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Content with attention and trust

PR, Attention, & Trust

We are living in an attention society – and they say that people now have the attention span of a goldfish!

So, how do you attract attention, create affinity, and build trust?  With great content.

What does this have to do with PR?

Content is all done with communication techniques.  Communication is the bedrock of PR.  And gaining attention, affinity, and trust is the goal of PR.

A lot has been said and written about how technology has changed the practice of PR. For a while, we were making a distinction between traditional PR and digital PR.  But, if you are doing PR right, there is no difference.

You might be using different techniques and media to get the result you want, but that result remains the same – capturing attention, creating affinity, and building trust.

How do you do that effectively today? Create high-quality content and distribute it via media that reaches your audience. It may be easier now with digital platforms, but the creation of the content remains the key.

There are new and easier ways to publish digitally. You can create websites, blogs, and social media accounts. That’s the easy part.  Consistently filling these accounts with high-quality content that resonates with your audience is the challenge.

Building Thought Leadership

Start with your own blog and social media profiles. If you are in the B2B space, use LinkedIn to publish content. A new blog or social profile will take time to attract the attention and trust of your audience. Deliver regular, excellent content that has value for your readers.

Each content item should be amplified by repurposing the content into as many as 10 other content pieces.  You can take bits out of a blog post and make them into Facebook and Instagram posts.  You can take a snippet of an audio file and make it into a social media post with a graphic.  Or make the post into a slide deck with excellent graphics. Then use social advertising to drive the right audience to this content and build up your following.

Dr. Sten Ekberg is a holistic doctor and a former Olympic decathlete. His YouTube channel has 582,000 subscribers.  Five years ago he was virtually unknown. A year ago, he had about 300,000 subscribers.

Dr. Ekberg has a wealth of knowledge about health and fitness and he publishes a new video each week. His following is growing exponentially because of the quality and consistency of his video content.

The next step is to look for guest blogging opportunities and guest spots on podcasts. This gives you access to an existing audience. If Dr. Ekberg’s team were to pitch him as a guest to a health podcaster, his audience of half a million would be a great endorsement for the value of his content.

You don’t need to have a huge audience to gain that valued attention and trust.  Sometimes an individual with a smaller audience has more loyal followers. In a PR campaign for a carpet brand, a DIY design blogger with around 50,000 followers delivered far better results in terms of driving traffic to their new line than being featured on a major design site like Apartment Therapy.

The Mainstream Media

The mainstream media still plays a major role in building thought leadership. They have the authority and the audience you want to reach.  Once again, the method may have changed, but the core PR technique is the same. When you’ve established a strong presence with your personal publishing, it’s easier to pitch your content to these media outlets.  An editor will be more open to considering you as a contributor if they see that you are already publishing good content and you have a following.

Establishing a strong presence and voice builds affinity and trust.  Figure out a plan and get started.  Within six months you should see the results and be reaping the benefits.

Smart Millennials are Impacting the Housing Market

Smart Millennials are Impacting the Housing Market

You’ve probably heard all the negative comments –  Millennials are lazy, won’t work hard, expect instant gratification, and can’t cope with adversity. Well, some of that may be true, but when it comes to finances and technology, they can be a pretty savvy bunch.

The housing market can bear witness to that. Young adults aged 29 – 36 are the largest segment of new homeowners in the country. 36% of the homes sold in the U.S. over the past year were purchased by Millennials. Not too shabby for a bunch of supposedly lazy kids.

If you’re thinking about buying a house, take some tips from these Millennial home buyers:

Mortgage rates: This should be top of your list of items to research. Instead of asking a real estate agent, shop for rates online.  90% of Millennials use online resources to research homes and the mortgage process before they speak to a real estate agent, mortgage broker or lender. Once you’ve done your research, look for a real estate agent or mortgage broker who can give you a personalized concierge service when you need assistance.

Mortgage rates can fluctuate almost daily, so it makes sense to use online tools to verify your rate.   You also need to figure out all the costs you’ll incur when you purchase a home.  A mortgage calculator can help you do this.

Credit Score: Your credit score is a major factor in getting approved for a home loan. But don’t fret if your score isn’t perfect. According to new data, the average credit scores of Millennial home buyers ranged from 662 to upwards of 750, depending on the city.

Down Payment: This is one area where you will need a smart real estate agent. There are many options and a knowledgeable realtor can point you in the right direction. And all realtors are not created equal – you need to find one that knows all the possible options.

So if you are getting ready to buy a home, make use of all the online tools and find an agent who understands how you like to work and is prepared to give you the service you need.

Happy house hunting!



Google’s Content Rules


Content has always been a major part of PR, but now it’s become an integral part of all marketing. According to research from the Content Marketing Institute, 91 percent of B2B brands and 86 percent of B2C brands use it.

But it’s still an emerging tactic and far too many companies are “flying blind” – just pumping out content without any strategy. (Only 37 percent of B2B marketers and 38 percent of B2C marketers have a content marketing strategy.)

