How Public Relations Can Avoid Failing at SEO

August 3, 2011 by  
Filed under Online Marketing, Online PR, SEO

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SEO for Public Relations FailOur Online Marketing agency at TopRank has been providing practitioners in the Public Relations industry information and insight on Search Engine Optimization for nearly 10 years.

Starting with adding SEO to our media relations services in 2001 to providing SEO consulting  to PR industry leaders like Vocus, PRWeb and The PRSA, we’ve been in the thick of SEO and PR for some time.

The demand for smart Social Media and SEO information from PR agencies and corporate communications organizations has amplified significantly this year. We’re talking with numerous companies, helping them get up to speed with strategy, road mapping and training. One of the most useful insights we can provide is guidance on what to avoid when it comes to incorporating SEO and SMO (social media optimization) into PR content strategies. No one likes to #fail, so here are several things to avoid:

Shiny Object Keyword Syndrome

SEO advice is easy to find online including suggestions of doing keyword research using tools like Google’s AdWords Keyword Tool.  There’s a temptation to focus only on the most popular words and phrases even if they aren’t 100% on target. Or worse, if the website that PR staff can contribute to and edit isn’t anywhere near deserving of being known as THE authority for a highly competitive topic.

Those high popularity count keyword phrases are like shiny objects that distract from the language that is most relevant and realistic to achieve. It’s fine to have highly popular (and competitive), relevant keyword phrases as targets, as a long term goal and contingent that there’s a commitment to creating the content and attracting the links necessary. In the meantime, go after phrases that reflect the intersection of the topic your promoting and the most relevant queries being made. In fact, extend that search keyword research to social topics for more long tail concepts to optimize for.

Many journalist inquiries are pretty niche. They’re often looking for something very specific, and if you’re chasing high popularity keywords that will take a year to achieve, you may be missing out on a lot of search visibility that could inspire media coverage in the meantime.

One-Off SEO

Another temptation is to approach SEO very tactically and try new SEO knowledge on a single web page or press release. There’s nothing wrong with experimentation, but optimizing a single or a handful of documents isn’t what drives significant search traffic.

An extension of that would be to optimize a newsroom or website  without planning to revisit keyword lists and whether refinement is necessary.  I’ve heard comments like this many times, “Oh, we optimized our site already. In 2004.” SEO, like Social Media and Content is a journey – not a destination.

Missing Links

Google PageRank introduced the online marketing world to the importance of links beyond those that simply drive direct traffic. Today, PageRank isn’t as much of a focus, but links are still very important. Especially links from social networks and media sharing sites.  Many PR professionals consider the keyword optimization of web pages, press releases and digital assets all that is necessary – discounting the need to attract links.

Links are like electricity and help search engines discover new content. They also serve as a signal for use in assigning importance for ranking. PR professionals are in a unique position to attract some of the most valuable links possible – from online media websites. Asking journalists to link back to a website takes little effort and might result in a highly valued link that can send the most significant kind of signal or link juice to what it is that you’re promoting.

Additionally, sending out press releases through a news release distribution service like our client PRWeb, that are properly optimized with links to content that is being promoted can result in link acquisition as well. Sometimes it’s 5 or 10 links and sometimes 100′s of them.  Optimization with keywords is just the start. Link building and social promotion are what create awareness to journalists and bloggers directly as well as through improved search visibility.

Falling Short on Measurement

Improved search visibility is often measured with a ranking report.  With personalization, those reports are not as useful as they once were. Web analytics tracks visitors to a website and where they came from, like from a search engine. That’s about as far as most PR and Corporate Communications pros will go when it comes to measuring the impact of their SEO efforts.

However, there’s a lot more. Especially since increased, relevant traffic to the corporate website or news content can not only reach the media but end consumers looking to buy. If the content can warrant a link to a “buy page” where a conversion or inquiry can occur, PR practitioners would do well to make sure web analytics tracking is setup so that new business inquiries can be attributed to optimized PR content when appropriate.

How powerful would it be to show not only media coverage, but improved web traffic and new business inquiries as a direct result of PR’s SEO efforts?

