If you think about it, search engine optimization and public relations have much more in common than meets the eye. The two approaches work in conjunction with one another, forming a powerful digital media strategy. In fact, you can say that SEO efforts make life easier for PR professionals and vice versa.

Small company owners rarely have money for both of these digital marketing tactics. While they might even invest in SEO strategy, they generally neglect public relations, considering it a waste of money. Alternatively, they might execute digital PR strategies in-house by communicating with relevant news outlets and industry influencers.

In this article, we’ll talk about a few ways SEO and PR can work for your brand and push each other to better performance.

8 Benefits of creating a cohesive SEO/PR strategy

When optimizing your content for search engines, you start organically communicating with other blogs. This is especially true during link-building and other outreach processes. Without knowing, your SEO team de-facto becomes the PR team, spreading the good word about the company.

Still, you’ll need to start a digital PR campaign sooner than later, as the public relations team can provide added benefits to your marketing channels. Mixing SEO and PR campaigns and making teams collaborate can help with the following:

  1. Improve brand reputation

Each press release you post online, each piece of content on your blog, has the potential of being much more than it is right now. For the most part, the loss of productivity isn’t a result of poor performance; it is caused by a lack of cohesion between teams.

The main reason why these two departments should work together is so you can improve brand awareness. All these processes work in conjunction, helping spread your message with more users and more external websites. Higher brand awareness has a trickle-down effect, working not only for PR and SEO but also for other marketing efforts.

So, when creating an SEO strategy, make sure to consider the role of digital PR in your daily activities. Ideally, two department managers should work closely together and coordinate efforts to reduce waste and gain maximum results from digital marketing campaigns.

  1. Boost website stats

If you’re a newly-onboarded SEO manager, you should be praying to God that the client company has a PR strategy and a dedicated team. Aside from sharing press releases and similar content, this department can get you lots of high-authority links to boost your placement in search results.

With combined efforts, these two teams can do miracles for the business website, but also social media accounts, and other related platforms. As you start gaining more traction from these two approaches, your website stats will start increasing naturally. In fact, the digital PR team can be seen as an extension of your optimization department, helping with outreach and links.

  1. Gain more traffic

Most importantly, having these two teams work together can lead to a significant bump in website traffic. Whether we’re talking about organic traffic from search engines or traffic from other sources, the mix of SEO and digital PR campaigns can significantly improve visibility.

Most notably, this joint approach can generate more leads from Google and other search engines. As your digital PR and search team start gaining more links for the brand and appears on reputable third-party websites, you’ll get lots of organic and direct traffic. Aside from lead generation, the joint approach should also help close sales.

  1. Create cheaper content

Every piece your content marketing team created can be used by both SEO and PR departments. Repurposing content is a fantastic way to save money but also save time.

The only issue you might have is with the formats. For example, you might be forced to tweak press releases and other content to better suit different channels. Given that your PR and SEO teams will work together, you’ll probably have to adhere to the best optimization tactics.

  1. Improve messaging

The biggest issue with having several marketing departments is that you’ll have numerous professionals posting different stuff on the web simultaneously. So, when your SEO and PR teams work together, you can create much more consistent messaging. The two departments can align on their posts so they better fit your mission and vision.

More importantly, two teams working together will ensure there aren’t any errors during the process. A common issue occurs when SEO experts promote a piece of content, and a few days later, your digital PR team shares the same piece. This can leave the target audience perplexed while also affecting your reputation.

Ideally, your SEO managers should keep in touch with the PR professionals to create a joint content calendar. Aside from outlining main topics and marketing materials, the sheet can consist of information about relevant keywords.

  1. Get more and better links

Link building is a vital process for improving your search engine rankings. While the public relations department is aware of its importance, it doesn’t prioritize links when implementing various PR strategies. This is a massive missed opportunity, as your PR team can get you a lot of high-quality backlinks.

Ideally, your optimization experts should have complete insights into PR efforts. As mentioned, the two teams should share content calendars to help track what the other department is doing. That way, the optimization team can suggest which keywords should be prioritized with each piece of content.

In fact, a PR professional might use tactics that are common for SEOs. For example, HARO outreach, which is a popular optimization strategy for gaining high-quality links and improving organic search rankings, is used by the public relations department all the time. So, instead of wasting a link opportunity, both teams should coordinate to gain increased value from this outreach method.

  1. Optimize link anchors

Some PRs introduce links when creating content in an attempt to optimize posts for search engines and gain more traffic. Even if they did good keyword research and understood what is the most relevant phase for that piece of content, they might make major errors with anchors. For example, they might use the same phrase over and over again, thus hurting, instead of helping, SEO efforts.

