Blogs and search engines, PR's impact on sales, more

How are blogs used in search engine marketing?

How are blogs used in search engine marketing?

"Blogs play a great role in helping to achieve high rankings in the search results on Google, Yahoo, and other search engines," says Factiva's Alan Scott. "Smart bloggers understand this and use their blogs to promote their organizations to audiences searching on particular words and phrases."

Google and other search engines employ algorithms for their page rankings based on criteria like the number of links a page has, the category-code structure of a site (or blog), and the actual words and phrases used in the copy of the blog.

"When your organization has a particular word or phrase that is an important search term," adds Scott, "creating a category on your blog for that term, together with appropriate keyword-rich copy in your post, will mean that the search engines rank your blog high in the search results."

However, the use of blogs as a way to gain high search-engine rankings is just half the story. "Once people visit your blog through the search engine," he notes, "you will need to deliver compelling content that keeps them engaged."

PR and sales

How can PR impact the sales channel?

"When agencies take the time to truly learn a client's business objectives and understand their sales environment, results that generate sales naturally follow," says Colleen Sheehan of Matter Communications. "Firms that shy away from making a connection between sales and PR are denying a critical and very real link between our work and our clients' revenue."

Brand-building is an important component of a PR program and is often what drives a purchase, but it can be hard to measure, notes Sheehan. "PR components that move sales, push products into the market, and directly impact a client's business provide an essential balance to corporate communications and brand-building programs," she says.

"We work with internal PR clients to establish a dialogue with the sales team, creating a cycle of information sharing that improves internal and external communications," adds Sheehan. With the right tracking tools, this approach can provide clients an excellent way to measure PR - through new leads, length of sales cycle, and sales closed.

"When developing PR plans, consider approaches that influence customer behaviors," she recommends. "It's important to take a very analytical approach to PR. Through the sales team and/or channel partners, try to understand what motivates clients' end-customers and target those motivations in PR programs. Not only does this benefit clients' business, it helps uncover and convey true market realities to the analysts and journalists you work with every day."

News clips

What are the pros and cons of receiving news clips in the mail, as opposed to online?

More and more clipping services are moving to digital delivery of your clips to ensure you receive your coverage faster. "By having your news delivered to a portal, you are able to easily share coverage, access articles 24-7, and create press reports of your coverage," says Gwenn Kowalewski of Bacon's Information.

On the flip side, while mail delivery is slower, you typically receive the actual article exactly as it appeared in print.

"If the article images are important to you, look for a clipping service that provides a scanned image of your article with the digital delivery," adds Kowalewski. "This way you can make sure that you have access to the clip without relying on snail mail."

Send your questions to toolbox@prweek.com. Please contact Lisa LaMotta if you are interested in contributing to PR Toolbox or to suggest ideas for future columns.

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