Posted by Media Relations on Tuesday, August 4th, 2009 - 3 Comments »
PR budgets have been affected just as much as marketing and Public Relations departments in every industry are trying to figure out the mechanics of how to improve PR effectiveness through social media. At the same time, optimizing news content for search engines is fast becoming an established part of the mix for many PR programs.
On their own, SEO and social media channels offer attractive opportunities for reaching industry influentials as well as end consumers through push and pull PR. Together, SEO and social media combine to create a competitive edge that can boost online PR results.
Why is this so? Changes in the way the media and end consumers discover, consume and share content illustrate the intersection of opportunity for search and the social web. Today’s increasingly social savvy content consumer not only expects to find what they’re looking for on search engines, but to interact with the results. Those interactions take many forms including: commenting, voting and sharing. As a result, social media can affect search engine visibility in numerous ways, creating new promotion opportunities for public and media relations efforts.
Of course, throwing keywords at social media tactics isn’t quite the same thing as developing and implementing a plan to reach specific goals. Dropping links to news being promoted on social networks can have impact but is difficult to sustain. For long term value from effort with SEO and social media, PR professionals should follow best practices as well as the fundamentals:
- Implement a listening program using social media monitoring, search engine ranking and keyword research tools.
- Identify the specific audience to reach. What are their behaviors and preferences for content, sharing, media types, etc? What keywords are used in a social AND search context?
- Set specific goals and objectives that can be measured. Mentions, comments, links, rankings, traffic, media coverage or other “engagement” metrics.
- Develop a strategy for reaching those goals with the intended audience. Content creation and promotion is essential for a SEO and Social Media PR effort.
- Figure out which mix of tactics (blog, social networks, media sharing, microblogging, etc) will support and execute the strategy.
- Identify which specific social tools use. If social networks are the right channel, which social network? Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace or niche networks?
- Put proper measurement tools in place and identify what events and outcomes to analyze.
- Identify individuals and resources necessary to implement. Forecast time, internal reporting, and feedback mechanisms for participants.
- Plan for success and what it will take to scale when you succeed. Be ready to address issues or failure as well.
A set of guidelines and a focus on strategy is always important, but don’t let that get in the way of experimentation. There is no substitute for learning about effective SEO and social media as communication channels than through participation. Social media optimization is the convergence of SEO and social media that allows media relations and PR professionals to optimize news content and leverage social media channels to promote it.