PR (Public Relations) has become one of the newest and most successful methods for link building over the last 12 months. In this lesson, we’ll explain what PR is, how to use PR to build links, and the advantages/disadvantages of doing so.
What is PR?
PR is the process of promoting your website, product or service to the public and managing relationships. This may include promoting your service directly to customers, journalists, bloggers or other businesses in your industry.
The sort of things that fall under the umbrella of PR and SEO includes:
- Building relationships with other people (including businesses, bloggers and journalists)
- Interviews and spokesperson for the media
- Press releases, news and industry reports
Why is PR Important for SEO?
One of the main reasons why PR has become important is because the future of SEO is about getting links from stronger, more authority sites. This is in contrast to buying links from low quality sites or engaging in mass guest posting. It’s simply not possible to scale a guest posting strategy while maintaining quality; where as in PR it’s very easy to scale your approach.
In order to do PR properly, you need to invest in building strong personal relationships with other businesses, bloggers and media contacts. You also need to regularly publish high quality content, new products or features on your site that are worth doing PR for.
For example, if you’re releasing a new survey or report on your site than you may wish to combine this with an engaging infographic and press releas. You can then publish this on your site and do outreach as a way of building links and relationships.
Non-Linked Citations across the Web Likely Help with SEO
According to a recent poll at SERoundtable.com, 40% of experts in the SEO industry believe that even non-links brand citations can help with your search engine rankings.
For example, if someone mentions the URL “WikiWeb.com” in an article then this could be a very important ranking signal to Google. After all, it’s still a vote or reference to that site, which is why Google relied so heavily on backlinks in their Page Rank algorithm in the first place. Therefore, even if you don’t earn links from the PR process you can still earn non-linked citations from news articles and comments.
What are the Downsides to using PR for SEO?
The biggest downside to PR is that many of the methods are time consuming, resource intensive and a little hit-and-miss.
For example, you can easily spend £300 on a press release from PRNewsWire.com and get no pickup. This might be because of a busy news day or a lack of interest in your niche. If you’re unlucky, someone else might have recently published a similar press release to the same group of journalists that over shadowed your own.
On the opposite end, it might take only one major news publication (such as the Mail Online) to pick up your story and it suddenly gets rewritten across dozens of other news sites.
How to Use PR to Build Links:
There are a number of ideas, methods and software you can use to run a PR campaign.
With regards to ideas for PR, you can use any of the following…
- Develop great tools and useful features to solve an industry problem
- Publish controversial surveys and news on your site
- Run webinars and publish slideshare.net presentations on your site
- Do interviews with the media
- Conduct interviews or podcasts on your own site
- Run competitions for customers
- Publish a white paper report
- Publish viral or educational infographics
We may write additional articles to cover each one in full, but in the mean time you can take a look at the solutions below.
- Interviews and Spokesperson
You can use tools such as HARO (free) and ResponseSource.com (around £300 per industry category) to receive journalist enquiries to your inbox. Journalists will typically be looking for a spokesperson or product to feature in their magazine competition, special event or TV show.
In return for sending your products out, doing interviews or providing expert spokesperson quotes for their articles, you’ll normally receive a free link and citation back to your site.
Responsesoure.com is particularly useful for ecommerce business owners.
- Press Releases and Newswire Services
Press releases can be used when you launch a new product, website feature or industry report. For example, if you’ve released the results of a controversial industry survey then you can use a press release to send this out to interested journalists, bloggers and reporters. You can learn more about writing a press release here.
The best press release services include PRNewsWire.com, which costs around $400 and is global only, and PRWeb.com.
You can also use cheaper PR services that reach fewer journalists such as SourceWire.com ($40) and you can even contact a PR/SEO agency to do the outreach for you such as Inbound.co.uk and ImproveSEO.co.uk.
- Manual Outreach
Unlike press releases, manual outreach involves writing personalized emails or sending to Tweets to various journalists or bloggers. This can be far more time consuming but generally receives much better results.
Useful tools for manual outreach includes Buzzstream.com (for managing communications and contacts), FollowerWonk.com (for finding authorities in your niche) and Buzzsumo.com (for finding key influences and sharers in any topic).
Use websites such as InfographicDesigner.co.uk (£500 per infographic), elance.com or microlancer.com to find designers to publish infographics for your brand. You can then do manual outreach for these as covered in our other lesson. Learn more about using infographics for link building here.
5. Interview Experts and Spokespersons on your Site
Use tools such as ResponseSource.com to send free requests to interview experts and spokespersons in your niche. You can also ask the people you interview to help promote and share the article. This includes them linking back to it from their own site or blog.Remember, people love a good ego boost promoting interviews of themselves on other sites.
6. Publish Slideshare presentations and webinars on your site
Slideashare.net allows you to post presentations on your own website using HMTL sourcecode. You can similarly record and publish any webinars or Google+ Hangouts you do on your site to help build backlinks.