PR is somewhat of a new thing for many SEO businesses – many of whom who have become content marketing agencies. They’ve shifted to real distribution, content strategy and the like, and because of that, they’re slow on the trigger in terms of really assimilating the skills that experienced PR companies have spent 10,000 hours picking up.
Despite the many bouts of negative press many PR companies have received, for every bad egg there are several extremely talented companies out there that do an incredible job of getting pickup for their clients through big publishers.
These companies have much to teach SEO companies transitioning into content marketing, and through a year plus of doing content exclusively full time, I’ve learned about the advantages these companies have over much of the “SEO” content marketing that is still being done today.
Your E-Mail Signature is a Necessary Resource
When pitching big content, you are pitching an entire story. You are attempting to get publishers to write an entire article dedicated to your piece, to an audience with extremely high standards.
Not nonchalantly link in a roundup, or post in an embed code with fifty words of text in a blog post nobody will read. They need to do a ton of work. And because of that, your approach must change – and it starts with the signature.
What real companies do in their signature, PR or not, is post their phone number. Yes, their contact information. SEOs come from a background of secrecy and fear, so the likelihood that they would post a phone number, much less use their real name in a signature, is something most would not consider.
But for PR companies without that fear, pitching real content, it’s a no brainer. These journalists quite frequently need additional detail to create a unique spin on this content, and they also know that time is precious – so they need to get ahold of you immediately. They do this through a phone number.
Like an embed code for an infographic, your phone number reduces friction for the journalist so that they may easier write a piece and therefore, link to you.
By including a phone number, and a legitimate, trustworthy looking signature, you not only immediately establish trust, but you also give these reporters immediate access to you so they can take advantage of the timeliness breaking news reporters know is so crucial to a successful piece.
Press Releases are a Calling Card
Again, SEOs are used to hiding behind the companies they do work for – mostly because they are doing work they aren’t proud of, and also for the reason that they fear a manual review by a Google engineer. PR companies don’t care. When they do a press release – they, shocker, actually list their contact information on the press release.
ON the press release! SEOs wouldn’t dare even ever link to the companies they represent, but PR companies literally spit it out the second they contact someone to cover them.
The reason for this is twofold. First, it again serves the aim of allowing press people to immediately contact them should they have any information about the piece that’s being released – lowering coverage friction – and that’s most important. But second, these press releases, when in connection with successful pieces of content, serve as an easily-formed inbound marketing channel.
Want to know who was behind some great campaign? Look up their press releases – the representative companies will often be stamped all over that thing. No doubt, that drives business, and it also serves as another level of credibility to the publishers looking to write about that content.
Outreach Does Not Have a Singular Modality
Something we’ve realized when doing outreach is that the outreach fundamentals of one market will often bleed into the next. If we’ve done saturation-bombing in one space, the fundamentals of those emails and communication style will tend to rub off into the next set of emails we send for traditional press outreach.
For pieces that we mass-send to a big market, we normally go with the “ASSET for WEBSITE NAME” format. But as we blended in PR, we realized that this format doesn’t necessarily make sense.
For most traditional PR, we build surveys/other data around the S.U.C.C.E.S. framework – that is, interesting statistics worth sharing, and because of that, these almost always fit in the subject line.
But because we were stuck in the “framework” of bulk outreach, we lost the opportunity to offer these great statistics immediately in the subject line. Big publisher outreach is not small publisher outreach. Similarly, when we had been in a mode of doing a lot of PR outreach, our subject lines would bleed into our bulk outreach.
We would use subjects like “Story Idea for X” – when regular bloggers don’t run “stories”. They write blog posts, and occasionally link – and they called us on it in our emails. It didn’t make sense.
Exclusively PR people are lucky enough not to have this problem, but for people moving across the scope of the smallest blogger to the biggest web publisher, how you approach them all can’t have a singular identity. Yes, certain fundamentals (cutting the B.S., keeping it short, letting the content talk) will always speak, but there can’t be a sole way of contacting people across a broad market scope.
Content can win the day, yes, but it is our job as marketers to make sure our method of outreach doesn’t prevent the content from ever opening its mouth.
SEO Experience Makes You a Better PR Specialist
While we do have initial setbacks as SEO companies that must do PR more than we ever have before, the fact that we’ve done outreach to the smallest and biggest bloggers across many different industries makes us more likely to have the empathy we need as marketers to truly know what content these publishers want – based on our own failures with that outreach.
Many PR companies still blast releases out to publishers that have no reason to receive them. Many SEO companies do the same with their outreach to bloggers. The best of both worlds will find the intersection, combine agility with empathy, and make for an extremely potent content marketing package that will generate outsized returns for their clients and companies.