“What’s the use of having a cool business, if no one really knows that you exist?”
In this modern world, everyone is using the Internet to educate themselves and learn more about the products and services they’re thinking of buying.
Every type of brand, whether small or large, must generate as much online exposure as possible.
This, of course, means that you first and foremost need to setup a website for your business.
Why? Well, because the competition is fierce today.
Nowadays, if you don’t have a website, you’re as good as dead. The dream: opening a brick and mortar store and expecting to run a successful business in 2016 just by relying on word of mouth advertising and your dear, sweet neighbourhood customers. Though today it's a dream that probably won’t have a happy ending.
In order to succeed in today’s world, you need to go digital.
Welcome to The Age of Intelligent Shopping
We live in the day and age of smart and educated customers.
No one really walks into a random shop and starts buying products and brands he or she has never heard of before. No. It doesn’t really work like that anymore.
Today’s shopper relies on information more than anything else. Their decisions are mostly influenced by all the content they read online.
Blog posts, reviews, user testimonials, infographics, social media presence – these are just some of the more common sources of data they use in order to figure out if they like a certain brand or product, or not. That’s why every modern business needs to work hard on their website and online presence.
Every budding company needs to make sure that their targeted audience is being served with the right type of information concerning their brand and services.
However, as you probably figured out from the paragraph above, creating a website for your business is only the first step on your road to winning it big online.
Believe it or not, there are over billion active websites today, and they are all competing with you for the same type of customers. And the worse thing of all? – This ridiculous number is expected to drastically increase ‘till the end of the year.
The horror, right?
Owning just a random website isn’t really gonna cut it anymore. If you want to see some genuine fruits of your labor here, you really need to apply yourself and do everything that’s in your power to impress your clients everywhere you can around the Web.
Exposure is everything today, people. If you fail to keep your business in front of your audience’s eyes at all times, it’s only a matter of time when you’ll start to fade into obscurity.
Exposure > Leads > More Paying Customers
It doesn’t matter who you are, what you do, how exciting or boring your niche or industry might be.
Your objective: generate more leads and get as many people as possible to acknowledge your brand, and convert on your site.
You cannot really do that if you don’t intelligently engage your audience all across the Web.
Anyone who has ever been in charge of running any type of business, knows that leads are your company’s lifeblood. It’s what keeps your brand’s heart pumping. Without a steady stream of incoming leads, your business cannot really function.
Everything we do online is in service of creating more leads for our business. We are all bending over backward in order to constantly stimulate people to think about our brand and eventually buy stuff from us.
The same goes for backlinks, as well. As you know, earning high-quality contextual backlinks is extremely important for everyone who wants to make his or her bread and butter online. Every website needs them.
That’s why we try to do everything in our power to get as many great sites as possible to point back at our domain and help us improve our web presence.
However, this often isn’t as simple as it sounds. Most of the time, building links from high quality sources is quite difficult, time-consuming and frustrating. You cannot really use the same strategy and approach for all of them.
In order to get these authority sources to point back to your site and send you some sweet referral traffic, most of them will really make you work for that link. You cannot just reach out and ask for a favour.
No. They don’t know who you are, nor do they care where you’ve been and what you’ve done. All the they care about is what’s in it for them. That’s why it’s of crucial importance that you give these publishers something useful in exchange for that link, something that will actually tickle their interest and stimulate them to naturally link back to your site.
You need to come up with an intelligent marketing strategy that will help you take advantage of key search trends and maximise coverage on real, relevant and popular queries:
The Rise of Digital PR
When it comes to improving my rankings and earning those juicy and relevant links, my best strategy here is to enrich my link building efforts with some good ol’ PR tactics.
How come? – Well, because, the sole purpose of any sane marketing strategy should be to create a strong online presence that reflects who you are, what you stand for, and how you build relationships with everyone who comes into contact with your brand.
Digital PR does exactly that. It helps brands bulk up their online existence by creating strong connections with all sorts of different influential publishers who have the power to create various types of press hits, citations and quality backlinks for them.
However, your job here isn’t just to locate sites that have a large social following and figure out a how to approach them and earn that link. No.
