Public Relations


Overview of Public Relations


PR is an important part of any business. Simply put, it’s all of the communication between a business and its “public”—meaning potential or current customers or clients. Good public relations strategies let a lot of people know about the company, build and maintain a positive company image and communicate with the public about the company’s products, services or happenings in a variety of ways.

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Public Relations

What Does PR Have to Do With SEO?


It used to be that SEO was fairly straightforward…all you needed were tags, backlinks and the right keywords on your page. Enough of those and your site would show up on the results pages if someone searched for that keyword. It was so simple that black hat SEO types came up with devious ways to trick the search engines into ranking the site. Keyword stuffing, excessive tagging and irrelevant or artificially-generated backlinks resulted in poor quality, user-unfriendly websites to finding their way to the top of the rankings. As search engines matured and became more sophisticated, the algorithms they used to rank sites changed. Today those old black hat techniques can get your site banned from the rankings.

PR Outreach


The quality of your product or service and the experience users have with you and your website are the foundation of good PR. Once that’s in place, there is plenty that you can do to boost awareness and promote your brand or business.

Huge PR Blunders


“No publicity is bad publicity” may be true for actors, but it is absolutely not true for businesses. PR mistakes can cause a lot of damage to your online reputation.

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Public Relations

Things to Avoid

Some of the most important things to avoid are also the easiest.

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Public Relations

People/Companies to Avoid

Don’t fall for the idea that you should buy backlinks from any company. One genuine backlink from a quality site is worth hundreds of bought backlinks from spammy sites. Similarly, don’t align yourself with companies or sites with a bad reputation.

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Public Relations

Learn from the Mistakes of Others

Be aware, both of how what you do may be perceived in a larger audience, and of how swiftly social media can work either for you or against you.

The New Age of PR


PR has evolved far from the days of simple press releases and newspaper articles. Media coverage now involves the enormous wealth of online outlets and resources. Yahoo News, the Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, Upworthy and TechCrunch are powerhouses with enormous reach and influence. New sites appear practically every day—but that’s not all. Social media sites are also dominant players in the PR game. Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr are some of the biggest, but new ones pop up all the time. YouTube is huge, too. The more places you can be online, the more PR you get, the more authoritative you and your business will be, and the higher your SEO rankings go.

Public Relations

Going Viral

Public Relations

Staying On Point and On Trend

What Does PR Have to Do With SEO?

It used to be that SEO was fairly straightforward…all you needed were tags, backlinks and the right keywords on your page. Enough of those and your site would show up on the results pages if someone searched for that keyword. It was so simple that black hat SEO types came up with devious ways to trick the search engines into ranking the site. Keyword stuffing, excessive tagging and irrelevant or artificially-generated backlinks resulted in poor quality, user-unfriendly websites to finding their way to the top of the rankings. As search engines matured and became more sophisticated, the algorithms they used to rank sites changed. Today those old black hat techniques can get your site banned from the rankings.

Current search engine algorithms are able to evaluate sites with a much higher level of sophistication. Web pages that get ranked now must have relevant, high-quality content that communicates clearly with the visitor. The highest-ranking web pages also inspire users to share what they find with others, creating quality inbound links that demonstrate your authority and credibility (because others link to your page).

In other words, highly-ranked sites reach out to the public to let others know about them, build and maintain a positive company image, and communicate clearly about the company’s products, services, or happenings—just like good public relations.

When you combine good SEO techniques, quality content and PR principles that get others talking about your business or your brand and sharing it with others, your online authority and SEO rankings will shoot sky-high.

Backlinks

Backlinks are links coming into your site from other pages that are citing or sharing your material. Because search engines assign so much value to these, they are highly prized and sought after. The more reputable and authoritative the site is that links back to your page, the higher the value of the backlink—and the bigger the SEO boost it will give you. Some of this will occur naturally with wonderful content, and some can be encouraged through relationships with the owners of those sites. Building relationships has long been a function of a good public relations strategy, and good relationships will result in good backlinks.

Traffic

PR campaigns strive to create traffic to whatever it is they are promoting—an event, a book, a store or a website. Online, traffic will be the number of visitors to your site. There is a multitude of ways to attract attention and drive traffic. Public relations can use offline and online methods to get that traffic and boost your SEO.

Content

Never forget: Content is king. The best PR or SEO campaign in the world can’t save a site with bad content. Engaging, quality content is what encourages others to share it and link to it. What boosts something from only being SEO-focused to also being PR-focused is not just writing and posting it with all of the technical SEO architecture in place, but actively seeking to share it with prominent, authoritative sites (so they post something that links back to your site) or even simply to let others know about it so that they reference it or link back to it, leading more and more of the public to you.

Reputation

In business, reputation is everything. What others think of you determines what they tell their friends about you, and those recommendations carry a lot of weight for the average consumer. In our internet age, all of the social media sharing we do on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites gains traction incredibly quickly—especially if they are negative. All of these things will affect your SEO rankings, so you need to be able to manage your online reputation so momentum keeps moving in a positive direction.

