Are Public Relations and Content Marketing the New SEO?

In the days ahead, valuable content is the new SEO currency.

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When I first got wind of the new emphasis on unique, high-quality content, I immediately started interviewing copywriters. I already had some freelance writers, but I knew that was no longer sufficient. I wanted a writer in the office all day, every day, whose sole purpose would be churning out excellent copy for our website, our client’s sites and guest blogs.

When considering a potential hire, there are a few qualities you should look for. First, the writer should write with impeccable conventions and a unique style. Remember, readers must be compelled to read and share your content.

Next, make sure that they can write fairly quickly. Although quality is more valuable than quantity, the more great copy they can produce, the better. Finally, either ensure they have a background in marketing or be willing to teach them the industry.


2. Form Relationships with Media Outlets

You could have a file chock-full of engaging and beautifully-written articles, but it’s all for naught if you don’t have relationships with media outlet who want to publish your work. Eventually, you should get to the point where you have solid connections with bloggers in your niche. That way, you have go-to outlets for future content submissions.

When you start contacting power sites, take great care to make a good first impression. Avoid sending out canned, fill-in-the-blank templates that will, more than likely, end up in the trashcan. Take the time to craft a personal introductory message that shows that you’ve actually read their blog and respect their work.

Better yet, if there’s a phone number listed on a site, pick up the phone and call. Don’t be scared. So often, we stay safely behind our monitors and rely solely on electronic communication. You’ll find, however, that it’s much harder to say “no” to someone over the phone than it is to ignore an e-mail from a stranger.

Whichever way you choose to reach out, be sure that you communicate how your content will benefit their readers and add value to their website. Remember, these folks are getting numerous pitches every single day. Yours needs to stand out.

The key is to cast as many lines as possible, increasing the chances that someone will bite. Once the positive responses start rolling in, and you get a few guest posts up, it’s crucial that you continue to nurture the relationships. Even when you don’t have content, send an occasional message to say hello and compliment one of their recent articles. Basically, stay on their radar.

You’ll soon reach the stage where hosts of sites in various niches know and trust you. When that happens, you can easily get new content out. This recently paid off for me when I had written a post about Pinterest’s new advertising initiative and wanted it to be published that day, while it was still news. Because of the relationships I’d formed with content editors at several reputable websites, it was posted within the hour.

As long as you continue to foster these partnerships and offer quality content, you’ll be able to continue improving your search rankings for years to come. And the best part is that this work can never be undone by Google updates.


3. Become a Thought-Leader

The final piece to the puzzle is content. Having a great copywriter on hand and a long list of bloggers who love you won’t matter if you don’t consistently create fresh, unique articles.

Try Googling, “How to design a better website” and you’ll see thousands of copycat posts by every Tom, Dick and Harry with a tech blog. Don’t add more chatter to saturated topics that have already been covered to death.

Get fresh ideas by keeping abreast of other thought-leading blogs and websites in the industry, talking to your customers about buzz-worthy subjects they know about, or even sharing some of your personal insights.

If you have an idea that you think might be original, search for it on Google first and see if it’s been done yet. Now, just because similar pieces are out there doesn’t automatically mean you can’t still write about it. Read some of the other posts and find a new angle on the topic.

When it comes to content, we all want what nobody else has. If you send out a guest blog pitch with a cool idea that they’ve never seen before, you’ll have a lot better chances of getting published than if you’re sending the same tired ideas they’ve seen for months.


You and your team are smart (really smart), savvy and innovative, but chances are slim you’ll outsmart Google. Gaming the system is no longer an option, and it’s a waste of time to try. Instead of chasing after keywords and today’s new quick SEO fix, direct your efforts towards what’s timeless, classic and sustainable.

In the days ahead, valuable content is the new SEO currency. In the words of English musician Paul McCartney, “The love you take is equal to the love you make.”



Brian Burt, a leader in Chicago web design and national web marketing, created WebRev Marketing and Design in 2008. His passion for the industry and his ability to stay ahead of the curve of ever-changing marketing trends have led to the company’s growing success in the field. Brian is constantly on the lookout for new techniques and technology that will benefit his clients and interest his readers. Additional information is available at WebRev Marketing & Design. Find Brian on Google+ today!

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