In 2008, I was at the University of Georgia completing my undergraduate degree in Advertising. Tumblr was a relatively new thing (MySpace was still a thing) and I stumbled upon this quote from former Apple executive Jean-Louis Gassee: “Advertising is saying you’re good. PR is getting someone else to say you’re good.”
I loved the idea that if you pitch the right story to the right journalist at the right news outlet, it can be more impactful than any paid advertisement. Months short of graduating I completely revised my resume, changed directions, and sought out positions with Public Relations firms instead of Advertising agencies.
What really set PR apart from Advertising for me was the credibility factor. With PR, someone isn’t being paid to say your brand is great, they believe in the story you’ve told them enough to say it on their own. It was all up to me to tell the best story. I’m so glad I happened upon that quote and changed career paths because today, with fake news, social media ads, and paid influencer marketing flooding the media, establishing credibility is more crucial than ever when trying to maintain brand loyalty.
Pairing Good PR with Good SEO
As I’ve advanced in my career, I’ve seen that along with having a good PR strategy, it’s just as important to have a good SEO strategy. If you’re doing SEO properly, your efforts will likely overlap with PR. Let me explain.
In recent years, Google has placed more emphasis on quality content, and has refined their algorithm to better represent user experience. So, in order for a website to rank higher, a good SEO strategy needs to prioritize content that is unique, engaging, utilizes keywords, and is optimized for search. A good PR strategy, on the other hand, involves creating content that online news sites and the general public will find useful. Content is king, after all, and the better a brand’s website content is, the more likely it will drive organic traffic. So, to get the best of both worlds, why not combine your SEO strategy with your PR strategy to create awesome content that boosts your your ranking, traffic and brand awareness? Seems like a no brainer.
Good PR + Good SEO = Good Links
But, that’s not all your joint SEO-PR strategy can do for your brand’s credibility. When SEO efforts are focused on link building from high-traffic, authoritative websites it eventually creates a natural and strong backlink profile from a wide range of domains, which in turn boosts credibility. These quality links, combined with engaging website content, are the glue that binds SEO and PR together.
Another important component to your joint strategy is targeting the right media outlets and building strong relationships with those journalists to build credibility, get more high-quality links, and boost your rankings. This can involve offering exclusives to creative content campaigns before they are live on the website, sharing useful facts and details with reporters to help them tell their story, or providing a brand representative for interview opportunities. By building this network of relevant outlets and journalists, a brand has the potential to create additional awareness of its larger marketing goals for the long term.
The Bottom Line
PR and SEO must work hand in hand to create strong, quality content that is relevant to a brand’s audience and optimized for search. To build credibility, make sure to have an outreach plan in place to deliver on backlinks and continue to build relationships with media in order to reach their target audience and deliver key messages.