Using Thought Leadership to Drive SEO [Podcast]

Using Thought Leadership to Drive SEO [Podcast]

In this week’s episode of the PR Talk Podcast, we are featuring Amy’s presentation from the recent Engage Conference. She goes in-depth about how to use thought leadership for search engine optimization (SEO) and content marketing. You can watch the presentation below or read all about it in a recent blog post Move Over Traditional Media: Why Thought Leadership is the New Public Relations.

Watch Amy’s presentation on this topic from the 2021 Engage Conference

 

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You can access more great episodes by subscribing to the PR Talk podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio and Spotify.

This episode of PR Talk is brought to you by PRSA Oregon

Throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington, PRSA provides members with networking, mentorship, skill building and professional development opportunities – whether you are a new professional fresh out of college or a skilled expert with 20 years in the industry. Check out PRSAoregon.org for more information on how membership can help you grow and connect.

How To Write How-To Blog Posts

How To Write How-To Blog Posts

One of my most favorite pieces of advice I received when it comes to creating content for your blog is to reference the things you say and do for your customers frequently. These could be frequently asked questions, things you find yourself explaining over and over again, and instructions you have given so many times you have created a template.

Below is some of the advice we share with clients when it comes to how to write how-to blog posts.

 

Blog Post/Content Guidance

It’s often said that longer blog posts and web pages are better for SEO. This is pretty much true. Think about the first few results when you are looking for a recipe. Do you really need the full history and step-by-step instruction with images of Baked Ziti or would the ingredients and basic recipe suffice? But it really comes down to how many words it takes to properly explain the topic. As a general guide, we typically shoot for around 800 – 1,000 words. However, this can be changed based on the blog post type. And today we are talking about How-To Posts.

 

How-To Posts

Good How-To posts can be quite intensive as they are paired with video or many photos (also great for SEO!, especially original videos and images). Moreover, it’s easier for the reader to understand complicated projects when given simple, clearly written, steps. This is why we suggest at least 500 words for these types of posts. 

You can get more words on the page by adding in many subheads to explain the steps, which can also be beneficial for people reading on a phone, tablet or laptop. This also makes it easier for the reader to follow along. 

 

Key Elements for How-To Posts

Headline

Follow a formulaic approach that makes it simple to catalog so consumers can find them easily when they are looking for this type of post.

For example, start all posts like this:

How-To: [insert project name] 

Or

A Step-By-Step Guide to [insert project name]

 

1st subhead or photo caption to run under the first photo

Further, explain the project or mention the “hook,” i.e. summer is coming so get ready for backyard fun with our steel BBQ project. Whether or not this appears as the first subhead, an introduction, or it runs under the photo to look like a photo caption depends on your website/blog design. But it can be fun to view your words as art and see how they’ll line up on the completed webpage.

 

Materials needed

List materials needed in a bullet-pointed or easy-to-read fashion. Possibly link to products or provide instructions for where to buy (especially if they can buy from you) as long as it doesn’t take up too much room before getting to the steps.

 

Tools needed

List tools needed in a bullet point or easy-to-read fashion. 

 

Time required

Give the reader an idea of how much time this project should take.

 

Cost

Provide the expected cost for the materials required.

 

Subsequent subheads

You can list every step numerically, with each step being its own subhead. Don’t leave out any steps and assume they know how to do it. After listing the steps as subheads, go back in and provide at least two sentences explaining the step in more detail, much like how you would say it in a video (in fact, this can prep you for video recordings).

 

Close/Call-to-Action (CTA)

Do not forget this part, a lot of people do! Here is a great place to bring back in the hook mentioned above to tie it all together. You should also add your CTAs here as it’s typically best to have them in the close of any blog post. For example, if there is a special kit or product they could buy from you to enhance this project, include how to get it here (with links). And/or include any class information and how to sign up (link) if it relates to the project.