Waning on Training

You don’t just flip a switch and become SEO savvy, I’m sorry to say. Achieving SEO competence takes training, practice and persistence. At TopRank Marketing, we have a consulting service but we’re in the business of helping PR firms and corporate public relations staff get up to speed with SEO and Social Media SEO skills. But there are many other places to get useful knowledge ranging from the upcoming SES conference in San Francisco to the online training provided by Market Motive you see in the right side bar of this blog.

The key thing is to understand that to gain momentum, providing SEO skills training to those in your organization in a position to create content online will be especially helpful. Going it alone as the sole SEO savvy person in a  large agency is tough to scale. However you get that training is up to you, just be sure to get it for yourself and for your team.

Frugal SEO Tooling

I’ve noticed there’s a tendency with many PR agencies and departments to be a bit conservative on paying for tools. It’s true that there are many free tools out there, but over time and without a business model to fund them, they get neglected and can become irrelevant or go away altogether. Then you’re up a creek without a paddle, scrambling for some other free tool, not knowing what really works and what doesn’t.

That’s why I like to pay for tools. I know they’ll be around and will have an obligation to provide some kind of service level and support. Whether its paying for WordStream for keyword research or SEOMoz Pro or Raven Tools for a host of SEO functionality and campaign management, don’t skimp on the tools. The impact of great SEO, especially SEO and Social Media Optimization, can have a tremendous impact and maybe even a multiplier to online media relations efforts. Tools will help you do quality work and more importantly, scale!

To Be Optimized, You Must Socialize

A big part of today’s optimization for better search performance means active social media content creation, curation and engagement. Building networks that you can share links with and inspire link propagation is essential for the social link and content signals being increasingly considered by Google and to some degree, Bing. Optimizing social media content improves the search visibility of brand content on the social web. The social network participation on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Quora and Google+ that goes along with brand social media efforts also provides Google with signals that can be used for ranking content on Optimize and Socialize!


There are many more ways than this to fail at SEO and SMO for Public Relations, but as a foundation, these tips can serve to help PR Agencies and Corporate Communications avoid some of the pitfalls and become more productive, more quickly with their SEO efforts. Realistically, these tips are appropriate for any industry, but the boost in inquiries we’re getting from PR firms and business Comms pros, motivated me to create this post just for you :)

If you work at a Public Relations firm or in Corporate PR, have you hit on any of these areas to avoid? How did you get back on track, or did you?

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How Public Relations Can Avoid Failing at SEO |

8 Social SEO Questions Public Relations Pros Need the Answers To

June 23, 2011 by  
Filed under Online Marketing, Online PR, SEO, SEO Tips, social SEO

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Social SEO PR TipsIn the course of providing expertise and advice, I’ve really come to believe that it’s more important now than ever for Public Relations professionals to accelerate their knowledge of SEO and Social Media. The storytelling business is a competitive one and great messaging isn’t realized until it connects with influencers and those in a position to propagate it. Both SEO and Social Media facilitate discovery of news and information, so PR pros can boost reach and impact by becoming Social SEO savvy.

Thanks to an invite from Justin Goldsborough and Heather Whaling, I participated in a #pr20chat chat this week to talk mostly about SEO and PR with a hint of social media. For Twitter chats, I prepare by getting the questions to be asked in advance and then I answer them in a “tweet ready” format so I can be as useful as possible during the chat itself. That prep makes for a good blog post too :)

What are some simple, basic principles of SEO that PR ppl need to understand/implement?

  • I’d like to start with: Social is hot, but Google handles 10 billion+ queries /mo, so SEO is far from “dead”
  • For a good foundation, check out these 10 SEO tips for PR Pros
  • SEO Basics: Search results vary for users based on location, logged in, history – ranking is an iffy metric
  • SEO Basics: Research keywords & focus optimization efforts: 1-2 topics per page
  • SEO Basics: Use keywords & variants in titles, headings, body copy & links to the page
  • SEO Basics: Create, optimize, socialize & promote for links. Track web analytics, social monitoring
  • Also, check out this SEO Guide for PR (pdf)

When it comes to PR & SEO, what do PR people do wrong? Tips for improvement?

