Move over Posh and Becks and make way for the new power couple – link building and digital PR.
For years now, Google has been able to detect patterns of unnatural and manipulative outbound links, eradicating old, ‘black-hat’, link building tactics such as participating in link schemes.
This has forced link builders to broaden their approach and look at techniques used by PR professionals to create newsworthy content and effective campaigns. Tactics that will naturally generate links and improve a client’s organic rankings, without the fear of incurring a penalty.
Digital PR is made up of a mixture of everything – from traditional PR (newspapers, radio and television) to link building and social media channels. Almost anything is possible. Because of this most SEO agencies now have an in-house PR team to help their clients develop and share a newsworthy story and create connections with their target audience.
Understanding Digital PR
Building natural links from high authority websites and publications is not an easy task, but it is achievable. Understanding Digital PR can help in this and when planning a new campaign it is important to think about how a PR Consultant would approach it.
Focus on Building Relationships
PR professionals look out for opportunities to help maximise their client’s brand and achieve exposure through big campaigns by focusing on making an emotional connection with the audience. Digital PR teams produce content, such as finding shocking or interesting statistics through conducting original surveys and research that will have an effect on the audience: they also work closely with journalists in order to gain natural links both online and in print.
The biggest difference between link building and PR is the element of working closely with journalists. In link building the relationship with the journalists and bloggers is secondary, the link is the goal and the aim is to get the client on as many different websites as possible. PR, however, is interested in the long term, the more journalists you are on friendly terms with the better your next campaign will go. Eventually you will be able to go straight to the journalists of big publications to get content placed, rather than mass outreach for a 10% response rate.
In the Moment Content
The key to creating an emotional connection, is providing content which is relevant to that moment in time and one recent example of this is when Receptional worked with BWML to announce the launch of their new floating homes. The client gave us the date of when their brand new product would be available and we informed the press the week before.#
The press release was featured online on Nottinghamshire Live, Derbyshire Live, Leicestershire Live and Boating Magazine Towpath Talk and was a huge success thanks to the information provided by the source (our client) and the inclusion of exclusive interviews with the Managing Director at BWML, giving the piece real authority.
By including expert advice, a piece of content gains credibility and makes it unique. This, along with original data, is guaranteed to make your content stand out and be picked up by the press. But how do you find an expert for a quote?
There are several tools available which provide contact information or allows you to send out your question. From ResponseSource, where you can send out your request or question to subscribers from across the UK, to HARO (Help A Reporter Out) designed to provide journalists with sources for upcoming stories, there are many knowledgeable people on hand to help you gain links within your clients’ niche.
If you don’t have access to ResponseSource, due to the subscription fee, you can always turn to Twitter. By using the hashtag #journorequest or #PRrequest your request is put in front of thousands of users of the social channel who follow those hashtags.
Provide Exclusivity and Originality to Win Big
It is imperative that you provide original and interesting content. Originality, and/or exclusivity, is the hook that will pique the interest of both publications and bloggers.
Original research and data won’t be offered as an exclusive but instead can be used within existing articles on the same topic, used to write new articles and used in infographics, all having to credit the source of the data, the client.
Exclusive content has a similar appeal to original data: offering a piece of content as an exclusive can make your pitch more appealing, plus it eliminates the chances of duplicate content which has negative SEO implications. The larger publications are more likely to ask for a piece of content as an exclusive in order to prevent their competition from including the same piece. So, by offering this in the first instance, the journalist is more likely to accept and feature the content.
Original Data in Action
Receptional recently worked with Tappable, developers of mobile applications, to run a survey to discover what millennials (aged 18-34) would be willing to give up in order to keep their mobile phones. The things on the line were senses, activities and necessities such as food.
The survey revealed the surprising lengths people would go to keep their phones, with 10% of those asked claiming to admit that they would be willing to lose a finger to keep their device.
Different angles were developed from these statistics, from which a series of press releases were written and sent out to national publications.
One of the releases was picked up by national paper The Mirror and was used on their website, which has an average daily online readership of 4,662,000 (across multiple devices), and a Trustflow of 80, Trustflow is a Majestic SEO metric which rates the trustworthiness of a website based on how trustworthy sites tend to link to trustworthy neighbours it is scored out of 100, giving the client excellent exposure.
Create a Good Campaign
Whether working in SEO or PR, the secret to creating a successful campaign is great content and relevancy. It is vital to produce something that is worthy of that all important link and so should be newsworthy, topical, have a powerful impact or, at the very least interesting, making it easy to outreach.
Here are some things to keep in mind when formulating a campaign/press release:
- Use existing data: if the research has already been done, and it can support your campaign or press release, utilise it! There is no need to spend time and money on another survey to reach the same conclusions
- Continue with offline marketing: because this will have no effect on search engine rankings but the enhanced brand exposure could increase website traffic
- Keep in contact with the press: keeping existing connections will help you when it comes to your next campaign
- Try different angles: if your first press release has fallen flat, it may not be the data, it may just be the angle. Try another round of press releases from a different angle and see if anyone bites the second time around
- Source quotes from notable people: it is all very well saying ‘the public believe this’ but what will give your campaign real impact is backing up these findings with comments from opinion leaders in your field, particularly if it is in a peculiar niche, there is an expert for everything!
Working together as a marketing team or directly with your client can be a fantastic way to create original content and by utilising what you already have will help your campaign ideas remain unique. At each stage of the process ask the most knowledgeable person for advice and don’t forget to talk to your colleagues – one of them may just be an expert in your chosen subject.
Additionally, why not ask the client? After all, they know their company better than anyone else and are an expert in their field. Their advice can also enhance your campaign. Promote them as the leaders in a specific industry, giving them not only coverage, but also showcasing them as experts in the subject.
Combining SEO and PR
The rules of SEO are changing, meaning that the work of link builders and digital PR consultants are becoming more closely aligned. Luckily, as one of the best small integrated agencies, we are primed and ready to help with your PR and SEO needs so get in touch with Receptional today to discuss the options available.