If you have two CTAs, break them apart into two paragraphs. Also, when bringing the “hook” back in, if you have enough to say, it could even be its own paragraph. Then you have 3 paragraphs “bottoming out” the subheads/steps above! It looks nice and complete! YAY good job. You are done! 🙂 Possibly this little note of encouragement here is an inspiration to provide kudos to your audience for finishing the project you just walked them through.

In closing, always remember your close :), below are some additional resources from the Veracity blog that can help you through various types of blogging processes, whether it is writing and formatting, or how to reach more people with your posts. 

Catching them Hook, Line & Sinker with Blog Posts

8 Elements Of A Good Blog Post [podcast w/ blog]

Creating Blog Post Ideas [podcast w/ blog]

Skeptical About Thought Leadership?

Skeptical About Thought Leadership?

Here’s Why Your Perspective Matters.

If you’ve been on LinkedIn lately, you’ve probably seen the posts. Brash statements about business success. Pictures of flashy clothes and cars. Humblebrags about the fantastic team that “made it all possible.” Promises of extraordinary results if you just follow their plan/hire their company/buy their book/click this link. These posts have become the background noise we all wade through as we roll our eyes and continue scrolling. In too many cases, what passes as thought leadership is nothing more than a thinly veiled sales pitch or a cheap Ted Talk knock-off.

It’s no wonder, then, why many executives avoid adding their voices to the online conversation, choosing instead to focus on their relationships and day-to-day work. After all, when thought leadership goes bad, it can go very bad, and no serious business leader wants to come off as a cliche. However, leaders who are reluctant to enter the thought leadership space often don’t give themselves enough credit for what they have to offer. Others don’t realize the benefits this marketing approach can bring their organization. In reality, you don’t have to be Simon Sinek to make a difference in your industry. With a good strategy in place, any leader can become a thought leader.

 

Why Business Leaders Should Also Be Thought Leaders

Business executives are already leaders by nature. They manage teams, direct initiatives, oversee operating budgets and use their experience to make tough decisions. Within these everyday duties lay the kernels of big ideas that can educate, inspire and even promote. Thought leadership demonstrates these ideas through writing, videos, podcasts, speaking engagements and more. As a business leader, you have the opportunity to lead from the front by highlighting what makes your organization special. But that’s not the only reason to take the plunge.

Skeptical about Thought Leadership Infographic

The Human Element

It’s easy for organizations to appear impersonal, while its human face remains hidden within cubicles and conference rooms buried inside nondescript buildings. Thought leadership campaigns add an essential human element to your corporate identity. Through carefully crafted content, executives add personality and context to their company’s work. This strategy also humanizes the people making decisions behind-the-scenes. Most importantly, the best thought leadership connects business activities with our shared human goals. If you can show people how to connect and cooperate more effectively, how to improve in their work or how to thrive in their lives, you’ll transcend the typical buy/sell relationship into something much more meaningful.

 

You Have Ideas to Share

We’re not talking about E=MC2 here. Those ideas come along once in a generation. However, you’ve undoubtedly learned a thing or two over the years. Whether it comes from smashing success or crushing defeat, your experience can help other people move more successfully through their own lives. What’s more, your organization is full of professionals and experts who’ve built their careers on doing their thing. Knowledge and ideas exist within your orbit. The challenge comes in unearthing and sharing that innate expertise in ways people find relevant and exciting.

 

You Aren’t Doing This for Yourself

Undertaking thought leadership as an ego play is a losing proposition. Social media has helped us all become adept at spotting and dismissing inauthentic personal branding efforts. If, instead, your thought leadership campaigns remain focused on meeting your audience’s needs as a way of raising your company’s public profile, your work will have a tangible business goal and measurable outcomes. Any attention from these efforts will benefit your company and your team, which is the way it ought to be.

 

Your Organization Will Benefit From the Spotlight

Sustained thought leadership campaigns can also become significant sales engines for your organization. Research conducted by LinkedIn and Edelman showed that thought leadership drives new business, increases existing business and shortens the sales cycle. Thought leadership also supports other sales and marketing goals like increasing engagement, driving website traffic and building brand loyalty. As a leading company spokesperson, your efforts will bolster your organization’s reputation and boost its bottom line.

