Being found and organic visibility are high priorities for most businesses but it takes a sustained effort to get in that all-important first place.
Obtaining high-quality backlinks remain a vital part of any digital strategy but they’re not always easy to obtain. The good news is that there’s a whole host of other strategies which you can use to support outreach to provide a more comprehensive and effective solution.
Here is a look at some of the challenges most businesses will encounter with their online marketing, and some ideas about how to overcome them.
The problem with securing links can be approached from an entirely different direction: quality content. Rather than simply regurgitating what’s already on the market, think about approaching the subject from an entirely different and unique perspective.
This can be tough when so much has already been written, but thinking about it from the back end first can produce some interesting results. What that mean in practice is rather than creating content and then trying to drum up interest, first research what’s needed in the market. What ideas are missing, what can be improved upon?
By approaching journalists and industry experts in advance and helping them to solve their problems, you’ll be working on a ready made solution to someone else problem, meaning that the chances of getting coverage is far more likely.
Using Twitter and hashtags to get results
The use of social media has been so hyped up it’s almost become unhelpful but if you can zone in on the hashtags which will be of practical use, it could make a very real difference.
Before you start creating content, you can use Twitter to help identify the subjects you should be focusing on. The easiest way to do this is to simply see what’s trending or to check out industry news hubs.
Once you’ve got your content written and ready to go, the next step is to look for outreach opportunities. Two great hashtags that you should have saved for regular use are #prrequest and #journorequest.
Using these hashtags, you’ll find a long list of requests but if you plough on through, you should be able to spot requests from journos looking to comment in your industry. This also opens up the possibility of future collaborations so can be a very valuable way to expand your industry contacts.
Never underestimate the PR usefulness of Twitter; it’s the most useful form of social media and best of all, it’s free.
Other hashtags you can try out are #bloggersrequired, #bloggerswanted and #bloggers.
Don’t pay fees when you can get quality for free
The blog landscape has become so saturated, it’s full of publications and bloggers that many want to charge a fee for working with them. If you take them up on their offers, you’ll find that you end up spending a small fortune, often with variable results. Not to mention paying for coverage is trading a fine line between having marked-up advertorials to comply with ASA guidelines, and potentially falling foul of Google guidelines.
However, if you offer high quality, unique content instead of a fee, you might be surprised at the number of times you’ll get the green light. This requires a careful and targeted approach, rather than just a generic blanket request (which is rarely a good idea anyway).
By appealing directly to the person you’re contacting, making it relevant to their past content specifically and offering different incentives that will benefit their publication, you could get a very different kind of agreement in place which doesn’t require significant budget.
In isolated industries, network.
If you’re working solo, it’s easy to become an island and just focus on what your business is doing. By taking a step back and creating space to connect, you could reap some truly worthwhile rewards.
Bloggers, journalists and other PR/SEO companies are all good contacts to have. The latter may come as a surprise but everyone wants the same thing, and a reciprocal arrangement can prove to be very advantageous for both parties.
Getting journalists and bloggers onboard can take some persistence but as described above, by offering genuine opportunities that will interest them, it’s possible to forge lasting links.
Use the tools available
Having a successful digital strategy doesn’t mean having to base your philosophy on a gut feel for the market. There’s now many tools available which provide insightful metrics which can influence your actions.
Majestic is a great addition to your toolkit and provides data about your competition and what you can do to get ahead. Creating top quality content and links is wonderful, but if it’s not addressing the key areas you’re not competitive in, it won’t be as useful as you hope.
Buzzstream is another one to check out. This tool can help to manage link building, content promotion and digital PR.
In terms of finding contacts Ace Media is a low-cost UK alternative to some of the more expensive media databases.
Having an integrated SEO and PR approach is essential if you want to harness the power of a commanding digital presence but it requires careful planning and organisation.
Make sure that all of your content has a supporting outreach strategy and you’re using social media effectively. Don’t be afraid to reach out to forge relationships and offer mutually beneficial arrangements; take the lead and you might be surprised at what follows.