To build a successful company and foster positive business growth, public relations efforts related specifically to link building are crucial. In order to appear at higher positions in Google searches, your website needs to become authoritative in the eyes of Google, and one of the main contributors to that comes from the amount of credible and well-respected websites that link to your website. Through effective media outreach, you can significantly impact your keyword rankings and the overall success of your online presence.
When considering pitching for SEO purposes, many traditional PR tactics can be used to provide measurable SEO results, as well as additional new strategies geared specifically toward link building best practices. Throughout your outreach efforts it is paramount to remember that you need to be pitching people and placements that are relevant to your business, as relevancy is key both to users and to search engine algorithms. Using a combination of best practices will ensure that you are getting the most SEO value for your company.
Keep the Brand Image in Mind
When pitching a content or story to a potential source, your pitch should be relevant to their needs and tailored to the brand you are representing - remember, you’re trying to stir some buzz around your brand, and at times this can be difficult. You need to come up with a pitch that isn’t a stretch and that your client won’t get cut out of when the full content piece or story is produced. If you tailor the pitch closely to the needs of the website you are targeting, you keep as much control as possible when it comes to what pieces of content and brand mentions are used by an author.
Have a Hook
When crafting your pitch and sending it to editors and journalists, you need to have something that is going to spark their interest. Your pitch should have a solid focus that is timely and newsworthy, as old stories or stories that don’t relate to a reader's needs fail to receive much attention. No outlet is going to want to link to your site if they don’t have a good reason to, or don’t see the value in doing so. In order to make sure this value is clear, show how your content fills the needs of readers right away by using interesting subject lines and referring to previous content on their site that indicates what you're sending is a good fit for them.
Find the Correct Source
Research is imperative to the success of your pitch. You want to find the appropriate contacts at the appropriate outlet that attracts readers that are going to be interested in the content you are looking to have published. While media database programs such as Cision make this a little easier, there is still a great deal of manual research to be done. You want to make sure that you have contacts that are actively engaging users with their content and are writing about things specific to the subject you are pitching. Perhaps they covered a subject in the past that was related to your business and you can reference that as a further reason for them to consider your pitch. If your pitch is relevant to the topics they cover, they will be more likely to want to link to you in their article.
You Can Ask for a Link - Sometimes
If you have a relationship with the journalist that you are working with, it’s okay to mention in your pitch that you’d like a link to your site in their article. If the story is live already and they didn’t include it, you can kindly ask they consider adding it by explaining how it will help benefit their readers. If you have never worked with the reporter before, it’s best to try and build the relationship first before you specifically request a link. It’s better to receive a brand mention in an article without a link back and maintain your relationship with a journalist than to destroy any future opportunities by trying to force them to add a link when they don’t want to.
Follow up with the Journalist
You should never let an opportunity drop when you are pitching a story. Reporters are busy and more often than not, they won’t get back to you. Generally, in digital outreach, you want to give the journalist two days to get back to you before following up with them. Follow-up emails shouldn't be too pushy, but should make it clear that if they don't want your content you don't want it go to waste. A great way to address this is to point out that the content is unique, and that you want to make sure that they are going to use it before you reach out to other sources and cause potential duplicate content issues. Whether in traditional PR or link building, you want meaningful content that has a genuine reason to link to your page. It will take time and persistence, but good placements can be achieved even if you don't get an immediate response.
Pitching Images as Sources
Infographics are a great way to collect credible links for valuable information you have to offer. For traditional link building, you can try to find a connection to a past article, and offer an infographic as a source to help enhance its credibility. Based on the information that you have, you can improve an article recently written by a reporter covering industry-related topics. Another great option is to use infographics in press releases, so they are seen by reporters who may need image content for a related post they're writing.
Personalize Your Pitches
You don’t want to send something out blindly to reporters. If it doesn’t fit their beat, they simply aren’t going to take your story and you could make it more difficult for the journalist to take any future pitches from you as seriously. All of your pitches should be personalized to that particular journalist. You can send out 100 pitches in two hours, but you aren’t going to get many responses unless each pitch is truly tailored to who you’re trying to reach – and that can take time, but it is worth it. Each pitch should ideally be well crafted enough to convince them that not only is what you're pitching to them currently a useful piece of content, but that if they ever have need of an industry expert for a future article that you are the person they should be contacting.
Press Releases Still Have Value
When it comes to releases and link building, you have to be careful. Some reporters prefer getting content from a release because it reduces back-and-forth conversations. However, you really should not have links in your releases that are marked as followed back to your site. If you do, this can negatively impact your SEO if websites repost your releases with followed links in them - however, this doesn’t mean press releases don’t have value. It helps circulate the message about your company, and helps to build your brand presence. It should not be the focus of any link building campaign though, because it goes against SEO best practices and can actual lead to your website getting dropped from search engine results altogether.
Use Social Media to Your Advantage
Bloggers or other influential leaders in your industry are a great way to spread news about your brand. A link from a social media mention will not carry over to your SEO, but will still drive general traffic. Ultimately, this will help your overall SEO by getting your content in front of more people who may eventually write about your article and link back to it. Social platforms are also a great way to contact reporters instantaneously. While e-mail and phone conversations can sometimes slow down the pitching process, many reporters are more than willing to squeeze in a few seconds to tweet you back. Overall, social media can help get the message you want across to the right people on platforms where they are easily accessible.
Building relationships with media outlets takes time, and it is vital to the success of both your traditional PR and link building campaigns to do. At the end of the day, the media is a fast moving industry that is constantly changing. There's no hard or fast way to guarantee coverage and links for your client, so the key really is to be as creative and persistent as possible.
How have you used PR to strengthen your online brand's SEO? Let us know in the comments section below.