Why We Need to Move From Building Links to Building Online Visibility?
The idea of PR SEO is nothing new, with more and more digital marketing debates centered around how to build bigger and better links through PR activity.
The term link building is fast becoming an outdated term as clients and businesses don’t just want ‘links’, they want wider, real word impacts including social ripples, referral traffic and brand resonance. I think the industry has come to a point where it’s talking more about visibility building than simply building links.
The idea of an integrated campaign doesn’t mean triple the work, there are some simple PR mechanics that will transform your traditional link building.
In every team there are skills and expertise that can be showcased for PR purposes. In the digital marketing world we might think of them as advice blog posts, but in communications these are referred to as bylines. The simple definition of a byline is ‘naming the writer of an article’ in the context of a newspaper or media publication, where opinion and comment are offered on a specific topic.
Image credit: Techradar.com
Writing up these types of articles is fairly effective as long as you remember not to be too self promotional and to include examples and resources from other relevant places across the web as well as your own brand. This style of PR SEO has wider benefits to the business as well as being able to build high level, relevant links and coverage to websites. Anyone searching for your company will find a strong list of professional thought leadership articles which can drive new business leads, investment opportunities and bring new talent to your company.
Marketingprofs.com have a detailed piece on how to write a byline if you want to read more.
Beyond the creative
Aside from the traditional link building we do day to day, making a big impact on the media agenda takes a calculated and planned creative campaign. This doesn’t mean a big budget, but it does require a stand out idea.
Photo credit: Bathrooms.com
In 2014 Bathrooms.com did just this when they created a bathroom made entirely of chocolate to help combat the common misspelling of bathroom ‘sweets’. The novelty concept captured the imagination of press worldwide spanning from the UK, Europe, USA and middle east and in a variety of publications like lifestyle, design, and food.
Aside from the core PR objectives to gain coverage and links, this campaign thrived on social media led by the campaign hash tag #bathroomsweets, which aided tracking of social traction. From a wider search perspective, this level of coverage and increased branded search attributed to Bathrooms.com’s keyword rankings for several of their highly converting terms.
We live in a world of online, but this doesn’t mean we can’t step outside and do something physical! It’s a given that good customer service builds loyalty and repeat custom, so why not take advantage of this and combine your product and service offerings that naturally build media relationships too. Are there resources your company offers that would be of interest to them media too, from freebies and discounts, to exclusive events or experiences?
FloridaTix designed an I-Spy book for kids to make travelling to Florida more fun, which is sent out to all of their family bookings. They also send them out to journalists with kids to show their engagement with their customers.
Image credit: FloridaTix.com
The best relationships with journalists are genuine and built over time, so if you can give them something unique this will help them remember you and your brand in future. If you have a close media contact you can even use them as a sounding board for your stories and ideas, reducing the risk of them not getting covered once they launch. Although email and online contact is the fastest way to get in touch, it’s the real world encounters and interactions that make a lasting impression.
More than just a competition
Giveaways and competitions on social media can be a great way to engage with your community online, as well as sharing specific brand messaging that still appeals to people on a personal level.
Earlier this year, Heinz rolled out a social campaign called ‘Get Well Soup’ for the fifth year in a row, allowing users to buy a personalised can of soup via their Facebook fan page.
Each day Heinz gave away a limited number of cans of soup, with £1 being donated to charity each time a can is won. So not only did they decide to run a competition they tied up with a charity .
With social competitions it can be easy to get caught up in the mechanic of offering a prize and someone coming along to win it. What Heinz has done well is playing on the popularity of personalized food and drinks, much like Coke’s bottle campaign, but to raise awareness for the childrens charity Starlight at the same time.
Image credit: Heinz.com
Not only has Heniz come up with a idea that can be used year after year, they are also broadening their brand values for consumers, with a reasonably simple creative idea. This goes to show even that a low budget social campaign can have brand and community defining effects.
The move from building links to building online visibility will not only enhance the work that you are doing for your clients or businesses but raise the wider benefits that digital marketing can offer; no longer just creating links from external websites to your own, but establishing lasting social, PR and branding waves.
It is also important to remember that you don’t have to weaken your specialist skills or services to make this move. The activities that naturally boost online visibility are also those that we use to build links, they just have much more long term results on and offline.