Breaking News: ‘PR Critical to SEO Success’ Is Not Breaking News

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1. Choose the right story

To be successful in using a PR approach to SEO, we have to change our approach to optimizing for consumer discovery across all channels. Social included.

It’s not about being everywhere all at once. It’s about being in the right place, at the right time, in the right way, and solving the right problem. Even if that “place” or “solution” is not considered a part of traditional SEO. We can approach content through the lens of optimizing for discovery regardless of the channel or platform.

To ensure our content aligns with the target, ask:

  • What’s the right story and message for this specific outlet?

  • How does my audience differ for this channel?

  • How will that experience come to life?

  • How will that experience differ from channel to channel?

  • How can we optimize for each distinct channel?

2. Create custom content

Beyond tailoring messaging for each channel, we need to customize the format and style of our content to align with the specific characteristics and expectations of each platform. A long-form narrative may work great for particular opportunities but may not be able to be repurposed on other social platforms such as X or YouTube.

Creating custom content for the unique needs of each channel not only demonstrates a nuanced understanding of the characteristics of each outlet but also of your target audience.

Consider what kind of content performs well on each channel and the specific requirements for each (e.g., character limits, video lengths, etc.). People consume content and media differently across the web, and we must recognize that. There is not a “one-size-fits-all” solution.

Create custom content across channels to improve engagement by:

  • Adapting content length and format: Adjust the length and format of your content based on the platform. Social channels may require concise messages, while guest posts or platforms like LinkedIn can accommodate longer-form content. You may also need to use different types of content, such as videos, infographics, or images.

  • Leveraging visuals appropriately: Tailor visual elements to suit the platform. Instagram and Pinterest, for example, are highly visual and require eye-catching images, while LinkedIn may call for professional graphics or infographics.

  • Adding value and infusing character: Elevate your business into a brand with insights and opinions unique to you. Invite your audience to contribute to the conversation by asking for responses, feedback, and comments. Prioritize encouraging audience engagement in a way that is appropriate for the platform.

3. Optimize accordingly

Effective communication hinges on choosing the right channel for our message, and often, that extends beyond traditional search. The very definition of search has changed. TikTok and Instagram are some of the biggest search engines after Google. Consumers use Amazon as a one-stop shop and YouTube as a university. The ebb and flow of social platforms is enough to make your head spin. People don’t passively consume media anymore; they actively seek what they want.

PR specialists excel at identifying the most suitable platforms or outlets to connect with their target audience. SEO professionals can harness these strategies to ensure that our content also reaches the right people at the right time. We have to be where our target audience is, nurturing engagement at each touchpoint rather than over-indexing on the bottom of the funnel.

Think outside the standard principles of SEO to enhance Brand AuthorityTM and credibility across channels:

  • Traditional PR: PR efforts, such as press releases, guest contributions, and expert interviews, can lead to mentions and links on authoritative websites, increasing the credibility of a brand across diverse verticals. Utilize thought leaders in the space and ensure that links and social promotions are included as part of every partnership.

  • Social promotion: Think beyond a standard press release or an industry directory. How does this story translate to social media specifically? We can optimize social posts for the unique ranking factors of each different social platform. It is widely accepted that social links don’t directly influence SEO rankings; however, actively sharing content on social media builds brand strength (more on that to come!), social proof, and furthers a brand’s position as an authority in the industry.

  • Influencer partnerships: Much like traditional social promotion, the right influencer partnership can increase brand awareness and create a sense of trust. Identify stories that can be leveraged via relevant influencers in your industry. What are your potential influencer’s audience demographics? What calls to action may make sense? Most importantly, is it worth investing in influencer marketing?

  • Newsjacking: This tactic wherein content is produced that leverages trending topics or breaking news can be a tricky one to pull off, but the results are worth it. By keeping a pulse on news, you can determine if there are relevant trending stories that tie into your defined brand stories. This can support SEO by reaching a wider audience, leading to valuable links and credibility. However, this tactic relies on the ability to produce expert opinions and high-quality content in a timely manner. For newsjacking to truly be successful, it requires a thorough understanding of breaking information and the ability to get strong content out quickly.

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