One of the best things about working with innovative companies spanning sustainability, healthcare/biotech, B2B and emerging tech, real estate, and financial services, is we get an up-close view of more than just how brands position themselves from scratch, but the origination of entire categories. A good digital PR firm strategy and execution play a significant role for brands in these industries and others, enabling companies to attract customers and partners, advance technologies and ideas, reach investors and raise capital.
And yet, so many brands overlook this specific impact of digital PR firm efforts, often prioritizing media coverage from only places they recognize, and not putting enough time or resources into content development and thought leadership.
Many talented and experienced marketers and communications professionals out there don’t ask or care about domain authority where they receive mentions and hyperlinks, titles of their own blog posts and op-ed contributions, or the impact of photos and videos within their external communications functions.
As mentioned in the first paragraph, brands benefit from having strong search results for their own name (ORM), as well as their results for Google Search when a user queries keywords relevant to their product, services, technology, or category (SEO). For example, I care very much where FischTank PR ranks for “sustainability PR firm” or “healthcare PR firm.”
Unfortunately, many marketers don’t care until it’s a problem, which generally arises in two ways:
- ORM: Negative articles, blog posts or reviews appear on the first page of Google’s results for a brand
- SEO: Because a brand doesn’t rank well for searches relevant to their service or business, it gets very little qualified web traffic resulting in even less leads or conversions
These problems cannot be fixed overnight, despite what the 1-800 Fix-it people claim. There is no button to push that removes negative results and replaces it with wonderful content. If there was an easy way to drive qualified leads and traffic, everyone would do it.
While there’s no easy way, there is the right way. I’ll share a few examples of how digital PR firm initiatives can positively impact your brand for a long time:
Get your website in order!
Ever Google a brand and the search results for their website look like a high school web development project? Webpage titles that are missing or don’t make sense, meta descriptions are blank and thus populate with nonsense, images don’t populate correctly and it just reflects…poorly. Anytime you hear someone say “well, we just threw up a website,” an angel loses its wings. It’s critical for any brand, or the digital PR firm that represents it, to make sure messaging is informative (explains to website visitors what the company does), and that someone with a solid understanding of web optimization has performed onsite SEO – filling out the categories, tags, descriptions, and titles needed to reflect accurately.
Start content writing/creation
Everyone is too busy to write 600+ word blog posts or shoot 60-90 second videos on their phone or laptop, right? I don’t want to hear it. If you care about where you rank for certain searches relevant to your brand and its product/services, you have time to write. Start by setting some easy goals, like one blog post per month. When you hire someone, ask them to do the same. Brainstorm a list of topics relevant to your brand, industry, or product/services, and develop ideas around questions. For example, if you’re a technology provider, write posts that answer questions you know your customers or partners are asking. Think like a Google Search result and position your copy that way.
Take some of that content and submit it.
Strong self-authored content on your website is critical, as is having the content published elsewhere – especially by online media with strong domain authority (DA) and relevant readership. When your content is published on other sites, those sites are essentially telling Google that you are a trusted source on the topic. If your hyperlink is included in your bio or byline when such a contribution is made, even better. The SEO/ORM benefits of a hyperlink, especially when this contributed content process is achieved over months or years, can be significant when it comes to your online search position.
Be a resource for journalists, brands, and bloggers
And you thought I was going to use this bullet to sell media relations? It’s not just reporters that are looking for expert commentary on specific topics. Most brands now have blogs, many of which are managed by full-time content professionals that act as both editors and journalists. While most of my PR friends know about Help A Reporter Out (HARO), ProfNet or Qwoted, but there are also a ton of corporate blogs and newsrooms out there that openly solicit on their website, as long as it’s relevant and non promotional.
Use that process and be a resource. Of course, working with journalists is a better way of driving digital PR objectives, mostly because they typically have large audiences and traditional media DAs are so high.
Optimize and amplify
Alright, so now you’ve got this content in the form of blog posts, short videos, media mentions, and op-ed contributions. Congratulations, because drafting and publishing it truly is the hardest part of getting this program going!
Now you need to share it using tried and true methods like social media and email marketing, and newer ones like Reddit and LinkedIn advertising. Having your organization and colleagues buy-in is extremely important, as having multiple people posting similar content on the same day is often how things trend and reach broader audiences. Use hashtags, post during optimal times on social, constantly add and distribute to your email database, try your hand at posting non-promotional content in relevant Reddit threads, and use language that is assertive and stands out. There’s too much copy and paste formal marketing in marcomm efforts. Blah! Be creative.
A good digital PR firm should be capable of explaining this process in depth. There are no price tags for true, editorial media coverage. There is no quick fix for a bad online reputation. If you want qualified site traffic and inbound leads without playing the ad game, you will need a long-term content strategy. Marketing and communications leaders do well to invest in digital PR initiatives early, then scale as they go. Visit here for more PR for SEO tips.