Marketing your business and your brand is vital in the current highly complex and competitive digital world. But by taking the time to find the unique selling points of your company or product and creating an exciting, engaging brand which encourages customers to keep coming back for more, you will demonstrate to Google that you have a sustainable and loyal customer base that can give your SEO a boost. Read on to find out more:

So what is branding?

Millions of pounds are spent each year on developing and advertising the world’s biggest brands and ensuring that they stand out from their competitors. It’s easy to assume that a brand is simply a logo, a set of colours or a particular design. But good quality branding is far more than a visual indicator – it is all about gradually building awareness of a particular product through repetitive advertising, positive reinforcement and referrals. Once this product becomes accepted and well known, word of mouth will spread until that particular brand equals a guarantee of quality and a positive experience. At this stage, a brand becomes almost a gut feeling or emotional connection, where customers trust that particular brand and a loyal customer base can be established.

How branding goes hand in hand with SEO

The lines between different types of digital marketing, SEO and branding are becoming more and more blurred. A successful long-term digital marketing strategy should focus not only on the short-term gains of increased rankings and traffic, but also on the general development of the brand itself which will create more interest, more links and more time spent on the website.

The key to successfully building your brand and boosting your SEO at the same time is to make sure that your website has plenty of fresh and current content, lots of opportunities to engage new customers and keep them interested and special offers or news which encourage customers to share your brand via social networking sites. As word starts to get out and awareness of your brand increases, you will also see an increase in rankings and traffic.

SEO in 2013 is more than just link building – Google wants to see that your website engages its audience and has a following. Successful brand building for SEO is all about understanding how to communicate the unique selling points to your audience in an engaging and exciting way. Investing time in developing your brand will boost your ranking, build a strong and loyal customer base and not only increase traffic but also increase the amount of time new customers spend getting to know you, which is a far more sustainable goal for your brand’s future.

Find out more about our Search engine optimisation and Link building services.

We all know how important link building is for SEO, but in 2013 it is high quality links which will really boost your ranking. SEO in the modern age is about brand building, so it’s essential to make your site stand out from the crowd and use every available resource to get people talking about you. To do that successfully you need to do more than link building – PR can give your brand a big boost driving traffic and your ranking. We’re going to have a look at some of the tricks of the trade for using PR for SEOSo why does it have such an impact and how can you get it to work for you?

PR and SEO go hand in hand

Most people who run a business website are familiar with the concept of SEO; that is, the process of increasing your online visibility. They’re aware of the fundamentals like identifying the keywords that customers are using to find the kinds of products and services you offer, and then making sure that you have plenty of engaging content containing those keywords in order to gain good rankings with the search engines. However, earning real credibility requires something more than just great quality content on your own site; you need an extra ingredient in the form of links from external sites – because if other sites  think your content is interesting enough to link to, Google will take their word for it and increase your ranking as a result.

But you can’t just sit back and hope that people will find you and like you enough to link to your site; you need to actively pursue those opportunities and persuade other sites to talk about you. Newspapers and similar sites are some of the most influential and credible sources around, and if you can succeed in getting them talking about you, you could significantly boost traffic to your site and, in turn, your conversion rate. But it’s not all about generating links; the savvy use of PR for SEO will also win you citations which are invaluable for building your brand, something which the search engines find very desirable.

The building blocks of PR for SEO

Selecting the journalists
Whilst it may be obvious that there’s little point approaching a sports journalist about, for example, your new car product, it does pay to put some thought into deciding who you should target with your press release. You might want to ask yourself:

•Who is likely to find what you have to say newsworthy?

•Whose recent work demonstrates an interest in your field?

•Who has access to and influence with your target market?

You also need to position yourself appropriately with the media. For instance, you may dream of getting yourself featured in the quality press (there’s nothing wrong with a little ambition!) but you’re unlikely to appeal to the news editor of a broadsheet if you’re launching a small, local business. However, to use the example of a car product again, you may have a shot at grabbing the attention of the paper’s motoring columnist; and if you succeed there, then other publications are likely to cover your story too, because the media is, in effect, a pyramid with the best and most influential publications at the top, from which the rest take their lead. On the other hand you may not want or need national coverage, so trade publications and local papers, TV or radio might be a more suitable target.

Choose your angle wisely as it will make all the difference as to whether your chosen journalists take your bait. Again, it comes back to being as newsworthy as possible, so can you claim to be the first or the best at something, in your local area or beyond? Something new, novel or different is the most likely to grab journalists’ attention, just as they know it will grab their readers.

Approaching the journalists – tactics

So now you’ve settled on WHO to approach, it’s a question of HOW to approach them.

First of all make sure that you’ve written an engaging press release based on the unique angle or selling point you’ve already identified; it’s more tempting for the journalist to simply rewrite this than it is to produce their own piece from scratch. If you have a lot of information you want to impart, produce a press pack too. Anything that will make a busy journalist’s job easier makes them more likely to write about you.

Everybody has their vanity, and journalists are certainly no exception. Appeal to it by familiarising yourself with recent articles they’ve written, or by checking their professional profiles and biographies. This may take a little time but it can really pay dividends if it helps you to get a well-respected journalist interested enough to write about what you’re doing.

Getting the timing right for your announcement

Timing is everything. Make sure that you are totally prepared and that both your website and your back office are fully geared up for the increased attention you hope to achieve, to ensure that you will appear credible, trustworthy and professional. Delaying your launch may seem like a waste of time and opportunities, but it can help you generate an air of exclusivity and excitement if you’re in a position to offer journalists a sneak preview ahead of putting your product or service on general release. Be sure also to check out what else is going on around the time of your announcement; if you want the headlines to yourself, don’t choose to start your campaign on Election Day. It’s an extreme example but it serves to illustrate the point; have the good sense not to go up against any event within your industry or beyond that is going to divert both public and press attention.

A winning combination

In order to succeed in online marketing, it’s vital to create and promote a strong brand, and we’ve seen why PR is one of the most effective vehicles to help you do just that. Now put PR and SEO together and watch your online presence soar.