You want attention but targeted attention…online. Business marketplaces evolve as more commerce takes place online in the 21st century. Businesses, moving with the times and behaviors of consumers, have learned ways to seek and leverage online attention.
Search engine optimization (SEO) helps with search visibility, and traditional PR notions beckon the attention of targeted consumers, yet why not allocate earned attention to brick-and-mortar stores, landing pages, Twitter accounts, etc?
For some, the crossroads of combining PR and SEO efforts are blurred. Boost brand efforts, considering the following online marketing tips.
Forget the Press Release
Traditionally, a press release told the public about a new product, addition to an executive team, current consumer stats, etc. A brand contacted reporters and editors, and interested parties ran particular stories.
Today, rather than pay an outside party to host and disseminate information, brands write, post, and spread awareness in-house. Rather than enjoy the attention of stories running for a few days, draw attention to big PR wins from a homepage.
Build links to the page and draw attention to testimonials, PR achievements, and new products and services. A well-structured homepage performs all the duties of a traditional press release.
Become and Build Affiliates
Public relations spread awareness, often by word-of-mouth. Leverage partnerships with others, building affiliate relations. Other businesses and webmasters host ads and influence their readers of others’ products and services.
Be strategic in working with vendors within and outside your vertical. For example, a Jeep dealership could offer discounts on ski lift tickets and resorts, finding a cross-section of consumers who own Jeeps and ski often. Devoting SEO resources to each page of an affiliate campaign helps all involved.
Shape Consumer Perception
Consumers buy products; major publications and search engine results are merely means to an end. When it comes to digital presence, it’s important to revisit the traditional sentiment of public relations without spending a lot on advertising.
Competitors spend money attempting to ‘own’ search results related to popular terms or keywords. For example, a Nissan dealership in Las Vegas may desire good rankings for “Las Vegas cars,” “Cheap cars in Vegas,” and a family of other terms. Competition is fierce and costs expensive; rather convince search engines, shape consumer perceptions.
Send emails, compose sales letters, and post billboards with specific terminology, re-shaping the perception and leveraged words and associations of consumers.
A good example is Kleenex. Kleenex made its brand name interchangeable with its product – “My nose is running; do you have a Kleenex?” Kleenex is a brand of tissue. We don’t ask, “Do you have (name brand)?” when asking for cups, cars, chairs, etc.
Keep Good Contacts
Search engine optimization builds links to pages and sites. Depending on where a link is coming, it’s a huge win or hardly worth mentioning for a brand. For example, a link from a major news site like the NY Times is significant. However, it’s not as simple as having an SEO company email the editor and asking for inclusion in a story.
Keep good contacts and maintain relations with a number of writers, bloggers, and associates. Often, major publications ask freelancers to contribute or add stories. Keeping good contacts makes it more likely your brand may appear in major stories, attracting links from one mention.
While certain search engine optimization methods seek short-term changes, traditional public relations rely on patiently building stronger relations.
Read Peer and Influencer Works
Online authors write for a purpose; for eventual sales perhaps, but immediately, people like to be ‘heard.’ Often that means reading the blogs and posts of others online, though a number of authors also produce podcast and videos.
Reading others’ works (and commenting or ‘tweeting’ at them after) lets them know you’re interested, possibly making them interested in return; when someone bids you “hello” on the street, it’s proper and uniform to repay the regard.
Devote a portion of marketing efforts toward reading, commenting, and engaging online authors. The engagement opens doors to SEO benefits; often, authors will link to those they know and those who regularly engage them.
Write for Other Sites and Invite Authors
Guest post for other sites as well as invite other authors to write posts for your readers. The process invites the opportunity for new readers (as with affiliate marketing) and via author bylines, others may link to their original sites and vice versa when guest posting.
While major search engine, Google, frowns on any relation created ‘just for a link,’ it’s perfectly reasonable and allowed for two sites of the same or dissimilar vertical to exchange information that’s helpful to respective consumers and readers.