Partner Insights: How PR and SEO Can Work Hand in Hand to Boost Holiday Season Impact
This article is the second of two holiday-readiness articles developed in tandem with our partner, Jellyfish.
In a recent holiday-themed post, “Top Tips from Jellyfish to Prepare for the 2021 Holiday Shopping Season,” we shared advice on how to maximize the performance of your website and the impact of your digital strategies during the busy holiday months.
Although we only briefly touched on this topic, there’s no doubt that cross-team collaboration and aligning SEO efforts with your other marketing activities not only ensures a more positive and consistent experience for your consumers, but also bolsters the results of each channel. Jellyfish’s PR Director, Katheryn Watson, offered advice on how PR teams, in particular, can leverage their PR expertise to amplify SEO and drive mutually beneficial outcomes for Black Friday and beyond.
But first, let’s briefly highlight some of the main similarities between SEO and PR.
Organic marketing: Both SEO and PR fall under the umbrella of organic marketing, meaning their results are earned through means other than advertising dollars. Of course, this doesn’t mean that the brand visibility and traffic from organic marketing is “free,” a misnomer that SEOs and PR pros alike have been trying to quell for years. Rather, the investment comes in the form of time, resources, and technology.
Quality content: Any SEO professional knows that search engines like Google strongly consider the quality of the content they discover on a website. While quality can be subjective, this includes elements such as the site’s expertise, relevance, and whether the content successfully addresses the searcher’s intent. Furthermore, SEOs must also be cognizant that their content isn’t too thin, isn’t duplicative to other pages on their website, and is easy to access and navigate. Similarly, PR professionals are storytellers, and in order to earn the attention of journalists and break through the noise, they need to develop content that is unique, informative, and will resonate with the publications’ readers.
Trust and authority: Being a reliable, trustworthy, and authoritative source of information, or a secure destination to transact affects how a website is ranked in the SERPs (only once it’s crawled and rendered by search engines, of course), especially for medical, financial, and legal queries. That credibility is something that is earned over time, and improved by being referenced and linked to by other reputable sources. And the more authoritative you are, the more you are sought after by PR professionals for coverage. Landing a spot in The New York Times or the Wall Street Journal, for example, is no easy task, but when a brand successfully does so, they earn a bit of clout, but also help drive website traffic.
Measurement challenges: Historically, the impact of organic search, especially its influence on revenue, has been a bit difficult to measure, especially when compared to its paid counterpart. It’s traditionally been considered an acquisition channel for brands, however the truth is, SEO plays a role across the entire customer lifecycle, and as a performance marketing channel, influencing the ROI of many other channels. Plus, SEO is a marathon, not a sprint, so its results are not necessarily immediate or cut-and-dry, but instead must be tracked over a longer period of time. In fact, SEOs are handling so much data (Botify, for example, provides over 1,100 data points on every single webpage), so they must prioritize the analysis based on their own website and business goals. And while there has been headway in PR measurement and attribution, as a discipline, it is still largely associated with top-of-the-funnel brand awareness, nor is there a single right metric to measure.
Collectively, however, PR and SEO can boost the impact of each other and digital marketing efforts overall, driving brand visibility and traffic, and engaging audiences to action with relevant content.
With Black Friday and Cyber Monday ahead of us, consider some of Katheryn’s ideas.
To preface, Katheryn noted that “although a lot of digital PRs are led to believe that product-led link building doesn’t work – that it comes across as too advertorial – but with the right PR tactics in place, you can drive traffic and SEO value to Black Friday pages online and then leverage that activity to create long-lasting value across wider category pages on your website.”
…with the right PR tactics in place, you can drive traffic and SEO value to Black Friday pages online and then leverage that activity to create long-lasting value across wider category pages on your website.– Katheryn Watson, PR Director
- Plan ahead. Using your PR expertise, be sure to remember how the news cycle works ahead of big events. Ensure you’re reaching out to journalists well ahead of time to try and build placements and traction around your brand and the unique elements of your holiday strategy. To encourage links back to your website, consider including any offers within live digital PR campaigns – as well as pitching these offers in as a story in their own right.
- Ensure relevance. Share the best, and biggest, deals, discounts, codes, and offers you’re running over the holiday period. Put a PR spin on these deals when it comes to journalist pitching. Can you tap into current trends such as Tik Tok and create mini listicle style articles to share?
- Build relationships early. Reach out to shopping editors, consumer press, or any e-commerce writers at publications and ask them what they would like to see from you and when they’d prefer to receive it.
- Use your data. Data is integral to storytelling. For B2B Black Friday coverage, consider sharing any interesting search trends or insights on sales, YOY activity, and customer behaviour on-site, alongside commentary from your company spokesperson. What were people searching for during Black Friday last year or the year before? Can you make any predictions on what you think people will want from your brand this year?
- Be reactive. Once the “Best Black Friday offers” articles begin to appear, keep tabs on where your competitors are being mentioned online and outreach to these publications with your best deals, too.
- Don’t ignore the Black Friday aftermath. Once the period is over, gather data and statistics on how Black Friday went for your brand and use these as a newsworthy asset for outreach.
- Track all coverage. Whether linked to your website or not, tracking and measurement is essential. Provide clear reporting about the additional exposure and reach, and work with your SEO team to learn if it’s impacted specific queries driving traffic to your website, as well as search volume.
- Extend the SEO value. To make sure you don’t lose the link benefits once the Black Friday period is over, remember to keep the page indexed, refresh the page for next year, or implement a redirect if you don’t want it to remain live.
If you have any other tips to share or are interested in learning more about how Botify can help you drive greater performance from organic search, please reach out to us.
As a Botify Solution Partner, the Jellyfish team is a certified user of the Botify platform and collaborates with Botify’s Customer Experience team to provide additional expertise, services, and support to our shared customers. Interested in becoming a Botify partner? We’d love to hear from you.