Anyone who came to our Digital Day in June will have left feeling inspired to go and create some real masterpieces of content. If this was you, by now you will have researched your keywords, segmented your audience, and created content that is engaging, informative and relevant. Excellent work!
Now you need to make sure the right people are looking at it. An effective way to do this is by using public relations (PR).Here’s a recap of what I (Natalie) presented on the day.
PR is not all quaffing Champagne and knowing the “right people’ like Eddie from Absolutely Fabulous (sadly). It is, however all about making the right contacts and building strong working relationships with them so that they trust your brand and will share your news and content as positively and widely as possible
PR generates brand awareness by pushing your company out in front of a wide audience. It also repositions your brand to how you want to be seen. Ultimately it creates a positive view of your brand, informs people of what you offer, positions your staff as experts in their areas, generates trust and publicises new products and services. This is all aimed to boost traffic, engagement and ultimately increase sales.
Not many people would have heard of the National Environment Research Council – until they ran a poll to find a name for their new ship. They didn’t run the poll because they couldn’t think of a name – they did it to create a buzz and engage the public. This stunt successfully created brand awareness – you can see the brand name above on CNN. It also successfully positioned the brand as more fun and engaging, which may have been their main objective.
PR can be seen as getting advertising for free – instead of paying for advertising space, you provide content, expertise and information that is newsworthy enough to earn it’s own column inches.
Another description is this: Advertising is someone coming up to you and saying ‘I’m really good at cooking”. PR is someone you trust coming up to you and saying “That person over there is really good at cooking”. The endorsement from a trusted source adds credibility to your information and brand.
PR doesn’t have to be all about big stunts. It is good to have a wide range of tactics running at once. A steady flow of press releases to relevant press and influencers about your new products, services and news makes sure that people are kept aware of your presence and what you can offer. Continuously talking to the press and building relationships with them keeps you up to date on what they are writing about so you can tailor your content to be shareable and add value to their stories before they write them. Offering key spokespeople from your company to speak to press about their subject areas help influencers see your brand as a thought-leader and will encourage them to come to you for comment for future articles.How does PR fit into a SEO agency?
Content attracts traffic to sites, and engages, informs and entertains readers. PR amplifies the audience that sees this content, generates links to your content, drives more traffic and boosts sales.
When influencers link to your content it boosts the authority of your website. Search engines really like this because it shows that people trust your site and think it is worth linking to. The search engine will then increase your visibility in the search results because your site has more authority and is likely to be more relevant to the people searching.
A decade ago we got the bulk of our local news from a weekly local newspaper. We all got the same news, at the same time. Nowadays we get live updates from the restaurant around the corner and from our neighbours’ living room. Our news journeys have become unique, based on who we follow and what we are interested in.
People’s focus has changed. If you look around a train carriage, a few people will be reading a newspaper or a magazine, and most will be looking at their mobile phones. The focus of PR is to get your content where people are looking – and this is switching more and more to online, mobile and social platforms.
Nowadays anyone can become an ‘influencer’ and PRs are not just building relationships with journalists on Fleet Street and glossy magazines. Now, anyone with enough twitter followers or a popular blog can be a fantastic channel to promote your brand. This widens the net for digital PRs to outreach their news and brand to.
Digital PR is very measurable. With traditional PR you could see how many newspaper or magazine clippings of coverage you had achieved, but not who had read them or if they had decided to buy anything as a result. Now, you can see who has read your content, how old they are, where they live, how much they earn and whether they bought anything or made a decision based on reading your content. You can watch this live and adjust your PR strategy accordingly as you go along. It can be very exciting!
So the PR coverage you are currently getting is generating great brand awareness – very good. Now you need to make sure that you make that coverage work as hard as possible for you. As explained earlier, the more links back to your content the better – so make sure any online coverage you get contains a link to your content and/or website. If it doesn’t have a link then don’t be afraid to ask the author to add it in. If your content is adding value to their article they should be happy to. And if you have build a good relationship with them then they should be more receptive.
Imagine your website is the one in the middle of this picture:
All links from other sites to your site are good because this boost your site up the search result rankings. Some SEO companies are excellent in generating thousands of links to their clients’ content, which is a valid SEO tactic. Search engines have become savvy to this, however. Now they reward links from sites with high authority more than sites with low authority, or sites that look like spam. Sites with high authority can be newspapers, government sites, academic sites. You can look up a site’s authority or trust flow on Majestic.
So one link from a site with a high trust flow is worth the same as a lot of links from sites with a low trust flow. This is why SEO agencies are employing digital PR specialists – to use traditional PR skills of building relationships with influencers, becoming part of their news agenda with strong hooks and working with the media and their agency’s copywriters to produce content that adds value to sites with high authority. Being able to generate high quality and produce newsworthy content that attracts organic traffic often leads to a higher amount of conversion and sales.
You can find the slides from this presentation here.