Digital Insights
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Harness the Power of Public Relations to Build Quality Penalty-Proof Links

Published: August 13, 2014

The days of acquiring links with thin, poorly-written irrelevant content or by buying bucketfuls of cheap spammy links are over, and Google is ready to deliver severe ranking penalties to anyone who refuses to abide by their new link building guidelines.

What Google wants to see are links that are freely given and editorially earned based on the quality of your content. Creating great content is one thing, marketing it is quite another. It requires the ability to persuade, to convince, to sell. It requires public relations.

Public relations is all about perfecting outreach strategies, forging relationships, and seeking out opportunities to “soft sell” an idea. These attributes make it the perfect vehicle for pitching your quality content to important authority sites in the hopes of receiving that all-important editorially earned link in return. Here are a few strategies to get your public relations mode properly dialed in.

Actively Seek Out Media Opportunities

  • Check out the HARO (Help a Reporter Out) website at helpareporter.com. This is a great resource that can connect you with writers researching stories in your industry or niche. Once you’ve established yourself as an authority, you’ll have the opportunity to help reporters with their research and earn your company a valuable link in the process.
  • Many sites list their upcoming editorial calendars, which might represent a linking opportunity for your company. EdCals is a free tool available at Cision.com that publishes thousands of editorial calendars, all searchable by topic, geography, and media type. Make a list of the relevant sites that you’re interested in and monitor them for future press and linking opportunities.
  • Seek or Shout is another great free resource from Cision.com. This tool can help you find content, post your content pitches, and present yourself as a story source. All data is searchable by topic, and can lead to some great linking opportunities.

Look for Interview Opportunities at Relevant Trade Shows and Conferences

  • Most trade shows are well covered by the press, and press coverage invariably includes a number of attendee interviews.
  • If you’re planning on attending a trade show, look for interview (and linking) opportunities by signing up for event emails and checking the event press page.
  • Don’t forget to check out the event sponsors page; sponsors frequently schedule promotions ahead of the show itself. Their social media posts or company blog may also reveal possible interview tie-ins.

Monitor the Internet for News About Your Industry

  • Set up a Google Alert for your industry or niche.
  • Whenever news about your industry appears, craft an appropriate response that gets your company in front of these media influencers: leave a comment, write a response on your company blog, share the content with your social media followers and fans, or email the author with a few pertinent comments.

Create and Use Segmented Reporter Lists

  • Reporters frequently use social media channels to source their stories; an estimated 55 percent use social media to find stories from sources that are known to them, and 26 percent use social media to find stories from sources not known to them.
  • You can increase your chances of becoming a trusted source (and receiving valuable links) by creating a Twitter list of reporters that cover your particular industry or niche. Build your list by visiting each of your targeted publications and noting the reporters who cover your particular industry. Add the reporters whose articles have appeared in your industry Google Alerts.
  • Setting up an alert for each reporter on your list is a good way to stay on top of their sourcing needs.