How to Hack PR to Go From Visibility to Growth
All small business owners and entrepreneurs have a wish to explode their revenues and profits. Many are investing in marketing and advertising methods that frankly, don’t work, hoping a return will magically blossom.
As a digital marketing agency focused on driving search engine traffic and generating momentous leads and engagement, our team must be extremely well versed in SEO. As a company with traditional marketing roots spanning more than 20 years, we understand the value of combining press outreach (PR) with digital marketing.
PR, or public relations, should be a part of every company’s marketing plan. The raison d’etre for PR has always been outreach to traditional marketing channels and to ensure that whenever possible and where appropriate, your company gets mentioned, has executives interviewed, and otherwise is “covered.”
But, along came the Internet, and everything changed in the marketing world. There are some who still utilize PR as if it were 1980, the majority of companies have moved on or skipped traditional PR in favor of Internet news outlets, blogs, video, social and other “digital” forms of promotion and publicity.
The bane of digital promotion via Internet channels is that the audience can be highly fragmented, and with attention spans measured in single digit seconds, 9 seconds to be exact, let’s just say that turning promotion and media exposure into profits can be difficult. Which is why many small business owners report that though there is a thrill in getting a press release picked up by a large website or publication, the actual business that results is often not notable.
This is where we meet The Publicity Guy, Andrew O’Brien.
O’Brien works with entrepreneurs, thought leaders, coaches, authors, software startup companies and more, to help them win massive exposure in the most relevant online blogs, websites and print publications. But the key difference is that Andrew doesn’t just get his clients mentioned, he has developed a whole system to leverage the media exposure that he creates to drive real revenue.
Visibility to Growth formula.
The Visibility to Growth formula is a system for ensuring that you get everything possible from the digital stage of the Internet. Scaling your company’s growth using this framework comprises four main functions.
Watch Andrew O’Brien whiteboard the Visibility to Growth Formula.
4 Steps of the Visibility to Growth Formula:
A writer for Inc. magazine would appreciate hearing about your success. After all, Inc. magazine’s readers don’t want to read about someone who is less successful than they are. However, your message is not your success story – only (though it can be). Your message is your story of the journey, the process, the ups and the downs. What your audience wants to hear is how you overcome a major hurdle in your business, the market or your personal life – to persevere, and ultimately build a successful company, life, etc.
Another way to think about your message is to ask this question: What is it that you are uniquely gifted to do that when you share your gift, people’s lives are changed?
Everyone has a message to share with the world, and many entrepreneurs are clearer than most on their unique gift, but because of wrong information, some have defaulted to only discussing their amazing success as if they just woke up one day with a $25 million company. You want your audience to feel you understand them and the first step is to get clear on your message.
Let’s say that you are a startup business keynote speaker and you are looking to increase your bookings. The market for you is not the person who is attending a conference, but the organizers, event planners and those in control of the conference agenda. This means you will want to be visible in the places these people hangout. Learn what magazines they read so that your press will be seen by the decision makers and influencers who can hire you.
Or say that you are a local service business supplying audio video equipment for corporate meetings and events. In this case you don’t want to go to the conference or meeting planner, but rather the hotel or venue management, since they are the ones who will directly contract for your services. In this example, there may be overlap with the blogs and magazines that an event organizer reads, but don’t assume there is. Learn what journals facilities managers read as this will tell you where to grow your exposure.
This step is easy to overlook as even PR firms often utilize a only slightly more refined version of “spray and pray.” Which is they blast out press releases or profiles seeking to get as broad of coverage as possible, hoping someone will pick up a magazine or click on a web article and take action.
You want to be sure that you are featured in the magazines and blogs that the decision makers or buyers of your service read and respect. As a business oriented speaker, you will want to be featured and seen regularly in Fast Company, Inc., Entrepreneur, Forbes, etc.
Media visibility is a long game. You can’t get one mention and expect your business to explode. The well known adage of a sale taking seven impressions before action is taken by a buyer applies to PR as well.
