The crossroads of PR, social media and SEO

An interview with Greg Jarboe of SEO-PR.com

How is social media changing the face of advertising and PR?  How can PR and marketing pros leverage YouTube and other rich media sites?

Greg Jarboe, the president and co-founder of SEO-PR and author of “YouTube and Video Marketing: An Hour a Day” shares his thoughts with us on the changing face of PR, how “social search” is impacting SEO, and how PR professionals can leverage rich media sites like YouTube.

How did you make the transition from corporate communications/marketing to SEO?

The transition wasn’t smooth and it wasn’t planned.  I made the transition from director of corporate communications at Ziff-Davis to Vice President of Marketing at WebCT in 1999 — during the dot com bubble.  After the bubble burst, I took a hard look at what part of the marketing mix had provided the best bang for the buck and it had been SEO.  So, I looked for an opportunity to work for an SEO firm and got hired as vice president and Chief Marketing Officer at Backbone Media.  So, as John F. Kennedy said when he was asked to explain how he had come to be a hero, “It was involuntary.  They sank my boat.”

In your view, how is social media changing the face of advertising and PR?

Traditional advertising and PR were focused on traditional media, which were one-way streets.  But social media are two-way streets, so advertising and PR people need to develop new communication skills.  Just because you know how to write essays doesn’t mean you know how to conduct interviews.  Just because you know how to broadcast information doesn’t mean you know how to conduct conversations.  Just because you know how to give lectures doesn’t mean you know how to lead discussions.

How has “social search” affected SEO techniques?

Social search has impacted SEO dramatically.  Social search is powered by people, not computer algorithms.  You don’t “optimize” your relationships with family and friends.  So, you need social skills, not technical ones, to be successful in social search.

What are the benefits of using rich media sites like YouTube over static copy sites?

According to Nate Elliott of Forrester, any given video in the Google index stands about a 50 times better chance of appearing on the first page of results than any given text page in the index.  Those are some attractive odds.

How can PR professionals leverage YouTube and other rich media sites?

The short answer is to learn how millions of people discover, watch and share originally created videos.  Video optimization can accelerate the discovery process.  Creating compelling content can ensure that your video gets watched and shared.  The long answer to your question is to read my 504-page book, “YouTube and Video Marketing: An Hour a Day.”

What role do press releases now play in PR/SEO?

They can be a useful tool in both PR and SEO — but only if they contain news you can use.  The more useful content you have, the greater the chances someone else will find that content valuable and act on it.  For example, we optimized two press releases a couple of years ago for SmallCapInvestor.com.  One was about all the things they’d accomplished in the first year after their launch.  The second was about the top 5 Chinese small cap stocks that offered the greatest growth potential.  Both press releases got about the same number of “reads,” but the second one generated 44 times more subscriptions to their newsletter.

Are there other insights you’d like to share with our readers?

Create original and unique content of genuine value.  Write press releases primarily for humans, with search engine considerations a secondary concern.  Add links intended to help people find interesting, related content, when applicable.


Greg Jarboe will be speaking on the “Video: The Next Marketing Frontier” panel at SES Toronto June 9-11, 2010.



0 replies
  1. SEO Services says:

    A very good effort Brendon, by providing some important tips on social media & SEO. It’s really true that the more useful content you have in the press release, the greater the chances someone else will find that content valuable and act on it. It’s a great importance for me also.

  2. Scott says:

    Great points! For most people writing some colorful words about a product or service is not to difficult, but communicating with the customer in a two way conversation about a bad impression they have about your product is a different story. How do you show concern and mitigate risk, once this bad impression is in the cloud, it could go viral, how do you deal with that?

    • @brandonchicago says:

      Thanks for the response Scott. If a bad impression is in the cloud, we’ve seen time and time again that the best thing to do is own up to the issue ASAP. People realize that businesses can make mistakes, and those that living up to the mistakes can actually gain more credibility by confronting the issue head on and admitting fault. Ignoring problems is no longer a valid crisis management policy.

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