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The Combined Power of Public Relations and Search Engine Optimization

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Most people don’t associate public relations (PR) with search engine optimization (SEO), but if you play your cards right, PR can lead to great SEO. In fact, sometimes we undertake PR activities with the specific goal of increasing SEO for ourselves or our clients.

Help a Reporter Out (HARO)

Every day, HARO sends out several emails with queries from traditional media reporters and producers, but also blogs and and other online platforms looking for experts in certain fields and topics, and opinions about popular news items. The list sometimes contains over 50 different queries, ranging in content from health to finance to entrepreneurship to technology. Some of them are very specific and some are more general. The process goes like this:

  • We scan this list looking for opportunities for ourselves and our clients.
  • When we find one that fits, we immediately begin the process of writing the answers.
  • Complete an internal review
  • Request final approval from the client.
  • Once that is complete, we send our response to the query, and then wait for publication.
  • If the reporter decides to use our information in his article, we send a link to the client’s website, name, and sometimes even a bio and website.
  • Post the final article to all social media, including Google+

And there it is – the link back to the client’s site is SEO gold, especially if the site that it’s coming from is a reputable company in a related industry.

A perfect example is the story we contributed to for CEO Nation. The article is a really good social media tips from fifteen different entrepreneurs, including our very own Ginger Reichl! If you check out the story here, you’ll see that this particular article included Ginger’s head shot, name, and a link to our site. The article turned out great, and we learned some new social media techniques as well.

Online Press Release Distribution

Press releases are written for many reasons, including announcements, company news, events, and interesting stories that apply to trending topics. Knowing where and when to distribute a press release is as important and strategic as the writing of the press release itself. For traditional media relations, we rarely use releases anymore – with the exception of major news and investor relations, they typically just get ignored.

However, for SEO purposes, we’ll draft a release for ‘clean up’ work once our usual media relations efforts have been exhausted. There are several free places to distribute press releases online. We make sure that the press release contains the keywords that we want to rank for in search results, and always have the company’s website in the boiler plate at the end of the release. This is considered a backlink, which is, again, SEO gold. Plus, in some cases, we’ve had those releases picked up by a reporter or news outlet and posted on their site, which adds even more to the SEO credibility of the company.

Other content marketing strategies like guest articles and podcasts also have SEO benefits in addition to their traditionally PR role and we will continue to see the lines blur as search continues to drive interest … and traffic.

Connect with us if you need help writing your next press release or finding creative ways to use PR to promote your company.

Wonder Woman’s Compassionate Leadership

There’s a scene in the Wonder Woman movie that sends a chill up my spine every time I see it. It’s when she leaves the safety of the trench, climbs the ladder and stands alone in No Man’s Land. She’s ready to take on the army in front of her and save a village.

Wonder Woman possesses a clear focus and determination to do more for others and it’s her compassion that gives her superpowers meaning. Every time I think of it, this scene inspires me to help others in need and be a more compassionate leader.

Compassion Makes Connections

I always believe we can do so much more when we work together. We share our experiences, our ideas, and sometimes our resources to overcome roadblocks. This strengthens communication and builds a stronger personal and professional network. When we lead with compassion, we make meaningful connections with others.

Everyone on the Pinstripe team believes this to be true. Nikki is a great example of a compassionate leader, who continues to work with Leadership St. Pete, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Society for Marketing Professional Services Tampa Bay, and other non-profits. She’s donates her time and experience to build a stronger community, while developing professional relationships that will carry her throughout her career.

Authenticity –  The Desire to Help

Compassion is more than empathy, because it requires action. It’s an authentic desire to help. It’s why I believe in giving back to our community and supporting Ad 2 Tampa Bay and recognize their most outstanding member each year.

I also feel this way with all of our clients. I want to know more about them and what they do, so I can help them achieve their goals.

Compassion is also a necessary element when creating marketing messages. We want to reach audiences in meaningful ways, never demeaning or negative. I believe that we do have the ability to be inclusive when creating messages that don’t sound generic or inauthentic. This will build positive relationships that last.