  • #fail: Focusing solely on press releases for SEO. If it’s searchable, it can be SEO’d
  • #fail: Only writing press releases AP style. Also try an article format & send via @PRWeb (client)
  • #fail: Overuse keywords, ignore link building, discount impact of social on SEO
  • Tips: Create keyword glossary & train writers on basic SEO copywriting & linking
  • Tips: Include web pages, releases, images, video, PDFs, MS Word Docs
  • Tips: ID a destination page as a topic target & build content, links around it

What are some tips & tools to help PR people discover the best/most relevant keywords?

  • Keywords should empathize with the intended audience: journos, bloggers, consumers
  • Think about keywords for search and social topics for conversations. Sometimes they’re the same
  • Keyword Tools: Google Keyword Tool (includes mobile)
  • Keyword Tools: & (for competitors)
  • Keyword Tools: Übersuggest (via SEJ) leverages Google Suggest
  • Once you have keywords, you’ll need: Keyword Glossary & Editorial Plan

What are some SEO best practices to ensure the *right* people (not just more ppl) find your site/content? (via @kaczynski)

  • Attract the “right” people via search to PR content through relevant keyword selection & optimization
  • Knowing your target audience means knowing their keywords. Optimize for the “pull”
  • Understand what keywords & topics reflect your target audience interest & focus on that

Google recently intro’d Google Instant Pages. What does this mean for SEO? PR?

  • Google Instant Pages only speeds display of SERPs you click. Very little impact on today’s SEO

How should PR pros balance social media vs SEO? Should one “lead” and the other support/follow?

  • Optimize & Socialize based on customer centric search keywords & social topics. It’s yin/yang
  • Social Media & SEO work together, but the lead tactic depends on intended outcomes
  • Both SEO & Social affect info discovery. Social media facilitates engagement & influences SEO
  • Marketing often owns SEO, PR owns Social. Cross-training is essential

Explain the process you follow to create & promote content marketing initiatives. How does SEO fit into that?

  • Content Marketing starts with my magic 8-ball. I just do what it tells me :)
  • Oh wait, here you go: 10 Steps to Better Content Marketing & SEO
  • Content plans are aided by keywords & social topics so creators can be inspired

Fill in the blank: _____ is the #1 thing all PR ppl need to start doing to improve SEO

  • That kind of question is trouble. There’s no #1 thing anymore. But then again …
  • If you focus on just one thing, you’ll get burned when that one thing changes
  • It comes down to relevance and network. The right keyword & content mix + social network for sharing = the WIN

We have some of the smartest marketers and public relations pros on the web reading this blog. What Tweets would you post in response to these questions? What questions along the lines of PR and SEO would you like answered?

Thanks to @prtini for her roundup of the chat, which you can find here: “14 PR & SEO Tweetable Tips“.

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8 Social SEO Questions Public Relations Pros Need the Answers To |

5 Tips: Content Sharing Beyond Facebook

Alright, you’ve just come up with a brilliant and revolutionary idea that will forever change the face of your industry. So what do you do now?

If you’re like a lot of people, you run to Facebook and share it with your friends, colleagues, and anyone that will listen. Is that a bad strategy? Not necessarily, as Facebook and Twitter can be great places to reach large audiences. In fact, Facebook continued to grow even stronger in its use as a sharing site in 2010.

However, you can’t safely assume that Facebook is the only or best method of content distribution. Social media is a hot market right now and use of these channels are not a bad thing. Though a strategy of a few tweets and a fan page update will not get you to your goals. Ultimately there is no singular model that is always the ideal for any company but a few points to consider include:

Audience - I lead with this one as it should always be the first step in creating any marketing or communications plan. Who are you trying to reach and where are they? If you want customers that are highly engaged on mobile devices then Facebook could be a good fit with over 200 million people accessing the social media giant via their mobiles. If you’re seeking long-term content placement that might be reviewed in-depth, consider SlideShare where the demographics indicate  81 percent medium to heavy internet users and eight minutes spent on the site looking at content.

Influencers - After establishing your target audience you should move to identifying who has the ear of the audience you want to reach.  Spend some time researching terms and keywords that connect to your topic. Take advantage of the many tools out there like Google blog search, Alltop, PostRank and see who shapes the views of your audience.

