If the casual hockey fan's favorite team had the worst record in the league, they'd assume the future was bleak. Analysts, scouts and diehard fans who know the behind-the-scenes activities of the organization would understand that the opposite was true: It means their hometown team had been drafting outstanding talent that had been developing at rapid pace in the minor leagues. Additionally, their team was bound to hold a top three pick in the draft, which would be stockpiled with the talent needed to fill missing holes on their roster.
The future of SEO and PR is similar to the bottom dweller in hockey. There were droves of people saying PR and SEO was "dead" in 2011. As we approach 2017, this couldn't be further from the truth.
Start Drafting Wisely
If you own a business or work in marketing, you need to start planning for the future and investing in digital PR to beat out the competition. You can either hire talent for your own team, or find a reputable marketing agency to assist or consult in this effort. My team has combined digital PR and social media campaigns for Fortune 500 brands that made a major impact on their bottom line.
If you draft your team wisely, your business can catapult from the third or fourth page of Google onto page one. A "digital unicorn," someone who has PR expertise and a firm grasp on digital marketing, will get your business referenced on external sites through PR connections, outreach and great content creation, which is valuable from an SEO perspective. This person should also know how to create videos and perfect them in Final Cut, edit with Photoshop and code HTML.
It's important that the person you are looking to hire has achieved past success when it comes to their own digital PR. Have they been published online on a well-known site? Have they had a social media campaign go viral? Whether they achieved success for themselves or the company they previously worked for, make sure this candidate has real life examples to prove that they will be a valuable asset for your business.
Work Around Google's Core Algorithm
If you follow or work in the SEO or digital marketing industry, you are aware that Google values quality content. Gone are the days where you can manipulate Google's search engine with low-quality content. You need to constantly be increasing your domain authority.
To do so, start to build trust in your brand. If you are a dermatologist and write content on a health and beauty site about "best facial cleansers," this is a strength indicator in Google's eyes, especially if the site links back to you. If you post unforgettable social media content about skincare tips, this will likely result in other people interacting with your brand and visiting your site. Ultimately, the more people talk about your brand, the higher likelihood you will have to acquire powerful backlinks. Try posting video content or plan a half-day photoshoot to truly make your content stand out.
- Help A Reporter Out (HARO) is one of the greatest tools for PR and SEO any business owner or digital marketer can make use of. It's free and generates amazing exposure. HARO provides journalists with a robust database of sources for upcoming stories and daily opportunities for sources to secure valuable media coverage. Sign up and use this resource as much as you can to build credibility and establish media relationships for your site. When I started an e-commerce company with my sister, we utilized HARO and we were quoted in well-known publications such as Glamour, Condé Nast and NBC's Today Show.
- PitchBox automates the outreach grunt work to help scale your efforts. It handles all aspects, from the prospecting to the emailing, to tracking and managing the workflow. If you are an industry expert looking to contribute content on external sites, PitchBox can help find these sites through its automated software. For startups, it starts at $95 and is a great resource to generate high-quality relationships.
- If you want to measure success of your SEO and digital PR efforts, invest in Moz. This SEO software will track your keyword rankings and inform you when a backlink hits the web (such as a HARO pitch that went live on an external site). It also allows you to track competitor keyword rankings, optimize your local listings and enhance your local presence (if you have a storefront location, for instance).
Too often, when it comes to SEO and digital marketing, people just sit behind a computer. Change up the pace and do a public speaking engagement for free. I recently did a speaking engagement for a real estate company in Columbus, my hometown. I was able to grow my Instagram follower count by 20 percent by incorporating an Instagram giveaway during the presentation. I made great local connections by staying afterward and speaking with the audience. If there is a powerful influencer on Instagram in your industry nearby, offer to meet him or her for coffee. You never know the ideas they'll present or the people you'll be introduced to.
If you invest in digital PR and utilize the aforementioned services, you will score a hat trick when it comes to your SEO efforts. Just remember, it can take time to put together the right team and execute on the game plan.
Jason Parks is a proud Buckeye and the owner of The Media Captain, a digital marketing agency based in Columbus.