Like it or not, PR has shifted from the traditional role of awareness to engagement and performance. All the more reason why PR strategies need to be executed through SEO goggles.
See below 12 effective steps to empowering PR content.
Over 90% of customer journeys begin on a search engine. Scrolling habits through articles are now dictated by search engine algorithms. Earned media has little chance of achieving reach without two must-have ingredients: First, messaging must precisely strike the interests and motivations of the folks it intends to reach. But more importantly, it needs to be found.
Although content from trusted publications still pulls a punch, content overload across a fragmented media landscape minimizes the lifespan of earned media. Sadly, a lot of content crafted meticulously by PR professionals will never be found by target audiences if they don't conduct SEO integration.
The path to discoverability: Well-written content is subjective. SEO-optimized content is not. It's subject to Google's 200 plus indexing and ranking decisions criteria, which are affected by hundreds of algorithm adjustments a year. Being recognized and heard boils down to:
Producing valuable, well-optimized content
Earning backlinks from authoritative websites
Using query-relevant keywords that match search intent
See 12 steps to get found and draw more life into your content:
Start with an intent-based keyword search: Use Google Search to identify high-value phrases. Cross-reference Google Trends data to see if search of the phrases is growing or shrinking. Use tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs to get a better idea how users are searching for content across these topics
Map qualified keywords to content and pitches: Create topic clusters for pitches and content development. You’ll routinely need to publish content around them to position your business as a true authority. Analyze media sources to understand which sites and authors are likely to include keywords you want to rank for, and target them
Ensure topic clusters are naturally included across-the-board: Include them in titles, headers, meta descriptions and high-priority body content, to improve organic visibility
Supply fresh and creative content that hooks searchers: Websites with blog content have 434% more search-engine indexed pages than those without
Work on robust content: The average first-page result on Google contains over 1,800 words, but the first 200 words of body copy are the most important because consumers rarely scroll “below the fold."
Craft earned media with audience-focused keywords: Press releases, social posts and owned content with keywords your audience regularly uses to find and engage with you
Write for people first, search engines second: While technical optimization is important, it is secondary to user-friendliness
Deliver value early and often, summarizing the purpose upfront: Assume consumers have no time to read in detail. Do though offer in-depth insights, broken up into subheadings
Use keywords and topic clusters naturally, not forcefully: Seek to influence reporters’ writing by pitching creative stories the audience cares about, tied to your primary keywords, ensuring head terms and long-tail variations are in the pitch
Level up with data or factual information: Ensure your coverage serves as an authoritative, linkable asset with unique statistics. Quality content and top-tier coverage alone is rarely enough to rank competitively without quality backlinks
Build high-quality links to your content: Owned and earned content at times need more support to rank, especially for competitive terms. Execute a targeted pitch campaign to earn high-quality backlinks on relevant domains. The good news; earned media is one of the best link acquisition strategies
Measure and iterate: Use Google Analytics and Google Search to measure results. Identify emerging trends driving the highest volumes of organic traffic, and adjust your strategy in real time to improve discoverability performance
In sum, a PR strategy that ignores search data is no longer sustainable. Campaign content and earned media is unlikely to be found by the people who matter most.On the other hand, when done correctly, an integrated PR - SEO strategy increases visibility, builds trust and impacts the profitability of a business.