Blogs – The benefits of a blog as a central hub of content are quite well established in terms of SEO for companies. Yet another benefit of a blog for many organizations is the simplicity of updates which can be made easily. Use your blog as a point of entry for beginning a dialogue. Engage here and you’ll begin to identify the content that your audience is actually seeking. Use it as a research tool to understand your audience further: check out the sites of those that leave comments on your blog, review your analytics to identify changes in referral sources, and offer opportunities for readers to share their questions with you.

Email – Don’t forget about a core (if not as sexy) tool that works well and is still a top source of content sharing. Develop an email newsletter to communicate with prospects and others interested in your content. The content you create for your email newsletter can be a jumping off point to create interesting blog posts, which can then include surveys or interactive content to transform a single piece of content into a discussion between you and your audience. In concert with other tools, it facilitates a continual cycle of engagement with your audience.

Syndication – Services that offer the potential of extended reach and content syndication are excellent resources that are often being too easily dismissed in my opinion due to the alleged “death of the press release.” Aside from the use of services like PRWeb (a TopRank client) for trying to reach journalists, syndication will improve your reach to end-users and potentially appear in a number of locations and offers a number of share options for well written content that is relevant to your target audience. With the syndication you also have the opportunity to get your site in front of potential customers with anchor text links back to your own pages.

Consumers, across industries, expect greater personalization than ever before. Any singular content distribution channel will ultimately miss an important part of your target market. Take advantage of the communication tools available to create an experience that each user feels was made for them by taking the time to understand them and offer a variety of channels that fit their needs.

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5 Tips: Content Sharing Beyond Facebook |

Tasty Ideas to Maximize Online Marketing for Events

January 12, 2011 by  
Filed under Email Marketing, Online Marketing, Online PR

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Online Marketing EventsMarketing efficiency is always a good thing. I mean, who has an unlimited marketing budget? Well, maybe some companies do, but for the most part, being able to get far more value out of a marketing investment than projected is cause to celebrate.

For example, events.   In the digital marketing world, the number of online and real world events has exploded. Despite many options to choose from, it can get costly to send staff to multiple events per year and even more if you sponsor or exhibit.

But this post is more about what one might do holistically to leverage multiple communication channels to promote an event and how an event can serve multiple marketing and business objectives.

For the purpose of this example, I’ll use parts of a promotional program following a standard model of:
Audience > Objectives > Tactics > Tools > Measurement


  • Influential Persona
  • Media Persona
  • Customer Persona 1
  • Customer Persona 2


  • Establish credibility in the industry and associated community
  • Build buzz about the event & inspire viral sharing
  • Leverage the event for media coverage regionally, on blogs and industry pulications
  • Attract signups/attendees for the event
  • Generate content at the first event to use with subsequent event marketing & PR
  • Create content that will demonstrate insights (keyword specific) and promote the event on sites the company controls, contributed articles to industry web sites and pitching
  • Create awareness of event through pitching other bloggers and marketing contacts to announce the event
  • Build enough interest within the target audience to motivate signups by promoting the event using social media tactics

