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PR Strategy for Digital Marketers

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The basic elements of public-relations strategies that SEOs and online marketers can use for their own purposes.

The basic elements of public-relations strategies that SEOs and online marketers can use for their own purposes.

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  • “I hate PR.” I will open with that statement and pause for a few seconds to get peoples’ attention. I will be referring in slides later to what people THINK public relations is based on my prior career in journalism.
  • A summary of the topics I will present. Due to time constraints, I will give the “big picture” in strategic terms.I’ll upload the presentation to Slideshare and as a blog post on my company’s website later, and the final slide contains my contact information for anyone who wants to receive the slides directly. SMX may also send speakers’ slides to attendees – I’m not sure.
  • A marketing strategy must align to a company’s business goals. If a B2B company wants more clients, for example, then the market strategy would focus on how to obtain more business leads. The strategy could consist of specific tactics such as PR, SEO, and conversion optimization. Since online marketing is increasingly holistic, those three tactics are integrated and bolster each other. Social media is one channel that supports PR and SEO efforts.
  • Here’s the strategic process that I will explain more in-depth: 1.) DO something newsworthy.2.) CREATE something newsworthy about what you’ve done. It’s great to produce quality content for all the reasons we know – but create content that media outlets will find newsworthy as well3.) PROMOTE the company via traditional PR and the content via social media and related methods.4.) GAIN traffic, backlinks, conversions, customers, social-media followings, and more.5.) Repeat this process as often as possible.
  • Now, why did I say that I hate PR? When I was a Boston journalist, spokespersons were always nice and friendly. But the moment a caught the city government making a big mistake, they resorted to spinning and outright BS. I hated it. And that’s why I initially went into SEO years ago after my journalism career – I thought that it was an honest form of marketing that didn’t need PR.
  • But what I had experienced as a journalist was “media relations” – just ONE type of PR. “PR” is a vague term that consists of many subcategories such as those you see above.
  • Public relations can be defined as any interaction with another human being. As such, PR is crucial to SEO today because it is simply a collection of ways to “build relationships,” which is crucial in any business endeavor – especially any type of marketing.
  • PR is a set of channels to deliver a specific message to a specific audience.
  • Like many people, I thought at the beginning of my new career years ago that SEO was just writing keyword-optimized content, inserting keywords into tags, optimizing a website on a technical level, and building links (ideally with exact-match anchor text). But true SEO is – and always has been – a collection of best practices including web development, content creation, conversion optimization, social media, and more – including PR. It is BUILDING A BRAND.I can already hear the groans: “But, wait! I’m not a PR flak! I’m an inbound marketer!” I completely understand – as a former journalist, who only later went into SEO, I specifically had been looking for something in marketing that was not PR. But the fact remains that much of inbound marketing is just PR by another name: Are you interacting with influencers, journalists, and bloggers on Twitter? Sure, you can call yourself a “social-media marketer” – but you are really doing PRAre you pitching guest posts by-lined articles to news outlets and other online publications? It is not “guest post marketing” – it is PR.Are you e-mailing people in the hopes of getting links, mentions, or anything similar? It’s often called “e-mail outreach” today, but it is just doing PR via a specific communications channelIt took me a long time to accept the fact that a lot of what we do as “SEOs” is actually, well, PR. But the sooner that we accept that fact and throw away our preconceived notions about PR, the sooner that we can start to learn, adopt and benefit from its best practices. Here’s the kicker: Technologies and communications channels change, but people do not. Publicists, for example, may contact reporters with Twitter more than the telephone today – but it is still one human being talking with another human being. And PR experts know how to work with people.
  • The goal of PR is not to “get coverage,” it is getting coverage that helps to achieve a company’s business and marketing goals. These are examples of some of the goals of our clients.
  • Examples of target markets for those identified goals.
  • Take one of our mobile-app clients, MediSafe Project. Which of the following pitches do you think would be more likely to interest reporters, and, in the end, their readers? “MediSafe reminds people to take their medication.”“A year and a half ago, Bob Shor’s diabetic dad asked him if he had seen his dad take his insulin. Bob’s answer, “No, I didn’t see you take your meds” was interpreted by his father as “No, you haven’t taken them.” His dad overdosed that day, which Bob says was the reason he and his brother Rotem created MediSafe, a collaborative app that helps keep track of long-term medication.”The second example is the opening paragraph of a Cult of Mac article. That coverage came from positioning MediSafe as a personal story rather than as just another random app. The key is to answer: WHY should anyone want to write about you? Reporters get dozens of pitches a day or more.
  • When compiling media lists, remember that time is a limited resource. There are only so many hours that a PR team can devote to a campaign. At one extreme, they could send the same, generic press release to thousands of outlets via a wire service and just hope for the best. At the other extreme, they could focus all of their efforts on a single reporter at a single outlet that is highly desired. A simplistic example: Say a PR executive has one hour of pitching time – should he or she spend one hour on one outlet or five minutes each on twelve outlets? Usually, you want to be somewhere in the middle.
  • Obviously, you do not want to get too many – if any – exact-match anchor text links. Write press releases for and distribute them to humans and not random online-distribution services. Your direct goal is to get coverage – not links, which will come later in an indirect way.
  • Many busy reporters do not answer their phones and receive countless e-mails, but they do pay attention to TwitterWriters will often say in their Twitter bios whether they want (or do not want) to be tweeted with pitchesTwitter is public, so do not give away too many details of an exclusive story – switch to e-mail or the phone as soon as possibleLink to a press release somewhere online (on a company website or on a wire service)Know your audience and when to be more formal and when to be more friendly
  • iOnRoad app uses computer vision algorithms to measure the to the car in front and instantly pop up with audio-visual alerts whenever the risk of an impending collision is detected.
  • From using PR and analyst relations in the right way, here were just some of the results for iOnRoad.
  • Take a moment to read this quote – it’s important.I opened this presentation by saying that “I hate PR” because I had not understood what PR actually is. In an SEO context, it’s a lot more than just media relations and BSing reporters. It involves social media and everything else that I have mentioned. Today, even as an SEO, I now LOVE PR.Reporters want to write about you. Years ago, space in a newspaper and minutes in a broadcast were limited. Journalists could be picky. Today, however, they know as well as we do that “content is king” and the way to maximize traffic and (for their purposes) advertising revenue. Writers are under constant pressure to write and write and write since websites can support an almost-infinite amount of content.
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