PR & SEO: Shifting the Boundaries of Marketing
When people talk about SEO becoming a moribund and increasingly ineffective method of marketing, they are failing to recognise the true nature of the current industry. While it has undoubtedly evolved considerably since its inception at the turn of the century, for example, it remains vital to the modern businesses a marketing strategy.
In fact, it is the individual disciplines of SEO that have come under scrutiny from Google in recent times, rather than the practise as a whole. This means that once independent concepts such as PR and content marketing now represent the acceptable face of SEO, although there are some agencies that have been slow to recognise this change.
Recognising a Gap in Knowledge: What Marketers Know that PR Firms Don’t
In particular, there appears to be a gap in knowledge between the understanding of marketing professionals and those who work in PR. The former have quickly recognised the evolving nature of SEO practices, for example, with 52% of respondents in a recent e-consultancy survey suggesting that their SEO and PR professional worked closely together on developing outbound marketing content. A further 71% said that they have begun to train their PR staff on the fundamental basics of SEO, enabling them to become more effective at their jobs.
Conversely, independent PR agencies have failed to recognise this trend as quickly. From the same survey, 61% of PR companies claimed that they do not have a sufficient supply of in-house SEO knowledge, which means that they continue to rely on a qualified agencies to work alongside them. While a trained and knowledgeable SEO agency can deliver excellent results, failing to adapt to changing trends and develop in-house skills is something that could cost companies and their clients dearly.
The Bottom Line: Collaboration in the Quest for Engaging Content and Quality SEO
The convergence of SEO and PR should not come as a surprise, especially given the emphasis that is now placed on developing high quality, informative and relevant marketing content. This drive has helped to remove much of mystery and uncertainty surrounding SEO, which is now far more transparent and focused towards a clear goal of engaging consumers. This is extremely compatible with the purpose of PR, which seeks to inform and share information between brands and customers.
In effect, modern SEO agencies must strive to create quality content that features a natural, viral element. This will make it both compelling and easily shareable, so that brands are able to reach out to a wider social demographic. With this in mind, not only are the roles of PR and SEO professionals exceptionally similar, but there is also considerable scope for collaboration in the quest to improve sales conversions and drive brand awareness.
Marketing Techniques From Propaganda–And Why They Work for PR
When we think of the most powerful marketing campaigns, we often think of memorable advertising efforts by popular brands and companies. When it comes to sheer effectiveness and audience appeal, however, there are few techniques more powerful than those used by propagandists.
While propaganda in general has quite the negative reputation, not all propaganda should be dismissed as vile or evil. For example, the patriotic posters of the World War Two era, including the iconic “Rosie the Riveter”, would technically be considered propaganda even though they’re remembered today as effective marketing campaigns. If marketers and PR specialists truly want to make an impression and compel their customers, they would be wise to take a cue from propaganda. The following are some of the common techniques used in propaganda and why they work.
Appeal To Emotions, Both Good and Bad
Propaganda succeeds because it appeals to its audience’s emotions. Oftentimes, propaganda will prey on fear, though the most effective propaganda will also appeal to positive emotions, like a sense of community and optimism. Marketers should strive to appeal to the emotions of their customers. An example of this is Budweiser, who created tear-jerking ads which were aired during the past two Superbowls.
While the ads don’t show the product in question, they prompt a powerful emotional response from their audience. Marketing is the bridge between your organization and your potential customers—promoting a positive, relatable image which appeals to emotion can create an excellent first impression with your audience.
Propaganda creates a sense of urgency. A military historian who earned their Military History degree online says government-sponsored propaganda campaigns often frame their message in a “do or die” context. While you wouldn’t necessarily want to suggest dire consequences should your customers not buy your product or service, it is a good idea to subtly suggest that the ramifications of not heeding your message would be negative. A sense of urgency prompts the audience to make decisions quickly, while reassuring them that they can make that decision with confidence.
Don’t Be Ignored
A striking trait of most propaganda is that it commands the audience’s attention. Even if the viewer doesn’t agree with the message, he or she will have a hard time turning away or ignoring the message. A marketing attempt that exemplifies this would be recent anti-smoking public service announcements. Due to their shocking portrayal of smoking-related illnesses, it’s difficult to turn away or speak while they are airing. You don’t want to shock or repulse your customers, but you should always strive to create marketing media that proves difficult to turn away from.
Propaganda is often associated with unethical marketing and questionable motives. However, there’s a reason that it sticks with us and that its message is heard so clearly. Propaganda appeals to our emotions and forces us to confront the message at hand—a quality which may improve your marketing efforts.