 

You’ll Recruit and Retain Better Employees

Thought leadership helps build organizational pride. When your leaders create exciting content that garners positive attention, it gives employees one more reason to love where they work. Plus, the new business your thought leadership campaigns generate could lead to more rewarding and profitable work for your staff. When it comes time to expand, your thought leadership work will have formed a positive backing of press coverage, making your organization more attractive to top-level talent.

 

You Don’t Have to Do It Alone

Perhaps most importantly, thought leadership won’t be something you have to tackle on your own. Instead, influential thought leaders work with a team that helps them develop ideas, create content, strategize placement and analyze the results. Taking this big step alone would be challenging for almost anyone. But with the right people in your corner, thought leadership can become one of the most effective marketing tools in your arsenal.

 

Great Leaders Are Already Thought Leaders

Thought leadership doesn’t have to be cliche. When done well, it communicates ideas, promotes an organization, builds identity and connects us with shared goals. In reality, these are activities great leaders already participate in every day. Thought leadership simply extends those activities outside your corporate walls in ways that return benefits to the organization. With a little planning and care, your thought leadership will rise above the noise to become something truly useful.

A Modern PR Interview with Amy Rosenberg [Podcast]

A Modern PR Interview with Amy Rosenberg [Podcast]

A Modern PR Interview

 

Author Amy Rosenberg provides insight into her new book.

In this episode of the PR Talk Podcast, I get to be the host and interview Amy about her new book  A Modern Guide to Public Relations. Listen now to hear about:

 

Maximize everything

There are opportunities to “do all the things.” This means going above and beyond what is directly in front of you and to think about the details (e.g. how you label and title your photos to help the press or help with your SEO). Another example is if you are going to write social copy, don’t just write the same thing for every platform you are on, customize them for maximum effect on each channel. And when you get a PR hit, don’t just give yourself a high-five, think about what to do after you get press.

 

Perfection is the enemy

Perfectionism can seem like a great attribute from the outside, but it really isn’t good as we need to have balance. Being able to stop before perfect and knowing when good enough is, well good enough as nothing is ever perfect. Perfectionism is a wonderful crutch for procrastination.

 

The “PR Mindset”

Amy talks about the PR Mindset and how it can set you up in any career. The PR Mindset comes from being an optimist and a maximizer. Key PR ways of doing things including being organized, having tenacity, taking your work with you wherever you go (Amy mentions work/life flow or meld which we may talk about in a future episode) and that you follow the news (meaning you know what is going on in the world) and then you can truly operate from gut instinct.

 

Living the PR Lifestyle

The PR Lifestyle includes ethics, teamwork, cooperation with competitors and maintaining connections. It is also taking our work with us, in a good way, meaning we can solve issues or have great brainstorms in the shower and on the road. It is really understanding your business and industry so you can get to the point of knowing what to do on gut instinct. It is writing and reading. PR has a lot of writing and you can’t write if you don’t read. This means reading every day, and scrolling through Instagram and Twitter don’t count. You have to pick up a book (or other reading device).

Additionally, I share a couple of my favorite quotes from the book, including:

Your phone ringing off the hook with calls from PR people — college-educated telemarketers in disguise — a couple hundred times a day

Amy is expressing empathy for the members of the media that are on the receiving end of the (hopefully) well-intended pitch from a (potentially) overly-aggressive PR. A bit tongue-in-cheek of course.

If doing all the work without any of the glory leaves you feeling like a slighted Cinderella step-sister, welcome to PR.

It’s not all bells and balls, as Amy shared in another recent post that “Public Relations Isn’t Just for Red Carpets.”

 

Don’t Miss an Episode

You can access more great episodes by subscribing to the PR Talk podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio and Spotify.

