Nov 202009

How to empirically measure the value of public relations is a challenge as old as the profession itself. The rise of social media offers exciting new opportunities on this front. Last week one of my clients achieved validation of our hard work over the past few months. They now show up as the #2 organic return when searching on Google.

Let me give some context. Earlier this year we helped launch and support a blog for TANDBERG Public Sector. TANDBERG is the market leader for video conferencing, particularly in the public sector. But Cisco and Polycom have better known brands. TANDBERG engaged with Strategic Communications Group to build awareness and eventually support revenue growth via social media channels.

Week in and week out, we make sure that good, fresh content is published twice a month on the blog. As any writer will tell you, this takes discipline. There are always urgent PR issues that can trump a blog calendar, but TANDBERG kept its eye on the ball and stuck to the plan. They also gave us clear instruction to tag the content with the acronym VTC for video teleconferencing, since it was best known to their customers and prospects.

So today, when you search “VTC and government” on Google, you get this result, with the TANDBERG PS blog being the second organic listing on the search engine response page (naturally, another acronym, SERP). And as important, not a sign of any competitor:

Now there are some “black hat” consultants who promise to tinker with algorithms and game the system to achieve this kind of result. In my experience, there is no substitute for old fashioned hard work. Months of quality content and consistent tagging and promotion resulted in this placement. Plus, online shoppers and researchers put more trust in the organic results as opposed to the sponsored links.

This kind of placement can be priceless. First, your content being highlighted to any online visitor who searches on the terms you’ve identified as most important to your service. Second, this kind of organic listing can remove the need for funds dedicated to sponsored Adwords. We’ve got clients who spend into the six figures on such campaigns — how much could they save with this kind of organic performance?

So what are the lessons learned? First, as with any social media campaign have a strategy that reinforces the overall objectives of the organization. Don’t confuse tools with strategy.

Second, identify the terms connected with your product or service, and produce quality content on a regular basis that is properly tagged and promoted to online audiences.

Third — STICK WITH IT! This honestly is the toughest step, especially in this age of trimmed communications budgets and departments. Don’t let the day to day imperatives distract from a approved course of action. Companies today should think of themselves as publishers on their issue of expertise, with the corresponding deadlines for copy.

Now that we’ve built a large audience and achieved this kind of SEO success, Strategic is working with TANDBERG to evolve their blog into a social portal that gives visitors more choice in how to interact with the company. Watch for an update to this post – and have a great Thanksgiving!

  3 Responses to “SEO — A Success Story”

  1. Ok, nice that you are on page 1 of the SERP (search engine results page), but true SEO sucess is converting that to Demand Gen Sucess.

    1) What’s the traffic like on this term?

    2) How are you building in landing pages to the template and posts?

    3) How are you tracking conversions?

    4) What’s your conversion rate?

    I agree getting there is hard, but it’s what you do with it that matters!

    Congrats on completing step 1!

    • Angela:

      Great points, and thanks for posting! You’re absolutely right we’re still early in the process. Let me respond with a few points:

    • Our socmed efforts for TANDBERG are not as purely sales driven as yours — the purchase is large and very considered. It’s likely we’ll never get a linear click to sale. The effort is more awareness, lead gen and deal capture.
    • With that said, ask me the tracking and conversion questions in a few months. As I mention at end of post, we’re now moving towards a fuller, richer social portal for TANDBERG and will begin experimenting with premium content, webinars and other methods to support lead gen.
    • Marc wrote a great post about the difficulty crossing the “Last Mile” if you haven’t seen already —
    • Let’s continue this conversation, and have a great Thanksgiving!

  • Sounds like you are on your way to success from a bottom line perspective. Great!

    I just caution all marketers to make sure they are measuring success the same way they do in the corner office! Sometimes we work so hard to achieve a goal but celebrate too early which can make us look frivolous and expendible.

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