Paid media is an important part of the PESO model, yet it’s often overlooked by PR pros—or managed by a specialty agency.
This is a huge missed opportunity.
Through my work at Point It, I’ve spent the last few years immersed in all things focused on paid marketing: Pay-per-click, paid social, and programmatic media buying.
Today, I’m sharing a deep dive into how to maximize pay-per-click for public relations.
Why should a person or organization invest in pay per click marketing (aka paid search, aka pay-per-click, aka search marketing)?
If paid search were an Olympic athlete, it would be a 100-meter sprinter.
Built for quick bursts of effort, paid search is fast, responsive, and agile.
Your classic search engine optimization strategy, on the other hand, is more of a marathon runner.
It’s built for the long haul.
In allegorical terms, pay-per-click is the hare and SEO is the tortoise.
So, why invest in paid search?
In public relations, there are inevitably going to be times (such as crisis management) where you simply must respond quickly.
Warren Buffett famously said: It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.
If you work in public relations long enough, you’re eventually going to be doing some damage control.
There’s no time to play the long game to see results.
You’ve got to sprint and win gold, or else.
Pay-per-click allows you that opportunity by pointing people to the place you want them to go, instead of where your competition wants them to go.
With a solid pay-per-click strategy, you can take control of negative messages and quickly direct users to a response page.
Pay-per-Click is Highly Measurable
As modern communicators, we live in a results-oriented world.
We’re always going to be measured by the success of our campaigns and strategies.
One of the hardest aspects of traditional PR and marketing is that you can spend a lot of money on a target market without knowing if your work was effective.
Pay-per-click turns that equation on its head.
With pay-per-click, we can measure a campaign’s success quickly and efficiently.
For example, pay-per-click budgets are flexible and can be changed at any point in time.
Even better, you only pay when someone actually clicks on your ad.
That helps you as a media relations professional because you can show your clients the actual results of your pay-per-click campaigns.
In paid search, if you’re not spending money, it’s not working.
Pay-per-click also complements your SEO efforts, which help you attract a larger audience to your campaign.
First, you can instantly target keywords with pay-per-click and target the top spot of a Search Engine Results Page (SERP) that may otherwise take you months or even years to rank in the top spot for through SEO.
This is highly beneficial while your long game percolates.
In addition to being able to control the keywords you’re going after, pay-per-click works side-by-side with SEO to take up even more real estate on the SERP.
As a media relations professional, the effectiveness of this can’t be understated.
You can pivot quickly and strategically.
Pay-per-click can also help your SEO team get quick data on if specific keywords are converting well.
More Ways to Win with Paid Search
Pay-per-click can also help you promote your clients in a way that SEO can’t because of time constraints.
Got an event coming up? Great!
Run some site links or an ad campaign highlighting the event and pointing people to the registration page.
Launching a news release or whitepaper? Awesome!
Run an ad campaign sending people to that web page.
Pay-per-click allows you to direct traffic to your desired destination while your other strategies are building up.
The best part is, the different tools all use easy-to-implement tracking tags so that you can see if users are interacting with your strategy and converting.
That’s what we call fast and measurable results.
Engage at the Moment of Intent
Pay-per-click also helps you engage with the right customer, at the right time, with the right ad.
It has the capability to target based on location, demographics, and time of day.
Presumably your other marketing tactics and channels are driving interest.
Pay-per-click ensures, when they head off to Google, you’re waiting for them there with open arms.
All of these are useful tools to make sure that you’re not just shouting into the void.
In the next part of this series, we’ll begin to dive into specific cases where pay-per-click can be used to enhance your PR strategy.
We’ll look at different tactics inside of your strategy to help improve your performance.
Have you used pay-per-click in conjunction with media relations efforts?
If so, what kinds of results did you get?
Let me know in the comments.