Perry Rogers | The Future of PR Pitching: Algorithms

Pitching PR with Perry Rogers at PR Partners

Expert Perry Rogers is the Founder and President of the highly successful PR Partners company in Las Vegas

In the past couple of years, search engine optimization and public relations have become closely intertwined. Google launched something that, in PR circles, was called the freshness update. This was a very important change to its search algorithm that affected more than a third of all Google searches. This formula subsection made it possible to update stock prices every time someone put in a search, pull up trending topics about a celebrity, and uncover information virtually the second it goes public.

Before the popularity of the internet and search engines, clients demanded their articles, newsletters, and press releases find homes with major news outlets like NPR or media personalities and television hosts. However, the digital era has ushered in a host of changes. Namely, Google has overtaken just about everything in terms of exposure. Now clients want to improve their SEO so their PR actually goes public as soon as it’s released.

Companies utilize SEO and internet content writers to maintain control over information passed to web users with blogs, social media, and newsrooms. Part of the majesty of internet writing is how quickly it garners trust by utilizing a personal tone. This is the future of PR: influencing a company’s perception by dominating search results.

This leads PR experts to ask new questions:

• How do you combine a company’s brand and message with its PR?
• How do you maximize web search results without compromising content quality?
• How have relationships with journalists changed?

The Tug of War Between Volume and Quality

Google’s Panda penalties ensure poor quality content quickly diminishes in rank. Freshness is important because companies that quickly generate a deal of high-quality content need to continue generating strong content to stay at the top. New content buries the old, so even the best articles eventually disappear and are wrecked by fresher content.

A New PR-Journalist Dynamic

Some companies are more affected than others, though, and despite public relations moving online, PR professionals still need to work directly with journalists. Competing in the internet marketplace means getting blog articles written, publishing on the correct sites, and delivering your client’s message. This means working with journalists.

How has it changed? Many of the big names, like Forbes, Vox, and The Huffington Post, have methods for contacting their journalists., for instance, has an online submission form where you pitch your ideas and explain a little bit about yourself. A company rep will contact you via email and tell you whether they have a place for your article or not.

Newspapers and major media sites can be contacted, but it is important to pitch to journalists the right way. New etiquette rules mandate how this is done depending on where you want to submit. Ultimately, your goal is to get in touch with a journalist directly, either by phone or in a direct chat. This is important but also very difficult. Hundreds of other people just like you are vying for their attention every day. This means keeping your pitch short, informative, and to the point. Think of each pitch like an advertisement in and of itself. You need to pique the readers’ interest, and get them to agree to publish something that will be good for their companies, too. They are not concerned with your client’s struggle as much as their own numbers.

Platforms to Streamline PR and Company Brand

New platforms are being developed even as you read this article to automate the process of writing important informational material. For instance, a program called Wordsmith automates writing earnings reports. Not only does this provide all the essential information needed for the public, but it compiles the information in the style of the company it represents.

The Associated Press started using Wordsmith last year, and each report is written as if it were produced by its writers. The automated system works, and it greatly streamlines the production of earnings reports. After its implementation, the Associated Press can now handle nearly 4,000 earnings reports per quarter. Prior to Wordsmith, the company could only handle about 10% of that amount. The company, spurred on by the program’s success, is preparing to use it to report on college sports.

The good news is automated programs read differently than those written by people. The writing comes across as more formal and less interesting to read. It is only able to give the facts, while a real writer provides a special touch. While the need for content is skyrocketing, the need for personalized content is also sharply rising. Customers connect with businesses and brands when they feel like the content is aimed directly at them, which is difficult to do if the writing sounds inflexible.

So should PR firms be pitching to automated systems? Yes and no. According to PR Sports Agency expert Perry Rogers, it depends on the needs of the client and your available tools. A lot of it comes down to media outlets and their uses. However, PR experts do need to get used to it; automation is the future.

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