The following is a guest post by Wendy Dessler of OutreachMama.
The digital landscape is always evolving. And because of this development, communication and marketing channels now go together hand-in-hand more often than they ever have before.
Experienced PR firms and SEO specialists now collaborate regularly and effectively in today’s digital world.
An Example of Effective Collaboration
Shared media lists are one example of a positive collaboration between the two teams.
Since both groups have separate lists, it makes sense to collaborate to improve the reach of both teams.
Search engine optimization experts have lists of blog targets and external websites. Public relations professionals have detailed media lists.
And each group looks at their lists in different ways.
SEO pros pay attention to a blog’s Alexa rank, unique visitors per month, domain authority and pagerank, while experts in PR have lists focused on individual reporters, journalists, and webmasters. They are focused on the angle of the story, the beat, and placing engaging stories and publications that will reach their target audience.
If both teams combine their lists and create an outreach strategy while working together, PR pros can use SEO analytics data to improve their outreach efforts and search engine experts can tap into the existing relationships forged by the public relations team to improve their chances of getting pieces placed on authoritative blogs and websites.
So have your PR and SEO team sit down with one another, share contact lists, and begin working their contacts together to the greater benefit of the company.
In fact, this cohesive relationship is absolutely necessary in order to have search engine optimization success.
Putting out high-quality content into the world is impossible without outreach. Since PR teams and SEO experts have different contact lists, it makes sense to work together so they can broaden and expand their reach by helping one another.
We’ll now look at the way these two teams effectively work together to reach common business goals.
1. Collaboration through Education
Simply educating SEO firms about the impact of public relations on the marketing process, and vice versa, is one way to get these teams working together on the same page.
When learning about SEO, PR teams aren’t specifically taught about keyword rankings, onpage optimization, offpage optimization, backlink building, and different other SEO hacks that goes along with a successful SEO campaign.
Every so often, members of the PR team should sit in on SEO meetings, or even better, spend the day working on the SEO side of things. By doing this, they can perform keyword research and other tasks themselves while receiving expert guidance.
They will see firsthand how search engine pros pick and choose their keywords, how they approach outreach during the link building phase of the campaign, and other important aspects of SEO.
And while they are there, members of the PR staff can even gain real-world experience by performing these tasks while being gently guided by search engine experts.
On the other side of the coin, SEO teams aren’t necessarily in the know about the day to day operations of a PR firm. They may not know or understand media outreach, branding, developing relationships with members of the media, and everything else that goes along with a successful PR campaign.
The same holds true for SEO professionals. They can also benefit tremendously by spending a day or two with the PR team. So you should make it a point to have members of the PR staff spend time working directly with the SEO team to learn the ins and outs of public relations.
They will gain first-hand knowledge and experience by watching PR professionals cultivate relationships with the media.
They’ll also participate in conversations about picking and choosing media outlets to approach. They’ll learn better ways to approach the media to achieve the desired result – i.e. story placement online/in print, television interviews, etc., and SEO experts should immediately use this newfound knowledge under the guidance of the PR team to help solidify everything they’ve learned as an observer.
And SEO pros will learn personal details about important influencers in their industry that they can use to benefit their own outreach efforts. Again, they should immediately take action and use this valuable information to cultivate their own relationships with powerful industry influencers.
So, by getting to know each industry at the basic level, it will help both teams determine how they can help each other achieve the same business goal.
2. Optimizing Backlinks through PR Coverage
This is a prime example of how PR teams and SEO specialists can work together toward the greater good.
Through earned coverage including non-paid stories and press releases, PR teams are generating powerful backlinks. More often than not, since the PR expert doesn’t necessarily understand search engine optimization, many of these links aren’t optimized to achieve the greatest impact.
As an example, let’s say your company wants to rank for a specific keyword. Let’s call it “purple widgets.”
And let’s say your PR team is in the process of generating media attention for the latest purple widget that your company produced.
When they place stories and press releases, they can optimize the backlinks so the anchor text is “purple widgets” and it points back to the specific page on your company’s website that you intend to rank that phrase.
Do you see the power of SEO teams working together with PR specialists? And this is only one way of many.
