For many marketers link building is a necessary evil that they have to do in order to increase their organic visibility.
Gaining good editorial links via a PR led approach has helped me build my career, build my team and even get me on the housing ladder (I say helped as I also do other SEO related work 😊).
Link building, if we like it or not, is around to stay for the foreseeable future so brands need to prepare.
I have worked agency side for 7 years and in that time worked with hundreds of clients. One of the main challenges I hear from clients before launching a PR campaign for links is either time, money (to build the campaigns) or the fact that they think their brand is not ‘newsworthy’
To address the last point (about being ‘newsworthy’) I would like to say on record that any brand, working in any industry can build links – check out my blog post on building links in hard to market industries for some inspiration.
When we address the challenge with time and money its worth noting that not every digital PR campaign needs to cost 20k upwards, in fact there are probably things you can do without any budget which will deliver you high authority links. I have detailed down 5 of these tactic below:
“Newsjacking is the process by which you inject your ideas or angles into breaking news, in real-time, in order to generate media coverage for yourself or your business.”
– David Meerman Scott
Not every brand can newsjack, however for the majority of brands this is a legitimate tactic that should be used to gain high-tier, national relevant links.
Put simply, if you have an opinion on a planned topic or a breaking news story you should send it to journalists covering that topic and gain links back to your site.
You will need a spokesperson and some time to read the daily news, but that’s it! A great example of how a brand picked up some seriously good links (and visibility) was money.co.uk
Using their spokesperson they worked with the media on relevant topics such as house prices, Brexit and company updates to give the media and customers an insight into how these updates will impact consumer finances. Some examples of these links can be seen below:
I recently wrote an article on how to Newsjack here if you want to check it out.
2. Unlinked Mentions
Unlinked mentions happen naturally as journalist often mention your brand without even considering a link.
As SEO’s we would love every mention to be linked, however we need to be aware that this will never be the case.
If you see an unlinked mention (about your brand) it may be worth asking the journalists to link to a relevant resource on your site.
Please note that you should never demand a link or ask for a link from a negative article. All in all it just takes common sense to work out which unlinked mentions could actually be turned into links.
The easiest way to find unlinked mentions is to:
- Set up alerts (via Google, Buzzsumo ect..)
- Search Google for mentions of your brand. The best way to do this is to use search operators. For example if I was looking for mentions of digital-soapbox I would need to ask Google to show me who, other than myself, has talked about the site. You can do this by running a search query [“digital-soapbox” “digital soapbox” -site:digital-soapbox.co.uk]
This will show mentions of your brand but exclude your brand URL from the serps. Always make sure the mentions you are chasing are recent (you can do this by changing the date range within Google search)
- Tools such as fresh web explorer are great for finding mentions of your brand online with ease https://moz.com/researchtools/fwe/
3. Charity work or partnerships
Most brands have newsworthy content that they may not be aware of.
For example do you have a chosen charity? If so have you considered sending your charity news updates to sites such as fundraising.co.uk ? Or how about working with the charity itself and getting links from their press office?
Or do you have partnerships? If so you should definitely be negotiating links on their sites as part of any contract agreement.
I understand this is not possible for all brands but for many it’s a quick win.
4. Local stores
Ok, so at this point let me just state that if you work in a business that does not have brick and mortar stores you should probably move on to the next section 😊
If you do have physical locations then this tactic is a must for you.
Imagine you own a shop in a shopping centre, you should contact the shopping centre website and ask for a link to the relevant store page.
These sites will deliver high quality relevant links and support your local strategy. In fact, I recently did this for a client of mine and gained 60 links with no campaign!
5. Interviews and thought leaders
Everyone loves the limelight right? Well maybe not, but certainly many do so why not give it to them?
By this I mean your business is most likely filled with experts working in different fields such as HR, marketing, finance ect..
Well my link hungry friends, there is a wealth of really good sites that accept interview and thought leadership articles with these experts. Sites such as https://realbusiness.co.uk/ and https://www.entrepreneur.com often accept interview or opinion features – so make your colleagues famous and gain links in the meantime 😊
Link building is hard, and its getting harder. This being said its our job to ensure we make our company as ‘digital as possible’ and make every web mention work harder and deliver more than just coverage.
Be creative, talk to different internal teams and I guarantee you will find link opportunity’s you can use without running content campaigns.
As ever, if you have any questions feel free to Tweet me @david_white90