Online PR Industry in UK Can Learn Lessons from SEO Industry

E-consultancy has just issued an Online PR Industry Benchmarking Report, based on a survey of 300 UK marketers and PR professionals who work for both in-house company teams and for agencies.

Among the key findings: A surprisingly large percentage of retained PR budgets are being spent on Online PR. Company respondents report that 39% of their PR activity is online whilst agencies report that 47% of their clients’ retained fees come from online PR.

The results also show that when companies outsource Online PR to agencies or specialists, 51% of companies are using PR agencies but a significant percentage are using search marketing agencies (29%) and web development agencies (22%) to develop and deliver Online PR strategy.

Deeper in the report was another interesting news nugget: “Agencies and specialists should note that levels of client satisfaction are not encouraging and they may need to improve their Online PR knowledge and offering. A fifth of clients (20%) are very satisfied with their agency‟s level of Online PR knowledge, 28% are moderately satisfied, 19% are neither satisfied nor dissatisfied, 15% are mildly dissatisfied and 13% are very dissatisfied. Equally, clients recognize that their own knowledge could be improved with 49% saying that their Online PR knowledge is good and 12% poor.”

So, where can PR agencies and clients go to improve their online PR knowledge?

As I mentioned a week ago in my post, “Half of British and Irish Marketers Use SEO for PR Purposes,” all marketers need to do is attend Search Engine Strategies London, February 17-19, 2009.

Since then, some of the speakers at SES London 2009 have been posted to the site. And, yes, I should disclose that I’ll be speaking at the “Online Video Update – The Next Wave” session on Tuesday, Feb. 17, the “News Search SEO” session on Wednesday, Feb. 18, and the “Beyond Linkbait: Getting Authoritative Mentions Online” session on Thursday, Feb. 19.

But there are a number of other sessions at SES London 2009 that PR agencies and clients should attend to improve their online PR knowledge. This includes:

— Universal & Blended Search
— SEO Through Blogs & Feeds
— Video & Podcast SEO
— Link Building Basics
— Keywords & Content: Search Marketing Foundations
— Brand & Reputation Management
— Search Term Research & Targeting
— Duplicate Content & Multiple Site Issues

Now, if some of these terms aren’t familiar to PR people yet, well that’s why they need go to the conference. I’ve been combining SEO and PR for almost six years. And during one of my presentations at SES Chicago 2008, I shared five case studies of press releases that generated a measurable ROI:
— $200 million in B2B leads for Symmetricom,
— $2.5 million in ticket sales for Southwest Airlines,
— 1.3 million searches for “florists” on,
— 450,000 unique visitors to The Christian Science Monitor,
— 88,000 entries into a photo contest for Parents magazine.


So, I think that SES London 2009 is exactly the right conference to attend to improve your Online PR knowledge and offering. And who am I to make such a bold claim? I’m the guy in the photo above with the sock puppet on his hand at SES London 2008. The one on the left. (Have I disclosed that SES London is a client?)

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