How to Get PR

Getting PR is a lot like anything else in the business world—to be the most successful, it needs to leverage the power of networking. We are all bombarded every minute of every day with information and advertising—and this is also true for reporters, content managers and social media influencers. The things that get our attention and cause us to take action usually come from reputable sources we trust, because those implied or direct recommendations carry weight. Now, follow that train of thought…which story will get shared: the random one or the one coming from someone they know? Connections matter. This is why you need to cultivate relationships with PR contacts—just like you do in your “regular” business networking.

Making/Maintaining PR Contacts

Make a list of influential writers, editors and social media influencers in your field to reach out to. Before you contact any of them, however, do your research. Know who it is you’re talking to and what it is that they care about. No one likes being contacted by someone who only wants something from them—but everyone enjoys being known, appreciated and interacting with someone they can relate to, or someone who has something valuable for them.

Many times, you can start by checking out each person’s social media profiles and begin interacting with them there. Comment on articles, share their stories or even offer them a tip they can use for something else. When you pitch your idea, product or article to them, keep it short and sweet, clearly spelling out how they or their readers will benefit from it.

Remember that you are hopefully building a long-term relationship here. Think about the give and take of it and how you can contribute, being willing to help your contact when they need you. Make sure that you have some kind of regular contact with them. You can interact online by commenting on or sharing their content, or offline by treating them to a cup of coffee or writing a personal note of thanks.

Brand Advocates

A brand advocate is someone who will communicate to others in a positive way about a product or service without compensation. If you go to a great restaurant and then tell your friend about how good the food was and how cool the atmosphere was, you’ve become a brand advocate for that restaurant. Assuming your friend thinks you have good taste, that conversation is an incredibly valuable piece of PR for the restaurant. They will go there expecting to be pleased, and when they are, they will tell others, too.

Simply by supplying a great product or service, you will create some brand advocates. However, you can take a more active role in their creation by giving away samples or building relationships with influential people who will tell others about you. The more others mention your brand on social media, in blog posts or comments, the more authoritative you and your brand will be.

Being a Good Collaborator

Think of your PR strategy as a team effort between you and your entire network. Don’t always be the person asking for help. Instead, be the person who helps, or offers help. Feature writers on your blog. Mention great articles on Facebook. The more you help others (with information, links, social media sharing, etc.), the more willing they will be to return the favor.

Things to Avoid

Some of the most important things to avoid are also the easiest.

  • Don’t neglect your business or your website. All the good publicity in the world won’t save a company that delivers a bad experience to customers or clients. Actively manage your reputation every day.
  • Don’t forsake social media. Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and others are key to the kind of grassroots, word-of-mouth, viral publicity that can elevate your business and your SEO rankings.
  • Don’t send form-letter mass emails to media contacts. They won’t be received well, and could damage your brand. Instead, tailor your email communication to the recipient.
  • Don’t send out emails with errors. Spell-check everything you send to anyone. Poor spelling and grammar errors can do a lot of damage to your authority and credibility.
  • Don’t take a media contact for granted. Respect the time of any PR contact by working with them as quickly and as efficiently as possible.

People/Companies to Avoid

Don’t fall for the idea that you should buy backlinks from any company. One genuine backlink from a quality site is worth hundreds of bought backlinks from spammy sites. Similarly, don’t align yourself with companies or sites with a bad reputation.

Learn from the Mistakes of Others

Be aware, both of how what you do may be perceived in a larger audience, and of how swiftly social media can work either for you or against you. For instance, people are still talking about McDonald’s 2012 Twitter campaign, hashtag #McDStories. They thought they’d see a heart-warming collection of childhood experiences, but what they got instead was a runaway train wreck of Tweets on negative, even disgusting experiences at McDonalds—not the outcome they were looking for, and certainly not something that encouraged a positive perception of their brand.

Going Viral

“Going viral” is every internet marketer’s or website owner’s dream. When something goes viral (often a video, but it also can be a link, a Tweet, a comment, or anything, really), it means that it’s been shared at such a saturated level that “everyone” has seen it. Naturally, that would be an enormous boost for your site and your SEO rank.No one has the “magic formula” for making something go viral, but here especially is a good example of how SEO strategies and great PR work together to create the magic. It starts with riveting content that will get people talking—something that hits people at an emotional level, or something especially timely. You can shock, inspire, awe, teach them something, tell a great story or make them laugh. If it’s a video or blog post, you’re going to want an attention-grabbing title, with important keywords (and keywords in your description). Then, you want to share it with as wide an audience as you can. YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Upworthy and all of your PR contacts are a great place to start. If you’ve made it easy to share, chances are they will.

Staying On Point and On Trend

The best PR and SEO results will come from content that is current and relevant. With today’s non-stop news cycles, it’s very important to keep on top of the latest trends, events, news, technology and more so that you can produce things that generate positive attention and get good PR for you.

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