3 PR & SEO Funnel Strategies to Boost Your Conversion Rates

  • July 9, 2024
  • SEO
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Aligning your content with media coverage can drive high conversion rates because it influences search behavior and creates a funnel from media to search and ultimately through to your website.

In my experience, coupling SEO and content marketing with a digital PR strategy optimizes these funnels, resulting in the best conversion rates and attracting the most qualified leads.

Are SEO and content marketing part of your marketing mix but not delivering the desired results? Are you experiencing low conversion rates? Is your SEO program falling short of achieving business goals or even basic conversions?

If any of these issues sound familiar, the following three optimization strategies can transform the trajectory of your entire program by creating a synergistic PR & SEO funnel.

Article Overview:

  • Integrated Digital PR and SEO: Combining digital PR with SEO sharply boosts conversion rates by ensuring consistent messaging across platforms, guiding customers from media exposure all the way through to website engagement and conversion.
  • Funnel Optimization Strategies: This article outlines three methods to enhance SEO through content:
    1. Branded reports that attract media coverage and drive web traffic.
    2. Guides in new market categories to dominate search rankings and establish market leadership.
    3. Feature articles that trigger brand searches and optimize homepage messaging to convert traffic.
  • Success Case Studies: Highlighting examples such as HubSpot’s annual marketing report and Drift’s conversational marketing platform. These cases show how targeted content and strategic media coverage can significantly boost traffic and conversions. Additional insights include Sweetgreen’s strategic use of media stories to optimize brand search funnels through homepage updates.

Before diving into the case studies, it’s important to understand why and how digital PR and SEO work effectively together.

Why Create A PR & SEO Funnel

According to Marq’s Brand Consistency Report, 68% of businesses noted that brand message consistency contributed to a revenue increase of 10% to 20% or more.

Image created by author, May 2024

Optimizing content for digital PR fosters consistent messaging, effectively guiding your audience from media outlets, through search engines, and on to specific web pages, culminating in conversion.

At the top of the funnel, media generates demand and interest in a topic or concept.

For instance, producing an industry trend report that highlights a significant opportunity or pain point can attract media attention. Media outlets thrive on data, so these reports often gain coverage.

Such media exposure drives searches for keywords that your website controls, whether those are specific to your company, product brand name, a new concept, or general keywords you dominate.

Keywords you own yield significantly higher click-through rates (CTR) than generic keywords.

For brand-related keywords, a site can achieve up to a 60% CTR. Those searching for these keywords are generally more inclined to submit an email for a document or make contact.

Organic CTR for Branded Keywords or Homepages
Image from Backlinko, May 2024

Rather than just telling you how to optimize content for these funnels, let’s explore some real examples. Here are three ways to optimize content that will transform your approach to SEO:

1. Branded Reports for Data Shares

Create a funnel using your data by optimizing the report’s name and leveraging it in a digital PR data campaign.

This strategy creates a funnel from media engagement through search engines to website conversions by owning your “state of industry” report or crafting a study with a distinct brand name.

The audience typically encounters the report in media, on blogs, or hears it mentioned on podcasts, prompting them to search for it on Google or click on the report link.

HubSpot and Conductor are notable examples of companies that have successfully implemented these types of reports.

HubSpot’s State Of Marketing

Every year, HubSpot publishes a “State of Marketing” report, which garners a significant number of links and brand mentions.

The report covers diverse topics and trends impacting marketers’ decisions, from AI application to identifying social media channels with the best ROI.

hubspot state of marketing
Screenshot by author, May 2024

According to Semrush, the report URL has garnered links from 7,400 referring domains. A simple Google search using the search operator “hubspot” and “state of marketing” -hubspot.com reveals numerous brand mentions tied to the report.

Such brand mentions drive the audience to search for the report on Google, leading to a straightforward yet effective funnel.

hubspot state of marketing google search
Screenshot by author, May 2024

Conductor’s State Of SEO

Conductor, an enterprise SEO software provider, releases a “State of SEO” report, surveying over 400 digital marketing, SEO, and content marketing experts to deliver actionable insights.

conductor state of seo report
Screenshot by author, May 2024

Conductor’s report earned a direct link and brand mention on entrepreneur.com, sparking click-throughs and brand searches.

conductor report mention
Screenshot by author May 2024

Branded studies are one of my favorite funnels as they allow reports to be named and targeted to specific personas or audience segments.

2. Guides In A New Category

This approach to integrated digital PR & SEO is particularly powerful because it can render competition irrelevant.

“Category design” involves creating and leading a new market category or strategy, supported by foundational training content to help your audience understand and capitalize on your approach.

The foundational content should rank well for the new category name, while digital PR efforts generate interest and demand for the category.

Drift is a striking example of this strategy’s success.

Conversational Marketing By Drift

I often reference Drift’s example when discussing category design in strategy sessions.

Although essentially a chatbot, Drift is marketed as a “conversational marketing” platform that customizes chat experiences based on the buyer’s journey stage and qualifies leads.

By creating the “conversational marketing” category, Drift positioned itself as a market leader in this space, as showcased in their main navigation.

drift homepage conversational marketing
Screenshot by author, May 2024

Founded in 2015, Drift promptly started developing the “conversational marketing” category. A few years later, the term began trending on Google.

conversational marketing in google trends
Screenshot from Google Trends, May 2024

Today, Drift continues to maintain a strong search ranking for the term “conversational marketing,” primarily through their guide titled “What is Conversational Marketing.”

The launch was so successful that even HubSpot followed suit, creating a beginner’s guide that ranks just below Drift’s content.

conversational marketing google serp
Screenshot from search for [conversational marketing], May 2024

If you’re developing a new category or aiming to drive brand search, consider creating customer story funnels.

3. Homepage For Feature Articles

Feature articles can drive spikes in brand searches, and optimizing homepage messaging can further move the audience down the funnel to take action on your website.

Sweetgreen, a fast-casual restaurant chain specializing in salads, serves as a prime illustration.

In early May, the New York Times and other publications featured articles about Sweetgreen adding steak to its menu. The narrative examined how Sweetgreen’s mission to become carbon-neutral by 2027 seemed at odds with the meat industry’s significant carbon production.

sweetgreen nyt article
Screenshot by author, May 2024

These articles led to a 36% spike in searches for Sweetgreen around May 7th, as shown by Google Trends.

google trends for sweetgreens percent change
Screenshot from Google Trends, May 2024

When an audience searches for a brand name, they will typically land on the homepage. Have you ever noticed a spike in traffic and higher conversions from the homepage? This increase is often driven by brand search.

Sweetgreen updated its homepage banner to prominently feature steak, creating a cohesive messaging funnel for the audience, encouraging conversions or enhancing brand recall of the new steak option.

sweetgreen homepage with steak
Screenshot by author, May 2024

Securing feature articles that align with your homepage messaging creates a powerful funnel, driving traffic to your site as audiences search for your brand online.

Start Optimizing

Integrating digital PR with SEO can revolutionize content marketing strategies by enhancing visibility, increasing traffic, and boosting conversion rates.

By aligning content with media coverage—through branded reports, innovative category guides, and strategically placed feature articles—a website can significantly influence audience behavior.

These case studies showcase the potential of such strategies to capture attention and drive meaningful engagement and growth.

More resources:


Featured Image: TarikVision/Shutterstock

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