3. Media Outreach Management
Every effective marketing strategy consists of influencer outreach as one of its main components. If your company is large enough, you’ll usually have one team handling this aspect of your marketing campaign.
Things get tricky at this point. It wouldn’t be wise to have people working on trying to connect with the same influencer.
Thankfully, there are tools to help keep both teams from potentially doing too much overtime. Our company has tried many of today’s top time tracking applications. And we’ve had the best results with Clockspot.
Ultimately, by using a time tracking tool to track media outreach, each team can use the software to discover how much hours they’ve invested and improve the score.
Shifting Focus Among Teams
To achieve the best results, have your SEO team focus on blogger outreach, while you’re PR team focuses on outreach to mass media outlets.
By blogger outreach, we mean the SEO team should focus on placing stories on the top blogs in your industry. Connect with the biggest influencers in your niche and see if they’d be willing to share your story with their audience.
Offer to help them in some way instead of immediately asking for a favor.
You can give them a quote and a top-tier editorial link in a high quality piece of content that you intend to publish on a high authority blog – think Forbes, BuzzFeed, Business Insider, and Fast Company.
Or take a look at the current topic that they’re focused on an offer to help them by providing high-quality content, backlinks, social shares, and anything else that you can think of to spread the word.
And your PR team can focus on placing stories in industry related mass media outlets like newspapers, magazines, television pieces, radio interviews, white papers, infographics etc.
By focusing on different areas in the media, PR and SEO teams can avoid potentially contacting the same media outlets at the same time.
And tracking everything using CRMs is a great way to stop potential embarrassing situations from happening.
4. Keeping Branding Messages in Alignment
When your SEO team works closely with your public relations department, it’s important to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Both of these teams are bound to have more than one story coming out together, so make sure the overall message is aligned between the two teams.
Here are four tips to help SEO and PR teams stay on the same page:
1. Know your brand
If your company’s brand isn’t clearly identified, you’ll have a difficult time supporting your content identity.
Get to know your brand better.
Do you have a positioning statement?
This statement should say how your products and/or services are uniquely positioned in your market. You should focus on aspects of your products and services that your competitors don’t offer.
Do you know your target market?
This is the audience that you’re aiming to sell your products and services to.
You can get a clearer picture of your target market by understanding the problems that your products and services solve, developing a picture of your perfect customer, getting a better understanding of those who will experience the most value from your offer, and looking at your best customers to discover why they keep coming back for your products and services over and over again – the secret behind repeating successes.
2. The content experience
When you produce a piece of content, you are creating a user experience. This experience is defined by the feelings and perceptions that the user experiences while consuming your content.
Was the content easy to read? Was the message clear and concise?
In an effort to keep your PR and SEO teams on the same page, they should strive to achieve the same goals when creating brand related content.
- The content should make people feel smarter.
- The content should help enhance their social experience and provide a new topic to talk about with their friends and coworkers.
- The content should be very easy to access.
- The content should create a measure of trust so the audience believes that their best interests were in mind during its creation.
3. Filling an audience need
Finally, all brand related content should fill in audience need. And the better the content fills the gap in the lives of the target audience, the better off the company will be.
4. Communicate with one another
PR and SEO teams should stay in constant communication when placing stories during a branding campaign.
In fact, it’s best to regularly schedule meetings between the two groups.
By having shared meetings, you can discover what each team is working on, and if your stories are similar, you could either collaborate to help improve outreach, or one team could back off of that topic and take their stories in a different direction.
By following these guidelines, SEO and PR teams will never have to worry about going off of the brand message again. This helps keep all content uniform, consistent, and on message at all times.
Avoid confusion and keep your company message on point by having your PR and SEO teams working together in tandem for the benefit of the organization.
About the Author: Wendy Dessler
Title: Super-Connector at OutreachMama
Wendy is a super-connector with OutreachMama and Towering SEO who helps businesses find their audience online through outreach, partnerships, and networking. She frequently writes about the latest advancements in digital marketing and focuses her efforts on developing customized blogger outreach plans depending on the industry and competition. You can contact her on Twitter.