Your audience finds your content in many ways, but one of the main ones is through search. And since Google dominates the search market, it pays to develop content that meets Google’s quality guidelines and ranking rules.

Google’s Aims

When Larry Page and Sergey Brin started Google their purpose was to organize the information on the web and make it possible for people using the web to find relevant content. As early as December 1998, “PC Magazine” reported that Google “has an uncanny knack for returning extremely relevant results.”

Every Google update to their algorithm, and all their rules about how to write content, have one aim in mind: to improve the results they give their users.

The Google Algorithm

“Algorithm is a technical term for what you can think of like a recipe that Google uses to sort through the billions of web pages and other information it has, in order to return what it believes are the best answers.” Danny Sullivan, Search Engine Land founder, and editor.

There have been several major updates to the Google algorithm, but in fact, they make constant updates and tweaks every day. Luckily, there are certain basic guidelines that always apply and these are the rules you need to work with when creating content.

  1. Unique, original content. (The Panda update introduced ranking penalties for sites that use mass content producers and those that steal or duplicate content.)
  2. Trustworthy content from an authoritative source. Trust is often evaluated by the quality of the links pointing to your content.

The Google blog gave these questions as a guideline for creating trustworthy content:

  • Would you trust the information presented in this article?
  • Is this article written by an expert/enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it shallow in nature?
  • Is the site a recognized authority on the topic?
  • Would you recognize this site as an authoritative source when mentioned by name?
  • Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?

These rules apply to all your content – web pages, newsroom, articles, press releases, and blogs.

The Penguin update focused on the difference between owned and earned links. That’s something PR practitioners should be able to grasp quite easily.  It’s about the value of third-party endorsement and why editorial overage of your brand carries more weight than an ad.

Owned Media

When you produce and publish content about your company you obviously present the brand in the best possible light.  It’s called ‘owned media’.  It could be your website, your blog, articles you write or your social content, such as posts on your Facebook page. Even when that content is syndicated to other sites, or distributed on the wire and picked up by other sites, it is still owned media.  You produced it.

Earned Media

When someone else with no vested interest publishes good things about a brand it has much more credibility than what we say ourselves. That’s earned media.  Media relations is all about earned media.  We know how that works; it’s one of the core functions of PR.

Owned Links

Using that same logic, Google regards any link that you put into a piece of content about the brand (press release, article, blog post, infographic) as an owned link.  You created the content and you placed that link there.  No getting away from it – that is owned, not earned. Any link that you created is owned.

Earned Links

Google is all about earned links.  Inbound links, those links from other sites pointing to your content, have always been a large part of Google’s ranking algorithm. Google looks for third-party endorsement. They check to see who links to your website, blog, Facebook page.  A link is regarded as a vote of confidence in your content.  It’s like getting the “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval”.

Google only counts what they call natural or editorial links – that’s earned links. In the very same way that you earn media coverage you now have to earn links. Every time a reporter uses your press release content and includes a link to your site, that’s an earned link.  Your media relations activity just expanded – it has to include getting those earned links.

Blogger Relations and Influencer Marketing are also a good way to earn these inbound links. Reach out to a list of bloggers or influencers in your field with an offer, or a useful, interesting piece of content, and resulting mentions with a link are earned links.

The best way to earn links is to create outstanding content that people will want to mention, share, and link to.  Google’s first rule for ranking content is high-quality, original content that has depth and substance.

News Content and Search


“In the U.S., roughly nine-in-ten adults (93%) get at least some news online (either via mobile or desktop), and the online space has become a host for the digital homes of both legacy news outlets and new, “born on the web” news outlets.”  Pew State of the Media 2018

Every business owner, marketing manager, and PR practitioner should know how to write and distribute news releases so they rank well in web search engines and news search engines. 

There are some distinct advantages to having your news releases found via search engines:

  • You know the people reading the release are interested in that subject because they asked for it by keyword.
  • Online releases can be tracked – for the first time, you can get statistics of how many times your press release was viewed, read or downloaded. With Google Analytics you can see what visitors do once they get to your site and how long they stay.

Top 10 News Sites

You might be surprised to know that Yahoo! News tops the list for news.  They’ve been number one for many years.  Google News is nipping at their heels, but they have not managed to grab the top position.  So your first goal should be Yahoo! News.


  1. Yahoo! News                       175,000,000
  2. Google News                       150,000,000
  3. Huffington Post                 110,000,000
  4. CNN                                       95,000,000
  5. New York Times                  70,000,000
  6. Fox News                              65,000,000
  7. NBC                                       63,000,000
  8. Mail Online                          53,000,000
  9. Washington Post                47,000,000
  10. The Guardian                      42,000,000

As you can see, some of the mainstream media websites are high on the list and you should be building relationships with journalists and bloggers from these publications.

Yahoo! News still has human editors and they pay attention to rising searches and trending topics. So be sure to include this as part of the research for your release.

Google News is growing their audience too. They’ve risen from number 10 to the second position in just a few years.

According to Google executives, Google News “algorithmically harvests” articles from more than 50,000 news sources across 72 editions and 30 languages. Their news content is seen by millions of people every week providing hundreds of thousands of business opportunities every day.