This episode of PR Talk is brought to you by PRSA Oregon

Throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington, PRSA provides members with networking, mentorship, skill building and professional development opportunities – whether you are a new professional fresh out of college or a skilled expert with 20 years in the industry. Check out PRSAoregon.org for more information on how membership can help you grow and connect.

Public Relations Isn’t Just for Red Carpets

Public Relations Isn’t Just for Red Carpets

Public Relations Isn’t Just for Red Carpets

To many, the idea of public relations, or PR, implies celebrities, fancy red carpets, glossy magazine spreads and hotel room press junkets. Or it’s the cynical hired gun who swings into action to manipulate public opinion after someone important was caught cheating on their wife, cheating on their taxes or cheating their constituents. Within this framework, PR is all about spinning lies into truth and vice versa. While those negative perceptions certainly have some basis in reality, most PR professionals are ethical, rational and strategic thinkers who are assets to their clients. It’s almost as if…wait for it…public relations could use a little PR of its own.

 

What is PR?

Even business leaders who know that PR is about more than bragging or covering up problems may view PR as a luxury they can’t afford — particularly if they already have a marketing strategy in place. But in truth, a solid PR strategy is a crucial component of any businesses’ broader sales and marketing efforts.

PR is a separate discipline that reaches out to audiences in different ways than marketing. It’s also flexible enough to shift messaging and audiences depending on the targeted industry. If you’re only activating a marketing strategy, you’re likely missing out on critical opportunities PR could uncover. And when you maximize PR with other disciplines, PR can become the driving force in your growth efforts through collaboration, asset sharing, and coordination.

 

PR in Practice

Most PR activities are far removed from the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. In fact, PR is pretty dull. When a program’s primary goal is to obtain media coverage, PR professionals tell the news, just like reporters do. To develop those stories, we build systems that collect facts and uncover themes. These systems are always running in the background, ready to provide helpful information when it’s needed most. But PR also works for companies in other essential ways.

 

It’s Proactive

When it’s done well, PR builds a trail of goodwill and puts a human face on your company. That way, in the event the press or public ever checks you out, or, god forbid, something does go wrong, there are assets available that can work for your organization. A functioning PR program creates systems to leverage opportunities or deal with emergencies. Without them, you could be caught flat-footed.

 

It Builds Your Public Brand

Your organization is probably already doing dozens of amazing things every day that the press and public would be interested to hear about. However, it’s hard for organizations to understand how great they are when they’re in the middle of doing the work. PR provides an outsider’s point of view and a fresh set of eyes with practice identifying story ideas. With these assets in place, you can begin telling your story to your audiences and build a brand that’s distinct from what you’re selling. As we like to say at Veracity: if you’re doing something unique, and nobody knows, then did it ever really happen?

 

It Adds Credibility

Nothing makes a company feel substantial like an established history of media coverage. Passing that newsworthiness test adds a level of credibility that self-promotion just can’t match. Savvy companies harness PR-generated news coverage to connect with distinct audiences in varying ways. For instance, sales representatives can use a piece of PR content as an effective follow-up tool. Founders who may be eyeing a future sale will find their businesses more attractive with a couple of years of media backing in place. Media coverage also sends a powerful message to current employees and potential recruits that what you’re doing is getting noticed.

 

It Improves Employee Retention and Recruitment

Not only will PR help build your brand and credibility with your neighbors, customers and other external audiences, but it can also improve your reputation with the most valuable stakeholders of all: your employees. Positive media coverage provides external validation, builds company pride, and makes your employees feel like their work matters. This same coverage will also have a positive effect on potential new employees. Finding good talent is difficult in the northwest, and positive press coverage can help you break through to new audiences.

PR in Practice

More Thought than Flash

Underlying all these benefits is a coherent strategy that matches effort and assets with the opportunities that will reach the right audience. Real-world PR professionals aren’t interested in coverage that vanishes with the pop of a camera flashbulb. Instead, we want to build a lasting story around your company, employees, products, services and customers. Taken together, these stories form the backing of public perception and sentiment that will last for years. When you look at it in that way, PR is much more of a necessity than a luxury.

