New Year, New Skill: SEO for the PR Traditionalist

PR traditionalists are critical to the betterment of this industry. Traditional PR generalists are profoundly skilled at learning the client’s needs, understanding the newsworthy aspects of those needs, and creating a story to present to the media and public.

On the flip side of that same coin, digital strategists in PR are crucial to innovation within this industry. Digital strategists tend to be the front-line technologists, who do much more than crunch numbers and track impressions. They research the algorithms generated by the traditionalists’ outreach and understand how to communicate those results back to clients in a cogent way.

In the not-so-distant future, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the generalist and digital strategist blend into a super PR pro—The Tradigitist! Super powers will include: proficiency across all traditional and digital PR disciplines, executing strategies that can be measured and reported—and the ability to create a hot cup of coffee out of thin air without logging out of social media (click to tweet).

For those generalists looking to get a head start on the requisite ability-blend necessary to thrive, understanding SEO is a great place to start. After all, the practice of optimizing visibility through earned methods is rooted in basic PR tenets.

Here are some proven schools of SEO thought that offer both classes and the cherished certification certificate (and we know you all love a certification to tote on your cork-board):

  1. Hubspot— This is a free SEO “crash course” that provides one class a week for three weeks. And did I mention it’s free.
  2. SkilledUp– Someone can either be completely self-guided or led by an instructor for $299 per month.
  3. MarketMotive— A comprehensive curriculum with nine different instructors all well-versed in UX, IA, SEO, and other acronyms for $399 (self-paced).
  4. Yoast SEO— Known as the “must-have” plug-in for all WordPress sites, Yoast takes its algorithms out of a walk and brings it to  you for $299.
  5. SEO Certification (dot) Org— DYK there is enough about SEO to fill 198 pages? Their training manual proves it. For as low as $89 to get an annual membership, you can read it.
  6. Online Marketing Institute— Certification here costs $859 over the span of six months and culminates with a full exam.
  7. Distilled— You know a company is good at SEO when it can offer classes for $297 annually and provides access to more than 130 hours of content.
  8. ClickMinded– This is another digital company that is so certain about its offerings, you get the first 35 minutes for free (followed by a kind request for $485 for the rest). HINT: It’s worth it.
  9. MOZ– The granddaddy of them all, and it’s free. Five lectures in less than an hour. The basics of SEO couldn’t be easier to learn.

Shawn Paul Wood is a managing supervisor for Ketchum’s Digital practice, responsible for integrating strategy for digital capital and social media.

Prior to Ketchum, he represented the full gamut of verticals from Hollywood A-list talent to Fortune 500 companies to dynamic start-ups looking to make a difference in its field. In a former life, Shawn was an award-winning on-air talent, producer, voice-over artist, and news director.

In his spare time, Shawn is a national blogger, published author, and speaker.