27 Online Marketing and PR Tactics:

  • Create a landing page for the event on the company website or blog with embedded overview video (series of videos like 10 tips on … could work too)
  • Publish a series of interviews on the company blog with key individuals that have influence on the target topic. Promote the event at the end of the interviews
  • Pitch and contribute articles about key topics related to the event with important industry publications (online and offline)
  • Promote the event to online event sites Zvents, Upcoming and event calendars (online, email or print)
  • Write & distribute news releases (1, 2, 3) each taking a different angle
  • Pitch stories to general marketing publications
  • Pitch story to regional publications where the event will be held
  • Publish a series of videos, 1 for each key topic or problem solved. Post to YouTube and distribute via TubeMogul to other video sharing sites. Alternate titles and tags.
  • Offer guest blog post to small business bloggers, especially those in the region where the event will be held
  • Populate the social media profiles that have been registered with keyword optimized content, linking to an event landing page
  • Create a series of promotional emails and landing pages for the event directed towards an in-house list (like an email newsletter)
  • Pre write a promo/guest post that other bloggers can easily use – customize it.
  • Send follow up emails with themed creative
  • Create a cool badge that other blogs can add to their site in exchange for a link from the Social Media Smarts “friends” page.
  • Get testimonials for staff that will be speaking – text, audio and/or video formats
  • Generate link bait ideas such as: Custom Google search engine just for target industry blogs, List of relevant tools, List of the best target industry topical resources (based on a poll of readers), Post a question on LinkedIn and publish results
  • Ask friends to promote – give them a write up, image/logo and a place to point to
  • Offer people options other than signing up for the event: RSS, Twitter, White paper, webinar – for those that are not yet ready to do the workshop, to keep in contact with them
  • Create content that justifies the cost of the workshop – under promise and over deliver
  • As a fulfillment piece, offer a white paper on social media marketing and a guide for winning budget or to justify cost for attending the seminar. Brand it, make it cool
  • Create a social media smarts score for blogs. Rank blogs based on their use of social media and then score them. Give a dynamic badge they could put on their blog.
  • Crowdsource from social networks content for the presentation and recognize contributors online and at the event
  • Contest for marketing partners to help promote event, recognition and/or material rewards
  • Promote attendance goals and show progress
  • Promote limited seating/limited offer (exclusive, fear of loss) to motivate sign-ups
  • Promote speaking slot via twitter and geolocation tools like FourSquare during event
  • Sponsor or create a Twitter chat leading up the event to discuss topics of relevance and that address pain points of target audience. Make sure chats are archived and that promotions for the event exist on the archive.


  • Company Blog
  • Column on industry site
  • Column on partner blog
  • Guest post on friendly industry web site
  • Press releases – (TopRank client)
  • Guest blog posts:
  • Contributed articles: industry publications
  • Event listing sites: Upcoming, Zvents, etc
  • Viral/link bait content, contests
  • Video sharing sites: YouTube, Vimeo, Metacafe, Facebook and Tubemogul distribution
  • Image sharing sites: Flickr, Zoomr.
  • Social Networking: LinkedIn, Facebook
  • Twitter accounts and network
  • Social news and bookmarking sites
  • Social event listing sites, plancast, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc
  • Event calendars for publications and/or pitch pubs on SMS as a noteworthy event
  • Geolocation sites Foursquare, Gowalla


  • Social monitoring of keywords and topics related to company brand and event
  • Traffic to landing pages
  • Page views of landing pages
  • Signups
  • Pre-conversions: white paper, RSS, Twitter and social network connections, reports, webinars, newsletter
  • Views of social media promoted off site (Tweets, Facebook likes, Comments, etc)

Content Capture and Marketing From the Event/Attendees:

  • Give attendees tools to promote the event
  • Recognize attendees for attending
  • Offer post-event communications/networking
  • Capture video interviews with satisfied attendees
  • Give attendees a USB storage drive with presentation and useful tools pre-loaded.
  • Give attendees an incentive to get others to sign up at subsequent events

Could I list more than this? Could you do more? Of course. Is it efficient? No. This is a list of ideas. I can’t imagine doing them all for a single or short series of events.   There’s nothing wrong with those tactics for promoting events, but the focus here is mostly on editorial or content based promotion.

What creative tactics have you used to be more efficient with event and speaking gig promotions?  Have you ever found yourself at the end of an event wishing you’d done more or done things differently to promote?

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Tasty Ideas to Maximize Online Marketing for Events |

Will the Real Social Media PR Consultant Please Stand Up?

December 1, 2010 by  
Filed under Online Marketing, Online PR, Social Media

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social media consultantWhen you search Google for “social media consultant” there are about 10,600,000 search results. Yeah, really. Go check and come back.

That’s more than two times as many search results for “marketing consultant” or “pr consultant” (about 4m each). Those industries have been around a lot longer, yet the hype has attracted even more content focused on social media.

The ease of publishing online has made it correspondingly easy to lay claim to expertise that is often subject to some curious interpretation.  There are some smooth talking folks out there with great communication skills that haven’t done more than count Tweets, comments and mentions.  See the recent post, “What does social media success really look like?” for more on measuring social media success.

