Where's your brain at? Where's your consultancy at?

Do you 'do' search engine optimisation? If so, it seems you are most probably a SEO consultant because public relations consultants who 'get' SEO appear to be very thin on the ground. Not only that, but some argue that's how it should be.


Nixon McInnes’ managing director Will McInnes, ever the polemicist perhaps, asserted during yesterday evening's conversation on SEO that to fuse the two disciplines would have to entail some kind of genetic engineering along the lines of a pig-monkey hybrid.

Unfortunately, such an obvious exhibit of a 'ponkey' in the form of Escherman's Andrew Smith was unavailable for us to examine more closely, and I pretended to know nothing about either topics when such prodding was mooted.

Seriously though, from a simple business economics perspective, PR consultancies have well and truly lost out here. When I asked Seth Godin (in an interview to be published on the CIPR's website next week) what advice he had for PR professionals working in a highly competitive market, his simple and unavoidably logical response was: "do something else". Yet that logic has escaped PR consultancy heads as every other breed of marketing consultancy walks away with the new, shiny and profitable service delivery.

So is it, as the image above portrays (excusing any and every anatomical error committed in the name of creating a nice looking attention-attracting blog post image) simply a case of artist-type meets scientist-type and never the twain shall meet?

I don't think so.

First up, PR has become and is increasingly becoming data driven, as my post "Influence... it's a numbers game" attests. This trend is unavoidable. I invite you to listen to a super interview I was able to record recently with Brian Solis in which, in response to my very first question, he asserts that the future of PR is data, research and analysis.

Secondly, SEO is becoming softer. It's becoming more about content creation (Daryl Willcox pointed out yesterday that 20% of the press releases his company distributes now originate from SEO companies; read his post here). It's becoming more about social context, particularly as organic search results become personalised and more real-time, two trends well under sail at both the two big search companies, Google and Microsoft.

And this is the point in the evening where I was able to return to a drum I like to bang every opportunity I have, and that's the rise and rise of the Influence Professional, an individual extremely well versed in unpaid (earned) and paid media, creativity and analytics, on- and off-line. He knows how to design the right mix of the right influence approaches at the right time, whether that's SMS + outdoor, in-store + media relations, augmented reality + paid search, video + in-game advertising. He knows how to measure it too.

His boss? The Chief Influence Officer. She understands that the old differentiations and siloes of influence approaches are no longer fit for purpose and has irradicated them from her organisation and influence supply chain. She has socialised her entire organisation and sensitised it to its stakeholders in ways that make today's efforts seem simply clumsy.

But back to SEO!

No, in fact.  Instead I'll just direct you to a great write-up of the evening by our host, Stephen Waddington. He's a right little ponkey!


Now how can this post's SEO be improved? Whack it in there. Run that. Ah, that's a good idea. Tweak that phrase and get these two in there too. Lubbly jubbly. Job done.

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