This is an article by Claudia Barnett.
My first foray into the wonderful world of PR was at 16 during two weeks in a New York agency, stuffing envelopes and making more than one trip to the post office every day.
It was pure, traditional PR in every sense of the word – product loans and desk drops, and not a single second of digital marketing found its way to my timesheet.
Now, six years later, it makes up a solid majority of my daily routine since I started working for addmustard – a specialist digital marketing company.
However, whilst at university, digital marketing, and more specifically SEO (search engine optimisation), wasn’t touched upon once.
I’m willing to admit before my interview at addmustard I wasn’t entirely confident I knew the true ins and outs of SEO, and spent many afternoons (in between dissertation mayhem and visits to the library) swotting up on a discipline that now defines my role as a PR Executive in the travel industry.
In short, off-site SEO offers a solution for brands to gain exposure through free and organic web-based content in order to drive traffic to their site.
Sounds similar to PR? That’s because it is.
Nowadays, SEO is a bit of a taboo word, and is an industry that, for the past few years, has been having to lean towards more traditional PR tactics to gain results… however some SEOs still get it wrong.
Nevertheless, there are also still some learnings that PRs can take from them,- and you definitely won’t pick them up in a lecture hall or battered library copy of “Exploring Public Relations”.
Storytelling, that reliable PR buzzword about creating a good narrative whilst tying in with existing stories in terms of reactive PR. Storytelling gives SEOs the opportunity to build valuable backlinks and cater to search terms that may be at the forefront of consumers’ minds. Stories that tie in with the news agenda are more valuable in terms of PR and SEO, as well as gaining relationships with readers that will keep coming back for more. Taking time away from a keyword-driven content calendar, and instead being reactive can be highly beneficial.
Going big. Some SEOs (and particularly agencies) can get hung up on bloggers, or smaller sites, omitting big names such as national press. This shouldn’t be the case. Create a story or piece of content that’s good enough, and they will write about it. Some bloggers will also write about what they see on larger publications, so ‘going big’ can cover both bases.
Prioritise the coverage, not the links. If you think like a PR, rather than someone simply driven by gaining links, you will begin to consider different things:
The persisting value of links should never be underrated (even with the distant cries of ‘link building’ is dead) but, neither should column inches or even a good relationship with an up and coming journalist.
It’s always worth remembering that PR takes on many different guises, and expansive SEO-driven content marketing efforts aren’t necessarily valuable for all of your clients.
Local businesses, for example, could benefit more from a pop-up stall at a local event than a huge national coverage campaign when they can’t fulfil demand created by the exposure. However, in most cases high-authority coverage is worth more than it seems – and good SEO, as with good PR, should never be underestimated.
Claudia Barnett is a PR Executive at addmustard – specialists in digital marketing for the travel industry.
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