To have BrightonSEO happen twice a year feels like a guilty treat. For a flagship digital event covering niche topics with practical advice, the amount of preparation must be astronomical. The BrightonSEO banner proudly proclaimed “a long way from a room above a pub”, and unlike most slogans, this one is true. I can’t remember the official numbers, but there must have been 3,500 digital marketing professionals; the Brighton Centre was packed.
— Festive Paul Curry (@cr3) September 2, 2016
When I last attended BrightonSEO earlier this year I wrote how SEO is no longer a discipline, it’s a skillset. After sitting through hours’ worth of talks and networking with highly intelligent digital professionals, it’s tempting to carry on beating the same drum. For modern public relations to be successful it’s important to have an intermediate knowledge of SEO.
I stand by that post earlier this year because it’s not just what the public relations industry should be aspiring to, but clients also request it. It’s the key to managing reputation online, driving website traffic, and ensuring products/services get heard amongst the noise online. How else will you get your website/clients noticed among 46 billion web pages?
46 billion pages are indexed in Google. That is a lot of competition when trying to get your clients noticed. #BrightonSEO
— Michael White (@michaelwhite1) September 2, 2016
Watching SEO agencies pitch
As I listened to talks, especially Yiğit Konur’s on keyword research (I was certain my brain was about to melt out of my ears), I couldn’t help but wonder if staple public relations skillsets that HR teams and practitioners request will remain relevant. My mind was filled with doubts over the quality of industry training available to practitioners, especially if SEO specialisms are important to generating awareness and engagement online.
A few months ago I found myself in a meeting with a financial organisation hearing from an SEO agency. For programme integration purposes they were running through their SEO pitch, a rare chance to see how their research, strategy, and tactics were formed. It was an excellent presentation that in many ways imitated the conclusions of our PR programme. The difference was that the presentation was underpinned by solid SEO research, based on facts and figures.
If you’ve ever seen an advertising agency pitch, it was like that. These are the types of programmes that can monitor return on investment so closely that companies will spend confidently, knowing the return can be tracked. It’s a very different business compared to straight forward media relations. Although as BrightonSEO reinforced again this year, the public relations industry has an opportunity to embrace basic SEO practices into client delivery. In case this isn’t obvious, that’s why I attended on behalf of Lansons – it’s an area we consult in.
Before not too long I’m sure a post will appear on the Lansons website about BrightonSEO but for the beautifully geeky readers of this blog, I highly recommend you check out the following three talks.
Hannah Smith: Art, virtual snowballs, and the feels (or why beer is rarely the answer)
Yiğit Konur: Keyword research in autopilot by Google Spreadsheet Macros
Paddy Moogan: Sustainable content marketing
It can feel like the public relations industry is in a constant state of reinvention, the impact of the Internet on society has accelerated this pace further. Today we’re a management discipline, we’re more than media relations, and if we claim to be about reputation management, we can’t ignore developments in the SEO industry.