, outreach is a strategy where organizations or individuals reach out to influencers in their industry or journalists with the aim of building relationships.
And then influencers could interview them or write a story about their business to promote them to the public.
An SEO team can target bloggers in their niche, and a PR team can contact media outlets or social media influencers they know.
If a PR team already has relationships with well-known journalists or media members, it can help earn media coverage and later on earn links.
Before doing outreach, both teams need to communicate with each other and make sure not to contact the same person twice.
3. Create Newsworthy, Unique Content
So, what makes your outreach more successful?
You want someone else to promote you and say good things about your company, right?
First and foremost, your content needs to be unique or newsworthy. If not, why do people out there want to read an article about your company?
Building links might be SEO’s focus, but without share worthy content your outreach will not go as far as you would like.
So, the link shouldn’t be the focal point of your outreach. Content should naturally generate curiosity and as a result should get journalists and influencers get excited about it.
2. Optimize Your Press Release
With most businesses having online presence nowadays, many businesses use digital press releases to increase their visibility.
Some people believe that press releases are dead, especially after Google’s Matt Cutts stated in 2013 that press release links don’t hold SEO power.
But newsworthy stories such as product launch, event announcement can generate interest and indirectly affect SEO.
That said, publishing a press release solely for link building purposes can end up being only spammy. So, you shouldn’t leave links excessively and over-optimize.
To write a well-optimized press release, you should:
- Be clear about who you are writing for.
- Do keyword research and choose a few keywords according to the goal of that release.
- Avoid using too many links. Use only one or two links with rel=”nofollow”.
As is the case with outreach, an SEO team should work with a PR team to help optimize the page.
Social media has evolved to the point where now it became a great PR tool for anyone who wants to have online presence.Whether old school or new school, if you combine social and technical aspects, you can make SEO and PR strategies work together. You will maximize your potentials that much more.