January 26, 2016
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Public Relations (PR) are two fields that have seen their fair share of volatility in recent years. With digital media blurring the lines between traditional PR and digital media, some savvy PR companies have embraced digital and added digital marketing to their service mix. PR and SEO are increasingly blended functions, yet traditional methods lack the effectiveness and agility critical for modern brands. One startup is disrupting the status-quo by bridging the functions of SEO and PR.
Traditional SEO and PR Practices Are Outdated
Placemints, a Long Island, NY-based startup founded by Michael Sherman, is changing the game by taking SEO best practices and tying them to PR. With SEO in a state of flux, many brands have found themselves back-tracking on former best practices, such as traditional link-building methods, that are now viewed as spam and could get them penalized.
“It used to be a simple matter of building as many backlinks from sites with a high PR (Page Rank) as possible,” Sherman explains. “Today, your backlink profile is delicate and if it seems inorganic, it could be bad news.”
The one best practice that remains effective and seems here to stay, he says, is authentic brand mentions in leading publications. And other experts concur. In an article for Moz.com, Simon Penson points out that there is convincing evidence that Google is now using brand mentions (even those without links) as a measure of authority that might be playing into rankings.
“What certainly can be said is that the measurement of brand mentions is certainly possible, and Google certainly now has the patent to cover it off as a potential ranking factor,” says Penson. “Mentions alone do not tell the whole story, of course, and links are still very important in the overall mix of factors that affect rankings, but it is now time to start thinking about how you can create brand buzz and grow those mentions.”
This, of course, was traditionally the primary role of PR, but the tactic is becoming firmly entrenched in the SEO world.
According to Daniel Yeo in an article for Convince and Convert, the intersection between SEO, PR, and social is the clear path to ROI in today’s landscape. “If businesses can implement SEO, PR, and social as one effective, unified campaign, it will inevitably yield stronger results and a hugely improved return on investment. As an industry, SEO is driving better results through PR and perfecting an approach that incorporates all of the above,” he explains. This is precisely the result Placemints aims to achieve with a strategic process that effectively marries SEO and PR.
Finding the Sweet Spot: The Intersection of SEO and PR
Placemints relies on established relationships with leading contributors for top publications, editors, and the company’s network of top-quality writers to bridge the gap between SEO and PR and transform the process of earning reputable media coverage for brands. By leveraging relationships with contributors and the company’s in-house process of targeting relevant publications, identifying relevant contributors, and ideating headlines that their audiences want to hear, Placemints boasts a success rate much higher than that of traditional PR methods.
According to Sherman, it’s all about relevance and a focus on the audience. Finding that sweet spot – the point at which a brand’s target audience, a publication’s readers, and a contributor’s coverage area overlap – is the one factor that’s missing from the ordinary outreach methods many marketers rely on with minimal success:
“We’re basically creating a win-win scenario for everyone involved,” he explains. “Contributors need valuable content, brands need authentic media mentions, and audiences are craving something unique and relevant. We give contributors, brands, and
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