Welcome to the home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Variance and general internet tinkerer. Most of my writing these days is happening over at Why is this interesting?, a daily email full of interesting stuff. This site has been around since 2004. Feel free to get in touch. Good places to get started are my Framework of the Day posts or my favorite books and podcasts. Get in touch.

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SEO is the New PR

This morning I had breakfast with Noah Glass of Mobo, a mobile payment service he started. He was telling me about some of the press they’ve gotten and said something that immediately sparked an idea in my head: The majority of articles where we’re mentioned came from journalists Googling for something like “mobile payment.”

Obviously this makes sense. Journalists are just like everyone else, they get their info from Google. But it’s a big deal for the PR industry, who need to figure out how to include search engine optimization (SEO) as part of their offerings. After all, what good is it to pitch a journalist with a story about fried ice cream only to find the other guy’s company is listed first in a Google search. (For the record I have no idea why that example came to mind.)

Anyhow, I need to think a lot more about this, but I wanted to throw the idea out there. I’m going to give it more thought, but would appreciate feedback. Eventually I’d like to turn this into a story for PR Week. I’m not sure whether the angle is that this is an opportunity or a danger for the PR industry. Is SEO something that PR agencies could take on? Does that make sense? If you work in either industry, do you ever work with each other?

At the end of the day the question to ask yourself is where you want to spend your money. If you’ve got $1,000, is it better to spend it optimizing your website or pitching stories? Obviously there can’t be a single answer to this, since it depends so much on the context and type of business, but it seems like a reasonable idea. I need to think some more about where in the life-cycle of a business this makes sense, though. Clearly in the case of a cutting-edge application like mobile payment, SEO for PR purposes is viable. But for something more static, a journalist is less likely to be searching so generally . . .

Anyhow, curious to hear everyone’s thoughts.

January 25, 2007