Owning the AI & SEO Discourse Through PR

April 12, 2024 BG&A Staff
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NASA’s first artist-in-residence, Laurie Anderson, once remarked, “Technology is the campfire around which we tell our stories.” While impactful stories are more meaningful than ever, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is reshaping our fires and news narratives, creating smarter algorithms and searches, easier ways to rapidly produce and publish content, and an overall shift in how information is curated.


To some, this change spells a grim financial outlook and a call to adapt for a now decades-old $68 billion search engine optimization (SEO) industry, which optimizes websites, key words and ad spends to get noticed earlier by Google and other search engines.


But for PR, which favors earned content placement and genuine, newsworthy information, this change is a positive, opening a new world of online visibility.


Why Traditional SEO Is Being Disrupted and PR Will Thrive


The idea of “Googling something” is evolving to make information delivery faster and more useful. Instead of searching for large volumes of keywords and simply presenting webpage links, AI is enabling search engines to rapidly analyze volumes of data to generate original responses and more nuanced suggestions. For instance, when people type in queries, AI can help Google, Bing, Yahoo and others generate personalized descriptions of complex subjects, highly tailored lists of local relevant services, or real-time predictions and advice based on current events.


In this context, AI will scour the web for information to learn from. To become noticed, brands will have to influence what the algorithms say when questioned about their company, industry and service areas.


For marketing professionals, this shift offers both challenges and opportunities. On one hand, the traditional SEO strategies of keyword stuffing and link farming are becoming obsolete, as AI-driven search engines can penalize such tactics in favor of high-quality, relevant content.


On the other hand, this evolution favors PR strategies focused on creating meaningful and engaging content that resonates with target audiences. This is especially true for positive third-party earned media, such as features or articles in news outlets, blogs and other key sources of information.


Using AI to Control the AI Narrative


By leveraging connections and creative storytelling, PR professionals can foster a company’s relationships with journalists, influencers and content creators who have the power to amplify a message. The content these third parties create will not only reach their vast readerships but could become a cornerstone of industry knowledge for AI when it gets asked questions and generates written answers.


Even better, high-quality backlinks to your site in reputable news outlets will become increasingly valuable for SEO as AI becomes more adept at identifying and promoting high-quality content that isn’t spam. These links will signal to the AI algorithms powering search engines that the content is a reputable source of information, thereby improving visibility and driving more organic traffic.


PR can also tap into AI’s growing tendency to generate content and suggestions related to trending news and topics. One way to do this is by building a roadmap of conferences, messages and news announcements that align with key industry trade shows, current events and seasonal trends. This proactive approach lays the groundwork for heightened visibility; however, there exists an additional step many companies can benefit from.


Newsjacking is a PR and marketing strategy where brands can leverage their expertise to comment or add context to current events or trending news stories. If done correctly, this can provide valuable info for reporters and AI alike, while drawing attention to your brand and messaging.


Skilled newsjacking will be more effective than ever to ensure brand contributions are timely, relevant, and add genuine value to the ongoing discourse.


Navigate the Future of Online Visibility with a Comprehensive Digital Strategy


To become noticed beyond personal connections, brands will have to do much more than cramming keywords into blog posts and meta tags.


Over time and with countless adaptations along the way, they’ll need a steady stream of positive media placements that perfectly aligns with the owned media and content on their websites. This will enable AI, search engines and the world to take notice.

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