You may have heard a bit about link building strategies recently. In 2018 link building has gained recognition as one of the key digital marketing techniques to rank your website on Google, drive organic traffic to your site and therefore generate leads, sales and revenue. This strategy has the potential to smash your business goals and exponentially grow your business in 2019.
You will also know about PR, but probably associate this with old strategies and 1980’s or 1990’s style branding and positioning. It is important however to make the distinction between traditional PR and digital PR – the latter, especially, is still very much relevant to brands and businesses today.
So what does digital PR have to do with link building?
When it comes to promoting your business and building your brand, both of these elements are extremely important. What’s more, they are interlinked: effective digital PR is a key part of a successful business strategy. Let’s take a look at how to develop an effective digital PR strategy to support your link building efforts in 2019.
The Power of Link Building
In 2018, many businesses have discovered the power of link building. Link building is one of the most effective strategies you can use to rank your website on Google.
The importance of ranking on Google is pretty much a given these days. With 3.5 billion Google searches conducted every day, and over 1.5 billion sites online, standing out from your competition to secure a leading share in this traffic has enormous potential for your business. And in order to do this, you need to rank as highly as possible on Google’s results pages. Very few users will click through to the second page of results, so it is imperative to rank at the top of results, or at the very least on the first page.
Link building is so effective in ranking on Google because the search engine wants to know that your site is authoritative and reputable. Having a healthy backlink profile to your site from well-known, reputable sites will demonstrate this to Google. In fact, backlinks to your site is one of the top two factors which Google looks at in determining rankings, along with relevance through keywords.
What is Digital PR?
When it comes to traditional PR vs digital PR, there are a few key differences. Essentially digital PR does everything traditional PR can do – building your brand’s image and increasing brand awareness and visibility – and more. Traditional PR generally deals with traditional mass-media: print, television and sometimes radio. Digital PR, on the other hand, involves conscious efforts to collaborate with digital media, content creators, influencers and authority publishers.
Digital PR can also have additional objectives beyond building brand awareness and managing the brand’s reputation, such as:
– Launch of a product or service
– Direct lead generation
– Attracting referral traffic
This last bullet point brings us back to SEO: through effective digital PR strategies, you can build quality backlinks for your site, improving Google rankings and driving organic traffic to your site. Quality is the key word here: Google is looking not just for any backlinks, but links from authoritative, reputable sites. It is much better to have 10 quality links than 100 low-quality ones, and good digital PR can make that happen.
How to Build a Digital PR Strategy
Want to take advantage of the power of digital PR to build backlinks and grow your business in 2019? Here’s an overview of how you can develop your own digital PR strategy.
Define Goals and Objectives
Like any kind of strategy, it is essential to start with clear goals and objectives. As the first step in developing your digital PR strategy, define your goals and objectives. Be sure to make a distinction between the two elements: goals are the end-points of your campaign; what you are trying to achieve. Objectives on the other hand are the bite-sized, measurable chunks which sit under each goal. For example, one of your digital PR goals may be to drive more traffic to your site, and an objective under this could be to build a certain number of backlinks.
Define Your Audience
It is also important to know how you are trying to reach with your digital PR, so the next step is to define your target audience. Define your ideal or target customer on factors such as age, gender, location, interests and digital habits. This will be invaluable information for knowing the best way to reach them.
Develop Your Key Message
Before you can progress further you need to set out your key message: what you are trying to say will influence how and where you say it. It is also important to have your message clearly defined so you can refer back to it as you create and distribute content. Each campaign should have one central message which is communicated clearly and consistently.
Plan Your Editorial Calendar
Having a well-planned editorial calendar helps you to set timelines and deadlines, provides clarity, and assists with establishing the overall direction of any PR campaign. This calendar is essentially a content roadmap which includes key messages, outreach contacts, roll-out dates and team member responsibilities.
This will not necessarily be applicable to every digital PR strategy, however in many cases content creation is the most effective way to build links and achieve other digital PR goals. You may already regularly produce engaging, quality content which you simply need to promote through digital PR. You may wish to target certain niche online publications or websites, and so will have to create specific content for this, as long as it fits with your goals, audience and key message.
It is important to create linkable content (content which users are likely to want to click and sites will want to link to), also known as link bait. Although this term can have negative associations, link bait isn’t necessarily a bad thing: it is simply a piece of content which contains a significant or controversial comment, conclusion or piece of data.
Digital PR Outreach
Digital outreach is similar to the outreach which is a core part of traditional PR, it is simply focussed on digital media and other websites and involves pitching content to these. You can do this in two ways: firstly through solicited outreach, also known as “jumping on board”. Follow which is trending in your industry and tailor your pitches to those trends, as well as looking to publications’ content calendars for guidance.
The second approach is unsolicited outreach: this involves getting creative and pitching your own ideas or unique perspective to digital media, blogs and other websites. This approach works particularly well with medium sized publications and social media influencers, who are always looking for interesting and original stories.
Developing and executing an effective digital PR strategy can support link building, which can be extremely beneficial in ranking your business, driving traffic and sales, and increasing revenue. Along with SEO and link building, digital PR can deliver a range of benefits for your brand in 2019.