A Public Relations Dictionary

A Public Relations Dictionary

Jargon, Slang, Vernacular, Lingo, Definitions…whatever you want to call it

In any industry there are special words, expressions and phrases that are used within it. Many of these words have particular meanings that may be difficult for outsiders to understand. While writing “A Modern Guide to Public Relations” I created a dictionary. However, it ended up being too cumbersome to use in the book but we still thought it would be fun to share it with you! 

Orphans: Singular words on a paragraph line. Similarly “widows” are a singular word at the top of a page. You want to avoid both. They are solo words from a first line that travel over onto a new line to sit all by their lonesome.

An Orphan example: Wait for it. It is coming. I know you are impatient but you must bear with me.

Beat: The particular area of interest a reporter covers for an outlet. Examples could be as broad as health, businesses and lifestyle; or lean toward such minutiae as the cannabis industry, dog-friendly activities and aerospace mechanics.

B-Roll: Secondary (hence B) video footage that can be sent and used by media to accompany a story. 

Community Rags: Another name for local or community newspapers.

Copy: Words.

Drop-dead: This is your last-minute deadline, like really really this is the deadline, no, it really is, like your chances really will end, I am not kidding around, seriously dudes. 

Earned Media: Media coverage that is not bought. PR coverage is often called earned media because you cannot buy it, you have to “earn” it through hard work or reputation, therefore it has more credibility.

Morning meeting: The most important thing to know about TV. Explained in the book. 

Op-Ed: Short for “opposite the editorial page,” as these opinion pieces are usually printed on the opposite page of the editorial section where newspaper editors rant about issues. 

Owned Media: Media that you produce yourself, so you own it. Blog posts, videos, podcasts, magazines and even entire online media rooms are examples of owned media.

Paid Media: Advertising or any other form of media that is purchased. TV spots, billboards, paid contributed articles, advertorials, Google ads, social media ads are all types of paid media.

Persona: Your target, whether it is press or your ultimate audience like a consumer or business decision-maker. It’s the person you mockup in your head via brainstorming or research that you ultimately need to sway. The term is mainly used in content marketing social media circles. 

Police Scanner: A tool the media uses to listen in on conversations among local police so they can also be aware of emergencies. However, now they typically rely on Twitter for this.

PSA: Public Service Announcement. 

Put the issue to bed: You’re done. The issue has gone off to the printer. No, they can’t get your pitch in now no matter how much you toss your hair and bat your eyes.

Rolodex of Levi Eshkol shown phone of LB Johnson

Rolodex

Rolodex: An ancient form of contact management, depicted as a manual card catalog of contacts.

Sound-bite: Quick, important bit of words that your press representative says, typically used for radio and television. 

Spot: This is an old-school advertising term that means commercial. Many accidentally use the word in reference to earned media TV segments garnered without paying the outlet — unknowingly belittling the accomplishment. Anyone can get a “spot” with a little money. 

Talking heads: People who are just talking in an interview on TV or at an event. Listening to someone drone on and on is typically boring for press — and many of us — hence the negative connotation of “talking heads.”

Voice Over: When a media member provides comment to accompany on-air photo or video footage.

The Wire: The Wire is like a PR distribution service, but for journalists. Stories that run on wires like the Associated Press (AP) or Reuters are syndicated — meaning a media outlet can republish one of the syndicated stories rather than assigning a reporter to cover it.

Since today we finally submitted the “A Modern Guide to Public Relations” to Amazon — we thought that taking this huge step and leap of faith today, January 20th, the date that everyone has been waiting for, would be very meaningful to us — I am tired.

However, odd sayings and definitions abound in PR and by now I am mentally unable to rewrite what is already in the book. Therefore, if you have further questions about additional gems like: ghostwriting, bylined articles, SEO PR, and everything else under the traditional and digital PR umbrella, the book should be available on Amazon in a few days. Yay.