Public relations tactics that work

This evergreen post was first published on our blog in 2009. We’ve updated it and republished it.

Everybody loves to win!

When we were children, we may have avidly collected cereal box tops or points in order to enter a contest. We also may have colored a picture to send to the local weather broadcast hoping to be selected the “Weather Picture of the Week.” These days with ubiquitous cell phone cameras, many of us submit photos to our local news outlets for their weekly or daily Picture of the Day/Week. We buy lottery tickets and enter contests believing that our luck is great and we will win. We enjoy competing and being singled out as special. 

Each one of us believes that we have a specialness about some aspect of our lives. An entire generation of children have been raised believing that they are special. Psychologists call this Pseudo-exceptionalism. Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D., MPP writes in his post on Psychology Today, “Pseudo-exceptionalism — the unearned conviction that we are exceptional, superior to others because we were born…us.” 

When it comes to public relations for your company, you can use these traits of human nature to your advantage.

People love contests. We are competitive by nature and want to demonstrate our prowess. Look at the success of America’s Got Talent, American Idol and other competitive reality television shows. We get a vicarious thrill rooting for those we favor. Businesses love contests because through contests they are able to increase brand awareness, build their email marketing lists, gain new social media followers, and move the needle of those visiting the brand’s website. Contests can be synchronized to fit holiday schedules and seasonal business goals. They can help you boost sales. 

Contests are one of the oldest ways to bring attention to a company. They work well when piggybacked on current news or cultural trends making the news.  As an example, mother’s day and father’s day contests and sweepstakes giveaways are very popular.

We also like to share our opinions with others.  Whether use use social media comments, consumer surveys or Google Reviews, we crowd source referrals for auto repair, haircuts, new doctors and lawn care.

As noted on Marketing Charts, and from Kantar Media’s report Dimension 2019 “Just one-third (33%) of consumers who rely on advertising for brand information say they trust its messaging, making it the least credible source of information among the options given.”  Most of us rely on friends and family for recommendations. However, we also rely on review sites. “Some 44% of the respondents across 5 markets use reviews for brand information, with 7 in 10 of these trusting the information they find.”

What Brand Information Sources Do People Trust the Most?

Businesses regularly use Google Reviews to spotlight their superiority and Google uses them to help show us companies which are more successful their others. Here’s an example of how one company calls for their social media followers to rate their company on Google.

Survey says!

Conducting surveys to allow your company to announce the results and spotlight your firm’s knowledge of what customers think is a sound tactic. You make the news — especially if your survey is timed to fit the news cycle. BrandSpark is a company that issues brand trust awards which regularly surveys consumers to learn which brands are most trusted. In doing so, they make the news. 

As another example, YouGov and ACI Worldwide surveyed consumers to learn they are “concerned about the security of their financial data when they pay at gas pumps and convenience stores.” ACI Worldwide states that they “deliver electronic banking and payment solutions for more than 5000 financial institutions, merchants, billers and processors around the world.” By conducting this survey ACI signals to merchants their awareness of consumer issues, thus increasing the opportunity for trust from those needing payment and electronic banking services.

Surveys do not need to be national. They can be local. So can contests. Have you used contests, giveaways, surveys or research to help position and market your firm? Tell us about how you used them.

Remember, The most successful marketing tactics and strategies build on human nature and on current trends and seasonality.  

Critical Website Content Decisions to Produce High-Quality Search Ranking

You don’t have to be an expert to rank well

Every person who wants their business site to rank well with search engines has essential tasks to undertake in order to have their site be ranked well and to show up in search engines.

As the primary search engine, Google has said that they want to give searchers the answers and the help they seek within one click.

In order to do that, Google has developed algorithms that prefer fresh, well-written, focused content that has a clear purpose. In addition to this, Google prefers websites which are responsive to device type: meaning that your site responds and formats content sized to display best on the device the searcher is using. Content must be free of spelling and grammatical errors and needs to be linked to other on-site content and reference by hyperlink authoritative content external to your site. Google prioritizes content with substance. “Thin content” or content without substance is demoted in search results pages (SERPS).

In years past, people frequently thought that they were able to game Google and other engines. Those days are gone. So, abandon any expectation that you’ll stuff pages with repeated keywords, or phrases. Instead, author content which is focused on the reason that page exists on your site and is customer-centric. Keep your content fresh and up to date with revisions and updates.