Not only can the SEO department point out link opportunities, but it can also help improve anchors. They are vital for your link profile, as you’d like to get as versatile yet relevant anchors as possible. They can instruct PR teams as to which anchors to use with each piece so there’s no confusion.

When two teams work on optimizing links, you can also be certain there won’t be overspamming. Each department can track which phrases they used in the previous posts to create a more cohesive strategy. Furthermore, you might even dedicate a link-building sheet to track all do-follows, no-follows, used keywords, and anchors.

  1. Eliminate outreach crossover

Some companies do a fantastic job with their influencer, affiliate, and word-of-mouth marketing. They gain massive amounts of referral traffic during a month, boosting both SEO and PR campaigns. Unfortunately, even this strategy can fall victim to the lack of optimization and cohesion.

One of the most common problems occurs when several professionals reach out to the same influencer or affiliate. Even if a person is willing to cooperate with your brand, they will likely be weary of having to handle too many people. So, you should have a single person doing the outreach, or alternatively, you can have several professionals, each with its unique list of contacts.

Another good method of eliminating crossover between teams and experts is having guidelines for different campaigns and users. Most commonly, SEOs tackle all inquiries from bloggers and influencers. On the other hand, according to traditional PR, these departments should be more focused on mass media.

5 Common risks of SEO/PR strategy

Unfortunately, implementing this approach is often much harder than it might seem. First and foremost, you have to keep in mind that two departments have different goals and schedules that don’t correlate with each other. As such, it’s sometimes hard to coordinate efforts. There might also be issues pertaining to seniority and development.

Whatever the case, here are the most common risks of forcefully joining the two departments together:

  1. Seniority issues

Given that SEO is a more complex process that involves numerous smaller tasks, it would be logical that your optimization team runs the campaign. However, if the digital PR expert has been with the company for a longer time, the owner might give that person seniority.

The search engine team might be disgruntled by this decision. Then again, if you give SEO team seniority, this might also irk the public relations experts. Whatever the case, it’s sometimes hard to decide on who leads the project, and whatever happens, don’t be surprised if there’s a divide between employees.

  1. Content-related problems

Generally speaking, content repurposing should be the benefit, not a disadvantage, of a joint approach. However, there are some cases where the two teams will clash regarding articles and social media posts.

For example, despite the best attempts to use the same content over and over again, some pieces can’t be reused. The best examples are features in third-party publications that don’t provide a do-follow link. Similarly, the PR department doesn’t care that much about blog posts despite the trickle-down effect.

In these cases, the campaign manager will have to decide which piece will take priority. Depending on the budget, the manager might have to cut content funds for one team in favor of another.

  1. Partnership issues

Whether your marketing team is looking for a new third-party influencer or wants to host an event, the SEO and digital PR team might have different opinions expressed regarding these team-ups. For example, an SEO team will always lean toward partnerships that can generate more links, while PR teams usually prefer channels that provide more direct traffic.

While these events might benefit both teams, more often than not the departments will have different ideas regarding potential partnerships. Ideally, the lead manager should only pursue campaigns that can squeeze the most benefits for both sides.

  1. Budget and paycheck conflicts

Although this isn’t something that will create a conflict between the two teams, it will have an indirect effect on how these departments perform.

If you’re running a small or a medium team, and you wish to pursue both approaches, you might struggle to allocate a budget for both activities. As a result, you might offer subpar paychecks or benefits for one of the departments. Alternatively, the period paycheck increase might not correlate to the inflation spikes.

As mentioned before, daily marketing operations will take a hefty monthly investment. When you add paychecks to the equation, it quickly becomes obvious that running two departments concurrently might strain your resources. So, before implementing SEO and PR together, make sure you have enough money to sustain it over the long run.

  1. Goals and growth

PR and SEO are very different in terms of timings. While optimization is a long-term strategy meant to provide the first results after a few months, public relations have an almost immediate impact. Even if both teams understand this dynamic, it might cause friction causing employees to point fingers at each other.

To an untrained eye, it might seem that the SEO team isn’t providing any value to the company. This is especially true if you just implemented the tactic and you have nothing to show for it. Your PR staff might get frustrated with the SEO experts’ performance, asking for budget reallocation or other perks.

That kind of friction can gain steam in time, especially if the optimization employees continue to underperform. In the worst cases we’ve seen, the conflict can lead to a complete dissolution of the marketing team, as the two groups can’t cooperate with each other anymore.

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