Digital PR is all about building awareness, credibility and goodwill around your business.
It’s about locating the right sites, evaluating their domain authority, and figuring out how to earn non-paid citations on them.
In my experience, digital PR and link building mix extremely well together. If done right, digital PR has the power to drastically increase a brand’s reach and search visibility, conversion rates, and even ROI. This sort of approach to link building is really rewarding for all sorts of creative marketers.
Here are a few notes on how I create strong PR oriented link building campaigns that help me earn tons of great links.
How to build authority through PR-driven backlinks
1. Become newsworthy
As with everything else in marketing, your PR + link building strategy needs to start with an idea. And it has to be unique and engaging.
Red Bull’s stratosphere jump, Fly Emirates’ Benfica safety football presentation, Heineken’s share the sofa, Mountain Dew’s VR snow experience – these are just a few cool PR stunts that created a lot of noise online.
However, before we get carried away and start to think that we could replicate their success, we must first acknowledge the fact that every single one of these campaigns was orchestrated by a global brand that has the luxury to spends ridiculous amounts of money on their marketing.
But, there’s still hope for us.
If you run a small brand with limited resources, your PR will require some pretty clever planning.
You need to think of something that will truly generate some interest in the eyes of your targeted audience and publishers.
Knowing all this, when I’m working an idea that will help me attract the attention of different publishers and earn those juicy backlinks, I always start by asking myself the following questions:
- What kind of data do I have that will seem interesting to my targeted publishers?
- Is my PR stunt fun, interesting, shocking or share-worthy? And if not, what do I need to do to change that?
- Is my topic hot, and does it have the potential to generate some real engagement?
- What do I want to achieve with my press release, apart from creating some buzz online?
- What am I giving away with the press release, except information?
Once you develop an idea that has the power to successfully answer all these questions, then you know you’re onto something good.
2. Leverage Your Data in Your Link Building Efforts
Data is power. Always was, and always will be.
Even though metrics don’t tell you or your readers the whole story by themselves, they can still reward you with some pretty useful insights.
This is especially true if you’re in constant contact with all sorts of journalists and content writers. By carefully going through your numbers, you can feed these above mentioned contacts with various interesting metrics and numbers that could help them develop great stories for their publication, in exchange for a citation and backlink, of course.
Even though my best PR releases, that generated a lot of backlinks for my website, revolved around distributing original data, I still believe that in order to get the max out of your efforts, you need to enrich your whole campaign with some sort of a cool giveaway that will stimulate people to visit your site and make an actual conversion on it.
3. Sign Up for HARO and Start Building Quality Backlinks from Authoritative Sites
So, now that you figured out how to create newsworthy content, that you could later on send to your targeted websites and claim those quality backlinks from them, it’s time to bulk up your game and look for amazing PR opportunities on daily basis.
This is where HARO, a.k.a. Help A Reporter Out, comes into play.
If you’re are a small business owner or an entrepreneur without a large marketing budget looking for some media attention in this big and terrifying digital ocean, then HARO will come as an early Christmas present for you.
Founded back in 2008, HARO can be best described as a big publicity service where all sorts of journalists, content writers, and bloggers post daily PR opportunities for anyone who has the knowledge or experience to successfully respond to them.
It’s a great platform for reaching out to new contacts, building lasting relationships and earning high-quality editorial links on daily basis.
So, how does this service work?
Simple. First, you visit the site and pick out one of their plans. Free, standard, advanced or premium – it all depends on what you want to achieve with this platform. Once you have chosen the one that best suits your needs, you will start receiving two daily round-up emails from reporters asking for sources.
Your job here is to carefully read the queries, acknowledge their requirements, and respond to them by stating your credentials and providing them with useful tips and tricks they can use to successfully develop their stories.
Over the last two years, I’ve been carefully scanning HARO emails for PR opportunities, and I have to say, I’ve had a ton of success. Thanks to HARO, my content can be found on all sorts of different quality websites all across the Web.
That’s it for now. I hope this article helped you understand the power of using PR for link building purposes. If you have anything to add or ask about anything I wrote here, feel free to get in touch.
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