It’s not surprising to me that consumers are spending more on socially responsible products and services than ever before. They are rewarding brands through loyalty and word-of-mouth recommendations. Social media has contributed to this upswing and extended the reach of local and regional brands, bringing them into the national spotlight.

Compassion Is Strength

In every superhero movie, the bad guys lack empathy and lead through fear. In the end they always fail (except in Infinity War, but I’m sure that will work itself out). Fear doesn’t inspire. It exploits power over people. Today’s consumer doesn’t want to feel that they are being manipulated through deceptive and intrusive marketing practices.

Just like Wonder Woman, compassion can help us overcome our fears and self-doubt. It makes us feel better about ourselves while growing our network of friends and colleagues. Being a compassionate leader requires the confidence and ability to act. These are signs of strength, not weakness.

 

This article is part of a series on how Wonder Woman inspires our marketing philosophy. Throughout the year, we will be featuring more on this topic, so let us know how you feel about it.

Creating a Positive Client Experience

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Recently, we read an article on the Fast Company blog about an Uber driver who had a 4.99 star rating, despite a whopping 5000 rides given. We were pretty impressed. Usually even a really good driver gets bumped down in rating by a couple drunks who are causing trouble or not getting what they wanted (we’ve heard lots of Uber stories!), or maybe the driver had the wrong radio station playing when someone enters the car and the passenger just didn’t like it. There are lots of ways to lower that perfect score, so seeing a score this high was unique. Reading the article really got us thinking – how can we use this Uber driver’s approach to client service in our work? How can we all apply this driver’s model behavior in our lives and work?

“We Cannot All Do Great Things. But We Can Do Small Things With Great Love.”

This Mother Theresa quote can apply to many situations, and we thought it particularly fit this one. In this case, the driver left his country and career as a corporate businessman with an MBA to move to Toronto. As is often the case with immigrants who are highly educated professionals, he had a tough time accessing the same positions that he had filled in his native country, so Uber was a second choice. However, that did not mean that he lowered his standards of performance. He treated his job as an Uber driver the way he would treat a job as a high-level corporate exec. He kept his car exceptionally clean and fragrance-free, he treated his customers with utmost respect and attention, and he paid attention to every last detail to improve his customers’ experience.

Customers’ Happiness First

This driver put his customers above all else. He made personal sacrifices for the sake of their comfort, probably in ways that they didn’t even realize. For example, he would eat raw salads in order to keep his car scent-free. Ever ridden in an Uber in which the driver had just eaten a McDonald’s cheeseburger or even just smoked a cigarette? It can be downright offensive. When you get in a scent free car, you may not notice anything at all, but you’ll definitely notice when a car smells bad.

Other ways he showed respect and professionalism – using the customer’s name, asking what music they want to listen to rather than having the radio blaring when they entered the car, cleaning the car after each and every ride. All small things that can make a big difference.

Often, keeping a customer happy is much easier than you think. If you can always think in a way that the answer is yes, you can be agile enough to get your customer what they need, when they need it. For instance, they may have an extremely tight deadline on a particular project. Rally your team to work together, come up with a plan, be flexible and creative. Communicate well with your team and with the client. You may have to work late hours a couple nights to achieve this deadline, but you can make it up to yourself later if that’s what it takes. Be passionate about making your customer happy, and you will have a 5 star rating too.

Let’s Talk About Websites and the User Experience

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Over the past decade, we’ve experienced first-hand how building a website has become more complicated. This has been a journey for all designers and developers because it seems like something new happens every year to change the course of development. Yet, wireframes are still used to show the general layout of a site and user flow still describes where traffic tends to go. It’s good to know that some things are still the same, even though mobile apps and smartphone navigation have changed the way we create a positive user experience.

Do Some Homework

We have to do some homework before we can get started on those wireframes, because we need to see how potential clients will interact with your site. What is their goal when they get there? Are they searching for information or do they need help right away? Answering these questions can help us enhance their experience.

