by Jessie Newburn, Atigro Digital Marketing
A decade ago, I accepted a job managing the PR function for an international software development company. I was pretty excited about the opportunity and knew the company had need for the PR function to play a bigger part in its overall game plan for greater brand awareness, increased engagement and, of course, the much-desired press coverage.
On my first day there, after being greeted by my boss, we walked toward my new office.
And walked. And walked. As we turned the final corner, there was a sign someone had taped up on the corridor: “Welcome to the Caves of (company name)”
And, indeed, it felt like a cave. This hallway was the farthest hallway from the center of the office, and it was the darkest with not a speck of natural light coming in.
My office was at the end of the end of the hallway and it was known for having a mysterious and bizarre intermittent smell that somehow seeped up through a crack in the cement floor.
To me, the placement of my office spoke to the company’s attitude about PR. And I’ve heard from many others over the years that public relations is often considered the red-headed stepchild to the all-important sales function, with marketing coming in after that and PR trailing far behind in importance.
Well, I think those days are over. And here’s why.
Where I sit now, inside an SEO-focused and performance-driven company, there’s a theme I hear told to clients again and again when they embark on improving their organic search engine rankings, and it’s this: You need more content. Not just any content. You need good content. To get page rankings (and leads), you need content that starts with well-researched strategic keyphrases. You need content that is compelling; content that addresses a potential client’s pain points; content that truly provides value.
And, who, my dear comrades in communications, who else is better prepared to serve up good content than PR firms and inhouse PR staff?
We know how to craft messages, how to reach people, how to get them to care because we understand that in order for people to care, the information provided (the content created) has to be valuable.
While SEO work has for many years been done in quiet cubicles, sprinkling magical pixie dust of keywords and meta content with a dash of occasional black-hat practices, those days are gone. G-O-N-E. You simply cannot get good SEO results nowadays without, at a bare minimum, good content. (And, of course, good content that is based on a keyword strategy and content that is then optimized for SEO, but that’s getting more into the weeds.)
So, take heart, my friends. Your role as a PR person, your profession, your position at the digital marketing table is not lessening as things become more complex and sophisticated. If anything, quite the opposite.Your role is becoming more prominent, more integral, more collaborative.
That’s how it looks from our side of the table. PR professionals are more important than ever for achieving performance-driven SEO.