Chapter 7: PR Meets PPC

Say What?

We know that PR & PPC sounds like a mouthful of letters, but this combination is a winning team for controlling brand reputation and getting attention. If you read Chapter 3, you know that PPC stands for Pay Per Click, and is a type of advertisement that shows up most often on search engine result pages (SERPs). Every time a user clicks on your PPC ad, you pay a small fee.

Yet what could PPC have to do with PR? Surprisingly, it’s one of the most valuable tools in an online publicist’s arsenal, for two main reasons.

PPC1. PPC Gets You Seen Above Rest

On a SERP, there are all of the organic results, which show up according to the algorithms’ rankings. And then there are the PPC listings. These show up at the top of the page, or to the side, clearly singled out from the organic listings. They’re more likely to be seen first by search engine users, and therefore highly attractive for clicking.
When it comes to PR, this perk of PPC can help place links to your press releases, campaigns, and marketing content right in front of those who are searching for related material. If a user types one of your chosen keywords into Google, your PPC ad will be featured on the results page. This will help your PR campaigns gain traction from the search engines, which can be immensely valuable in your mission to get it seen by as many eyes as possible.

2. PPC Does Damage Control

Even when you uphold our PR golden rule (not being a jerk), PR disasters can still happen. Perhaps the complaint of an irate customer goes viral, or someone on your team didn’t exercise the best judgement when they chose to wear a slightly-too-edgy ironic t-shirt on casual Friday. Whatever the case, you’ve got some cleaning up to do.
In the event that your business does get some bad press, PPC can help to soften the blow. Unfortunately, bad press has a way of multiplying. That’s because everyone enjoys a juicy story, and the internet makes those extremely easy to spread. Thanks to this fact, pieces that may not shine the best light on your business can wind up high in search engine rankings. When the rants and complaints are crowding the search engine results, PPC ad placements can bePay Per Click Concept Illustration even more useful than usual.

Because PPC ads show up more prominently than organic results, they can draw attention away from the toxic links. Wouldn’t you prefer it if those who were Googling your company name saw a link to your own positive content, rather than the negativity of others? Of course! PPC gives you the chance to get ahead of the bad, so take advantage of it. You can even use PPC to advertise a public statement in which you address the controversy and let the people know that you aren’t the bad guy.

This effect won’t only last when the PPC ad is active. If your PPC ad performed well, it will have helped to improve the search engine rankings of your positive content, thus placing it back on top of the undesirable links. Once more, people will be given results that reflect well on your business when they use Google.

Pushing in the Right Direction

The above strategy sounds great, but how do you implement it effectively? The key is in the keywords. By choosing the right keywords and keyphrases, you can target your PPC ads to beat the bullies. Here are the following negative search terms to bid on in your PPC campaign:

  • “(Your Company Name) sucks”
  • “(Your Company Name) is a scam”
  • “(Your Company Name) is a rip off”

Of course, any other keywords specific to the nature of your unique controversy are ideal targets as well. Picking out these terms for PPC will enable your damage control content to show up whenever someone Googles something bad about your company. It’s your opportunity to show them that the bad press isn’t true, to change their minds and get them back on your side.