Forget using separate approaches for SEO and PR. For a successful campaign that delivers maximum coverage with added SEO benefits, you need an integrated approach from the start.
PR coverage is essential for building brand awareness, but it can also support the type of quality link building that is essential to SEO, while bringing additional traffic to your site.
Google likes websites that publish new content regularly, but recent research from Backlinko* discovered that 93% of B2B content receives zero external links, while only 3% receives links from multiple websites. Overall, only 6% of the content in its research sample of 912 million blog posts sample had at least one external link.
An integrated SEO and PR strategy can increase the number of links to your content, giving you maximum return from your marketing budget.
Links are useful for driving traffic to your website, but quality links are also one of the most important Google ranking factors.
Websites with a large number of high-quality links are viewed by Google as more relevant, more authoritative and more important, and as a result have a higher domain authority – the search engine ranking score that predicts how well a website will rank on search engine result pages.
Media outlets generally have well-established websites with a good domain authority, regularly updated content, steady traffic and a high number of quality backlinks, making them a prime target for B2B link building.
However, as many media outlets have streamlined their linking policies, you’ll need to work harder for those all-important links.
B2C campaigns usually stand a better chance of building links, particularly when they’re product focused, giving a natural reason for the journalist to include a link back to the product.
When dealing with B2B campaigns, the art of link building becomes much more difficult, unless you create a need for the coverage to link back to your website.
Here are our key pointers for creating a link-worthy content and PR campaign.
Know your audience
Research the audience and the media they consume. This will inform the ideas and stories that are likely appeal to the right journalists and get your brand into your target media outlets.
Check out our post on building a media list for help on getting started.
Not all links are equal. Ditch the ‘post and pray’ method of distribution to a wide variety of outlets for a slimmed down media list. You want outlets that are relevant to your topic, specifically ones that will drive traffic to your website.
Look at the sites you want to target and consider how your story would fit. Has the journalist covered this topic previously? Research previous news articles and features they have worked on, this will come in handy for your pitch later.
Link-worthy campaigns start with great ideas that bridge content and PR.
Ideas that generate good PR coverage won’t necessarily earn you links. For example, sales success/growth stories or new appointments may earn you some nice coverage in local and trade media, but they’re unlikely to feature a link back to your website.
Remember: we need to create a reason for the link to exist.
Knowing your audience and target media outlets will help you develop ideas that are fresh and absent from recent coverage. Research competitor campaigns aimed at a similar audience, so you can see what has worked previously and to ensure you don’t replicate what has been done previously.
If you need some inspiration have a look at Buzzsumo’s B2B Content Analysis** of over 50,000 articles, which looks at the best performing types of content for links and shares.
Create an anchor
Use your idea to create a strong content anchor for your website. This should be an in-depth piece of content that provides unique insight or original data, requiring the need for a journalist to link to the source of the information, which can be a landing page or a blog post.
Conducting a survey will enable you to create original statistics around your chosen topic. It could ask about skills shortages within your industry, investments in people or equipment or concerns about the industry’s future. Make sure your questions will uncover new information or a new angle not previously covered. A survey can be conducted using a Survey Monkey poll sent out to your own email database or by using a specialist service like Pollfish, which enables you to access specific audience demographics.
Do you have industry data, insight or knowledge that enables you to produce a whitepaper? Presenting an industry problem with suggested solutions makes useful content that can be outreached to journalists to provoke discussion within your sector. Approach industry specific media about an opinion piece, linking back to the full source.
Advice from thought leaders and industry experts can be compiled into a step by step guide. This in-depth advice could be legal advice for start-ups, applying for loans or grants, or creating a productive workspace. Approaching additional sources within the industry for original comments and advice can help earn additional links, as businesses and thought leaders are likely to link to your content from their own sites.
Present useful statistics in an attractive and easily readable format. These could be findings from a survey or piece of research. This encourages links back to the source of the information, but also enables the information to be easily shared on other websites, earning a link to your site to credit the source.
Look for an angle
Use key pieces of your content to create your press release. Has your survey generated some surprising results? Does your whitepaper offer insights into the future of your industry? Or does your guide reveal some unknown secret to success?
Look for the new or unusual to highlight in your story, but don’t use all the information you’ve collected. Choose key snippets and use your press release to encourage links back to the full story, whether that’s results of your survey, a whitepaper or your in-depth guide.
For more tips on writing a press release, take a look at our helpful blog post.
Build those links
Issue your press release to your media list, but instead of sending a generic email to a media list of hundreds, keep it personal. You want to build relationships with journalists. The aim is for them to see you as a valuable source of information, so that you can work together on stories in the future.
Use your initial email to outline the key points of the story, whether that is a surprising statistic you discovered about the industry or how your research fits with the topics they cover. This is where your research on stories the journalist has covered previously will come in useful, as you can reference these articles to demonstrate how your story will fit on their website. If they ask for additional information or comments, be sure to meet their deadlines to maximise the chances of your story getting published and to instil trust.
Be aware that you won’t get a link from every piece of coverage you achieve, but that shouldn’t stop you from asking. If a website publishes your story but doesn’t include a link, ask if one can be added.
When you do achieve coverage, whether it contains a link or not, be sure to thank the journalist and share on social to encourage further traffic.
For help with building an integrated SEO and PR campaign, contact the Anicca Digital team.