If there was a loonie up for grabs every time the question “Does PR still matter?” was lobbed our way, we might just be sunbathing this ridiculously snowy winter away.
It is a more than fair question, however, given how rapidly we’ve seen the face of traditional media outlets, newsrooms and the industry as a whole evolve, shrink and attempt to reinvent across the last decade.
It has been a truly remarkable shift from the prolific and prominent success that conventional media – particularly the print kind – knew so well until around… oh, precisely 2008. What changed? The internet. Social media. Citizen journalism. The introduction of bold new platforms like Facebook that drew our attention elsewhere and advertising dollars right along with it.
So, in this frenzied new landscape we now occupy, where every company is a publisher and every consumer a content creator, and where attention spans and audience reach in the places we used to pray for our businesses to be featured have all but disappeared (a loonie for every client who dreamed of being on Oprah in its heyday, and we’d be happily sunburned), is there any value anymore in getting your story told in the ‘press’?
The answer, categorically, is yes, and it can be summed up in two words: TRUST and SEARCH.
First, you can shout about your business all. day. long. And it’s exactly what so many of us have taken to doing across every digital platform we can get our hands on.
The caveat, as we all know, is that those domains are pretty damn crowded these days, and not only has the quality, and therefore cost, of the beautiful, compelling and ‘competitive’ content brands and businesses are posting to their feeds skyrocketed over the last two years, but it’s a pay-to-play space for those truly committed to rising to the top and expanding their reach and ROI.
But having a (mostly) trusted, reputable, unbiased third-party source tell your story for you? Priceless. Because in a world where trust is quickly becoming the internal algorithm of most every consumer on the planet, the words of a professional journalist carry a whole lot of weight. And the ability to share, post, link and re-tweet that professional piece of journalistic storytelling is the cherry on top of your testimonial pile.
Speaking of credibility building, there is also the SEO side.
Or as it is referred to by our passionately nerdy Social School set, offsite link building.
In a nutshell, a big indicator for Google rankings at the moment is the issuing of favourability to a site that someone else is linking to from elsewhere on the internet. And the more reputable, well trafficked and high ranking that particular site is, the more ‘domain authority’ that link (and in turn, your site) will be given.
In other words, getting people to link to your site, pages and blog posts is a very good thing, and it’s even better if the site doing the linking is, say, the New York Times, the Globe & Mail, or even your local TV station or daily newspaper, all of whom generally rank very, very well in search.
The moral here? Do more PR, invest in your media outreach efforts, and aim for quality coverage from reputable places, both in the traditional realm and among influencers, bloggers, podcasters and beyond.
Every mention, or ‘offsite link’ helps, and by many accounts, this is the most valuable form of SEO and site optimizing you can do. And no, as a PR company-turned modern marketing agency at Press + Post and The Social School, the irony does not escape us that as a result of its benefit to a brand’s native search rankings, among other things, media coverage is back at the top of the marketing tactic priority list for both our clients and ourselves.
Google is a popularity contest at its core, after all, and while content is king, PR is pretty damn good for business too.
Sounds like a great time to invest in some PR training, perhaps? 🙂