Most companies recognize that public relations, content marketing and search engine optimization are all important for a successful brand presence online. But how they work (or should work) together for maximal impact isn’t always clear.
Too often, businesses treat PR outreach, content and SEO as competing species rather than symbiotic organisms that rely on each other to succeed and thrive.
That’s not surprising considering their definitions don’t outwardly indicate their connection to each other:
Public relations, as defined by the Public Relations Society of America, is “a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”
Content marketing, as defined by the Content Marketing Institute, is “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
Search engine optimization, as defined by Moz, is “the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.”
The Symbiotic Relationship of PR, Content Marketing and SEO
Successfully competing in this digital world requires maintaining synergy between your public relations, content marketing and SEO approaches. While all three can advance your brand individually to some degree, they’re far more powerful when they align for the greater good.
In their book “SEO for Growth,” John Jantsch and Phil Singleton shared: “Search engine strategy pulls in the visitors and content converts them. SEO is the dish that gets them to the door and ongoing content is the cherry pie that keeps them coming back for more.”
Public relations is an essential ingredient, as well. If customers don’t trust your brand, your SEO and content marketing efforts will flounder.
Why Your PR Needs Content Marketing
For your company to develop beneficial relationships with target customers and the public, it needs content that resonates with people and aptly communicates a consistent brand message. Publishing and sharing your PR content on your business website and social media channels increases its exposure, which could lead to PR opportunities beyond your immediate media distribution list.
Why Your PR Needs SEO
As SEO efforts improve your business website’s ranking in online search results, content optimized for focus keywords that center on hot topics can help draw media attention to your company, leading others to you as a source of information and insight. Those inquiries can bring unanticipated opportunities to expand awareness of your brand and garner trust on a more extensive scale than you would achieve through your outreach efforts alone.
Why Your Content Marketing Needs PR
The relationships and goodwill facilitated through public relations efforts lay a foundation of trust for a brand. So, as your business generates and distributes its marketing content, the public perception built through PR lends credibility to your marketing messages. That element of trust gives people a deeper level of comfort in your company, which can make them more apt to purchase your products and services.
Why Your Content Marketing Needs SEO
No matter how spectacular your website and blog content is, it can’t convert prospects to customers if people don’t see it. SEO helps ensure your content gets found in online searches, thus driving more prospective customers to your business’s website.
Why Your SEO Needs PR
Public relations efforts can result in social media mentions and links back to your website from credible sources like news outlets. Because quality backlinks and social mentions are among Google’s top ranking factors, and your business could experience an SEO boost. Ranking factors aside, the extra exposure in and of itself can drive more traffic to your website.
Why Your SEO Needs Content Marketing
When your company produces high-quality content on a consistent basis and has a plan in place to share it through online channels that provide the most engagement, SEO results will improve. As I mentioned in the point above, Google takes social mentions into account when ranking sites on search engine results pages.
Tips for a United Front
Whether your company does all of its PR, content marketing and SEO in-house or outsources some or all of it, you can take some steps to help ensure they collectively benefit your business.
1. Ditch the silos.
Your resources in all three disciplines should respect what the others bring to the table. They need to understand each other’s roles, responsibilities and what they need to accomplish for your organization. And they must be willing to collaborate on how they can help each other obtain their objectives.
2. Make sure your SEO partner understands your brand.
Communicate to your SEO partner what your brand stands for, the types of topics your audience responds to, and taboo words and phrases (those that might alienate or offend readers) to avoid when optimizing your content.
3. Optimize all online marketing and PR content.
This will help increase its visibility and give your SEO resource ample opportunities to build your company’s online authority. Consider having your PR and marketing team review all optimized content before it’s published to ensure it reads naturally. Google has the intelligence to sniff out content that is written for its search engine algorithms rather than humans. It could hurt your website’s ranking if you haven’t focused your content on providing value to your audience.
4. Monitor and review SEO, content marketing and PR results regularly.
Bring all of your resources together for monthly or quarterly meetings or conference calls to assess progress and identify what’s working and what’s not. Doing so will enable you to cooperatively fine-tune your strategies and tactics so they align with your company’s objectives (which may evolve over time).
The Big Picture Counts
Depending on your business’s immediate needs, long-term goals and budget, there may be periods when either PR, content marketing or SEO will temporarily be a higher priority than the other two. Keep in mind, the disciplines that are “taking one for the team” might not return ideal results during that time. It would be unfair to accuse them of underperforming when they’re not getting as much time, attention or dollars as other initiatives.
No secret formula exists for unifying PR, content marketing and SEO efforts. Striking the right balance and honing strategies to grow your business requires continual assessment, adaptation and communication.
Image Credits –
Featured image provided by the author.