Step Up Your PR Game With These 10 SEO and Social Tips


Serena Ehrlich This post is an excerpt from the PR Best Practices for Search and Social breakout session from our Digital Growth Summit event in Los Angeles led by Serena Ehrlich, Director, Social and Evolving Media at Business Wire.


Step Up Your PR Game SEO and Social Tips

Here are some key takeaways from the PR Best Practices for Search and Social breakout session:

  • Format content specifically for each platform
  • Create content that is geared to the aspiration of each social media channel. The audience on LinkedIn aspires to improve themselves professionally, Facebook users aspire to be personal, and Twitter users aspire to be funny.

  • Find the metric of success and meet it
  • The 3 most popular metrics to meet for a successful campaign are page views, social media shares, and the number of visits to the site. Focus on creative ways to meet these metrics.

People generally think that PR generates coverage but PR does more than that. In fact, when it comes to creating content that moves people through the sales and marketing funnel, editorial coverage hands down is the highest trusted piece of content someone can generate.

Google loves news releases. Social media properties love news content even more. How do you activate and get your news shared on these channels? Why is it important? We know that when someone shares a news piece the trust in that share is 84%. If you want to get your news to have more shares on social, then you need to write to the aspiration because people are aspirational on social media.

Trigger professional desire on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a great way to get in front of customers and increase visibility for free. —Serena Ehrlich

LinkedIn is scraping news stories and if you are a quoted source or a contact on a news story, LinkedIn will send you a congratulations and send it to all of your contacts. Usually you have quoted sources from CEOs, but if you work for a B2B company try this: quote your head of sales. Why? Because every person and every prospect that your salesperson is connected to will get this. This is LinkedIn taking your news and pushing it out to LinkedIn members.

LinkedIn has an algorithm that you can trigger to take this a step further. You can issue a news release, write a social update, get it online, and then email it out to your coworkers to share if they feel so inclined. If you get five people to share the same update, LinkedIn will put it at the top of the page and say, "Your network is talking about this." What a great way to get in front of customers and increase visibility for free. It has to be simultaneous within 5 to 10 minutes of each other. On LinkedIn, your updates need to trigger professional desire, the ability to be better so make sure that your news releases say “You are going to be smarter if you read this” vs. “This is our news, read it.”

Cater each Facebook post to different demographics

Aim to create Facebook content that is personal, smart, and visual. Facebook chooses to show content to different users based on what that user's preferences are as well as their demographic. When you are on Facebook, you have to make sure that every single update caters to different audiences. I might put the exact same link in but the sentence that I write needs to match to each person's voice. So if I put out a whitepaper on "Best Practices in PR," I could say "Learn everything you need to know, be as smart as your boss" but for older audiences I could say, "Get up to speed on digital as fast as possible." If I write a post update for younger audiences what Facebook will do is only show that post to people who meet these demographics. So even though you have written five or six updates for the one link, the one update, it will look like you have only written one because each one activates a different audience. Amazon is the only company that I know that actively does this.

Show behind the scenes on Instagram

Instagram is not the world's greatest place to put news articles because at this point they don't have inbound traffic options. However, we are seeing a lot of companies utilizing Instagram to support events, to support traffic, and it is a really terrific way to build your company. GE, IBM, and these types of companies will do these things called "View from my desk" where internally they will ask people to share views from their day at work. This is great because a) you get great content that shows what it is like to work in the office and b) the employee gets validation. What happens here is that the employee will then, most likely, go in and like it, share it, and help build rapport.

SlideShare is an incredible database of professional presentations. Don't forget that B2B influencers often have aspirations to be smarter and SlideShare is a great place to drive them if that is the case.

Link every photo you pin on Pinterest

One of the worst mistakes you can make on Pinterest is to not put the URL behind a photo. —Serena Ehrlich

Pinterest is great for B2B businesses. One of the worst mistakes you can make on Pinterest is to not put the URL behind a photo. You don't want someone to click a photo only to see a bigger photo come up. Tell your web team that you need to have a URL behind every image on your site.

Consider different video platforms

Youtube and Vine, almost 33% of all searches on YouTube right now are for news. We hear a lot of people that say, "I don't want to create YouTube videos because I don't want to fight the existing SEO on YouTube." So think about products like Vine. If you can say it in a shorter format, do it.

Spend time promoting every story

In the PR space, one of the things that we all know is that media has changed. We asked reporters, "What is the number one metric that you get paid on and what is your metric for success?" If we can help the reporters meet this metric, we become rock stars. Page views, social media shares, and the number of visits to the site were the top three. When I pitch the placement of a byline article or send out an email pitching BusinessWire, I include the sentence "If you are able to write about this, I will share this through Business Wire's new amplification program." And this program is me sharing the news link 15 times on Twitter, putting it on all of my social profiles, putting it on Business Wire's Internet, with multiple tweets and headlines giving people in my company the opportunity to select what they want to share, I put it into Reddit, and I do everything I can to meet this "page views" metric. The next time I pitch them, I get "Yes" because they know that we will meet that metric. If you don't meet that metric, they won't write about you again. The fastest way to burn a media relationship is if you got a great story and you didn't spend any time promoting it.

Utilize Google to craft better news releases

Google Suggest is a great tool for crafting a better news release and increasing revenue. If you open a clean browser and start typing in company names, Google will start auto-suggesting statements. The clean browser is going to start showing the top searches that people are doing right now based on the word that I am putting in. This can help you create article angles and pitches and understand trends. You can even do this with words or phrases like Internet of Things instead of company names.

Use Twitter to drive readers back to your site

Tweet the stat instead of the headline for your news. —Serena Ehrlich

Use Click to Tweet to encourage advocacy with your tweets. Put a request for someone to share this right into your blog or article. People love to share and love to look smart. Make sure that you also drive them back to your website.

The Twitter aspirations are to be the first, the smartest, or the funniest. Think about statistics here. In the morning, tweet the stat instead of the headline for your news. On Twitter, you promote your content a minimum of fifteen times on your channel. The only reason that people are following you on Twitter is because they want to hear your news.

When should you add visuals?

  • When you want ROI
  • When you have a complicated story
  • When you want to build an emotional relationship
  • When you want visibility, engagement, earnings
  • When you have new offices, new products, new partnerships
  • Whenever you get a chance