To me, the biggest disconnect is that being a competent user of social media sites is not really the same thing as being a competent social media marketer. Marketing implies there is an offer for a target group of customers and an intended objective. That means knowing more than how to setup a Twitter or Facebook account. It means knowing customers social behaviors and preferences, social technologies, explicit and implicit social network rules and how to measure outcomes.

social media vs. public relations

There's more search and news volume for "social media" than "public relations" since 2009! How are your social media skills PR pros?

From a PR perspective, knowing how to DM a pitch to a blogger on Twitter and social bookmark a press release are very different skills than being able to monitor a targeted group of bloggers and journalists’ social activities for moments of opportunity and being useful through social communications in the right way and when it counts. That and creating signals of credibility and influence through social content and networking for the purposes of persuasion is another set of skills outside the realm of many self-professed “experts”.

My point is that it takes more than being a “user” of social tools to influence business outcomes within a company or for clients when it comes to something like the social web. Sure, there’s a need to understand the technology and of course, being a first-hand participant gives you insight that others just jumping in won’t have. But most companies can achieve that level of experience pretty quickly on their own.

It seems to me that a Social Media Marketing or PR Consultant is far more valuable as a social technology “super user” and more importantly, a sort of social media (sociologist, social psychologist, anthropologist) as well as someone with marketing or PR skills.

Picking up on social trends & technolgies, analyzing data for insights that you can act on and being able to identify opportunities within the sheer mass of noise produced by a deluge of updates, Tweets, comments, tags, blog posts, videos, images and other social content being published every second is essential.

Is there room for competent users calling themselves social media marketing consultants that focus on helping individuals and small businesses setup social profiles? Sure there is.  Will that kind of activity help those social media neophytes become successful?

Showing up doesn’t mean you’ll win the game, so I’d say in many cases, no. It takes  more. And as time goes one, it will take even more to stand out.

Maybe I’m just being grumpy or maybe this post is just a jab at a friend who bragged about ranking on Google for “social media consultant”. :)  That aside, I think there are some valid points regarding user vs. professionals. What do you think?

For buyers, have you hired a consultant only to find they know just a hair more than you? Have you hired a social media consultant that was able to provide insights and strategic direction that actually facilitated business goals?

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© Online Marketing Blog, 2010. |
Will the Real Social Media PR Consultant Please Stand Up? |

The Junction of Social Media & Content Marketing in New Zealand

social media junctionIn a little over a week I’ll be giving the opening keynote at a social media conference in Auckland, New Zealand called Social Media Junction. The topic? The answer to one of the most common questions asked about social media:  ”The Truth About Social Media ROI”.

New Zealanders aka “Kiwis” are an active bunch on the social web with more than 2 in 5 interacting with companies via social sites and 84% of mobile social networkers there having visited Facebook (Nielsen). The social media momentum is growing and companies are hungry for information and perspective.

I’ll follow up the keynote presentation with a workshop, aka Masterclass Programme, the following day focused on Social Media Content Strategy that drills down into the mechanics of social media marketing, content marketing and SEO.  Here’s a bit of a preview on what I’ll be presenting in the workshop:

Optimized Content Strategy

Grass New Zealand

Photo: Stuck in Customs

If content or media can be searched on, they can be optimized. People who have heard me speak or who read Online Marketing Blog are familiar with this perspective. It’s a holistic approach to search that takes full advantage of all the digital assets and content types that search engines want to include in their search results and therefore, translates into opportunities for being where customers are looking.

An Optimized Content Strategy is thoughtful of customer information needs as well as search engines.  Great content is worthless unless someone reads it and in today’s competitive online marketing world, shares it with others.  Content optimization goes beyond keywords to making sure content distribution and promotion are as much a part of the content strategy as how relevant and useful the content is to readers for reaching business outcomes.

Social Content & Marketing Roadmap:  Laying the Foundation

Hahei New Zealand Cathedral Cove

Photo: vtveen

Setting up accounts on Facebook, Twitter and publishing a blog isn’t a social media strategy. Rather, understanding the who, what, when, where and why of your customers and industry influentials is essential for developing a strong social content plan that engages, persuades and converts. Social media efforts that work together are far more productive than the siloed activity so common amongst companies just starting out.

The foundation of an effective social media content effort starts with Listening via social media monitoring tools, participation and web analytics. First hand experience in combination with analytics is priceless for setting objectives and developing profiles for the audience segments you’re trying to reach.

