Thursday, January 12, 2006

It's Not About SEO - It's About PR

Tom Foremski has an interesting post today - Foremski has always had good ideas, as one of the key people in the Financial Times office - but he wonders why PR is growing, while the media universe keeps shrinking. There was even a recent San Francisco Business Times article on the growing of PR firms in the Bay Area.

Steve Rubel picks up the post by Tom Forensky (sic), and makes it about SEO PR - search engine optimization public relations. That's all good and fine, but it does not help tell a story, but rather is about cooking the results in Google and other search engines, such as the blog ones like Blogpulse, PubSub and Technorati. It's a great way to make yourself into a top tier blogger, but hand someone enough rope ...

But, it's not about SEO, it's never been about SEO, and it shouldn't be about SEO. The reason PR is growing is because it is about the expanding media universe and how to reach that universe in a smart, strategic way, while at the same time reaching the older, more established yet shrinking media universe. It's two sides of the same coin, where PR is best suited to do the work.

But, does that mean launching a blog? No, not necessarily. For Vespa, instead of blogging, a MySpace community would have made just as much sense, if not more - a social network for a social activity. When I think Vespa, I don't think "let's sit behind a computer and blog" but rather "let's find others that also love to ride Vespas and meet up and take pictures and then post them to a something similar, like, oh, a social network."

It means being smarter, thinking smarter, doing smarter PR that takes into account all various outposts, from MySpace to Blogs to audio and video Podcasts (I prefer Audioblog because Eric Rice rocks) to newspapers to radio to television. It's covering the whole media universe from the shrinking to the expanding.

PR is growing because companies realize they need us, and need us to maneuver the new landscape. It is time for PR to shine, to own that 100 percent and not let advertising or marketing pervert blogs.

As an aside, every interview I did for the PR Face2Face series, I would go off the record, and would talk about the dot-com boom and bust. I would ask if PR as a whole learned anything - and the answer was always no, we had not learned anything. The boom in PR firms in the Bay speaks to that, I believe.
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