PR and SEO: How To Find The Perfect Balance To Create Optimised And Newsworthy Content

PR and SEO can often be worlds apart. For some businesses they are sworn enemies, with teams refusing to work with each other, leading to separate PR campaigns to promote the brand and SEO strategies to improve traffic and ranking. Other businesses and agencies see the value of combining the practices and creating an overarching strategy to achieve and exceed goals.

At Marketing Signals, we’re of the firm opinion that working together in finding the perfect balance to benefit both digital PR and SEO is a must in 2019, and that it’s blind to think otherwise. By bringing PR and SEO together in harmony, you can undoubtedly achieve better results, building better links and increasing brand exposure which will ultimately put your business in front of more people. This type of PR is often referred to as Digital PR.

How SEO & PR Have Converged & Why They’re Perfect Bedfellows

Traditional PR has been around for a considerable amount of time. As the industry has developed alongside technology, new techniques have developed to consider digital. No matter the platform, PR’s time and energy generally goes into building brand awareness and promoting particular aspects or events within that business.

SEO is similar, with the aim of building brand awareness to boost traffic and revenue through the process of ranking highly within a search engine query.

The crossover is forever getting larger and larger, but where problems occur is simply down to understanding. PR professionals aren’t often taught about the benefits of SEO and the impacts it can have on campaigns. At the end of the day, there is a shared goal. We all want good, high-quality links and an overarching strategy can provide that for both SEO and PR teams.

That’s why many agencies and businesses have combined their efforts, with integrated agencies having their own PR teams to supplement SEO efforts and vice versa. This allows the PR team to focus on achieving the high quality links, and the SEO team to optimize the media coverage earned.

How Do You Combine PR and SEO?

What is required is a complementary strategy. When working with SEO and PR you often find two teams with their own outreach plans, pushing different pages, telling different stories and, in some cases, even targeting the same sites and publications. That can lead to all manner of confusion and have a significant impact on results.

Align Your SEO and PR Strategies

Instead, aligning strategies is the first step to really maximising the value of PR and SEO working in tandem. Consider an area of a business to push as one. For an SEO team, they’ll likely want to push pages and stories that can rank for high-volume related keywords. For PR professionals, they want a story, page, and angle that is going to be newsworthy and shareable.

Therefore, finding a newsworthy piece of content that has the potential to rank well for a high-volume keyword is a winning formula. Ultimately, they work hand-in-hand, after all the more people searching for something, the more people find it interesting and the more likely a high-quality relevant site is going to want some content built around the subject.

This will help generate high-quality links to one area and focus of a site rather than chasing news publications with one page and medium-level links with another. As well as this, you’ll also be pushing the same brand messages and keywords across campaigns, making for a clearer identity that will benefit both PR and SEO in the long run.

Clarify Assignments – Who is doing what

When using this method, guidelines should be made in regards to which team carries responsibility for each area, particularly when it comes to outreach.

Split who and where each team is reaching out. PR teams will usually have good relationships with higher quality media outlets and SEOs will be aware of the relevant 2nd tier sites that can help build an effective backlink profile.

This should also be determined prior to putting time and effort into creating the content. If you have your targets identified before you begin to develop ideas, you can tailor your content and approach to suit their agendas. For example, if your top priority is earning a link on the BBC, the content you create should fit what you’re likely to see in the BBC news or features agenda.

Having these targets, from both SEO and PR, will not only help you to craft the data and information of the content, but also the design and tone.

Play To Each Other’s Strengths

Quite often PR teams and SEO don’t work hand-in-hand because they don’t fully understand each other’s roles. Playing to each other’s strengths is hugely important when creating content for that very reason.

For any piece of content, an SEO should be exploring the most effective keywords to rank for. For PR, it’s finding the right angles to get the most effective coverage.

Therefore a successful approach is often for SEO to carry out initial keyword research and present a series of opportunities to the PR team which content should be built around.

The PR team can then play to their strengths and come up with the creatives, building angles in which will get those high-quality links needed by both teams.

Understand Each Other’s Goals

Knowing what each other do is one thing, understanding their goals is another. PR can hugely influence what happens within a search engine, but quite often they don’t understand the value of a link.

PRs will often be happy with coverage on a newspaper’s site, but SEOs will consider it pretty pointless without that hyperlink. A PR can hugely help the overall goal by pushing for that coverage to be turned into a link, helping the overall goals of the SEO team.

Additionally, SEOs need to understand that it isn’t always possible to earn that link and that as a brand chasing a link can break down relationships between PRs and journalists if pushed too hard.

Don’t Stop There, Get Social Involved

Of course, in many integrated agencies today, not only do we have PR and SEO teams, but a wider social media team – and they shouldn’t be ignored within an outreach process.

Essentially, if your content is good enough, the more people you put it in front of, the more coverage it will get. A full social strategy should be in place, to make sure your content and its messages are delivered to the right people at the right time, as well as any major coverage shared through the brand’s social channels.

Today, it’s more important than every to have a synchronised outreach and content strategy across all teams, particularly as news stories can often be heavily influenced by what’s trending on Instagram and Twitter. In fact, how often do we find engagement integrated into stories too?

SEO & PR Working In Perfect Harmony

When SEO and PR teams do work together, it more often than not leads to successful campaigns.

We’re always keen for all our teams to pool our resources and have enjoyed the fruits of our labour.

An Example of Success when PR and SEO work together

A particular campaign on which we pooled our resources was a campaign exploring the fashion industry, an area in which we have worked effectively in recent years. In order to build links and brand awareness in a range of business publications, we worked with our internal PR team to build a strategy on how we could achieve high-quality SEO links and highlight our expertise within the fashion field.

This was achieved through the commissioning of a survey, exploring consumer behaviour in the industry. It offered headline-grabbing statistics, useful insight into the market and a platform for us to showcase our expertise within fashion e-commerce.

The results led to us picking up over 150 links, including our high-quality link targets such as Internet Retailing, Fashion Network, Business Matters and Drapers and was delivered purely through our PR and SEO teams understanding of a shared goal and working together to achieve it.

Of course, this is just one example. There’s plenty of good work being produced by agencies across the country and from the many campaigns we look at, it’s clear to see those who have their PR and SEO teams in unison.

Want to know more about how we can combine our SEO skills with your team’s PR skills? Get in touch today and let’s have a chat.

Gareth Hoyle

Gareth Hoyle

Let’s kick this section off with a sound-bite: I graduated in 2006, finishing top of my year in e-Business. As good as that sounds, book smarts doesn’t always translate into business acumen - what people really want to know is how I went from ‘fresh faced uni graduate’ to establishing my own highly successful international digital marketing agency. It wasn’t easy.

Here’s my advice. The formula to success comes down to one word. Leadership. The difference between book smarts and leadership is that even the strongest university degree in the world will only teach you the way, but a leader is able to take that knowledge and combine it with instinct and honesty to show the way. I may not always lead my staff and clients in the direction they want, but I always take them where they need to be.

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