WELCOME VIN HENEY TO NORTHPR

I’m very excited to announce that Vin Heney has joined NorthPR!

As demand for a more personable and agile approach to PR becomes the norm, I am thrilled to have Vin Heney join me at NorthPR. Vin and I are not strangers to working with each other—he used to be a client of mine where I admired his strong writing and editing skills, and his very kind personality! His ability to keep me organized is a big plus, too! Vin has been working alongside me since the fall after going out on his own venture, becoming a copywriter and communications consultant. Vin continues to run his own consultancy while working with NorthPR.

We’re excited to take 2019 by storm! Off and running already with a strong client roster whose stories we are so excited to share this year.

Welcome Vin!!

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Summertime at NorthPR!

Wow, it's been a while since I've posted an update to my blog. If this was a client blog, I wouldn't be very impressed with them.

I wanted to write a quick update on what's happening at NorthPR. Spring flew by with lots of one-off PR projects and work with my ongoing retainer clients. I'm also excited to partner with two new Canadian startups - Lowest Rates and #paid.

LowestRates is an online rate comparison site allowing Canadians to make more informed decisions about mortgage, insurance and credit cards - think Expedia for personal finance. They just relaunched their website and new brand, and a consumer-focused marketing campaign will be rolling out soon.

Many Canadians are unaware sites like Lowest Rates exists, so I will be working to build awareness that Canadians should shop around before settling on big financial decisions. We've already secured some great media hits including a contributed article in The Globe and Mail by CEO, Justin Thouin, and a spot on CHCH News discussing Ontario's car insurance changes. There's lots of things in the works with this team, and I'm excited to be part of their rapid growth. 

With the proliferation of social media apps like Snapchat, Tumblr and Instagram, #paid is simplifying the way that brands connect and work with digital influencers. #paid matches social media influencers with brands to create partnerships that allows influencers to make a living and help brands get their message out in a more authentic way.  They’ve facilitated influencer partnerships with some of the world’s biggest brands, including PepsiCo and Anheuser-Busch.

I’m excited to watch this young startup really take off. I believe in the team and what they've built (so many PR people can also benefit from this platform). Since working with #paid, they've had two very exciting announcements. The team inked a deal with leading marketing agency Dentsu Aegis to expand the agency's access to digital influencers, and today, Two Small Fish Ventures, founded by Wattpad's CEO Allen Lau and his wife, Eva Lau, announced an investment in #paid. Read more about it on Two Small Fish Ventures blog here.

I'm looking forward to a productive summer working with these great clients! As always, Regus Canada continues to keep me busy with its ongoing workspace expansion across Canada, including its latest in Vancouver, Winnipeg and Mississauga.  And I'm always having a blast with the team at SoHo Metropolitan Hotel. 

Hope everyone is having a great start to summer!

Cheers,
Linda

Guest Blog: PR and SEO are converging before our eyes

A few years ago, not many connected the dots between SEO and PR. While SEO focuses on website analytics and PR focuses on audience engagement, these two practices have been heading in the same direction for quite some time.

There’s a very important meld happening in the industry, and it’s one of the main reasons the team at Vordik was excited to partner with a PR firm.

MAKING SEO HUMAN

Back in the day, website owners thought SEO was a tricky Internet game that could be won by stuffing as many relevant keywords into a page as possible. The more variations of "PR" you included (Public Relations, Relations with Public, media, media relations, hype), the better your ranking, right? Well, if this technique was possible before, it won’t get you anywhere with Google today.

What lacked when SEO first emerged was the human aspect. The whole point of driving traffic to your website is to build relationships with real people, not bots. So your SEO strategy should be based around the person, not trickery. This year alone, Google has switched up its algorithm over 40 times so no one can hack the system. If we look at the human element of the formerly dry art of SEO, it's no wonder that SEO and PR are a natural fit.

BUILDING YOUR STORY

Building your brand’s story to be newsworthy and unique is key to mastering SEO. Once you have your angle and solid, high-quality key messages, then it will improve, what we call in the industry, ‘Longtail Keywords’, which are an important aspect of SEO strategy.

Image courtesy of Moz.com

Image courtesy of Moz.com

Longtail keywords have lower traffic but the conversation rate is much higher. The closer to the end of the tail, the more specific and unique the keyword. These words in combination make up about 70% of all searches. So having a unique message will end up paying off big time.

The Role of On-Page SEO

On-page SEO has drawn away from a calculated formula towards newer concepts designed around UX. On-page, or the SEO activity conducted on your own website is the best chance for you to showcase what your brand stands for on home-grounds.

The strategy here should involve keeping content fresh and relevant. Websites with stale or static copy will eventually get buried deep beyond the first page of search engines. Writing often not only enhances your PageRank, but also allows you to experiment with website copy and keywords. Keeping the user in mind, PR professionals can help choose a topic that will interest the audience, and SEOers can then break it down in to several keywords or phrases to be fit in to posts organically. This diversification based on theme or topic rather than a sole keyword will help cast a wider net while maintaining a naturally compelling brand story. 

FOSTERING A SOLID REPUTATION

Creating the right content isn’t easy. That’s why there are so many content marketing firms out there today trying to master this practice. A company may put out all sorts of content with all the right keywords and relevant information, but if you’re not reaching the right people through the right channels, it’s just a big time-suck.

This forms the basis for SEO and PR. Link building from quality websites (referred to as off-page SEO) is becoming more and more crucial, and having connections to top influencers and journalists oh so important in gaining credibility. Whereas on-page content can be all about your brand, off-page should be a mix of tactics that will ultimately draw the audience back to your website. Techniques such as guest blogging and gaining backlinks from respectable sources up your credibility both in terms of earned media, and page authority.

Whether it’s online or off, you have to be careful choosing all the right channels to share your content, or the outcome won't be as powerful as it could be.

STAYING ON TREND

SEO and PR require constant attention to what's going on in the world around us. With the fiery power of the Internet, trends can change as quickly as your newsfeed on Twitter. Staying on top of relevant news and making the best of it by riding the media wave is what PR professionals do best, while aptly predicting and utilizing Internet trends lays at the core of solid SEO.

This is where metrics come in to play. SEO and PR professionals can work together not only to decide topics to create content around, but also gauge the target audience’s reaction and see how well a campaign worked. While keeping up with the news and utilizing Google keywords tool are a must before-hand, measuring results using Google Analytics throughout will allow you to tweak and improve tactics. Take a look at the visible difference before and after:

NorthPR client Google Analytics after coverage in Toronto Star

NorthPR client Google Analytics after coverage in Toronto Star

That being said, the combination of SEO's focus on analytics and PR's focus on audience engagement make a pretty powerful team.  When these two disciplines come together and work closely with each other, brands win big!

About the Author 

Anastasia Lamotchkina is the Marketing and Communications Coordinator at Vordik, a Toronto-based digital agency that specializes in designing web, mobile and cloud applications. For more on the importance of SEO, get in touch with NorthPR and Vordik.

How Startups Can Engage With The Media

Last Friday I had an awesome opportunity to host StartupCanada's weekly Twitter Chat (#startupchats) with the Small Business Editor of The Globe and Mail, Katherine Scarrow. The topic was 'How To Engage With The Press.'

It was great to share tips and tricks of the trade with startups. You can read the full Twitter chat here: