So, after a few weeks of fear mongering by Matt Cutts, Penguin 2 (the sequel) wasn’t quite as terrifying as the original. Sure sites have seen ranking drops, but these were in line with expectations and many SEOs were already battle hardened from last year’s update.
We’ve had a year since the last update and during that time we have seen more and more SEOs dabbling in what we at PR Agency One would class as PR tactics.
So what PR skills can search marketers pick up from the public relations industry? Here are a few suggestions:
- Invest in a proper media database. The idea of a load of SEOs subscribing to Gorkana or JournalistDirectory scares the hell out of me, if I am honest. Let’s face it, SEOs can be a spammy bunch from time to time. However, used in moderation and in a targeted way a media database is the first building block of a great SEO PR campaign.
- Forget the press release. If you have a story, just pick up the phone and speak to a journalist. If you have a good story they will listen but if your story is weak then prepare to have the phone slammed down on you. Be thick skinned and try again with a better pitch.
- Be prepared to react and hijack the news agenda. If you see a story breaking, be the first to react to it and give a journalist or blogger no reason not to run your story.
- Try something else other than guest posts and infographics please. Focus on the story and think about what makes it newsworthy. Timing, significance, proximity, prominence, human interest are all key.
- Write your URL in full as well as embedding links. Journalists don’t always cut and paste embedded links.
- Invest in good photography. A story with a great photo is more likely to be used. With a link.
- In every media story always provide a reason to link back to the site. It is so obvious to some SEOs, but some PRs might miss this out. For example, if you are doing research link to the full copy of the report where journalists and the reader can get more information.
- Work your sectors. If you are a consumer brand don’t just focus on consumer PR. Look at trade PR opportunities or ways to target the B2B media. You’ll be surprised at the domain authority of some titles.
- Media train your spokespeople. Tell them to ask for a link. To mention the URL in interviews. Don’t limit the training to the traditional media interview but coach them on how to comment on blogs and engage in a meaningful way with stakeholders and influencers.
- Go for the easy wins. There is plenty of content that the PR team produce that SEOs can maximise. The annual financial report, the CSR policy, even the health and safety policy can be newsworthy and therefore link worthy in their own niches.
James Crawford is the Managing Director of PR Agency One, UK based public relations company.