I hear all the time from fellow PR people that they don’t really deal with search engine optimization or SEO because it’s “a marketing thing.” Well yes it is, but I think my esteemed colleagues are missing the boat on adapting SEO strategies as part of a PR campaign. In fact, I think that if you are in PR and are not giving your clients SEO services, you are doing them a disservice. Here are three areas where SEO can help you boost your public relations.
MAKE YOUR CLIENT AN EXPERT
It’s a pretty safe bet that the reason your client got into their line of work is because they know more than the average person about their profession and they have a passion about it. A large part of public relations is to take that passion and use it to demonstrate your client’s expertise. There are two reasons you want to do this. The first is that customers like to purchase goods from people who are thought of as experts. The second is that journalists like to interview experts. By making your client an expert, you increase the chances of them getting media interviews.
Social media actually makes it easier to present your client’s expertise, but only if you use SEO. For instance, where once you had to pitch media outlets to get articles by your client published, you can now get those articles self-published by using blogs. Blogs have given a lot more opportunities to people to share their expertise. You need to take advantage. The trick is how to get other people to actually read those blogs. The answer is by implementing SEO. The better job you do optimizing your clients social media efforts, the more likely they will be found in searches, more people will read your client’s content and they will pass those articles on. In no time your client will have credibility as an expert in their field. Once that credibility is there, you can start pitching to reporters.
MAKE THEM VISIBLE TO REPORTERS
Here is a dirty little secret about reporters. They need to get their information for stories as quickly and easily as possible. That means that they often use search engines to find sources for stories. Now imagine that a story regarding your client’s field comes up. If you had used SEO to make your client a top result for searches about that field, you would have a much better chance of getting them interviewed for that story. Additionally, if you were pitching a story on that profession, you could tell the reporter to “Google them.” That reporter could see for themselves that your client does, indeed, have credibility. Using SEO actually helps make your media relations efforts easier.
HELPS CLIENT BUY INTO PR EFFORTS
Search engine optimization can also help public relations professionals solve one of their biggest pet peeves, the client who isn’t invested in their own PR. Too many times a client thinks “Great, I hired a PR person. Now to get on with my important tasks.” What they don’t understand is that PR is about them. A PR pro can’t just say “Poof, your an expert.” The client needs to be actively involved. The problem then becomes, “I’ve been doing all this writing and interviewing, but I’m not seeing any results.” With SEO, you now have an answer. If a client can see that they are first on a Google search about their profession, they can see what their participation has done for them. Especially if you did a search before they got involved and their name was nowhere to be found. SEO helps you to give positive reinforcement to your client so they will continue to actively participate in their own public relations efforts.
After seeing how search engine optimization can help your PR, you can understand that when I’m talking to my public relations colleagues and they ask “Why would I use SEO?” My response is “Why wouldn’t you?” Search engine optimization helps you position your client as an expert. It helps journalists find you. Most importantly it helps your client understand why their participation is so important. So don’t be shy about using search engine optimization if your a public relations professional. It will help make your job a heck of a lot easier.
*(If you’re interested in hiring me you can go here to access my portfolio.)