Question: How does SEO or Social Media "fit" into the wider aspects of marketing communications? Shouldn’t one’s Google strategy be embedded in part of one’s larger marketing and PR strategy?
– Answer –
By Jason McDonald, Ph.D.
Although I mainly focus on SEO (search engine optimization), I teach a wide-ranging course on Advertising and PR (public relations) at DeVry University, here in the San Francisco Bay Area. My students there, as well as my clients across the Web, integrate their SEO efforts into a broader Internet strategy, and then that strategy into a broader marketing strategy. There are some great Internet tools out there – so, here are my thoughts and some pointers to cool tools for Internet marketing.
Internet Marketing as Part of Integrated Marketing Communications
When I begin a class on SEO, advertising, marketing research – anything, I am a big believer in defining one’s goals. Too few companies engage in this exercise. What does your company do? What is your target customer? And what is your unique "value proposition" for that customer? If and only if you have a clear value statement and a clear vision of your (potential customers), can you do any effective marketing at all.
So step one is to clearly identify your goals and value proposition. Step two is to define a media strategy both PR and advertising. What is the message? What are the media? Should you use print media, trade shows, Google / search engines / SEO, Twitter, Youtube, Facebook, social media? Create and define a media strategy. Then, circle back to integrate all your efforts among the search engines, real-world media, and social media…
Two Free Tools for Keywords: Google and Twitter
After that, for SEO purposes, you want to become "customer centric." By that, I mean you need to put yourself in your customer / potential customer’s shoes, and look at the world through his or her eyes. This is particularly true for Google but it is also true for social media. Why is that? Because people search by keywords, and people Tweet and follow hash tags by keywords – so first, and foremost, you must figure out the keywords your customers use, not just the ones you think that they might use.
How do you do this? Here are two of my favorite free tools.
- Google Keyword Tool – this is the grand daddy of all keyword tools. You can sort by Global Search Volume, and also use the tool to view PPC (pay-per-click) advertising data (click on options). Both of these give you powerful insights into what people are searching for by volume, and what vendors are willing to pay by click.
- Hashtags.org – Twitter is all about Hashtags. Use this Twitter tool to identify what people are conversing about, and then you can back engineer who is a big Twitterer for your domain. Selling Zhu Zhu pets? Search for that keyword, identify hashtags (think, "Twitter Conversations"), and then browse Tweets and Twitterers that fit your target market.
SEO Link-building, News, and and Blogs
Another big issue in ICM is leveraging not just advertising but PR (public relations). In today’s media environment, this means a focus on who is linking to your company, who is writing news about it, and who is blogging. Identifying blog or news targets can be a daunting task. After all, how do you figure out who might be a blogger?
Here is a list of media targets for your ICM strategy:
- Customers – getting customers to write about your products: priceless.
- Partners – arm twist your partners (suppliers), and have them blog, write, link to you.
- Bloggers – the blogosphere is replacing what is left of traditional media, so leverage the blogosphere to be company-friendly. And, browse the blogospher for negative feedback so you are not caught unsurprised!
- News – beyond traditional media, most outlets have their own websites. In addition, news services can post your news for free, or at low cost, and thereby leverage your media strategy.
How can you identify who is talking about you? One tactic is to use hashtags.org – at least for Twitter. But did you know that Google has a blog search? Here’s how you do it:
- Go to Google.com
- Enter your target keyword / keyphrase
- Under the more tab, use the pull down and select "blog"
- Presto! You are now searching blogs.
- Go to each blog and find out if this might be a valuable target for a "blog outreach" PR effort!
Here is a screenshot:
Beyond that, you can also do a search for news – its on the top bar of Google. Again, you can use this to identify news outlets and other media that carry news on your keywords. You can target both the outlets and PR services for your PR / Internet Marketing efforts. Throughout, your goal is to integrate your "real-world" marketing efforts with those of your "Internet" marketing efforts. In today’s blog post, I showed you just a few free tools on how to do this.
Hope this helps!