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Why what we want from SEO and PR has merged

It’s strange, but when most companies want to outsource writing, they turn to a “PR consultancy”. Strange, because for most companies in engineering and science, what’s wanted is neither PR (public relations) nor consultancy. Public relations is all about managing communications with the public. It could just about be argued that’s what you’re after here, but writing a technical article is hardly what a true public relations practitioner would have trained for. It’s journalism. And “consultancy”? You’re not asking for advice here, are you? Just actions.

Now, there are some great companies in the field, and they’re not daft. So they must have worked out that even if all they want to do is writing, it gets more work if they call themselves a “PR consultancy”. I guess – and nobody knows this better than an AdWords specialist – that you have to use the terminology employed by your customers, however inaccurate it may be.

But here’s another thing. As I’ve mentioned before, “Search Engine Optimisation” or “SEO” is changing. Getting better results from the search engines is no longer about arcane technical trickery. It’s all about having lots of words indexed and presented properly. It’s about “writing great content and ensuring it gets promoted”.

And as we’ve seen, the only part of “public relations” which many companies really want also happens to be “writing great content and ensuring it gets promoted”. So for most businesses (probably including yours), what we want from SEO and PR has merged. Maybe it needs a new name.

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