By: Dawn Mentzer
In the 1970s, Reese’s began running TV commercials that humorously portrayed how its peanut butter cups may have come into existence.
I loved those commercials. There was even one with ’70s teen heartthrob Robby Benson and the actor who played jokester Ralph Malph on the sitcom “Happy Days.”
For those of you unfamiliar or for whom these TV spots are before your time, the premise was that chocolate and peanut butter were indulgences that people enjoyed independently. That is, until a twist of fate brought them together accidentally, and people realized they were even more delicious when combined.
Thank goodness for those clumsy characters and misadventures. Who would want to live in a world without Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups?
I equate PR and SEO to the peanut butter and chocolate in those commercials. Business owners and marketers sometimes view them as separate elements rather than ingredients in a winning recipe.
At face value, public relations and SEO appear to be disparate disciplines. PR centers on building awareness, trust and an emotional connection with an audience. SEO, on the other hand, has the less personable goal of applying calculated tactics to get websites to rank higher on Google. Ultimately, they have the same objective of helping businesses gain exposure and build authority.
A Sweet Deal — The SEO and PR Combo
I don’t recommend mixing your PR and SEO haphazardly as in the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups TV spots, but I do encourage you to find ways to incorporate SEO into your public relations efforts. As you write your PR content to attract your audience’s attention, keep their interest and incite them learn more, you also need to apply SEO to help your content reach more of your target audience. When press releases are optimized well, they have a better shot at getting picked up by search engines — and that can lead to more journalists and influencers seeing what’s happening at your company, and contacting you or sharing your news.
How can you put more SEO into your PR content?
- Find an SEO professional who realizes the purpose and value of PR and who has a burning desire to collaborate on content rather than work in a silo.
- Educate your SEO partner on what your brand stands for, the types of topics your audience responds to, and taboo words and phrases (those that might offend or alienate your audience) they should avoid when optimizing your content.
- Ask your SEO partner what you can do to help optimize your online PR content. Some examples include:
- Using variations of keywords and phrases that your audience is likely to use when searching online. (But resist going overboard, as keyword stuffing will hurt rather than help your cause.)
- Formatting content to provide a logical hierarchy of information by appropriately using headers (H1, H2, H3, etc.), bullet points and numbered lists.
- Link to relevant internal website pages and reputable external sites.
- Optimize images that accompany your press releases and stories by adding descriptive alt tags with keywords.
- Write meta descriptions that are both engaging and follow Google best practices.
- Monitor and review SEO and PR results regularly to assess your progress, identify what’s working and what’s not, and adapt your strategy as needed.
“Two great tastes that taste great together.”
As is the case with chocolate and peanut butter, SEO and PR are better together than on their own. With planning, collaboration and coordination, you can develop a recipe for success that builds authority with your audience and search engines.
Dawn Mentzer is a contributing writer for Straight North, a leading SEO company in Chicago that provides a full suite of Internet marketing services. As a solopreneur and freelance writer, she specializes in marketing content — and collaborates with clients nationally and globally.