What is Public Relations? [Part 1]

When I first joined Dittoe Public Relations as a bright-eyed intern, I thought I signed up to work with reporters and schedule interviews. After getting my feet wet, I quickly learned that the world of public relations is much more than just media relations.

 

Yes, in its simplest form, the core of PR is media relations. But before you become dubbed a #PRpro, there are several different areas of expertise to master. This blog post is part one of a two-part series that will take a look at four different key areas of public relations. Part two will be shared next week by fellow PR pro Sophie Maccagnone.

 

Putting together a client event.

Whether it’s planning a grand opening, coordinating a community celebration, hosting a red carpet event or organizing a VIP night, Dittoe PR has had its fair share of event-planning experiences. Putting together a client event can be a fun and unique way to garner additional media coverage for your client. Be warned, though, that months of organization and planning go into making sure these events are a success.

 

In addition to inviting media, planning an event can include outlining the run-of-show document, coordinating schedules for celebrity appearances, general event or regulation research, working directly with vendors, designing invitations or event posters, booking talent, and providing on-site support throughout the event.

 

Earning third-party credibility.

Another overlooked public relations tactic is earning your client credibility from third-party sources. This comes in the form of writing a bylined article for a publication or putting together an award nomination. Contributing byline articles can help position clients as experts in their industry (and you should be one too), as well as showcase their services and offerings in a non-traditional way.

 

Award nominations are another way to help give clients additional street cred. Take the time to research, craft, and submit the perfect nominations to earn additional recognition for your client. That award opportunity can be used later on to show that they are qualified for the job and worth being nominated for other accolades.

 

Be sure to check out our blog next week for part two of this series on how the job of a PR pro goes beyond just media relations. And, while you wait, if you think your business or brand could benefit from our plethora of services, we’d love to hear from you!

We’re Looking for Spring Interns

We’re on the hunt for solid candidates for our spring internship program. If you’re interested in applying, read below and be sure to send your materials in by Tuesday, October 16. We will begin interviewing the week of October 21.

Requirements/Skills: Public relations interns will be actively enrolled in, or a recent graduate of, a university journalism, public relations, marketing, advertising or other related program. Current students will preferably have at least sophomore standing. The individual must demonstrate strong writing skills, a basic understanding of media relations, an ability to interact professionally with clients and good judgment. A working knowledge of computers, as well as word processing and database management software is necessary. The public relations intern will be mentored by the intern director and will work closely with the firm’s account executives. The intern director will help the intern prioritize tasks and focus on multiple projects and deadlines simultaneously. Spring interns will work 20-40 hours per week. Prior relevant experience is preferred.

Responsibilities: We are looking for a paid intern to work with us on a wide variety of client projects, including but not limited to:

  • Drafting basic public relations materials including news releases, fact sheets, client meeting summaries, status reports, social media posts and other materials as directed
  • Carrying out special event planning activities and arrangements as outlined by the intern director
  • Attending and participating in client meetings, media training sessions, presentations and brainstorming sessions as directed
  • Assisting with the development and updating of media lists and other databases. Other tasks include database creation, data entry and update additions and corrections
  • Assisting with administrative duties including sorting, collating, stuffing envelopes, mailings and other administrative functions as assigned
  • Supporting the firm’s efforts by drafting news releases and performing research activities
  • Assisting firm staff with other client, business development and firm management projects as needed

To Apply: Please send a cover letter, resume and writing samples to:

Christy Chen, Partner and VP of Sales & Marketing
Dittoe Public Relations
2815 E. 62nd Street, Suite 300
Indianapolis, IN 46220
Or email: christy [at] dittoepr.com
No phone calls please.

How Does PR Affect SEO?

The year was 2006. Pluto was still a planet, you didn’t own an iPhone, you were more likely to log on to MySpace than Facebook, and search engine optimization (SEO) meant squeezing as many keywords as possible into your content and getting backlinks by any means necessary. Scary, right?

Today, thinking that keyword density and lots of low-quality backlinks will get your site to appear at the top of Google’s search results is as reasonable as staying indoors for fear of contracting the Bird Flu (the “it” disease of 2006).

The rules of SEO have changed—especially over the past two years. Updates to search engine ranking algorithms like Google’s “Panda” and “Penguin” mean you can no longer think in terms of keywords and inbound links alone. What matters now is quality, relevance and audience engagement.

Or, as Google’s head of search spam, Matt Cutts explained:

“We are trying to level the playing field a bit. All those people doing, for lack of a better word, over optimization or overly SEO—versus those making great content and great site. We are trying to make GoogleBot smarter, make our relevance better, and we are also looking for those who abuse it, whether they throw too many keywords on a page, or whether they exchange way too many links or go well beyond what you normally expect in a particular area. It is an active area where we have several engineers on my team working on this right now.”

google-panda-penguin-updatesFor many SEO firms, these algorithm shifts have delivered a crushing blow. For Dittoe PR, it’s cause for celebration.

For years we had to sit back and watch as SEO firms gamed Google with blackhat link building schemes predicated on paid backlinks and blog networks that allowed them to distribute keyword stuffed “articles” to hundreds of sites to quickly generate hundreds of backlinks.

Even PR agencies got in on the Google-gaming action. They used wire services to distribute horribly written, albeit keyword dense, press releases knowing full well that human eyes would never read them—they just wanted the backlinks. Sadly, many PR agencies still charge clients hundreds of dollars per release to provide this “service,” even though those press release backlinks barely nudge the SEO needle.

While SEO is still very much a technical discipline—especially when it comes to on-site optimization—the bottom line is that content that is published but not read by living, breathing human beings, not just GoogleBots, achieves nothing—both in terms of human impressions and search engine traction.

When our clients are featured on ESPN or Mashable, they’re not only benefiting from extremely valuable backlinks; there’s also no risk that an algorithm update from Google is going to render those backlinks worthless. It’s a simple matter of quality vs. quantity that makes the difference between page No.1 of Google’s search results, and being buried in the double digits.

Search engine optimization in no longer a “website promotion strategy.” It’s a content strategy; one that’s based on producing compelling, targeted content for humans—not search engines—and promoting that content across national and local media outlets, trade publications, blogs and social media channels.

If you’d like to learn more about our firm and services, please feel free to contact us for a consultation.

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