Let’s be real, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) isn’t the sexiest of topics, and often gets the proverbial talk to the hand. We get it! All that techie mumbo jumbo is overwhelming, and you’ve probably thought, “How does it even relate to the business of getting media coverage for clients?”
However, in the last few years the division between the relationship-centric public relations world, and the technical mindset of Search Experts have softened.
Imagine the relationship in these terms; courtesy of celebrity stylist Brad Goreski, “Hollywood and fashion are symbiotic partners, especially during awards season.” Much like fashion designers, and their publicists, rely on celebrities to help boost demand and awareness, successfully managing the public face of a brand is made infinitely more powerful with SEO operating behind the scenes.
Reality check: all that online and in-person relationship building you work tirelessly for can be multiplied by combining SEO and PR. You can turn a one-time traffic bump from a great press placement into a steady stream of targeted search traffic, effectively doubling or even tripling the value of your hard work for clients.
Plainly, it’s time to make PR and SEO’s relationship Facebook official.
If you’re ready to learn how SEO techniques can amplify and extend the value of your digital publicity, take notes on the following are three, SEO based PR strategies you can utilize to supercharge results for your own clients.
You can turn a one-time traffic bump from a great press placement into a steady stream of targeted search traffic, effectively doubling or even tripling the value of your hard work for clients.
Strategy #1: Consider Digital PR in terms of Link-Building
Being an outreach specialist at SEO agency CanIRank, my daily work often resembles that of a public relations professional, even though clients hire us for our SEO expertise. Why? Because content is at the heart of delivering a higher ROI than old-school SEO agencies.
Successful SEO goals are built around acquiring strong and authoritative links that let Google know you’re a legit source, thereby boosting your ranking within its search. This is especially true in an era when Google has become increasingly smarter at recognizing and rewarding links it deems valuable.
So… “How does link building benefit PR campaigns?”
Shiree Odiz, a third generation diamond dealer and jewelry design firm, launched an “SEO Idol” campaign that perfectly illustrates the insane benefits that can be unlocked when a SEO and PR campaign work in conjunction. Here’s how “SEO Idol” went down.
The jewelry company held a contest to find their own “SEO Idol,” enlisting individuals and SEO companies to compete for the grand prize of $10,000 and to become Shiree’s new SEO strategist. By the competition’s end an enormous amount of links were generated, as well as media buzz around their campaign. It was an innovative play that worked three-fold for them. They gained media exposure for their unique competition, generated links that they’re still show a return, and of course, acquired a SEO professional to manage their online Search authority.
While this example is very campaign, not to mention SEO-heavy, you can still apply the principles to your regular outreach. For example, when you reach out to bloggers and influencers within your space, be specific about what pages on your client’s website you want to show up first in a search engine – it might not be the homepage. Increase the chances that digital editors will use the proper links by hyperlinking content inside your pitch). Content or product seeding campaigns that include multiple bloggers covering a single launch, contest or giveaway are also effective at generating a good amount of links pointing back to your client.
All of these SEO-based link building strategies beef up your PR goals of gaining attention, and supplying social proof.
Strategy #2. Act Like a Publicist, Think Like an SEO Strategist
Relationships are EVERYTHING. As PR professionals you understand this better than anyone else. Cultivating real passion around a brand by developing and nurturing relationships through aligned interests always pays dividends, and is the ultimate win.
This leads to our second question… “Can you use SEO tactics to determine what relationships to pursue?”
Prior to working with Mineralissima, the brand was a small, homegrown natural mineral cosmetics company struggling to get noticed in a competitive market dominated by mega-brands with multimillion-dollar advertising budgets.
Rather than trying to compete with the mega-brands on the same level, we helped them see that their small size and handcrafted approach actually included some inherent advantages that the big players couldn’t match.
Kati van Riet, the founder of Mineralissima, is passionate about keeping her products as humane and environmentally friendly as possible. She feels very strongly about the abhorrent use of animal testing in the cosmetics industry, and is committed to being a beauty without cruelty brand, and is moving towards being 100% vegan.
We put this core value, and popular Search term, front and center of our outreach strategy and helped the brand rally a dedicated following of influencers, organizations, and media who also felt strongly about cruelty-free cosmetics. These influential individuals and publications were happy to support a small company that was part of the same movement, and this natural alignment of interests lead to numerous reviews and recommendations from beauty bloggers, as well as listings in cruelty free directories, which are important in the eyes of search engines and customers alike.
Directories are often overlooked by PR professionals, but submitting Mineralissima to PETA’s directory, for example, was an exceedingly strong SEO move because their site has high authority, high relevancy for keywords, and maybe more importantly, legitimacy in the court of public opinion.
Combined with our on-page optimization efforts, this campaign more than doubled Mineralissima’s traffic in three months, and the search engine rankings we helped them achieve drive nearly 80% of new sales.
Strategy #3. Produce Optimized Content that’s Irresistibly Shareable
While traditional SEO “techie” practices like keyword research, site mapping, improving site speed, and other website optimizations tactics should definitely still come into play, we know that these techniques do not guarantee a fun ride to the first page of search rankings. SEO-type optimization has entered into a new dimension by incorporating PR-like humanized marketing practices plus serious tech skills. Basically, it’s the ever-elusive unicorn of the digital marketing world.
With all of this in mind, let’s answer the final question, “What type of SEO juice-filled content should be produced?”
For our client Axon Optics, an eyewear brand that blocks specific light sources that trigger migraines, we focused and honed in on the specific value-add they could offer up to the media. It needed to be irresistible to influencers, and completely shareable to their followers.
Axon’s doctor-led research served up a ton of interesting insights, but had yet to be packaged in a consumer-friendly way. Our strategy was to create in-depth, yet easily consumable Q&A videos with the Doctor whose research inspired Axon’s migraine eliminating product.
So why was it done this way?
If you jam pack press releases and pitches with a host of dense, data-driven language, or in the case of fashion, way too many key messages, several issues can arise. First, the content may be too overwhelming for time-strapped journalists (or readers) to wade through. Less than reputable sites may republish or rework your pitch, often confusing the language or desired messaging, and potentially without including an explicit client mention, or a link back.
A better way to acquire editor interest and secure longer-form content opportunities is to place the highlight a few key attributes in your pitch or release, but to create a series of follow-up links that offer up links to the complete original research/data, an ebook, a tool, or other multimedia resources.
However, you don’t need to limit your thinking to simply securing articles or blog mentions. By creating the videos for Axon, we insured that whenever a journalist or blogger wrote about migraine issues, and needed to cite a credible source, they could reference Axon’s videos, or simply embed them into their piece. Additionally, videos are an easy, and sometimes preferred medium for many to consume content, and can be irresistibly shareable.
Steal these SEO Strategies to double the value of your PR campaigns!
A better understanding of SEO can help enhance your digital publicity strategies and results. Helping to develop and guide brand storytelling and influencer relationships is definitely valuable, but also tweaking these efforts to help your clients rank highly in Search is another way to demonstrate value. Nothing trumps a brand increasing their SEO rankings (and driving word-of-mouth) through killer content shared and discussed through multiple channels.
Well… except a unicorn, nothing tops a unicorn.
Elyse Cornett is a content marketer and an outreach specialist with CanIRank where she focuses on building fruitful and authentic relationships between influencers and brands in the startup scene, as well as in fashion, beauty, and eCommerce. In her free time she travels, explores local hotspots in San Diego, posts way too many Snapchats, and author’s Faith in Style, a fashion and lifestyle blog.