Brandon Andersen, Chief Strategist, Ceralytics
You probably hear a lot about how content marketing and PR can help SEO. But how they all fit together is something magical that very few communicators, and even agencies, are taking advantage of.
Harnessing the Magic of PR, Content and SEO
We recently finished a content strategy for a client on behalf of a PR agency. In doing so, our team identified some incredible content opportunities in the client’s industry using content intelligence and good old fashioned sleuthing.
It’s something we’ve done for many agencies’ clients. But when we pulled together the entire strategy and aligned the content strategy to the agency’s biggest strength, PR, we realized we were sitting on a great opportunity.
PR professionals are natural storytellers. They know how to appeal to the humanity in a situation and bring out the emotion in a story. But when it comes to writing for SEO, or putting together a content strategy, thoise tasks often lands in marketing’s lap – if any lap at all. PR is often left completely out of the mix.
A Huge Missed Opportunity
With this client, the content and SEO strategy we created was being put in the hands of very capable PR professionals, whom we had trained on the basics of writing for SEO.
With the strategy in hand, and training under their belt, the agency can create amazing content and also focus on getting earned media through guest posting, local media, and even national exposure for the client.
This exposure, when done properly, can help the client’s amazing content rank better in search. When that content ranks better, it gets even more exposure online, and more traffic to the site. It starts a self-perpetuating cycle of success that looks like this:
- Create great content that fulfills an audience’s needs.
- Get earned earned media that links to the content, driving traffic and inbound links.
- Get better search rankings from those inbound links.
- More people find the content in search, driving even more traffic.
- Those searchers link back to the great piece of content from their own sites because it’s so good.
- Repeat step 3.
You’ll notice that earned media plays a huge part in getting a piece of content off the ground. After it gets that initial push, subsequent pushes from earned media and inbound links from others, keep the cycle going, increasing traffic to that content.
Pulling It All Together
Because this outreach is intertwined with the content and SEO strategy, each action the agency takes supports all three communications tactics – earned media, SEO, and the overall content on the client’s website. All three work together to drive more brand awareness, and lead prospects to top converting pages – increasing leads and driving business results.
And measurement is setup for each stage of the journey, so the agency can prove the success of the strategy to the client.
It’s not just about proving the value of PR, it’s about driving overall business results.
PR’s Big Opportunity
The problem most PR professionals and PR agencies now face is not knowing how to create an effective content and SEO strategy that pulls everything together. And that’s nothing to be ashamed of. It’s hard work and takes an experienced team to make it all happen.
Developing these skills and frameworks in house is expensive and time consuming. But more and more clients are demanding better strategies and actionable metrics from their PR and content programs. If you can’t deliver these two things, clients will go to an agency that can.
So now you have options.
You can try to create an internal team, which will require a lot of overhead and also require your team to come up with a new framework for how to make it all happen. The essential roles you will need are an analyst and a content strategist.
An analyst needs to understand SEO, website analytics (Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, etc.) and competitive intelligence platforms. Plus, they need to be able to take these data points and turn them into real insights for the content strategist to implement.
A content strategist is not just a glorified editor. A content strategist needs to have a firm understanding of how to align business objectives to content, optimizing content for SEO, identifying how content is consumed by audiences, and a framework for how to take insights and translate them into strategies to be executed by a creative team.
The other option is to go with a content analytics partner to help create client content strategies and align your strengths to get the best result possible.
The benefit of a content analytics partner is not having the overhead of an internal team, and only paying for the services you need (which you then upcharge to the client for an overall profit.) In addition, we’ve found that agencies who provide the content strategy and measurement (either by themselves or through a partner) have better client retention rates for creating content in the future.
Your third option is to do nothing. Keep with the status quo and hope that other agencies who are providing data-driven content strategies don’t start picking off your clients and prospects.
Stay Still or Move Forward?
Content marketing is harder than it has ever been, but PR professionals and agencies are sitting on one of the biggest strategic advantages in the industry.
If unlocked correctly, the content strategies and measurement PR agencies can provide will rival the best SEO and marketing firms in the world. The question is whether they will unlock the advantage, or stick to the status quo.