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Masterminding the Building Blocks of Brand Awareness: SEO, Backlinks, and the Brain

With two thirds of communications professionals agreeing that digital Marketing and PR must work hand-in-hand, digital tactics have become essential for today’s PR campaign strategies. B2B organizations shouldn’t forget the power of memory recall during the great digital rush. Powerful communications strategies must always rely on an effective combination of both digital and analogue tactics.

Communications agencies looking to cheat with their PR tactics and claim them as “earned media” is rare, but not all are innocent. A recent revelation shared on social media by a freelance tech journalist revealed that a reputable London PR agency had offered to financially reward him for featuring their clients in his content. Similar stories bring up some harsh questions surrounding the relationship between journalists and PR firms brushing false earned media tactics under the carpet.

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This presents the perfect opportunity to shine a spotlight on how communications professionals can make use of reliable tactics to achieve media coverage by using SEO, backlinks, and the most traditional search engine – the brain – to earn media attention without the need for false earned media tactics.

1. The traditional relationship between PR and SEO in brand awareness

Most B2B Marketing teams will recognize the value of SEO in brand awareness, with recent research showing that organic search accounts for over half of overall web traffic. To encourage more web visits, SEO should be at the forefront of every B2B strategy – and it all starts at the content generation stage.

Be it a blog on a company website full of relevant keywords or making sure that paid visibility is up to scratch, when executed well, the benefits of an effective SEO strategy are plain to see. Any PR strategy should encompass a focus on keywords for every content format, including press releases, articles, blogs, or even social posts. This doesn’t involve jamming content with keywords to the point where it makes no sense. Instead, PR professionals will have better luck with carefully crafted copy that ties a B2B organization to keywords with core industry or market theme links.

If B2B organizations consistently appear on authoritative third-party domains and have organic content rank high due to SEO, it can provide a convincing stage to demonstrate industry leadership. Journalists are busier than ever and no longer have time to evaluate who is the best organization from each industry. According to Cision’s latest ‘Global State of the Media Report’, 43% of journalists cover five or more beats, which is a hefty editorial backlog to clear week-on-week. This is where features on a ‘top x players’ list can help organizations stand out as a top competitor in their respective industry – and has the added benefit of reaching potential clients.

However important digital SEO proves to be, it’s important to think closer to home and utilize the most important search engine – the brain.

2. Don’t underestimate the power of the ‘human search engine’

With continual advancements in the digital world each week, it’s easy to forget what really drives the majority of B2B sales – it’s people. According to research, 68% of online experiences begin with a search engine, but searching begins far before a consumer looks at a screen, it all begins with memory recall. Similar to B2C, all B2B customer experiences begin with a preliminary internal memory search, followed by making use of a search engine for an online check.

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According to the mere-exposure effect, familiarity principle or cognitive resonance theory, the brain favors things that are familiar – even if that familiarity is subconscious. Brands that are more memorable are more likely to be trusted – and this is where mental cues come in. PR professionals can use this method to build brand recognition and reputation online in the same way SEO and backlinks do, even before the need to purchase arises.

With brain engine optimization (BEO) helping to link memory recall to a search on Google – how can PR professionals ensure that traffic is being directed back to the site? This is where backlinks play their essential role.

3.  Complete the SEO lifecycle with click-through backlinks

Backlinks are links directing online traffic from one website to a page on another website. All major search engines consider backlinks as “votes” for a specific page and as indicators of quality content that has the support of other websites. Google considers authoritative backlinks as one of the most important signals for ranking content, which makes it a vital part of any SEO strategy.

The ability to dominate search results is one thing, but ensuring click-through straight to a company’s website is a vital goal for any SEO-driven PR campaign. That’s why all placed copy should include backlinks to relevant pages on company websites. Click-through from backlinks in organic content can be tracked through UTM codes, Marketing platforms such as Hubspot, or through website analytics tools such as Google Analytics.

Quality links begin with quality content. Content that is genuinely interesting, useful, and original can score credible backlinks and help organizations keep a good ranking on sites such as Google. PR professionals can engage directly with journalists to place earned media content in target publications to build brand awareness through thought leadership and ensure that embedded backlinks provide a clear route for company websites to be visited by a highly relevant audience.

These days, any successful SEO strategy requires going the extra mile by building authentic backlinks from distinguished sources.

The effective three-dimensional PR strategy 

In the era of increased digitization, SEO is a vital tool for any PR and Marketing professional. While the majority of media outlets make the online transition, there is ample opportunity for B2B organizations to use SEO and backlinks to improve digital lead generation.

But communication pros must remember the vitality of the ‘brain computer’. With strategic and calculated tactics, B2B Marketing professionals can make the most of BEO to enhance Marketing efforts and create a memorable B2B brand.

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