How a company decides to reach those customers is often a mix of social content creation and engagement. Being reactive or proactive with a social content strategy is another consideration before identifying the social media channels and tools that will serve as the best connections for engaging with customers. We started with measurement through listening tools and it’s analytics that closes the loop with an approach that measures the KPIs or proxies to social media marketing success.

Cycle of Social Media Interaction

Auckland NZ Skyline

Photo: Travelling Pooh

Speaking of closing the loop, the Cycle of Social Media & SEO is what enables a social media marketing effort to stay fresh, inspired with relevant and effective content for customer engagement.

Starting with keyword optimized content that is promoted while social networking helps build channels of engagement and distribution, the likes, follows, subscribers and links that result from great content intersect with interested audiences. That interaction between sharable content and social influencers expands the reach of brand stories and messages to an even greater audience empowered to publish, share and link.

The increasing activity creates an opportunity to mine data that will effectively inform future editorial plans, making content even more productive in terms of meeting customer needs and helping reach business objectives.

Blogging to Power Up Your Social Media Engagement

Remarkables New Zealand

Photo: Wandering the World

One of the most effective models my social media marketing pros at TopRank have implemented for clients is a hub and spoke scenario with blogging at the center connected to outposts of social content and networking.  There are myriad reasons for a blog as the center, but there’s no reason another strategy might not put Facebook or YouTube at the center.

The point is to link from outpost social activity to a conversational destination (Tweets link to the blog) vs. linking directly to corporate website pages that offer no opportunity for discussion or easy sharing.

Social Media Marketing Applications

Great Alpine Road, Castle Hill New Zealand

Photo: WanderingtheWorld

The social media, networking and application websites and services used in an optimized content marketing effort depend on where end consumers spend time as well as the major influences on those target audiences.

Some of the most popular social applications are: Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, FourSquare and social mobile apps. But there are others that can provide more effective connections with people a brand is trying to engage depending on their content discovery, consumption and even sharing preferences.

For example: Flickr, SlideShare, Delicious and niche social networks powered by have created some formidable connections with influencers leading to media coverage, new hires and new business.

Digital Asset Optimization

Kaikoura New Zealand

Photo: Jason J.

Search engines have an insatiable appetite for content and media to include in their search results. Content = inventory for search engines to run ads against and expand the search engines’ ability to be useful to people that search.

Google has made tremendous changes in the past few years including Universal search in 2007 that can potentially include different types of media besides standard web pages in the search results. Companies that expect to drive traffic through search would do well to be aware of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) landscape, including what kind of media are appearing besides web pages.

Each document or file that has a unique URL can be a potential entry point via search and a destination for someone else to link to. Links to content are how search engines find content to include in the search results. Links are also used in ranking that content.

Digital Asset Optimization is something TopRank started promoting in 2007 that deals with taking inventory of all digital assets that a company could possibly optimize for search. That includes images, video, blogs, news, real-time content, MS Office docus, PDFs and so on. These different document and media can attract customers through search, especially as part of a long tail strategy. They also fold well into social content marketing, which is why DAO is part of the SMJ Masterclass agenda.

Essentials for Social SEO in 2011

Rotorua - North Island - New Zealand

Photo: TylerIngram

How do Social Media and Search Engine Optimization intersect? What are the opportunities for companies to make the most of these two disciplines as part of a unified social content strategy? Those are important questions and the basis for planning what key approaches companies can take in the coming year to make the most out of the optimized content created as part of social media efforts. They also answer how to best leverage SEO tactics such as link building through social channels.

There’s nothing dead about SEO, but it is definitely changing and any marketer focused solely on traditional search optimization is clearly not paying attention to shifts in search behaviors. Search within social media will continue to increase and in combination with the changing landscape of search on sites like Google, can provide a tremendous channel for discovery, customer engagement and acquisition.

Social Media Measurement & ROI

Catlins Coast New Zealand

Photo: StephenChipp

It’s the most popular question companies ask: How do I measure ROI from social media?  I like to counter with, how do you measure ROI from the company telephones?  Understanding the business value of being more social as a company means better understanding the impact of creating better relationships with customers, building thought leadership and expertise and activating employees, customers and industry peers as evangelists for your brand.

