How to do Digital PR & Link Building
In today’s world, a company’s image is everything – all it takes is one bad review to shatter your brand’s image (consumers are not very forgiving these days). Online research is now the starting point for more purchases than ever; so, what can you do to drive authority for your website? Link building and digital PR and both key SEO strategies but you need to understand what they are. And what they are not.
What is Digital PR Strategy?
Using PR strategies to acquire backlinks to aid your SEO strategy is the core of digital PR. It started when SEO experts began to take strategies that PR professionals had been using for years in the digital sphere and adapting them for their purposes. It’s all about creating clickable content that gives other websites a reason to link your content to their pages. When other websites talk about your business and link to your content, it not only promotes your business, but it also gives you more authority online.
To entice relevant journalists and newspapers to write about your material and link to it, you must produce linkable assets. To succeed in online PR, you must have compelling stories that editors want to publish, and they must contain links to other interesting materials, as this enhances an article’s editorial value. Another approach to creating an interesting piece of content is to produce data-driven investigative articles that display data in the form of infographics, for example.
Digital PR also involves showcasing your brand’s history – anyone that will want to work with you will want to know about your origins and experience. These days, before buying anything, people research the business they are about to work with. In an age where saying the wrong thing can lead to “cancellation”, it’s important to maintain a pristine reputation for your brand and everyone associated with it.
Keep in mind that with PR you need to write what the reader cares about, not what you care about. Your new employee, your record breaking sales or your shiny new office may be hugely exciting internally but the chances are that no journalist or reader is going to care. Unless, that is, you can fit your story into something that is interesting. Something newsworthy, trending, based on interesting research or just downright entertaining. Challenge yourself with this for every bit of PR you produce – do not fall into the common trap of thinking that just because you care passionately about something, everyone else will.
Links and mentions from third-party websites are persuasive and make your website more authoritative. Look into guest posting or guest blogging as a way to enhance your link building efforts as well.
How to put together a Link Building Strategy
Now that we’ve had an overview of what digital PR involves, let’s get into some more concrete tips.
1. Linkable Assets
Linkable assets are all about creating content that has value – the type of content that everyone would use for reference. First and foremost, it should not be promotional (a promotional paragraph or two at the end is alright, but don’t write a 1500-word article boasting about your business). Don’t just scratch the surface of the topic either. Instead, discuss it in depth, as long form content is more useful for link building purposes. Another factor to consider here is writing content that is evergreen. While current events are important, do maintain a balance with articles that will remain relevant forever and as a general rule, try to stay out of politics as much as possible.
To build authority online, you have to position yourself as an expert in the field. While being relatable is seen in a positive way these days, you cannot establish authority by projecting yourself in an unprofessional manner. You have to remind your target audience that the person they are following is a specialist who will not only understand their problem but also help them solve it. You have to be direct, and confident. Begin by showcasing your experience and case studies on your website, and link to them in your day-to-day articles.
3. Industry Experts
I’ve talked about how building authority is extremely important. You can gain more authority by being part of online and offline conferences. You can even organise them yourself. A networking event like this will educate people and bring a lot of traffic to your website. You could also look into cold calling businesses for speaking in marketing seminars, summits, and conferences. You would most likely have to submit a proposal but on acceptance, you will open the door to a lot of opportunities. An good example is TEDx – people approach them to talk about their product/idea through them, which gives them exposure to a bigger audience. These events are not about competition, but an opportunity for you to collaborate with other experts in your industry. Big media publications look for expert reviews and opinions in various industries, so position yourself in a manner that fulfils their needs.
In an ideal world, you would post an article and journalists would come running to you and write endlessly about your business. However, we live in a very competitive world and to win the race you have to make yourself seen. To make journalists’ jobs easier, reach out to them with your best pieces of content rather than waiting for them to discover you. This is where it is important to use tactics from traditional PR. To increase the reach of your strategy, you have to invest in targeted outreach.
5. Media Lists
Media lists can be a game changer. You need to build a comprehensive list of journalists, media houses, and businesses that you reach out to on a regular basis to share useful content. Now, don’t go reaching out to them with your weekly blogs, but do notify them of any books or research that you are publishing, as well as news about events, awards that you win, and other monumental, noteworthy occurrences.
6. Anchor Text
Anchor text is the visible, clickable text that your link is embedded within. Google bots will not understand what the content on a link is about if you do not use anchor text properly. In order to determine what your pages may be about, search engines analyse external anchor text, which is the content that other pages use to link to your site. Google says, “make sure that the anchor text you use within your own site is useful, descriptive, and relevant.”
7. Get Them Talking
You need to give people a reason to talk about your business. Be a little scandalous and do something with your strategy that has never been done before. Marketers are always under pressure to do something different and sadly, there is no escape from it. Collaborate with your creative team on this and prepare yourself to take a risk. Think of creative campaigns that can help you stand out – for example, you can use art in many ways to make a lasting impression. Emotive videos that communicate an important message are another option. Talk about something that nobody likes to acknowledge in your industry and try to look at things from various perspectives.
8. Original Data Driven Research
One of the best ways to make your content stands out is doing original research in your industry. Statistics are widely used in blogs to demonstrate authority, and conducting your own research gives reporters and other media outlets a source to cite on their website. If you don’t have the time for research, you can employ people from freelance websites to do the work for you. It all comes down to making unique content that contributes something new to your field.
There is a lot more to link building than we cover in this article and for a free SEO audit and proposal to deliver significant organic search growth you can contact my strategic marketing agency here.
Cry Babies Discount with JetBlue
Babies have a bad reputation on flights, screaming and ruining everyone’s peace. Some people tolerate them with a smile while others sulk, which inevitably makes parents feel guilty. Therefore, on Mother’s Day, JetBlue Airways came up with an interesting proposition. Every time a baby cried, the aircrew made the announcement, “This will be the very first flight where crying babies is a good thing. Every time a baby on this plane cries, you will receive 25% off your next JetBlue flight.” This was an attempt to empathise with parents who struggle while travelling with babies. This was a smart move on the company’s part as it made the internet go wild with sources reporting it as “news”. The story was even featured on Good Morning America.
This smart marketing idea generated great PR as it got everyone talking about them and established them as a company that cares. This is exactly what PR is about – creating stories that people want to read and will talk about. However, when conducting PR in the digital world, it doesn’t end here – marketers have to keep looking at how the story affects the business’ online reputation, SEO, and link building efforts.
Digital PR is not only about online tactics. It’s a mixture of traditional PR and strategies related to Search Engine Optimisation. Building links and enhancing your SEO requires the use of online PR and marketing strategies, and vice versa. Through these practises, you can build a sizable network of media contacts, so it’s absolutely worthwhile. It can help you improve brand awareness, and it’s scalable – you just need one big media publication to talk about you and the rest will follow.
So get started on generating links through your online PR initiatives! And if you need help, you know where I am.