In his latest blog post, http://sn.im/ypo4s Daryl Willcox, founder of Features Exec, and Response Source makes some excellent points about the convergence of search marketing and PR, with stats to back up his views that PRs are failing to make best use of search marketing opportunities.
Last night Daryl addressed PRs at the CIPR’s Social Summer Series and shared with them the statistics from press releases posted to Features Exec’s press release distribution service. He cites 20 per cent of the press releases are now coming from search marketing agencies rather than pure PR players. Daryl concludes that only 67 per cent of press releases distributed via SourceWire in May 2010 contained embedding links, thus limiting the SEO of the content.
He reasons that this could be because of a disconnect between marketing staff, who are used to using SEO to lift sales by driving traffic to their Websites and PR staff who are in the business of cultivating relationships and managing reputations on behalf of their clients.
In summary, Willcox found that while 89 per cent of the press releases distributed via Sourcewire contained links to client websites, only 67 per cent contained embedded links, which help to provide journalists with additional information and drive traffic to clients’ sites. While the May tally represents a 50 per cent increase in the use of embedded links since 2007, Willcox questions what the other 33 per cent of Sourcewire users are doing.
One of his audience commented that because of the disconnect between the marketing and PR departments of larger companies, the smaller companies will be the first to demonstrate integration and innovation in PR and search marketing, because marketing is often managed by a single person with responsibility for both.
From my own conversations with smaller businesses, it certainly would appear that the smaller the business the better their handle on social media, search and PR (in that order). A recent pitch to a small information security company (with big name clients) revealed that even though they claimed they’d “done no PR,” they were already using a search agency extremely successfully and seeing measurable increases in traffic to their website, as well as forging strong relationships with their core press contacts by providing timely comment on industry issues and breaking news. The key point is that their investment in search marketing preceded their formal search for PR.
They’re a small company, they understand search marketing and they blend this with their PR, without using a large agency. This is precisely the wake up call that Daryl Willcox, Seth Godin and Philip Sheldrake are talking about. What are you seeing? Are smaller companies leading the way in the integration of PR and search?