Register for and use Google Analytics and link this with Google’s Search Console, which was previously called Webmaster Tools. The search console allows you to understand how Google “sees” your site, how people find your site, and which of your site’s content is indexed by Google. You can also see when Googlebot last crawled your site. It will identify search phrases and variants used to access and index content within your site. As you learn more about how your site is indexed, accessed and displayed in search, you’ll be prompted to continually improve your website and help increase its search presence.

Website content decisions before you develop your site:

  1. Understand and map out the challenges, needs, and manner in which you intend to provide services or solutions to your customers. Personas or typical customer bios are great to help keep you focused.
  2. Prior to any development, create a wireframe of your content’s organization and relationship within the site. A simple spreadsheet with top level content named in the first row and child or sub-page content identified in cells within columns below works well, or you may wish to create a more visually rich flow chart.
  3. Have a purpose and goal for every page within your website.
  4. Create anchor content for each page of your site. This content will be fundamental to that section of your site and will serve as an anchor or reference point.
  5. As you create this content, identify which phrases and words will become internal links, referencing other sections of your site.
  6. You will also need to determine visual elements to illustrate content. Powerful images help the visitor relate to your content and provide graphical elements visible in shares across social media.
  7. Decide how frequently you’ll be adding content to the site so that you continue to present a fresh, informed presence to both search engines and potential customers.
  8. While creating content, understand that readers will respond best to blocks of words which are tightly focused and easy to skim. These blocks of content on the page need to be separated by section heads which help identify the most important idea in the following section. Called sub-heads in magazines and newspapers, these are also critical to helping signal to Google the importance and flow of content on your site/page.
  9. If you’re using a CMS (content management system) as a site foundation, thoughtfully organize categories and tags (micro-categories) to be relevant to your customers’ needs as you’ve previously outlined them.
  10. Plan how you’ll be promoting your site’s content via social media and offline.

Post launch must-dos

Evaluate the success of content/performance by regularly reviewing Google Analytics to comprehend how visitors move through your site’s content and how long they remain on each section. These critical indicators will inform and help you improve each page’s rationale within the site.


If you find you need assistance with the development of content for your website, we can provide assistance from strategy to optimization to promotion. Call us at 843.628.6434 to discuss how we may assist and support your goals.

Latent Semantic Indexing, Google and Your Web Content

 

The power of the human brain

Our brains are amazing things. If we’re talking and I tell you I want to find a red dress to wear to a party, you understand that I’m looking for festive, dressy apparel to wear to a social gathering. You understand that cocktail party dresses and elegant attire are also substitutions for the same needs. Though I would never say it that way, you understand it. And you’d probably also understand that while red is the color I named, other names for red are crimson, scarlet, magenta, carmine, burgundy, and brick.

Searching, parsing, deciding what’s important

Google wants to be just like our brain. Google’s intention is to provide every web user with the information they seek and need within a single click. So as we search the web, Google emulates how our brains work and provides us with options which are synonymous and which expand our search results. One of Google’s innovations has been the development of latent semantic indexing.

Latent semantic indexing removes need to keyword stuff

As Tina Courtney-Brown notes in her article The Top 5 SEO Tactics You can Drop:

“…this means that you don’t have to litter your content with all the keyword phrases you want to rank on; LSI will assume that similar phrases are also relevant.

Google will suggest alternative and commonly executed searches in a list of drop down terms in their Chrome browser.

Being there in the “I want to” moment

When you’re developing content for your website, you must integrate Google’s manner of indexing and returning relevant content to their users. Integrating Google-awareness into your content’s development means that you will be creating robust content that meets the needs of your customer by answering their questions, extending their knowledge, or solving a problem. Google tells us, for every customer, there is an “I want to…” moment. Google also terms these “micro-moments.”

In these moments, consumers’ expectations are higher than ever. The powerful computers we carry in our pockets have trained us to expect brands to immediately deliver exactly what we are looking for when we are looking. We want things right, and we want things right away.

It’s that “I want to…” which drives the individual’s search. Being served to searchers in results means that you’ve directly met their criteria in a non-spammy, intelligent, unique way that is a direct fit or fits an analogous search result.

Now that you know this, you can quit dithering on about the precise keywords you need and focus instead on the “I want to…” questions of your core customers.


Want help developing content for your customers that meets them in the micro-moment? Call us at 843-628-6434, we’re really good at helping our customers comprehend what their client’s micro-moments are.