Here’s why, if you want to improve your search rankings you need to use PR

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“Search engines have evolved to be much more sensitive to manipulation – to the point that SEO really is indistinguishable from PR in many cases.

“The traditional skills of PR, creating genuinely newsworthy content and earning coverage, mentions, shares and links from respected publications, sites and industry influencers, are key for effective SEO.”

This is why PR has to be an integral part of your marketing strategy if you want to improve your search rankings.  And why we have to be constantly watching out for changes which affect the way search rankings work.

Five search trends to watch from a PR and SEO perspective:

1.The rise of voice search

People search differently by voice than by typing.  What you yell at Alexa or Siri is not exactly what you type in your search bar.

Brands need to create content that works for long tail searches, with key words which are going to be used in this format.  Which is a good thing, as highly specific multi-word phrases tend to be more effective in achieving well in search rankings

“PR agencies that understand the importance of key words and how they work in the mobile world can add real value to clients as content strategy changes.”

2. Featured Snippets

Half of all searches are predicted to be voice searches by 2020.

So Featured Snippets – the block on the top right of your Google search – will be absolutely vital as they are used to drive voice search results.

Activity and content needs to be devised with these in mind.

3. Personalisation

There will be a more searches based on images and personalisation, where the search starts by seeing the right picture for that person.

PR must take this into account. Good quality imagery and visuals should accompany your copy.

4. Eyefluence

Google bought an eye-tracking startup last year Eyefluence. We need to keep an eye out on this trend (sorry, couldn’t resist.)

5. Fred

Fred, Google’s latest update has put a huge emphasis on good quality content.

“The rules of great communication remain constant: understand your audience and give them the content they want.

New technologies mean that search experts can never completely relax as there is always a new trick to learn.”  Danny Parker, editor PR Moment.

These five trends formed the basis of an internal training programme we recently delivered at Twelve PR.    

You can read the original copy and quotes on www.prmoment.com

Beautiful idea, beautiful PR – how you can get it right too

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Water-saving shower crowdfunds almost $1m in less than 2 days

To read the full story of this incredibly exciting new product, which looks set to be in thousands of homes soon, go to edie.net, the market-leading information resource for sustainability in business.

“A new shower that is 70% more water-efficient than regular models is nearing $1m of funding in its Kickstarter campaign less than 48 hours after launch. Nebia’s campaign raised $100,000 to reach its original target in its first eight hours before driving on to half a million dollars within 15 hours. The Nebia shower, which claims to save water and energy compared to standard shower technology, has more than 2,700 backers and support from Silicon Valley bosses, including Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google chairman Eric Schmidt.”

Why has this idea been such a hit and how can you learn from it?

The Nebia shower story has ticked all the following boxes and by doing so been an instant success:

  1. Meets a need.
  2. Authentic back story.
  3. Handles objections head on.
  4. Double benefit to the consumer – intellectual and emotional.
  5. 360 degree communication offering.

Old school sales people will recognise some classic sales techniques in here, so let’s unpick them and complement them with some new digital techniques, to create a check list for an outstanding product launch.

Meets a need

Why would anyone want your product? This is the oldest ‘check list’ in the book. You have to make your customer aware of their need. Not hard in Nebia’s case, where people are living through the worst drought in California’s recorded history.

Authentic

People crave authenticity and humanity in our highly engineered world now. The individual who triumphs, the pioneer who makes a breakthough, that lightbulb moment…“ Co-founder and fitness company manager Carlos Andonaegui found his gyms were using high levels of water in their showers.”…  Yes that makes sense, I can see that’s an issue, is the response you’re looking to achieve.

Handles objectives head on

Another classic sales technique – draw out the hidden objective, and then ‘overcome’ it..  Here it is done so nicely: “We set out to create a better shower experience first and save as much water as possible,” said Winter. “It turns out the age-old belief that more water equals a better experience isn’t necessarily true.”

Benefit to the consumer

You never miss out the benefit do you, it’s such an old chestnut! …. “According to Nebia, the new shower also saves energy due to its system being 13 times more thermally efficient than regular shower heads. The founders claim the shower could save an average Californian home of four 21,000 gallons of water per year, as well as saving $397.”

360 degree communication offering

This story includes a choice of  good quality images showing the product being used in different ways, plus there’s also the original Kickstarter video. There are two good reasons to include a video. Firstly some people like to watch them, they increase engagement, and secondly Google measures them, so they boost SEO.

So to summarise here’s your checklist for great product launch communication:

  1. Explain, in human terms, not ‘corporate speak,’ what the product does and why it was created, be honest.
  2. Describe the story, including any set – backs you had along the way in product development, be authentic.
  3. Drill down into the questions people will ask  – and then think even harder about how you answer these questions.  Make sure you communicate these points, don’t duck issues.
  4. Provide information in a range of styles: words + website + picture + video = every angle covered
  5. Get your message out, send it out to the right channels and influencers.

Understanding ZMOT

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ZMOT, or Zero Moment of Truth, coined by Google, describes the revolution in the way consumers search for information online and make decisions about brands.  Traditionally, the marketing ‘Moment of Truth’ described the climax of the consumer-purchasing journey – the moment of the purchase.

Smartphones are the most common starting place for online activities, according to Google’s own research over 65 per cent of searches begin on someone’s mobile. Mobile web browsing and the ever-dominating Internet, have radically changed our shopping pathways. The Zero Moment is the precise moment when a consumer has a need, intent or question they want answered online.

 ‘Where can I buy organic dog food in Chipping Norton?’ or ‘Which Oxfordshire restaurant has the best TripAdvisor rating?’ A company which can answer these questions scores, what Google calls, a ‘double win’, it improves the consumer experience, providing helpful information, and has a competitive advantage over other brands that don’t provide the same level of customer service.

What does ZMOT mean for PR?

The consumer journey is no longer a marketing funnel but a flight path. Google found that there might be as many as ten different touch points or sources of information before consumer action or purchase takes place – between online search, websites, reviews, friend endorsements and print media.

Ultimately, it’s down to finding which website, social media user, blog, forum or magazine holds the most influence for your target audience and working with them to build positive coverage – the good news is, that’s what PRs have always done! Same skill set, new arena.

Understanding ZMOT

Understanding ZMOT