Thanks for the awesome tip Keith! There are more of these types of PR tools that i'm finding everyday. We actually do have a client in the real estate space so that could prove to be useful!
SEO has changed over the last year.
In just 12 short months, Google has stopped rewarding many of the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tactics that seemingly made it easier to influence search results. The reason why so many SEO companies used these tactics? BECAUSE THEY USED TO WORK to help elevate brand search rankings and increase web traffic for businesses.A series of algorithm updates named “Panda” and “Penguin” addressed these SEO processes and shifted the industry. Now, instead of a traditional focus on marketing for search engines, Google has emphasized a focus on content marketing and in some cases, online public and media relations (PR) – traditional business practices that highlight brand promotion online.
PR agencies create buzz around content, events and company accomplishments. PR agencies reach out to journalists and reporters. PR agencies create relationships with media outlets to seek opportunities to highlight a brand, announce company news, or share an exciting story of interest with a broader audience. This is exactly what search engine optimizers are doing now as well.
Link building these days is essentially PR with a link building hat on. When other sites link back to a brand website, this can be a positive trigger to a search engine – but they have to be the right sites, and have a good message.
Over the last few months, DTC has worked its own “PR” efforts with link building in mind and the results have been phenomenal. In just two months, we’ve been able to get mentions in the following publications and links from most of them. But, beyond the link count, we’ve realized significant value from the relationships we’ve built, such as:
- A monthly guest post spot on NBC Chicago’s Inc. Well business blog
- Meeting publishers and career reporters
- Presenting at a local marketing conference that already resulted in a networking coffee meeting for potential partnership
- Mentions in global publications, one of which appears on the first page of Google search results when searching for ‘Digital Third Coast’ (without a link)
Here are some of the results of our new perspective of building relationships and tackling SEO with a public relations hat on:
- CEO Blog Nation
- NBC Chicago in February & NBC Chicago in March
- Crain’s Chicago – Handling Negative Customer Reviews
- Job Box Report
- Kelley Direct Marketing Conference panel
- CNN iReport/Mashable feature on games in the workplace
- Associated Press Interview About No Response with Communication Overload – featured by Yahoo!News, ABC News, Fox News
There are many different ways to establish these types of PR opportunities but i’m only going to highlight a few of them in this post. There are 3 tools that can be used to leverage this type of link building and build online brand awareness.
1. HARO (Help A Reporter Out)
HARO is a free service for registered users that sends you emails (you can choose the frequency) with publicity opportunities from all types of media outlets (blogs, newspaper, magazines,etc.) All you have to do is stay on top of them and look for opportunities that match your expertise. Once something comes along that you think you can contribute to as an expert, you respond to the request and try to answer the request as best as you can. If a journalist picks you, they will respond and ask for any follow up questions.
2. #Journorequest on Twitter – Use this hashtag to find journalists looking for help with stories. If you find something that you would be able to contribute to, tweet back at them for a possibly publicity opportunity. Here are some sample requests I found across a wide range of industries in 5 seconds.
3. ProfNet - An alternative to HARO offered for a small fee for experts (Sources), such as small business owners. The upside of ProfNet is that it is highly trusted by mainstream news sources such as Reuters, Wall Street Journal, etc. ProfNet is an email based model just like HARO sending emails to sources listing opportunities from journalists who are looking for experts to interview and/or contribute to their articles/news stories.
Of course one of our main goals with an SEO campaign is to get backlinks for our clients. If you are able to build a relationship with online publishers and receive a guest blog post opportunity or a publicity mention, don’t forget to ask for a link back to your website if you can to extend the value of that reference to your site and possibly result in a website visit with one click (and maybe a new customer!). After the article is published, this may be more difficult to achieve. You can see how with a little bit of time, persistence, and relationship building, you can position yourself as an expert, receive brand recognition online, and get media mentions that can potentially lead to big links, big ranking improvements, and more website traffic.
Don’t forget to thank your publisher for featuring your business and share these links on your social media channels to drive traffic to their site as a thank you and share the good news about your business with even more supporters!
- PR + SEO When Two Worlds Collide (stateofsearch.com)
- The 5 Golden Rules to HARO Success, as Shared by Real Users (everything-pr.com)
- 10 HARO-like Tools to Score Great Media Mentions for Your Business (everything-pr.com)
George Zlatin is the Director of Operations at Digital Third Coast, a Search Engine Marketing company based in Chicago. George has an amazing capacity to digest information about SEO and fried chicken. You can find George on Twitter and Google+. Connect with Digital Third Coast on Google+.