Those opportunities are not only available to media publishers.  Google News indexes press releases, so these opportunities are available to businesses and organizations too. Just make sure your releases comply with these Google News guidelines:

  • Timely reporting on matters that are important or interesting to our audience. Google News generally doesn’t include how-to articles, advice columns, job postings, or strictly informational content such as weather forecasts and stock data. Google News is not a marketing service, so they won’t publish content promoting a product or organization.
  • Unique articles: Original reporting and honest attribution are longstanding journalistic values.
  • Authority: Write what you know. The best news exhibits clear authority and expertise.
  • Accountability: Users tell us they value news with author biographies and clearly accessible contact information, such as physical and email addresses, and phone numbers.
  • User-friendly: Clearly written articles with correct spelling and grammar also make for a much better user experience.
  • Links:  When our crawler scans your site, it looks for HTML links with anchor text that includes at least a few words.

Since almost every business in the U.S. is using content as part of their marketing strategy,you’re competing with a flood of content every day. Make sure that you start with an intelligent content strategy. Every item of content you produce is should be tied to a goal, have depth and substance, be original and interesting, and have eye-catching visuals with it.

content cheat sheet

Social Media Content Cheat Sheet

Every business owns content that could, and should, be re-purposed for use on social media.

However, this is not a one-size-fits-all activity. Each social platform has its own “language,” if you will.  Your content will get the best results when you create it in that native language, so that it shines on each platform or network.

Here’s a quick Cheat Sheet on what to post and image dimensions.

how to repurpose content for social media cheat sheet


Here is an example of what I mean:

Blog post:  Post Election Digital Skills Shortage

Blog image:  digital skills for PR

Facebook Post

digital skills image for facebook



Want to stay relevant and give your career a boost?  Discover the Top 10 Digital Skills needed in #PR today.


Get the idea?

Yes, it is more work. But understanding your audiences and creating content specifically for each platform will get much better results and build an interested and engaged following.  A Social Media Management Dashboard like Sendible can make it easier and quicker.


Creating Content for Influencers

Creating good content is one thing, getting it seen is another. It’s that ‘tree in the forest’ question: If you create the perfect piece of content and nobody sees it, does it matter?  Create content with influencers in mind can bring you attention, traffic and high quality editorial links.

Distribution and amplification of your content is a vital part of your content strategy.  One of the places you need visibility is in the search engines – Google in particular. So every piece of content – written or visual – you create must be optimized for search. If you’re creating content without a knowledge of SEO frankly you’re just throwing that content out there with your fingers crossed, hoping it will get seen.

Google’s purpose is to deliver the best possible content to people who type in a search query.  The bad news is that their algorithm is being updated and tweaked all the time.  The good news is there are some fundamental  elements to search viability and Google has been kind enough to make them public.

  1. Write good quality content
  2. Use keywords so that Google’s  spider bots can easily identify what the content is about
  3. Links that point to your content from other relevant websites, authorities and influencers

According to Google links, content and their RankBrain update are the three most important ranking factors.

You can control the quality of the content you publish. There are many resources to help you learn how to write your news and content so that it meets Google’s quality guidelines.  SMART News is one of them.

Getting the links that Google values (earned editorial links) may seem beyond your control. but you can leverage that content to attract the kind of links Google values.  Rand Fishkin of Moz explains how to create content that will garner the attention of influencers in this episode of  Whiteboard Friday.


Creating Influencer-targeted content – Whiteboard Friday

These are the two main points he makes:

  1.  Use statistics and data in your content – preferably original research or your insights on other research.
  2.  Create original visual content that journalists, influencers, speakers and analysts can use in their articles, posts and presentations.

Watch the video for the full explanation of how and why it works.

Visual Content Adds Appeal to Press Releases

Visual content is still the best way to increase engagement. Unfortunately, most business owners and PR practitioners are not professional photographers or graphic designers. It was never part of our training because it was not part of PR before. Now it definitely is.

Consider this statistic:

More than 80% of news stories have some visual material. 

Editors and publishers know that visuals increase views and shares, so they look for stories with great visuals. And now that reporters and bloggers are required to provide visuals with their stories, they are always on the look-out for material with visual “eye-candy.”

Luckily there are devices and tools that can help you create this kind of visual material without spending years training as a designer.

Taking a photograph

Today’s smartphones have excellent cameras in them. With just a few extras you can get amazing shots.

  • Use a tripod.  You can buy small tripods on Amazon or at stores like BestBuy.

use a tripod when taking pictures with a smartphone

  • Get an LED light.  For taking photos inside this is essential.  Taking a picture in bad lighting will ruin the shot.  Some tripods can hold the phone and the light.  Some lights can be clipped right onto the phone.


LED light for taking good photographs


  • Use the Rule of Thirds grid on your phone.


the rule of thirds grid on a smartphone

  • If you are making a video get an external microphone that plugs into your phone.

external mic for smartphones

Get the complete Visual Content Guide – it’s full  of tips and tricks on composition, lighting, use of space and lines.

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