Businesses Need To Understand How PR Has Evolved

PR has and always will be about great communication and building effective relations. You want PR to support your sales process, whether you’re a start up or a large established business and that would be through a programme that raises awareness of whatever it is that you do and the great things your product or service does for your customers. Customers being anything from a mum looking for a treat and up pops your tasty new low calorie granary bar, or businesses looking for a new app or marketing tool to help them run more efficiently. It really doesn’t matter, whilst the target market and the set of media are very different, the PR process and the end result is the same. It about generating media coverage through news stories, articles and the like while managing reputations. PR has been operating like that for a very long time.

Make no mistake this is still a fundamental part of PR but just like every other discipline, it has evolved. It should now deliver much more.

It has become clear that PR can support other aspects of a business’s marketing activities and again it doesn’t matter how big or small that business is. SEO is one area where PR can directly support a company’s marketing efforts.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of making your website more appealing to search engines and people. Making your site more appealing and visible to the likes of Google ensures that when someone searches for your types of product or service your site appears at the top of the rankings. That’s the golden ticket because the likelihood is that if you achieve that then the person searching will buy from you. Properly optimize your site and you’re in lead gen heaven because if you rank highly for a good keyword then over a third of searches will come to you.

Sounds easy doesn’t it? It’s not. Ranking first is tough. Your SEO strategy needs to better than your competitors because they are all fighting to knock you off the top spot. It might sound like hard work but getting to the top is worth investing time and effort.

So How Does SEO Work?

Search engines like Google send out bots called “spiders” whenever someone types in a search. Google goes away and examines the content of each webpage to tell it what that page is about and then where it ranks. Very little is known about this Google algorithm but choosing the best keywords is crucial. You’ve got to keep the site relevant, active and up to date. Similarly SEO is about generating links from other sites. They play a major part in the ranking algorithm.

So now we get back to PR. You’re probably aware by now that the best way to generate those golden links from other websites – and obviously the ones that carry more weight and are reputable with their readers – is through PR. SEO agencies are great at what they do but in the main they are pretty poor at building those links. Good PR people on the other hand have the experience and the knowledge to get businesses featured in these valued websites. So, get those articles you’re placing into links to your site and you’ll see a big improvement in your site’s rankings. Also, when you’re featured in relevant media and they link to you, you’ll generate referral traffic to your site.

So you can see how the industry has evolved and a good PR person should be contributing to your SEO strategy. Quality coverage is one thing, and great for your business, but the added advantage is it makes that valuable coverage work even harder.

Virtual Reality Is Becoming A Reality

So it seems that Google has declared its hand as far as virtual Reality is concerned. At the Cannes Lion Festival the global giant says it is developing technology that will bring VR to the forefront of our lives. They’ve created a VR experience that they have been testing which apparently involves sharks and jumping off huge heights. Sounds scary. They then look at how the senses react and how this lines up with the feeling of being somewhere else. It’s mind boggling stuff akin to the classic Schwarzenegger film Total Recall. Actually, with Google’s self driving cars project not dissimilar to Johnny Cabs, I wonder whether the company isn’t a little obsessed with this early 90s classic. Will we see Clay Bavor, who heads Google’s VR project, pull a golf ball out of his nose at the next Cannes Festival? Perhaps.

What’s really interesting is the potential of VR and how it will influence and change the way things work in this world. Bavor believes that VR is going to touch everything, with the ability to put you anywhere, to put you in a different space, to create an object in front of you that as far as you can tell it’s really there.

Imagine being in the market for a house and being able to view it without actually going to see it in the flesh. Imagine sitting with your loved ones when they were 20 years younger . Imagine experiencing a holiday to Thailand without stepping on a plane. The possibilities are endless.

I love the idea but there’s no substitute for the real thing. I just hope that they don’t handcuff me to the chair before they put the helmet on my head.

Automated Journalism Is On Its Way So Do We Need to Get Our Coats And Turn The Lights Out?

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Bloomberg’s Editor in Chief issued an internal memo recently announcing that he was pulling a team together to explore how he could introduce more automation in writing. Staff must have been quaking in their boots wondering when their P45s will land on the hot desks and they have to pack their potted plant into a box and walk out. They’re looking at how algorithms can piece information together to create stories in seconds rather than hours. Just imagine that. Just when you thought we are already overloaded with information and news we are going to get even more, and a lot quicker to boot.
So where does that leave the PR industry? What’s going to happen to us? Are all those years of building relations with journalists, understanding their style, the angles they respond to, the kind of stories they look for and the client introductions we’ve made going to go down the tubes? Do we need to get our coats and leave? I don’t think so. Automated systems can only act on the information that’s out there, which will generally be news put out by large companies with huge outreach. Smaller companies and start-ups don’t have that kind of reach so how will automated systems pick up their news and stories? Will there be a portal that gathers news from smaller companies to feed into the system and if so how will that news be managed? How will the good stuff be sorted and plucked from the less interesting stories? There may come a day when stories and news items won’t need pitching out anymore because there’s no one left to pitch to. There may be a time when automated journalists trawl the web looking for stories at source. That just means that we as PR people will be just as busy creating those stories and news items that are interesting enough to alert the algorithm processes to be included in the automated journalist’s inbox. Sound familiar?

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