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Advice for SEO Specialists: Put On Your PR Hats

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From one SEO to another, we’ve all had those clients who expect page-1 rankings without the clout to back it up—those who want to be the best online without investing in becoming the best in the real world.

We put the cart before the horse when we think SEO success can sustainably come before real-life success. In other words, SEO amplifies what’s true in the real world. In today’s search climate, it’s becoming exceedingly difficult for SEO success to befall businesses with a poor reputation, little brand awareness, and low audience engagement.

This is where duty sometimes calls us SEO specialists to take our jobs a step further and put on our proverbial PR hats.

Yes, we are there to advise our clients on SEO strategies—but you and I both know that SEO only works so far as there’s a stellar real-world business behind it. This is why you should help the client become the type of business that is most likely to draw attention in their local community and industry. Establishing the brand with this mindset first will then make marketing the business—and getting it to rank well—much easier!

Here are 5 ways you can encourage your client to get more involved in their marketing and overall public image:

1. Store / Office Upkeep

Consumers often make decisions based on the photos they find online. Whether they’re looking at a photo posted on Google+, Yelp, Facebook, or another site, their decision to call or visit a business might be swayed by what they see. Advise your client to make their business presentable in the real world so that it can easily transfer into a compelling image online.

2. Charitable Giving & Volunteer Work

Encourage your client to get involved in their local community and industry. For example, they can sponsor a charity event, or even donate products and services to a local nonprofit. Not only will they be helping others, but they’ll also be proving they’re an active member of their community, raising brand awareness in the process. From an online marketing perspective, community and industry involvement can also open the door to more backlinks, press coverage, and mentions on the web, which can be very helpful in improving their SEO.

3. Seminars, Webinars, & More

Businesses can position themselves as experts and thought leaders in their fields by holding seminars, hosting webinars, and speaking at industry conferences. They can also show their thought leadership by producing educational content such as blog posts, whitepapers, and videos that provide unique perspectives on hot topics in their industries. By educating others, businesses can boost their credibility within their own industries, both offline and digitally.

4. Relationships with the Local Media

Encourage your client to become someone the local news looks to for an expert opinion. Help them connect with news outlets that are seeking seasoned professionals for commentary on topics related to their industry. Once your client gets on the press’ radar, this can lead to extensive media coverage, serving as excellent promotion for the business.

5. Online Engagement with Potential Customers

The best way to engage an audience is by being genuine, which is why you should encourage your clients to speak to their customers directly! Remind them to respond to comments left by customers and prospective customers on social media and online review sites—whether those comments are good or bad. By responding quickly and professionally, business owners show that they are engaged and care about what their customers have to say.

Your clients can also help boost engagement by providing useful insights about who their customers are and what they want. Ask your clients to brief you on the type of people they serve (Are they blue-collar or white-collar? Baby Boomers or Millennials?), as well as what their most common concerns and questions are. When content speaks to your client’s unique audience and provides them with the answers they’re looking for, they’re much more likely to engage with your client’s brand.

Whether you work as an in-house SEO or you serve numerous clients through an agency, it’s important to think beyond your day-to-day responsibilities. Ask yourself how you can help your clients become the types of businesses that will wow potential customers, industry leaders, and the press. What will make them more marketable? Next, help them bridge that gap, and they’ll be tipping their hats to you!

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