There are tons of combinations that surprise us when we first discover them, but then become the most obvious thing in the world once we embrace them. Peanut butter and banana, for one. Alarm clocks and bacon, for another.
But unlike a clever wake up call, there’s a surprising combination in the digital marketing realm that could have a serious impact on the way you do business. It’s the subtle but unmistakable merging of SEO and PR.
Marketing simply isn’t simple anymore. Your efforts need to raise brand awareness and establish thought leadership, but also generate leads and convert sales. That’s a lot of pressure as you try to find out the unique combination of video, content, paid, and social marketing that works for your company.
While it’s complicated in theory, merging these tools to boost your brand’s SEO and PR efforts doesn’t have to be confusing. Here are five simple steps for organizing and growing your SEO-meets-PR marketing presence in today’s digital marketplace.
1. Identify your target market.
Twitter or Google+? Blogging or white papers? Or maybe all of the above? The tools you could use to get your message across are countless. So how are you supposed to figure out which ones are the best ones?
Simple. You need to make every decision with your target market in mind.
Developing deep and accurate customer personas is the most important part of the digital marketing process. If you don’t take this step, it won’t matter how amazing your content is or how much time you invest in your marketing process: your efforts simply won’t resonate as strongly as carefully targeted ones.
2. Identify important trends and topics for that market.
Once you’ve invested time and resources into identifying your specific customer personas, use this information to inform your content efforts.
Where do these prospective clients spend time online? What topics are they researching, and on which sites do they prefer to get their information?
Use all of this information to guide your selection of topics for blog posts and white papers and to inspire your social media engagement efforts.
3. Be bold and weigh in.
With a clear vision of your ideal customer and a geotag on their online location, your work can begin. And the first step is often a difficult one: you need to stand out by embracing your company’s unique personality.
If you’re parroting someone else’s opinion, guess who your target market will want to listen to? That’s right– the source, not the parrot.
To get the right kind of attention and to find your brand champions, you need to take a stand as a company. Even if it makes you unpopular in some circles, it will firmly entrench you in circles of people who share your values, and that’s who you’re trying to work with.
4. Engage and follow up.
Your next step is to seek out authentic engagement opportunities using all of the data you’ve collected.
First, be available. Sign up for and start updating on social media platforms popular among your prospective clients. Turn on the comments on your blog and ask your network for feedback. Allow people to connect with you and put yourself out there to connect with others (and be polite and understanding when you do so).
Next, identify blogs and websites with a strong community and get involved in the discussion. Leave comments on topics that are within your industry but not necessarily a perfect match with your opinion or your vision. Disagree (respectfully) and start a conversation. Even if you don’t have an impact within the immediate conversation, the evidence of your interest, commitment, and engagement will live on in the comments of each article.
5. Reassess and implement changes.
Finally, you can only grow what you track, so make sure you’re tracking the right things. Monitor your blog traffic, social media engagement factors, and white paper downloads each month. Every quarter, commit to reassessing your efforts and realigning yourself with your target market to prevent your efforts from getting off track.
We’ve outlined five suspiciously simple steps for organizing and mastering your company’s digital marketing efforts, but the reality is that it takes a lot of work. Researching, planning, and implementing an ever-changing combination of marketing, SEO, and PR efforts is hardly a part-time or DIY job, which is why so many successful businesses turn to marketing firms and established hybrid PR companies to help them get the results they want.
Our final recommendation? Find and build a relationship with the right marketing firm for you — one that is willing to take the time to learn about your business and work with you to build your brand’s digital reputation and reach. That’s the most effective way to tame the digital marketing sphere and truly gain control of your company’s online presence.