Problems solved or mitigated though social media extend far beyond Marketing > Sales > Revenue.  There are situations where it’s completely fine to make direct response offers through social channels and with the right tracking, the ability to directly measure an increase in sales as a result.

What’s the value of lowered Customer Service costs, increased ability to attract top-shelf employees, a boost in industry media coverage, improved product development and review cycles? Here are 10 questions about social media measurement I’d recommend tackling to give you a better perspective.

Sound interesting? Think you could handle an entire day of me doing a brain dump on Search, Social and Content Marketing?

Nicholas O’Flaherty, Managing Director at Bullet PR and a pretty good sized group of Marketing, PR and Communications professionals gathering in Auckland, New Zealand are willing to give it a go Nov 16 & 17th. Of course, there will be a lot more knowledge dispensed than from the likes of me. Social Media Junction includes speakers from Deloitte & LinkedIn as well as representations from a variety of industries such as Banks, Government, Retailers, Telecom and a Beer company.

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© Online Marketing Blog, 2010. |
The Junction of Social Media & Content Marketing in New Zealand |

SEO & Social Media Marketing at PRSA International 2010

October 6, 2010 by  
Filed under Online Marketing, Online PR, SEO, Social Media

Congratulations to our 2 winners of a free pass to the PRSA International Conference in Washington D.C.!
PRSA International Conference

Thank you to everyone that entered! You will receive a copy of our eBook “Optimize: SEO for Public Relations.

With our roots in the public relations and media relations world, TopRank Online Marketing has a deep appreciation for the strategy, storytelling and networking skills that are essential for successful PR campaigns. We’ve also talked a lot here about the intersection of both SEO for PR and Social Media with PR.  It’s an incredible combination that increases reach, engagement and delivers even more value to business than Media Relations alone.

On October 17th, I will be giving a pre-conference 1/2 day workshop on Search Engine Optimization for PR Professionals:  SEO Boot Camp for Communicators where I’ll do a deep dive into the essentials of search engine optimization and social media, real-time search, content marketing, universal search and digital asset optimization.  The workshop offers strategies, tactics, exercises and case studies that will equip you with knowledge that will bring you to the front of the pack when it comes to SEO, online reputation management and search engine dominance.

On October 18th I will be giving a 45 minute presentation on Social Media Optimization – both at the 2010 PRSA International conference in Washington D.C..

In fact, there are over 80 sessions within four tracks including keynotes by Charlene Li and Jeffrey Hayzlett (both are interview alumni of Online Marketing Blog). It’s the most significant Public Relations conference of the year.

Surely, any PR professional that can add SEO and Social Media Marketing skills to their mix is a even more valuable asset to their organization. Heck, even the PRSA uses SEO to add more value to its members by making content easier to find via search engines. Not everyone is in a situation to attend the PRSA International conference to gain these skills, but TopRank Online Marketing has a special opportunity for you:

We’re giving away two free full passes to PRSA International

That’s a $1,575 value for EACH PASS! (non-member rate)   This doesn’t include travel, accommodations or any of the additional things that PRSA charges for, but it DOES include: “General Sessions, Professional Development Workshops and Package 1 meal functions”. We’ll give one pass each to two people who win.

All you need to do for the opportunity to win a full pass to the 2010 PRSA International Conference is:

  1. Write a blog post that explains why you think SEO and/or Social Media is important for Public Relations
  2. Include any additional insights on why you should be one of our pass winners
  3. Link to this blog post. You can use this shortened URL: to make it easy
  4. After you publish your blog post, email us at: with your name and a link to your post.

Entries via email must be received at  by Friday 10/8 at noon Central Time. Winners will be selected and announced that same day by 5pm CT.  Bonus points if you can get your social friends to retweet, comment, link and share your post.

So what are you waiting for?

Of course, if you’re not into blogging or you really want to attend the PRSA International conference, then you can get more info and sign up directly here.

For the best list of PR professionals in the Twitterverse, please make sure you check out our Public Relations Pros List.

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Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog, 2010. |
SEO & Social Media Marketing at PRSA International 2010 |