Breaking Down the Silos: Strategies for PR and SEO to Work Together
Have you been wondering how you can magnify your SEO efforts without increasing your investment in digital? Is your PR team constantly fishing for ideas to pitch to the media? If your SEO and PR efforts are not working as a single team, you’re wasting a valuable opportunity. Would Batman be as badass without Robin? It’s time for you to join your PR and SEO teams to explore the full potential of your digital strategy.
Let’s start with the ways in which SEO and PR are intrinsically similar. SEO and PR have much in common:
- Generating brand awareness
- Creating buzz via social media
- Creating content that inspires
- Mentions on sites with authority
- Influencing opinions and decisions of the public
Although quite basic, these aspects are shared by both. They are sometimes used in different ways, such as a heavier focus on lead generation from SEO and media hits from PR, but the underlying similarities are there and this means that there is opportunity for integration and cooperation.
One Goal = One Team
While different departments have some things they do separately to the rest of the business, it is almost impossible to have departments working together towards the overall benefit of the business if they are all targeting different goals. What you want to create is a company culture where everyone understands the main objectives and how they should be getting there. Then, via ongoing conversations and the departments can begin working as a team to develop strategies to achieve these larger goals.
Bringing SEO and PR together
Getting PR and SEO to work together should be as effortless as combining peanut butter and jelly - they’re simply meant to be. Once you put both teams in a room together and they realize that their objectives go hand in hand, and that much of their processes are symbiotic, it should be natural for them to want to find the best way to collaborate.
Using content during PR outreach will help SEO to get visibility from media, which in turn enhances SEO results. Once PR realizes that it’s in SEO’s best interests to get those powerful, authoritative media links, they will facilitate getting content built that gets picked up by media.
Creating joint editorial calendars should be a powerful way for both teams to start the process of working together.
Setting up the Tools of Engagement
For this collaboration to be successful, having the right tools is key. How will the teams communicate? Where/how will projects be tracked? Who will be in charge of managing projects and workflows?
Let’s talk about some tools that you can use, and how they can be used in the context of working collaboratively between several teams:
When it comes to sharing images, large files, and allowing various teams to view the content, Dropbox is a good send. You can use dropbox to upload videos, large files, and other documents that need to be reviewed. Within dropbox, the various teams can leave comments and receive feedback on projects submitted.
As a way to collaborate on documents, Google drive is unparalleled. You can share documents with others, leave comments, make revisions, control and limit access, and much more.
Using these three tools, you can make sure that your team is using a systematized approach towards managing campaigns and incentives. One workflow that I’ve used when working with SEO and PR teams is to create a project inside of Podio which allows for comments and updates on the status and stages of the projects. Large files are added as a link to the Podio item and hosted on Dropbox. Google Drive documents are also linked to within Podio so the actual content creation happens on drive while the comments and status updates occur inside of Podio.
Now that you have your tools and have established workflows, let’s talk about ways that the teams can collaborate to elevate a brand’s visibility.
Joint Editorial Calendars
Most digital marketing initiatives require a foundation of content creation. There is likely a team who is in charge of the brand’s editorial calendar, which probably includes blog content, social media posts, ebooks, white papers, webinars, and more. The team involved of this may be different based on the brand; in some cases, there’s a content marketing agency involved. Other companies have in-house content creators. Yet others may use social media marketing agencies or PR firms to create their content. The first step is to create a collaborative calendar where ALL of the teams working on content creation can start sharing the content they have in their pipeline.
Public relations companies need content and angles to pitch stories. If there is a content marketing team already looking for angles to share on the blog and to garner social shares, this content can be leveraged by PR. Do you have a team creating infographics for link bait? These infographics can be attached to press releases and sent to the media. You’d be amazed at the success of a strong infographic or video attached to a press release, which then has the PR team follow up with the media.
Above is an example of an infographic created by an SEO team that was sent out as a press release and was published on a major publication. By leveraging the SEO team’s content, PR was able to land a major hit.
Regular Weekly Meetings
Although both the PR and SEO teams may have the same common goals, their individual tasks may greatly vary and in some cases, my synchronistic. As the SEO team works on building domain authority by earning links, PR has to work on gaining mentions in the media. Both of these are achieved by keeping a pulse on what’s newsworthy and relevant and is resonating with the target audience.
By having regular weekly meetings, the SEO team can hear about the feedback that PR is getting from the press. They can stay abreast of media hits which can then be leveraged in social media and reputation management efforts. The SEO team, in turn, can update PR on content that is resonating during link earning outreach and content that is attracting the most links and social signals.
Make sure the meetings have a clear-cut agenda and both teams are allotted time to speak. Without an agenda, the meetings can become tedious and uninformative. Follow up with both teams to ensure everyone sends in their agenda beforehand, and make sure you don’t deviate from your agenda unless it’s absolutely necessary.
Content assets should be shared with both teams, including infographics, photos, videos, reports, ebooks, etc. Perhaps your content marketing team created a video to be used for Youtube ads. Those videos can be used when performing SEO or PR outreach. The media loves to have various content modalities. If you give them strong B-roll, they’ll love to feature you on their publication.
Create a collaborative Google Drive document where all of the teams list the content assets that’ve been created. Make sure the document allows for all teams to mark that the content has been seen by them. Most importantly, make it a quarterly project for someone to audit that spreadsheet to be sure all content assets are listed and to review ones that may need to be updated in case they become dated.
Leverage Media Wins
If your PR team is doing everything right, they should be landing amazing coverage on online publications or media outlets including news. When a PR hit is achieved, PR should notify the SEO team to maximize this media hit in a variety of ways:
- Blog about this media hit. Either write a summary on the article that was shared, or capture the video and share it with a transcription on your site. These media hits can help the company earn trust and authority when shared on your company’s site.
- Share on Social Media. Not only will this impress your followers, you can also @mention the news sources, which will often retweet or reply to your mention.
- Ask for Links: If the article was shared without a link to your site, let SEO know to contact the news channel or publication and request a backlink to your site as the source of the news.
- Add multimedia to your channels: If your PR team landed a spot in a news show, capture the video and share it on your Youtube or Vimeo channel. Then, use this as part of an outreach campaign for link building or use it for paid social to earn brand recognition.
As integration improves, look at how other departments could be incorporated
Consider R&D for example, as their work could shape the pitches and content strategy being worked on by other teams. Do you have a paid search team that is working to maximize channels like Bing, Adwords, and Facebook? Would data gathered from your efforts impact their campaigns? Perhaps your email marketing team could use content being created by PR or SEO to add to their email campaigns.
Make sure all of your marketing initiatives are aware of each other, all sharing clear data and KPI’s so the other teams can measure successful campaigns and incorporate these into their strategies. A powerful way to make sure that all campaigns are being leveraged is to create a KPI dashboard for each marketing team, which is updated regularly. This way, other teams can see what has been successful for the different teams, and what was unsuccessful. This data can be fundamental in helping the various teams achieve their goals.
Integrating SEO and PR is a powerful way to help companies maximize their investment in public relations and digital marketing. If these efforts occur independent of each other, you’re working twice as hard. Integrating SEO and PR will reduce your investment in both and enhance the work each team is doing. If you haven’t already, it’s time to meet with your SEO and PR teams and encourage them to start working together!
About the Author: Nick Andrew Rojas is a journalist and a self-taught serial entrepreneur who has worked with various startups as a business consultant. His work often discusses social media, marketing and technology.