Public relations (PR) and search engine optimization (SEO) are two vital aspects of any business looking to grow or stay relevant in today’s market. All too often, though, these two sides of the business are not interconnected – and therefore are missing out on key cross-departmental benefits.
This happens, in part, because SEO specialists aren’t traditionally trained in PR, and vice versa. That’s where a little cross-training can go a long way toward true collaboration that will get results.
The PR team deals with content, media relations, materials, and messaging. SEO, on the other hand, is also centered on content but focuses more on areas like analytics, online data, and research.
But that line between PR and SEO teams is blurring every day. It’s becoming increasingly important for each side to understand what the other is doing, and how they can help each other meet the shared goal of building a brand’s presence.
With that in mind, here are some tips on how to use PR and SEO combined effectively for optimal results.
Optimize PR posts to follow SEO best practices
As you start to interweave your PR and SEO efforts, begin with some low-hanging fruit: optimize all your PR work for best SEO results. This is a logical first step since both teams are already putting out content to help build the brand; they’re just doing so for different audiences.
Here are a few simple strategies for boosting search engine rankings for PR posts:
* Simplify page URLs by making them shorter. “Use short URLs whenever possible as they may give Google a better understanding about your page’s true topic,” advises Brian Dean of Backlinko. According to Dean, the sweet spot for URL length is up to 5 words – or between 50 and 60 characters – before the results begin to level off or dip.
* Amplify each other’s content through repurposing and sharing. For the most part, PR and SEO are trying to reach two very different audiences. However, the process of creating content on both fronts is hard and expensive work. To make that job easier and more cost-effective, each team should be pulling from and repurposing the other’s content. That means sharing and linking to each other’s articles, press releases, infographics, guides, and videos, or converting them into something new.
* Create truly remarkable content that people want to share and find immense value in. For example, the marketing team at Mailshake spent six months building one piece of content. The result? Their Cold Email Outreach Playbooknot only dominates the front page for critical keywords like “cold email outreach,” but it also drives six figures in sales. You can do something similar by creating actionable, unique, and engaging content that fills a void and is better than anything else out there.
Keep messaging consistent across all channels
It’s common to have a lot of content going out at the same time, especially when you’ve got multiple teams spreading brand awareness. It’s critical to ensure that this content isn’t sending mixed messages and that it has a similar theme.
Carve out time for the PR and SEO teams (and any other teams creating content) to get together and discuss content strategy. They should align on the timing of their messages and the wider scope of what messages are being sent, to ensure everything follows a cohesive theme.
While this isn’t a hard-and-fast rule, it’s definitely a step in the right direction toward aligning the efforts of both teams. It could be as simple as monthly or bi-monthly meetings. It could also be as easy as creating a content calendar from which both teams are working so that there are transparency and clear oversight on all content and messaging.
All of this careful planning goes a long way towards aligning efforts, and it also creates a better experience for prospective customers. If they see a united front across all channels through consistent logo use, branding, color palettes, and messaging, it will establish more credibility and trust.
Create content that is journalist-friendly
Skyscraper posts and other long-form content pieces definitely have their place in SEO, but journalists and media outlets typically require a different type of content for their audiences.
To start with, they generally need content that is short and concise. While the average article might be 1,500 to 2,000 words or more, a press release has an ideal length of 300 to 400 words. Obviously, there will be some variance if the content isn’t strictly a press release and instead is some other type of journalistic-style article, but a concise and to-the-point copy is always a good idea if you want to get eyes on it.
Journalists and other public relations professionals are also looking for a story. A story has the added benefit of not just informing, but also helping people remember what they read, heard, or watched.
A journalist’s fundamental role is to tell stories and adapt their content to have a certain tone, a clear compelling argument, and to make people feel, think, or act in a certain way. Stories that check all these boxes can create positive relationships between your brand and its audience, and lead to more brand awareness and sales.
When you’ve got content that fits the mold for making a great story or being highly shareable, you can reach out to journalists using tools like HARO, My Blog U, BuzzStream, and My Local Reporter. To help you reach out more effectively, consider supplementing these services with a tool like Voila Norbert nail down the right contact information for journalists and editors. You can also automate your cold outreach if you have a decent list of journalists, influencers, and public relations personnel using a tool like Mailshake.
PR and SEO are evolving from two separate disciplines to overlapping ones that are a critical component in business success. A decade ago, SEO specialists were dialed in on very technical aspects like sitemaps, backlink, site speed, hierarchy, and keyword research. As Google evolved and began looking beyond keywords to understand user intent, the role of SEO specialists has changed with it, requiring them to think more like traditional marketers. They had to recognize that in the end, it’s all about the people searching, and not the complex algorithms or machines.
On the other hand, the same sort of evolution has been occurring in the traditional marketing world dominated by PR professionals. While they were busy curating media lists, planning promotional campaigns, and performing SWOT analyses, the market was shifting to a more analytical viewpoint – one that follows a different set of rules and requires a more mathematical approach.
The end result is a fusion of SEO and PR that blurs the lines between the sender, message, channel, and receiver. At its core, PR greatly impacts SEO – and with a few tweaks from the SEO team, PR can realize even greater results.
How has your approach to public relations and SEO changed? Share in the comments below: