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Digital PR in 2021: How to Incorporate SEO & Content Marketing into Your PR Strategy

The world of digital PR is
constantly evolving, especially when you consider that new trends emerge,
impacting the way communications teams plan their strategies.

Content marketing, in
particular, is an important part of any digital PR strategy. Why should you
spend time on content marketing?

  • Content marketing strategies generate over 400% more leads per $1,000
    (in 36 months) in comparison to paid search campaigns. (Source: Kapost & Eloqua)
  • 71% of B2B buyers consume blog content during the buyer’s journey.
    (Source: Demand Gen Report)
  • 74% of B2B buyers conduct extensive research before making a purchase.
    (Source: Forrester)

For your brand messaging
and PR efforts to make an impact on your audience, you need to produce
high-quality content that meets specific standards to support it.

What are these standards?
Trends often dictate how your content will perform.

Plus, there is the cause
behind the effect: organic search is easily the biggest and most effective digital channel that brings traffic to
your website. It is an essential and core aspect of your content marketing
efforts. Therefore, you want your content to rank high in search results and be
optimized for visibility on search engines.

Bearing this in mind, take a look at these content marketing trends to inspire your digital PR strategy for 2021.

Artificial
Intelligence (AI)

You might be wondering what artificial intelligence and
content marketing have in common.

Well, Google uses artificial intelligence to enhance user
search results. When implementing your content marketing plan, it’s important
to understand how AI works to optimize your content for maximum impact, not
only for the reader but also for search engines.

Google has
been using AI
for over four years now to determine
if your content is valuable to readers or not. If your content is considered
more valuable, it will rank higher in search results, helping to drive organic
traffic to your website. Not only that, it is using AI to provide an integrated
experience to users and marketers across its products like search, Google Ads,
Google Assistant, YouTube, and so on.


Image
credit: https://blog.aimultiple.com/ai-is-already-at-the-heart-of-google/

AI can be used in more ways than simply for search
engines. Many businesses are using AI to capture customer data, helping them to
strategically pinpoint who their ideal customer is. This data can then be used
to assist with their digital PR strategy, including marketing.

In a study by Forrester, 78% of the 700 business leaders surveyed planned to spend at
least 5% on AI technology in the following 12 months, signifying the growth of
AI in business.

When intent-based digital channels such as organic search are leveraged for PR, AI is crucial in helping marketers identify and target a niche audience that is receptive to their brand messaging and content.

Voice
Search

With the growth of mobile devices and home voice
assistants, such as Google Home and Amazon Echo, voice search is growing in
popularity. Optimizing your content for voice search can drive more organic
traffic to your website since it has an effect on SEO.

When people use voice search, they tend to ask specific
questions. This means that search engines have to work harder to find relevant
information. By next year, more
than 50%
of all online searches are
expected to be voice initiated.

So, how can you optimize your content for voice search?
Short keywords are less relevant for voice search results, meaning you should
focus instead on using long-tail keywords or sentences which users may be
searching for.

Consider specific queries, such as, “Is there a taxi
service in London that uses electric cars?” Optimize content for natural but
conversational queries—you could use keywords in your blog posts or use a FAQ
page to target certain queries. Research questions your audience are looking
for. You could even use these questions as blog titles! A tool like Answer The Public can help you do this—it generates questions that people ask on
Google, provides comparisons, and filters queries by certain kinds of words
like prepositions.


Image
credit: https://answerthepublic.com/

Additionally, optimize your content for local SEO. For
instance, many voice search users may be asking for local content, such as, “Which
is the absolute best coffee shop in Orlando?” Ensure information about your
business (including opening times, contact numbers, and location) that appears
on search results, social media, industry listing sites, and review platforms is
accurate. This will also help optimize your content for voice search, directly
or indirectly.

User
Experience

So you’ve put in place an integrated PR and content marketing strategy that brings in your audience in droves to your owned (your website and social properties), earned (third-party sites and platforms over which you don’t have administrative control), and paid media. But are these visitors staying long enough on these websites or digital platforms for your message to be absorbed?

User experience plays a huge role in keeping readers on
your site for longer—you want them to read all your PR stuff, don’t you? On the other hand, bad UX kills good content like
locust swarms devouring a field of crops. If your website doesn’t load quickly
enough, or if information is hard to read (especially on mobile devices) or
navigate, readers will leave with a poor impression of your brand in their
minds, perhaps never to return.

Further, speed is one of the most important factors
influencing the UX for today’s impatient and information-overloaded audience. It
leads to more time spent on your page, lower
bounce rate
, and higher content engagement. Page
loading speed is one of Google’s few acknowledged (and emphasized) ranking
factors, especially on mobile devices, which search engines are now giving
priority to while indexing your content. In fact, Google has recently
incorporated speed data into its Search Console reports alongside the mobile
usability stats:


Image
credit:
https://searchengineland.com/a-deeper-look-at-google-search-console-speed-reports-323714

Again, there’s a tool to do this! As far as owned media are
concerned, a web builder platform like Duda comes in handy, especially when your content has to conform to
Google’s new Lighthouse
testing standard
for page speed. This takes into
account optimization of code, new image formats, loading and rendering of
content on the screen, browser-server communication, and so on. It also
provides other options to customize your content to improve targeting and
increase engagement:


Image
credit: https://www.duda.co/

Influencer
Marketing

Finally, the one topic PR folks just can’t stop talking
about. Influencer marketing has come a long way in the last few years. It is
expected to become a $10
billion industry by 2020
, so there has
never been a better time to integrate influencer marketing into your digital PR
and content strategy.

The right
influencer-generated content
can drive traffic to your website, increase brand awareness, and create a sense
of trust—after all, if a trustworthy, authoritative, real person is using your
product, then it must be good enough, right?

Celebrity influencers are also highly effective in
promoting your brand in various
ways
, towards different campaign-specific
goals
. Airbnb has used celebrities
including Mariah Carey to increase their reach.


Embed post: https://www.instagram.com/p/5w29mVLeK7/

Using the right mix
of influencer and sponsored posts
,
Airbnb has achieved an engagement rate of 4% on Instagram, with over 18 million
likes and over 500,000 comments.

Keep in mind the beliefs, values, and preferences of your
audience when selecting the influencers you work with. You can then determine whether
to work with them for just a campaign or two, bring them on board for the long
term as a brand ambassador, or in a product-specific capacity as part of an
affiliate-like program.

Over to you

Content marketing is a highly
effective strategy, especially when combined with SEO and PR. Educating and
informing your prospects, building trust with your audience, enhancing brand
awareness, and standing out from the competition are just some of the goals
that an integrated digital strategy can help you achieve. Sustained efforts in digital
PR help drive ROI via content and gives you the potential to keep growing by
connecting with new audiences.