Using PR in your SEO strategy
Personally, I find Search Engine Optimisation, one of the most fascinating topics in digital marketing – quite simply because our go-to search engine Google holds all the cards.
However, SEO shouldn’t be the only area in which you invest your marketing budget. PPC, email marketing and social media are some examples as is PR.
Content is king when it comes to SEO
One of the big focus points for a good SEO strategy is the links coming into your website – GOOD, quality backlinks from high authority sites. However, it is increasingly difficult to get these kinds of links. There is also scepticism around link building – when Google released its Penguin update in 2012, the landscape changed for many businesses who had been using ‘bad’ link building strategies and therefore link building is not always front of mind for online businesses – but it should be, when it’s done in the right way.
Writing great content, that adds value is of course one the best ways to get links – it’s organic. There are many ways to create linkable content, here are some examples:
- Use Stats – create content based on facts and numbers and you’ve got something that is shareable and with that it’s obviously important to cite the source. This doesn’t mean you have to conduct expensive in-depth studies to create new data, you can simply use information that’s already out there.
Search Engine Journal gives a great example of the travel sector using pricing pages to create linkable content. The Price of Travel breaks down the costs of a variety of cities and has a range of domains linking to it.
- Create a study – research is fantastic especially when it’s a topic that’s not been done before. One of the best example of this that I’ve worked in Upbeat Drinks. In 2015, they launched their ‘Willpower in a Bottle’ campaign and gained a lot exposure as well as national coverage for their research. I’ve included a couple of links below. They’ve since rebranded and changed direction but it’s important to note that through brand new research, they were able to create a great story that was ‘new’.
- Create tools and resources – The Ideal Teacher is a great example of this. She is continuously producing resources for teachers to use and that makes her very ‘linkable’. She’s helping to make the lives of teachers easier and in the process creating very shareable content. This is just one recent example of a German lesson that she created with free downloads. This type of content is perceived as really valuable.
PR is just as important when it comes to SEO
Having a recognisable brand is becoming more and more important in the SERPs and getting featured on powerful third-party sites goes a long way to cementing you as a trusted brand.
If your brand name is getting mentioned in lots of different places, be that social media, news websites or elsewhere on the web, there is no doubt that Google will go a step closer to trusting you and ranking you better.
One thing that is really important though especially if you are a lesser known brand is to ensure that you shout about any coverage that you get – if you’ve been featured on sites like Forbes, CNN, The Independant and so on then that is real recognition there. Consumers see news outlets as trust worthy sources and so it’s important to show that those trustworthy sources recognise you too.
Use the right people to turbo charge your PR strategy
Many people make the mistake of thinking PR coverage in national press is easy. It’s not. You need to have well thought out campaigns that are worth talking about – you need to be seen to be adding value or bringing something new to the table.
Having the right contacts and getting stories to them in a timely manner is also really important . You may have heard the term ‘sell in’, ultimately with any campaign story, you need to sell it to the right person at the right time.
I personally believe that PR should be done by PR experts. I either would advocate contracting in a specialist into your team who knows how the PR world works, has a roster of contacts and is not afraid to call someone up to push your story OR alternatively, I would suggest that you bring in a PR agency (with clear KPIs and targets to hit). They do this day in, day out and therefore they are the right people for the job. They are probably going to get you a lot more links that you would have done yourself and they hopefully with advise and often produce the campaigns that are going to get you the most coverage.
Brands that employ a rigorous press office outreach programme with continuous new stories, product releases and campaigns are often the ones who generate continuous links to their brand site.
Other ways to get PR coverage
Sometimes it isn’t always possible to work with an agency and so you need to use the resources at your disposal as best as you can.
- #JournoRequest on Twitter is a great place to start as journalists will be continually putting requests out for stories.
- Partner with a charity – but I advise that you do this for the right reasons and because it’s something that you want to do as a business, not just for the PR coverage it will bring. Make sure that you align to their values and vice versa.
- Reviews – send products for review to journalists, this is a great way to be featured in gift guides and product list. Women’s Health is often pulling together ‘shopper’ lists and so this is a simple and easy way to get coverage.
- Get Quoted – Help a Reporter Out (HARO) is a great way to keep your eye out for these opportunities, as is Twitter with the hashtags highlighted above.
- Real life stories – that can either be your story as a business or a consumer story. GiftsOnline4U.com for example recently had a narrow escape from a neighbouring fire and if it wasn’t for the amazing fire and rescue service, they would have lost their business. Here’s a local news piece that covered the story: https://www.lincolnshirelive.co.uk/news/local-news/spalding-fire-west-pinchbeck-lincolnshire-4035193
PR is a great way to get links but remember any successful PR strategy involves telling the right story and having a good campaign. Work hard at this and you’ll go far!