It is a conversation that almost sits at odds with the kind of public relations that I have been doing for the more than 15 years that I have been in the industry. For me, public relations has always spoken to the need for maximum coverage – the outcome of a targeted, but distributed press release, or an exclusive that is repurposed post its exclusive placement.
I was being challenged on the issue of writing for personas – and despite potentially broad industry appeal, to place an article on a single online publication. And preferably the one with the highest Google ranking.
It begs the question then – where does SEO start and PR end?
When I spoke to a colleague of mine in a large ICT corporate, it became clear that many people have unknowingly reclassified public relations as content marketing. Because of this reclassification, the line between PR impact and SEO targeting seems to have blurred ever so slightly.
But I am not a content marketer – I still write for impact. I still believe that there is a role for a more broadly distributed press release, and multiple online, print and broadcast placements as a means of extending a message. For me – the same persona may be accessing content and information across a range of sources.
PR is intended to influence and reinforce.
So when I came across an article written by Dean Classens, head SEO at World Wide Creative, his top five tips for optimising were a sure sign that PR and SEO are not seamlessly interchangeable.
It left me feeling that while SEO cannot, and more importantly should not, replace public relations in an increasingly content marketing driven environment, they certainly play a complementary role in enhancing or elevating brand awareness.
I still don’t believe PR will be fundamentally replaced by content marketing and the quest for the ultimate Google ranking. I do however see a means of thinking more progressively about how we not only write for, but also package and deliver, impactful integrated PR and SEO content.
It should start with tip number two from Dean Classens: write for humans not for robots.
And it should end with a well written, articulate piece, placed for maximum impact. Sometimes it will be for SEO, and other times, for PR.