I”d like to offer a big welcome to the visiting PR professionals from the Texas Public Relations Association. Today we”re presenting Search Marketing 101 to the TPRA in hopes of helping Texas” best PR pros integrate their client efforts with proven and trackable online marketing strategies.
As promised, I”ve compiled a list of some tools that PR professionals can use or get acquainted with for the sake of partnering with qualified search marketing specialists to delivered a comprehensive Web marketing and branding effort.
Keyword Research Tools
When blasting a message out via radio, television, or print, you are guaranteed a certain exposure based on the popularity of the surrounding content / programming. Not so online. It”s important to know the exact verbage that people are using when they search for information. But catering your message to the language of the people, you increase exposure and effectiveness by passively reaching more people. These tools help you determine which phrases people use most often so you can reach your target audience online.
WordTracker – The gold standard in keyword research for SEO. Export your final keyword list into an email via HTML or CSV formats.
Keyword Discovery – Debatable whether this tool is equal to or just a step beneath Wordtracker.
AdWords External Keyword Tool – Type in a word and Google spits back a list of synonyms and related phrases. Google also provides an estimation of search volume for the term and rates PPC advertiser competition with Very Low, Low, Average, or Above Average, or High competition. Exports your keyword list into text or CSV formats.
SpyFu Keyword SmartSearch – Another popular tool that bridges the gap between PPC and keyword research.
Web Analytics Tools
Here”s where the rubber meets the road. Sure, you can contact dozens of bloggers. You can publish your press release online. But what kind of traffic does it yield? What are the physical, tangible, trackable results of your efforts? Guess work is so “90s. Track every visitor to your site, know where they came from, what they clicked to get there, how easily they traveled through your site, whether they performed the desired action, and what page they exited the site from. There are literally hundreds of metrics you can track to better understand the needs of your visitor. Armed with this precision data, you will be empowered to tailor your efforts to increase results.
Google Analytics – The beginner”s web analytics. Every site should at least have Google Analytics. Most personal or local small business websites won”t ever need anything more. The upside? It”s free and easy to implement. The downside? It only tracks from the moment it”s implemented and therefore you have to wait for historical data. Also it doesn”t churn out pretty reports for export unless you go the pdf route.
Clicktracks – A solid log-file based analytics tool. As long as your log files have been activated to track search engine and referral traffic, you can implement Clicktracks at any moment and still have access to historical data from months to years ago.
Omniture – The top dog of web analytics. Is there anything this tool can”t do? Sync up your PPC, Email Marketing, and SEO traffic and track every conceivable type of behavior and metric. Warning: you”ll probably need to partner with an agency for Omniture web analytics to make it affordable.
Online Reputation Monitoring Tools
Online Reputation Management is this massively growing industry whereby you take PR, SEO, and Social Media and you mash them together to provide an uber branding machine via listening and responding socially on the Web. ORM is more often than not handled by non-PR trained professionals for two reasons: 1) PR professionals are stereotypically behind the technology curve and 2) it”s perceived to be easier to train a web marketer to handle ORM than to get a PR pro comfortable with the technology. This doesn”t have to continue to be the case. Here are some tools that can help you get a grasp on what real people are saying about your clients” brands, products, and executives.
BackType – Excellent tool for tracking conversations online. See a person”s comments on all blogs and many social media sites through one tool. Once you”ve targeted a group of influential commenters, you can monitor those people”s comments through your dashboard. Great for in depth research of customer sentiment.
Monitter - Real time tracking. Type in the phrases you want to monitor and results will update automatically as comments are made on Twitter. Somewhat difficult to track for very popular terms due to the constant streaming nature of the results. Tool allows users to pause the stream and reply on Twitter from the online dashboard.
Twitter Search – Still one of the best and least overwhelming methods of monitoring what people are saying about a topic. Real-time results, but the user has to refresh the page to see new results rather than an overwhelming surge like Monitter.
Radian6 - This is probably the preferred tool at present for comprehensive social media monitoring. Requires a dedicated professional to set up, analyze, and assign sentiment to each mention. Other tools include Sentiment Metrics, RepuMetrix, Reputica, BrandsEye, Scout Labs, TNS Cymfony, TruReputation, and Nielsen BuzzMetrics.
Trackur - A do-it-yourself reputation monitoring tool. More affordable, but only recommended for tracking individual names or local small businesses. The tool is evolving and may be developed into a more comprehensive tool over the next year or two.
The day of posting your news on a news page is all but dead. These days, everything goes out on the company blog. Maybe you have multiple categories or multiple blogs, but the blog format is Numero Uno now. The following are plugins for WordPress that will help your PR team make the most of your posts. WordPress is the recommended software for all corporate and personal blogs.
Disqus – One of the best comment collecting plugins. Now tracks comments all over the Web and allows readers to like or flag
BackType Connect – Essentially a direct competitor for Disqus. The difference being that Backtype adds context to a particular blog post by adding comments from other sources like Twitter, Reddit, and other social channels. These two comment plugins do not work together, so it”s recommend that you review each and make a decision about which to use based on which fits better with your goals.
Comment Luv – One of my favorites. When your visitors leave a comment, those who add their blog URL will receive a titled link back to their latest blog post. An excellent way to promote and reward your visitors for commenting.
EasyTube – As you may have guessed from the name, this is the easiest way I know to add a YouTube video to your blog page. For PR pros, a popular interview, press conference, or prime time news piece can easily be posted into your blog from YouTube.
Google Analytics for WordPress - This is the best way to to implement Google Analytics onto a blog, because the code stays with the site regardless of redesigns or adjustments made to the blog theme.
Newsletter – place this widget in your blog sidebar. Provides an opt in newsletter subscription to the blog.
Podcasting – The easiest way to add audio posts to a blog. Excellent for audio including radio spots and interviews, quarterly earnings, recorded conference calls, or regular state of the union types of addresses.
Wp-Polls – Need feedback to see what the consumer thinks about a new initiative or public statement? Add a poll inside your blog post with this widget and get the feedback you need. Visitors are far more likely to vote on a poll than leave a comment, so you hedge your bets and try to encourage both. Nothin” says lovin” like comments and votes.
Vote It Up – Not sure how effective you”re being with your audience? The Vote it Up plugin will give your readers the ability to vote each post up or down based on their personal preference. This is AWESOME feedback for
As you can see, most of these tools help make content tailored to the wants and needs of the user. That”s a key distinction between traditional PR and Online Reputation Management. In order to succeed online, the most important message is what the people are saying about the brand and how the brand responds. The broadcast method of marketing and PR isn”t as effective anymore because the online user has so many options. He/She doesn”t have to endure being preached at, and they prefer to find their brand recommendations and testimonials from real customers just like them.
The following are sites that will help you to monitor and/or protect your clients” reputations online.
If you”d like more insights into link building strategies and search engine optimization, feel free to drop questions below or fill out our contact form.