Expert commentary is probably one of your most effective strategies depending on your industry. Ego-baiting is another approach. Let’s say I really wanted to be featured in Abby’s newsletter, or on her website. Perhaps I would offer to interview Abby for my own website. Then I would publish her interview on my website and send it to her and say, “I’d love it if you could include a link to the article on your website or in your newsletter.” It’s a tried and tested method that usually works. Even if someone declines to link to it from their site, they’ll usually give it a polite RT or post it on social media.
There are lots of different strategies that you could use as an in-house brand. These examples show that it doesn’t always have to be campaign-based, there’s loads of other approaches. And also it’s worth looking at what is unique to your brand, and examining what internal data you may have that can be useful to the media or to other websites and brands. What internal data do you have on your customers? What information do you have, that no one else would have, that would be interesting to a journalist? Also, if it’s not super interesting, you could always layer it with something that is more timely and relevant. Oftentimes we’ll look at what internal data a client has and then look to see how we can layer that with Office of National Statistics data or US Census data or something similar. So then we’re really creating a unique research strand that no one else can offer to a journalist.
It is really important to collaborate internally as well. It has to be really well known within the company what your goals are for digital PR, and that it’s not the same as what the goals are for corporate PR. Make that really well known so that when other areas of the business see potential opportunities, they can identify them and bring them to your attention.
It pays to think what you want out of your digital PR before you start forming the offering – figure out what the priority lies.
If you’re mainly looking for the SEO benefits of digital PR, you want to target sites that give do-follow backlinks, have high domain authority and low spam scores. These are some really helpful tools that will help you identify those: Hunter.io, the no-follow Chrome extension, Moz, Majestic and Authoritas backlink analysis.
Google prefers a natural mix of backlinks and there are going to be dofollows, nofollows, unlinked mentions, all of that stuff is a healthy part of a healthy backlink profile. However my thinking with my team is, why not target what you actually want? So most times we target our campaigns to the websites that give dofollows. If my campaign gets picked up by a media brand that gives no follows, then it’s great, but it’s not really what I want – I want the dofollow backlinks. And usually I find that if the campaign gets picked up by, for example, any of the JPI media titles that give do-follow backlinks, some of the smaller editorial websites are going to pick it up anyway, so there will still be a natural mix of do-follow and nofollow backlinks.
If you mainly want referral traffic, then you want to target sites that are a little more generous with their backlinks, and it won’t matter if the links are do-follow or no-follow or even sponsored. Remember you have to have a reason for someone to click, so you can’t just rely on a hyper-linked brand mention anymore, there won’t be any motivation to send people to your website ‘just because’. Back in the day, it might have been just a matter of course, as a matter of identifying the name of the brand or something, but nowadays you need to really compel people to click on your site. So maybe that’s when you send an overview of facts to the journalists for an article, but you have a more in-depth report on your website, or perhaps you have more in-depth graphs or other assets on your site that would compel a reader to want to learn more about the topic, knowing that they’re not going to be able to fit it all in the article. There’s a lot of ways you could do that to increase your referral traffic. Here are some helpful tools: Google Analytics, URL tracking tools like Google URL builder, even email tracking tools like Mailtrack work for this.
If you’re just looking to improve your site’s expertise, authority and trust (EAT), you wanna target anyone and everyone who is relevant to your brand. So anything relevant to your brand, that’s your main priority. It doesn’t matter what kind of backlink it is, even if it’s just a brand mention that will be fine as you’re going for a natural mix. Obviously, the sites should have good metrics, but even a few sites with only half-decent metrics won’t hurt – Google expects a natural mix so you can imagine it would seem out of place to have only sites with very high DA.
The spoiler of it all, is that a single digital PR campaign can hit all of these goals. You can definitely craft campaigns that hit all of these, but it’s great to start by looking at what your main priority is first.