This means the more that you appear in media, the better the odds will be that you are seen as a subject matter expert. And the more writers who reference you, the greater the chance that your profile will grow and your reputation increase. Just as the spray and pray method of hitting any outlet that will cover you cannot be effective. So is this the case with the media. It’s a terrible idea to reach out to a writer without first doing some homework. You should know what their focus is, the areas they cover, and what their unique perspective is. The last thing you want to do is approach a writer for an article on a topic that they disagree with your message on.
This step is where nearly all PR strategies and efforts break down. Regardless of the business that you are in, the traditional role of customer as defined by a simple designation of a person who gives us money in exchange for a service is outdated. Yes, there must always be value exchanged between a supplier and a customer, but what makes the Visibility to Growth formula work is that we are not seeking to gain more customers, but rather build the fan base which in turn will build the tribe.
Here is where social media and digital marketing can be rocket fuel to your business.
If you do a good job of articulating your message and aligning it to your market (those people who have the power and influence to give you money), and with the most applicable media outlets and writers covering you – as long as you convert the audience to fans, you’ll be left with an amazing rabid tribe of followers who in-turn become mini evangelists.
Watch Andrew’s 30 minute webinar which provides a more detailed explanation of the Visibility to Growth Formula.
SEO as Accelerator to the Visibility to Growth Formula.
With an ever-evolving digital landscape, search engine optimization (SEO) is now in a preferred position to support PR outreach and become an accelerator to the visibility to growth formula. As Google has further refined their search algorithms, high-quality content is now an integral part of SEO success, but, search engine optimization is not something many PR professionals have knowledge of so let’s take a look at how it can be a further hack to your visibility and growth strategy.
There are many parallels with how the media outreach function of PR works, and how optimizing links in earned coverage can benefit SEO rankings.
For example, say you are featured in an article: ‘7 business thinkers who are changing the world one conference at a time.’
The website may reference your name ‘Awesome Speaker’ and include a link to your homepage: www.geniusbizguy.com – which may sound just fine to you, but for SEO purposes we want to make sure the anchor text is as descriptive as possible for the keyword that we wish to rank for. It is helpful if the URL that the anchor text points to contains at least a part of the keyword.
Once you know this is a requirement, it is not difficult to make a request of the author that they use a specific anchor text. You can also provide them with the explicit URL that you want the anchor text to point to.
If our brand for the fictitious ‘Awesome Speaker’ is ‘Big Biz Bear’ – we’d request that the words ‘Big Biz Bear’ link to: www.geniusbizguy.com/big-biz-bear, which most likely would be our author bio page.
This same guidance applies to anyone referencing your website in their article. Rather than using a generic anchor text such as the word ‘company’ we may prefer to use ‘my city company’ as this could provide a small lift for local relevance.
Creating content is something PR and content marketing teams do extremely well and you will want to put in place a plan for repurposing your content.
Gary Vaynerchuk is a master of repurposing content. Gary and his team often get a dozen or more pieces of content out of a single video. To learn how he does this, read Content on Content on Content.
A practical example of repurposing content is to start with a rich image or infographic from an influencer and publish this on your website and/or social channels. (Of course, get permission to republish, and be sure to place a link back to the source.) Your PR team can use the infographic and a short accompanying blog post to pitch to the media which will create backlinks for the search team and accelerated content placement.
What if you could 10X your business in less than 12 months?
If you follow Andrew O’Brien’s 4 step growth formula and pay attention to SEO and the digital factors that go into online exposure, you can do it!
We’ve only scratched the surface on how SEO can support PR and vice versa. Yet as you can see, the combined efforts of PR creating exposure, and SEO generating traffic to your online properties, will serve to greatly accelerate your ultimate goal, and that is increased online exposure that carries with it positive ROI which can be counted by higher sales volume.
If you have a website that isn’t generating the level of Google traffic that you would like, complete the short form below to get a free website search engine optimization analysis as a special gift.