The site needs to be accessible and easy to use. Is it disability-friendly? How long will it take to load on-screen? It needs to connect immediately with the user and their motivations for being there. They should be able to quickly locate and navigate to areas of the site that are relevant to their needs.

From PC to Mobile

Five years ago, personal computers still dominated the market, but are losing traction quickly. Today, smartphones are now considered the gateway to the internet. Consumers access media and shop online more than ever. A company’s website has to be mobile responsive, or else it will lose potential business. Plus, Google lowers search results if the website is not optimized for mobile.

Visual Design

The best way to engage potential clients is through visual design. It communicates faster than words and solidifies the company’s brand through logos, icons, colors and texture. If this is their first impression of the company, it needs to consistently represent the brand while providing information.

Visual design should improve navigation, not hinder it. When a site is overtaken by too many visuals it gets bulky, especially on a smartphone. As a result users struggle to ignore the constant stream of images. Best thing to do is to strike a balance between recurring brand images and visuals for ease of navigation.

Be Intuitive – Be Engaging

A website needs to do more than just capture attention. It has to sell the brand. The best way to do this is through intuitive design, engaging visuals, and content that motivates. Website content needs to talk about solving problems. In some way, the site has to make visitors’ lives better, which means clearly identifying common challenges and how they get solved. Having a list of features and benefits doesn’t sell unless the “Why?” is there. Same goes for awards. These need to be explained in a way that makes people want to learn more or call.

To design a site from the user’s perspective takes time and some research, but it will increase engagement and funnel in more business. Connect with us if you have an upcoming web project and we’ll see how we can help!

Truth in Advertising: Wonder Woman’s Lasso of Truth

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Few things can heighten the suspense of a cop drama like a good ol’ fashioned lie detector scene. The machine has its tentacles on the perpetrator. A large needle jumps for every spike in their heart rate, confirming what was suspected all along.

William Marston, the co-inventor of the lie detector, went by the pen name Charles Moulton, and was the author of Wonder Woman. A bio-drama about Marston’s life, Professor Marston and the Wonder Women, was released in 2017 and shows us how he invented the polygraph and why our favorite super hero uses a lasso of truth.

To Uphold the Law

She didn’t need a gun or a laser beam stare. An unassuming lasso was her weapon and one of the things we remember most about Wonder Woman. With her lariat, she could subdue anyone and force them to tell the truth. She even used it on the good guys, as we saw in the recent Gal Gadot film, because she needed the truth to understand more about what was going on in the world.

Seeking the truth is important for a crime fighter, like Wonder Woman, and it’s also important for marketing. We never want to mislead anyone, because that could have a negative effect on clients and customers. Plus, as an advertising agency, Pinstripe is held to the same laws and standards that dictate how companies are able to advertise their products and services.

Under the Florida Deceptive Trade Practices Laws, it’s illegal to make false claims. Things like bait-and-switch and spreading disinformation are also outlined in this law. Any company caught doing this can face extensive fines for each infraction. It’s best to tell the truth and follow the guidelines within your professional community. This is particularly true for the legal, financial and health care industries.

Just the Facts

Media outlets rely on truth and accuracy in their reporting. As you are probably well aware, they have been tested recently, so they’re getting better at snuffing out potential blowback from their audiences.

Because press releases are branding and credibility tools, it’s important for them to have verifiable facts. Any mistakes made could have the opposite effect. Reporters have an uncanny ability to find a different story than what had been intended, especially when the facts are misrepresented.

Nothing But the Truth

With blogs and social media, the delivery of content has been democratized. The messages we deliver to our audiences are a reflection of our brands and illustrate our knowledge, experience, and thought leadership. So obviously, it is critical that our missives are not only truthful, but unique. There are terabytes of content littered throughout the web, making it increasingly simple to cut and paste bits and pieces to make the job of blogging easier. However, plagiarism makes for a terrible brand image. Original work is truthful work. Think of these messages as having a lasso of truth, making your truth easier for others to see.

This article is part of a series on how Wonder Woman’s inspires our marketing philosophy. Throughout the year, we will be featuring more on this topic, so let us know how you feel about it in our comments section below.

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