Public Relations (PR) has been a foundational premise of the marketing universe since cave dwellers. The internet became a massive PR tool with Blogs, dedicated press release sites, news publications, etc… eclipsing the little-black-paper-book-pitch-em’ mentality. This SES Chicago ’09 session asked the question, “What’s hot now and where will the internet take Public Relations over the next five years?”

Esteemed moderator Sally Falkow, President of PRESSfeed introduced Cluetrain Manifesto. The book, written ten years ago, phrophesized the changes the internet would bring to marketing and public relations. We are living in those predictions now. Look forward to the next five years with these industry experts: Beth Harte, Community Manager of MarketingProfs; Duncan Alney, President and Social Media Strategist of Firebelly Marketing; Marty Weintraub, President of aimClear, and Andy Beal, CEO of Trackur.

Beth Harte started things off discussing the integration of SEO, marketing and PR.

PR is not just press releases, that’s publicity, and it’s a small sliver of PR. PR is the relationship companies have with their consumers.

Seven Areas of PR:

  1. Media relations (blogger relations, too)
  2. Advertising (Take out ads when the story isn’t told in the right manner)
  3. Press Agentry (ie Tiger Woods’ publicist)
  4. Public Affairs (Government & Organizational)
  5. Issues Management (people using Twitter to monitor brewing situations. Note: one little blip isn’t a crisis)
  6. Lobbying
  7. Investor Relations

In the past, people rallied and used pamphlets, now they use the internet, leveraging social media platforms such as Twitter, Blogs, Facebook etc.

Press releases don’t work anymore. What does work:

  • Listening
  • Being found (SEO)
  • Communicating (constituents buy into your brand for a reason)
  • Partnering (understand what your market wants)
  • Telling your story (it’s all in how you do it. How are you spinning it?)
  • People talking (buzz positive or negative)

Social media tools will change, but people wont stop being social.

Harte was followed by Marty Weintraub, sporting some seriously cool SEO rock-star glasses.

Strategy is essential. SEO is all about attaining data-motivated prominence in organic SERPs. This means all the different channels moving at different speeds. Open your mind to whatever platform users are engaging on.

PR = proactive dissemination of germane information.

Any discussion of SEO is ALSO a discussion of links.

O is for optimization. Optimize for everything. Choose Words and tags strategically.

PRWeb is a great too. “You can buy yourself a ride up and down the SERPs.” Google respects it and it’s trusted. It’s the one way Google will allow you to buy a high ride in the SERPs for a couple days.

If you link build to PRWeb you can affect the sentiment of various SERPs when searched for.

Social Media Profiles Rank! They enjoy the trust of the “mothership” and the more friends you get the higher up it goes in the SERPs! Therefore, it’s important to choose your profile names strategically.

Use interviews with third-party publications:

  • Optimize responses (you get to write the interview!)
  • Verbal or written
  • Thoughtful preparattion in key
  • Build links to interviews

When Guest Blogging:

  • Give links to yourself and others
  • Optimize for indexing
  • Build links to posts
  • Incite rebroadcast! Invite people to rebraodcast in a viral environments (Twitter Facebook Chicklets like in PRWeb)

Charity is HOT (ie. “we’ll give <this> to <them> for every RT”)

  • Giving is Eternal
  • Broadcast Cool shit (and Optimize!)
  • Make link acquisition a primary objective
  • Require the use of web pages
  • Give Give Give Links. Then give more.
  • Sponsored events
  • Philanthropy

Spin Crap into Gold

  • Re-purpose horrible links with damaging anchor text
  • Redirect traffic based on real-time analytics
  • diffuse relevance
  • Mirror PR with video and universal search
  • Advise tagging by organic objectives
  • Build links to video
  • Transcribe text with the talking heads

What’s next?

  • The organic universe will expand, it will be EVEYWHERE and Google wont be indexing a lot of it
  • Rebroadcasting be at people’s fingertips
  • PR of masses- word of mouth will blend further
  • Conversations will be even more fragmented

Duncan Alney followed Marty saying “If Marty is Ridley Scott then i”m Darren Aronofsky.” Rather appropriate for the man talking about video PR.

Online video is used more than all the major TV networks (wow) 250 million users on YouTube, Facebook, Myspace in a month.

User generated content is growing exponentially.

Online video is EXPECTED, by everyone, even your grandpa.

Top video destination portals:

  • YouTube
  • Hulu
  • Facebook
  • Google Video
  • Yahoo Video.

Under-produced content is well received by the masses. In many cases it is seen as more authentic and credible.

What if your video is in the stream but you’re not getting any traffic? Sorry, it’s not democratic. Just because it’s quality, doesn’t mean you deserve to rank in SERPs or become viral.

Video = Power

Video presents the whole story. Alney gave an example of the Lincoln that parallel parks itself (wicked cool). Lincoln tried to create buzz in print but consumers didn’t buy it until they saw it in a video.

Videos can be found easily! They’re everywhere.

Good video pulls journalists. But you have to make it easy to share with an embed code or chicklets.

Integration will matter most video + search + social + PR.

Both strategy and execution are essential. Experience will make all the difference with accurate tags and descriptions.

Experience will make the difference. Tag it correctly, make sure it accurately represents what it is.

Alney’s take on the future? Tools that allow you to stay on top of the swelling river of information will make the difference in PR.

Andy Beal tied the session together discussing the measurement of PR.

PRWeb is a useful tool, not only for links, but also measurement:

  • Where your release is being opened
  • Which countries
  • What search terms were used
  • Allows the ability to compare headlines

Find the experts to send Press Releases to:

  • Identify influencers
  • Google ranking
  • Blog links (Technoratti)
  • Who get’s quoted in your relsease?
  • data

Advanced technology for monitoring

  • Identify industry trends
  • Competitors buzzwords
  • Track reach of your announcements
  • Identify allies (we have this new product which would be cool for your customers…)
  • Google Alerts/

Find the Big Dogs on Twitter

  • Check Twitter Lists
  • Look at Follower Counts
  • Check their engagement (do their tweets get Re-tweeted? do they hold conversations or just broadcast?)
  • (Statistics on Tweople)

Take a look at your analytics

  • What keywords bring most ROI (not necessarily CTR)
  • Look for single source increases (Look for spikes in pages or key phrases it’s good indication you’re being talked about somewhere)
  • Change in top entry pages?

URL Sharing

  • Make it easy to share links (make them small)
  • Track clicks, shares, re-tweets
  • (use company)
  • Build your own URL shortner with (!)

Don’t hold too tight to your web content

  • RSS via feedburner
  • Videos on YouTube or
  • Images on Flickr
  • Link Page
  • Presentations on

What’s Coming Next?

  • Dynamic content in Press releases
  • Ability to test different headlines
  • Change keywords
  • Fix typos
  • Update content
  • Link tracking across platforms
  • Performance based press release pricing (Like Pay-Per-Click )
  • RFID for your content
  • Arsham Mirshah

    Wow Merry – awesome post – you had me reading all the way down..
    Definitely very interesting things you talk about here, and I like how you nest lists into lists — so you have a list of what works on the web, and then each of those things has a list of the important factors for each..

    If business owners had the time to read what’s going on in our industries (PR, SEO, etc..) – they would realize that this is necessary!

    Seasons greetings!

  • Andy Beal

    Echoing that “wow!” 🙂

    Thanks for covering our panel! Although, Marty probably didn’t give you a choice, right? 😉

  • Merry Morud

    Andy, you are so very welcome! 🙂 It was my pleasure! I was looking forward to seeing you and Marty speak. And no, he didn’t have to twist my arm 🙂