Posted on: July 20, 2021
In the attention economy, we are all competing for attention. According to economist Herbert Simon, attention is a scarce resource with immense value, not unlike food, water or oil. And the value of attention has only grown due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with online interaction becoming the norm for many.
“Good” PR means competing with others for the attention of a given audience, attracting people’s eyeballs and clicks. Whether your target audience is a local city council or the millennial generation at large, you want your audience to find you.
This goes hand in hand with your personal brand. In a sense, your personal brand is how you are found by others. It is your personal promise of value, based on identifying your superpower(s) and sharing what makes you unique with the outside world. Curating a strong personal brand is like being a magnet — it attracts people who belong in your life and repels those who do not.
In a more applicable sense, your personal brand is how you “show up.” While that means promoting yourself, it also means finding ways for others to promote you, such as a news story or a TV interview. You will come across as more credible if others — rather than just you — extol your virtues. In the eyes of your target audience and the general public, third-party validation (e.g., a media mention) comes with authority, credibility and legitimacy.
Now, ask yourself: Where do you want to project authority, credibility and legitimacy? In today’s day and age, your online presence is perhaps your most important asset. And in the attention economy, Google is the foundation for everything else. Before they meet you in-person (with masks and socially distanced, of course), people will likely search for you on Google to learn more about you. And they can learn a lot about you through Google search — from your personal upbringing to educational background and political views.
This makes it all the more important to control your presence in Google Search as much as possible. By curating your personal brand with the right online content, you will show up for the right reasons — for what you want to be known for.
So, how do you control content to curate the right brand? One of the most effective ways is to secure the right forms of media coverage — this expands your Google “searchability” with content that is not your own, but rather comes from news outlets and other websites. While your own website is important, search out websites with high domain authority (DA), which Google tends to value and promote on its search engine on the first, second and third pages.
DA is a metric created by the SEO company Moz that helps people understand where their websites may rank on search engine result pages (SERPs). It is essentially a ranking score that predicts how likely a website is to rank on SERPs. In the context of PR, maximizing DA comes down to attracting the right kind of media. It isn’t necessarily about targeting millions of websites, but rather creating a pitch that can be highly relevant to a smaller, best-of-the-best target audience. Increasing media outreach efficacy means customizing your pitches to be well-suited to varying DA levels, fitting the needs of target publishers that can boost your Google presence.
For instance, a business story on the Wall Street Journal‘s website or on MarketWatch carries more weight for Google than a mention on a low-traffic blog. Even one feature story in a local newspaper, such as my hometown Portland Press Herald, may be more valuable than half a dozen radio or podcast interviews with limited reach. When it comes to Google search, quality typically beats quantity.
Of course, your own content still matters, media pitching aside. Take social media: Last time I checked, LinkedIn had a domain authority of 99 (out of 100), which means that you should update your LinkedIn page regularly with new, engaging content. By supplementing media mentions with regularly updated social media platforms, you can ensure that the right content is reaching the right people. And in the process, your overall DA will likely rise.
In today’s economy of attention seekers and finders, good PR means a strong domain authority. Strengthen your DA, and you will be found over and over again.
This article originally appeared on the Forbes Agency Council CommunityVoice in April 2021.