The Importance of Integrating SEO, SEM, PR, and Overall Brand Marketing Narrative

What is SEO, what is SEM, and what is PR? These terms can mean different things to different people. Here are the definitions according to Wikipedia:

  • SEO:Search engine optimization is the process of affecting the online visibility of a website or a web page in a web search engine’s unpaid results—often referred to as “natural”, “organic”, or “earned” results.
  • SEM:Search engine marketing is a form of Internet marketing that involves the promotion of websites by increasing their visibility in search engine results pages primarily through paid advertising.
  • PR:Public relations is the practice of managing the spread of information between an individual or an organization and the public. Public relations may include an organization or individual gaining exposure to their audiences using topics of public interest and news items that do not require direct payment.


Definitions are all well and good, but more importantly, why do each of these marketing channels matter? We think there are three big reasons:

  1. PR is often how people first hear about your brand, and first impressions matter.
  2. Google and other search engines are usually where people go next to learn more about your brand, and the SEO and SEM results will influence their next impression.
  3. When the PR article tells one story, branded search results tell another, and your landing page tells yet another, the consumer/customer is left confused.

When you properly integrate all three of these marketing channels, you create a virtuous cycle. People learn about your brand via PR from a news or medial outlet they already trust. Those users who research further get a consistent and connected brand narrative when they search your branded terms on popular search engines like Google and your brand surfaces at the top of the page in a positive light, and then the homepage connects with the article they read. An optimized conversion funnel and clear brand story will increase the conversion rates at each stage of this journey. You’ll also see a higher conversion velocity if your brand creates a “funnel” versus forcing potential customers to take a disconnected journey.

So, how do you achieve excellent, beneficial branding integration between those channels? There are some key steps to creating a well-rounded brand marketing narrative that is informative and engaging. First off, build out a clear marketing strategy, even if it is simple and plain vanilla. Second, ensure all team members are in sync with this strategy. Third, ensure it is written into the Objective Key Results (OKRs) for each person inside the organization (Marketing, Partnerships, Business Development, etc). If every OKR of every team member in marketing is correctly nested with the over marketing strategy you create an instant synergy. If leadership and managers actively engage with team members across functions then silos will decrease which will again increase synergies.

Lastly, interview your customers and listen. Just because you think you have a consistent message and story does not mean your customers feel the same way. Work hard to see the brand and journey through the eyes of your consumers and customers, not your own. When your team sees the brand through consumers eyes, winning is on the horizon.