Link building calls for so many different strategies.
The best approach to earning backlinks is founded on building meaningful relationships with industry peers. And what's the best way to build relationships at scale?
Enter public relations (PR).
PR is a vital aspect of your marketing efforts, and you can gain loads of high quality backlinks efficiently when you adopt an inbound PR strategy.
What Is Inbound PR?
Inbound PR is the method of applying the inbound philosophy to public relations to expand brand awareness. Let’s break this down.
The inbound methodology was first associated with inbound marketing – the method of attracting, engaging, and delighting people to grow your business while building trust and delivering value to your audience.
PR on the other hand has many overly complicated, fluffy definitions. My favorite definition of PR comes from Jean-Louis Gassée, a former Apple executive:
“Advertising is saying you’re good. PR is getting someone else to say you’re good.”
With PR, you’re building a strategy to secure earned media coverage, which can lead to backlinks. PR used to be strictly focused on media relations, like writing press releases to send to journalists who would write stories.
Now, in the digital world, PR professionals can engage directly with audiences using various digital channels. The need for media to carry out a message on behalf of a company has all but disappeared.
The link that brings the inbound methodology and PR together is content. Your company’s content assets like your blog and social media presence is what’s called owned media – your best business asset for building awareness.
With awesome content in place, your team is ready to boost your SEO through one of the most valuable SEO factors – backlinks.
What Are Backlinks?
Also called inbound links, these are links that point from another website to yours. It acts as a vote of confidence in you and your organization.
From a human standpoint, this is great because the webmaster linking to your awesome content is further adding value for their readers. The reader is learning more about specific topics from you. And you get to share the wealth of your knowledge.
From an SEO standpoint, this link delivers link equity – the value and authority passed through the links.
How Public Relations Fuels Link Building
So where does PR come in with link building? The best way to fully understand this relationship between PR and building backlinks is to first focus on the role of the modern day PR professional.
PR professionals are excellent about:
- Telling compelling stories
- Understanding the audience
- Being persuasive
- Connecting with relevant influential voices
- Staying in the know on media and social monitoring
With the right PR approach, you can build and continue growing a network of contacts within your field.
Your inbound PR is truly successful when you’re maintaining mutually beneficial relationships with experts and influencers and when your PR campaigns are hitting your goals.
In terms of link building, you can measure the success of your PR efforts by looking at the following KPIs:
- Number of referring domains - how many domains are linking to you?
- Number of backlinks - how many backlinks do you have?
- Referral traffic - how many visitors are coming from referring domains?
- Organic traffic - how much did this change from the start of your link building campaign?
- Target page traffic - how much did traffic to the page being linked to change?
- Authority metrics (DA, PA, DR, UR) - how did your domain- and page-level authority change?
But hitting your goals doesn't come from shooting in the dark. To be successful with inbound PR in your link building campaign, you need to use the right strategies.
6 PR Tactics for Building Backlinks
Link building with inbound PR can take many forms. It's always good to diversify how you build backlinks with different PR approaches.
Here are six of the most effective tactics to use:
1. Guest Blogging
This is great for earning backlinks. Not only from getting linked in your author bio or the links you include in your content, but you also get to share your expertise and build credibility with relevant new audiences.
With the right guest blogging process in place, you can scale your content creation and make the most of awesome guest posting opportunities in your industry. Build a process that fits your budget and company size so you don't miss out.
2. Speaking Events
Yes, you can use in-person tactics for building backlinks. With speaking gigs, you're establishing your authority at industry events. When you wow the audience, guess what happens next?
People talk about you. Back to the Gassée definition – someone is telling their audience that you're damn good.
Your presentation will be discussed in many different ways. In the beginning, once you are scheduled at an event, the event coordinator will be promoting this information through their site and social media channels. That means...drum roll please...
That's right – you will gain backlinks!
Expect attendees to even live tweet during the event and post content afterward. These circumstances will also yield incoming links for you and your company. Make sure you thank attendees publicly for participating.
3. Help a Reporter Out (HARO)
HARO is a free and easy way to generate backlinks using your expert content. Simply sign up as a source, check your daily emails for relevant queries from journalists, then submit your awesome insights.
You will be notified by the website if your answer makes the cut, where you will gain a new backlink and some relevant attention.
Always consider relevance when you're investing time into responding to HARO queries. Make sure you're submitting to websites that your target audience frequents so your efforts are worth it.
Depending on the products or services you’re selling, you can secure opportunities to get honest reviews from users. Whoever is giving your goods a test run, they will most likely link to your product page or company site.
Stay engaged with users who are posting reviews. This shows the user who is creating reviews around your product or service (and their audience) that you're paying attention and happily accepting constructive criticism and feedback from real people.
Q&A interviews can come in the form of expert roundup blog posts, live social media videos (like Facebook Live or Instagram Live), and, one of the fastest growing areas of media, podcasts.
Just like for speaking events, you will likely get a link before the interview when it's initially scheduled and announced publicly. You will also likely be referred to in content following the interview. For roundup-style blog posts, you’re often quoted and linked to.
Bonus tip: Maximize the reach of your interview by sharing with your followers and tagging other featured experts (if others participated). When you tag others, they just might return the favor.
6. Manual Outreach
The term "outreach" is a broad word that basically consists of you manually messaging people for media placements and backlinks.
Published a new ebook? Send links to industry blogs and directly ask for a link to it. Produced a new video? Share it with bloggers and ask to be linked to.
It's not as straightforward as saying, "Look what I did. Now, link to me." You need to be tactful in how you tailor messaging to each person you're contacting. Always highlight how your content will benefit them and their audience, and offer a link in return.
Note: Don't excessively swap links or add a link to someone just for the sake of gaining a backlink. Only link to content that you believe in and that your audience will gain value from.
Inbound PR plays a big role in how you generate high quality backlinks. Get started by diversifying these tactics and evolve your approaches to maximize your results over time.