For too long SEO in some circles was about manipulating the SERPs, exploiting loopholes in the algorithm and practising unethical techniques. These ‘quick wins’ are now a dying breed and, to be honest, I couldn’t be happier. Finally good SEOs can be seen for what they really are; great content writers with even greater connections!
One thing that all industry experts agree on is that humans link to content, not websites. If content is good then the links will come naturally. But we often take for granted our fantastic communication and interpersonal skills.
Imagine that SEOs sit right in the middle of content and an audience – directing the right people to the right information. Be sure to consider this when creating a strategy for website content. Use key influencers and relevant online connections to help build your content, and keep hold of new customer bases you create as a result.
So when it’s time to devise a strategy for content and online PR, there are essentially 5 stages to the process:
1. Knowing the business
2. Knowing the customers
3. Knowing the competitors
4. Creativity and
The first thing to do is to find out what the business is all about.
- What is their overall aim?
- Do they have a goal?
- Do they have a plan for how they are going to achieve that goal?
Once you have all this information you can start to understand where you fit into the whole process and know exactly what they want from you and the campaign.
It’s easy to know what business sells, for how much and for how long. But do you know their staff, their culture or their ethos? People are at the heart of any business so use them and find out:
- Who is an expert at what?
- Who could you rely on for expert opinions, interviews and quotes?
- Who regularly speaks on behalf of the company?
- And do they have contacts in the media and online world?
Once you know the people, you know how to work with them and manage their expectations, communication can be the single most effective tool in an SEO campaign.
- So what about their customers?
- How do they use the internet?
- What are their expectations, experiences and recommendations?
By creating an idea of customer demographics, content ideas become easier to tailor. Think about what questions they have and whether they are being answered. Tailoring content to answer questions, including the terms entered into the search bar on the home page, is the closest you can get to a sound-proof strategy. Then go onto join LinkedIn groups; engage with the audience, find out what it is they want.
It may be that your competitors are the ones that people are using for their knowledge. Analyse their back link profile, identify who and why people are linking to their content and find out:
- Where are they being mentioned and for what reason?
- Can we replicate this success by similar PR or is there a research gap we can fill and build authority through that medium?
You might find that there’s nothing to work with, or you might find that golden target; your long term goal.
This is the fun bit,searching hours of industry content, what’s hot and what’s not! Who did it appeal to and what can we do better? Different platforms of delivery also need to be decided.
- Is the information you have better in a written form or as part of a visual?
- Would a video be more effective?
All of these will be determined when we move onto prospecting. Don’t forget to work alongside the company’s existing media relations and agencies. Request a PR calendar, list of events and important dates and plan all content pieces and outreach practices around them.
I don’t care what anybody says, you can’t plan for content to go viral! I mean who knew how popular a sneezing panda would be?! But what we can do is ensure that our content is seen by key influencers who will, hopefully, share it with their following. And I’m not talking about cold calling them, I’m referring to collaborations…
- Can they help in the creation?
- Do they have a burning question that we can answer?