Mailbag: PR Tips for Launching a New Website or Redesign

DesireTime for a PR Mailbag question! Paul asked: “Any PR tips for launching a new website or redesign?”

Great question, and absolutely! When launching a new website or redesign, one of the key considerations is being found by search engines. If it’s an existing website, you’ll want to preserve your existing search rankings as much as possible, so having your SEO team look at your site for the pages that are ranked highest or have the most traffic is vital. Make a list of those pages and store that somewhere easily referenced, like a spreadsheet. If it’s a new website, make a list of the pages you’ve optimized for search (example, we have our pages for our individual offices to take advantage of people looking for, say, a San Francisco PR agency)

Once you’ve decided what your SEO strategy is, you’ll want to craft a PR campaign that plays to those strengths. Earn media placements that reference your top pages or top search terms by reaching out (or having your PR agency reach out, nudge nudge) to highly ranked and influential blogs and media publishers as a part of the story you’re pitching. Note carefully that we’re not pitching the pages or keywords themselves! We’re pitching great, unique, attention-worthy stories to media outlets that just happen to reference a page or two on your website.

How? Sit down with that spreadsheet of your top pages and compare the content of the various pages to the top stories in the publications in your industry. For example, let’s say we were pitching various pages on the SHIFT website. We’d go to look at the public relations category on a popular site like MarketingProfs. What articles are appearing in MarketingProfs about public relations? Here’s a sample of the 5 most recent:

  1. NOOB Technique Demystifies Cloud Computing [Infographic]
  2. Uses for Vine, Tumblr, and Hashtags; Twitter Ads; Social Warfare; and More… The Week in Social Media #SocialSkim by Angela Natividad
  3. Five Complainer-Customer Personas and the Role of Social Media [Plus an Infographic] by Susan Marshall
  4. Social Media Tools Galore, a Vine Resume, the Burger King Hack… The Week in Social Media #SocialSkim by Angela Natividad
  5. The Benefits of Byline Authorship, and How to Do It Right by Cathy Caldeira

The next step would be to craft some stories that are in alignment with the coverage MarketingProfs is already doing, as shown by the stories above, and then pitch them to the various authors and the MarketingProfs editorial team. Assuming that the stories are good and worth publishing, we should see some success in getting them placed – and in the stories, ideally obtain links back to the key pages on the website.

You’ll notice that the processes for obtaining links in the SEO world and obtaining coverage in the PR world are virtually identical. SEO link-building is essentially a form of technical PR!

All of this happens in a much larger framework of a public relations campaign that mixes in social media, email marketing, more SEO (far beyond the scope of what we’ve discussed here), media relations, influencer outreach, etc. These starter tips, however, should give you some ideas for getting that new website or website redesign going.

Thanks for the great question, Paul!

Christopher S. Penn
Vice President, Marketing Technology


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