What PR do Industrial SMEs need to get on page 1 organic listings?

A few weeks ago, I asked readers to recommend outside services they’ve used, so that I could invite the people behind those services to contribute an article here. Thanks for all of your ideas, and the second such article from a reader-recommended organisation comes from Ian Deavin of The Industrial Marketing Agency, the Bedfordshire-based press relations and social media specialist. The subject close to Ian’s heart is:

What PR do Industrial SMEs need to do to get on page 1 organic listings?

Before we discuss PR, first let’s check the groundwork – and for the sake of brevity I’m going to assume that you already have a good website – comprehensive, up to date, easily navigable, hosted in the UK, fully searchable and properly SEO’d (in English!) – because frankly, without that you are going nowhere developing your online web profile. If you don’t have a viable site, then please arrange it before spending lots of fruitless time and money essentially promoting a website that doesn’t deliver – but as a reader of this blog that surely doesn’t apply to you!

OK, with that out of the way, we can look at what is possible, and what industrial SMEs can do to be found online by other companies – using the medium of trade and technical press to do it. Let’s call this activity Press Relations – because the key thing is how you relate to the press – and specifically not Public Relations, because we are not concerned with relating to the public.

As the internet has developed in recent years, Press Relations for B2B industrial companies has widened out so much that it now overlaps with Content Marketing, Article Marketing and Search Engine Optimisation, depending on how you choose to define each of these labels. I personally find a useful definition is “submission of valuable material for publication by others free at the point of publication”.

This encompasses creation of useful information, (often referred to as “content”) published where it can easily be found and where it is actively presented. For example, magazines and directories, both hard copy and online, are hungry for (free) content in the form of:
Free Directory entries – usually short company profiles – but 20 to 30 of the right such entries are usually enough to get you noticed;
Product and service descriptions in the form of regular short press releases each with a good picture, covering new and updated subjects;
Short articles (long press releases) about applications, describing how problems have been or can be solved with the product or service;
Technology based releases informing how the technology embedded in a product enables the solution to be achieved, how it works together with other components to create a system and so on. Note that two such press releases per month from the categories above (product, application, technology) seems to be optimally cost effective – more are also viable online but will overload the printed media;
Whitepapers – really authoritative, longer articles covering a technology related subject in some depth, in the form of a press release – 2 or 3 (or more) per annum;
Longer feature articles arranged in discussion with interested editors.

Each PR submission should be accompanied by an attractive photo to catch the eye on the page and to describe the product. Longer articles of course need more photos or illustrations. They should always have proper title, tags and description, so that they can be found and organically listed.

Let us remember that the internet is still overwhelmingly text based for searches, so you can only be found for words that you actually use – hence the importance of keywords and SEO in your website and any publicity connected with it, and in association with pictures. So use words that mean something to potential readers, use variants of those words and by all means use jargon or tech-speak as these will be recognised and valued by technically minded readers – and for that reason are likely to be searched for organically.

Finally, what is possible? Well, experience with our client base in the industrial arena has shown that with a complete programme of PR, blogging and social media, it is possible to get the majority of client keywords on page 1 organic listings and often to appear multiple times on page 1 for each search. This includes taking editorial text, photos, directory entries, blog posts and company website listings into account. So when you’ve done the PR – get yourself a blog and some videos!

Ian Deavin BSc. is Managing Director of The Industrial Marketing Agency and has written extensively about marketing for industrial SMEs. He also blogs at The Industrial Marketing Blog.

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