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Press Coverage, Backlinks and Media Strategy

If you’ve worked in or around public relations for any length of time, you’ve likely heard people in the industry lament the death of the art form many times over. And yet, here us PR people still are, doing our thing.

Obviously, the medium has changed significantly. At my first job, I printed out and mailed (as in via USPS) pitch letters to individual reporters, then waited a week and called to follow up. (I’m not even making this up a little bit.). Soon after that, my agency got a fax machine, and I would spend many Monday mornings faxing a press release to individual editors and assignment desks. Eventually, my office got one email address that we all shared.

Make news! Get backlinks.

Obviously, the art and science of PR looks very different now. And while there are fewer traditional publications, there are almost infinite outlets for coverage. So how do you sift through the good ones, establish your own, and move the needle?

There are a number of ways to measure your PR programs, and we talk about quite a few of them in this blog post. But more and more, we’re seeing entrepreneurial clients reap the benefits of backlinks as part of their PR strategy – and measurement programs.

When you’re quoted in a news story, or contribute content to a blog, and there’s a link back to your website, then that backlink helps to build credibility (and traffic) for your site.

That’s where having a consistent PR strategy – driving coverage for your executives, your company, and your products/services – can help improve your search rankings, drive leads, and lead to even more coverage and visibility. This can include guest blogging, traditional PR coverage, guesting on podcasts and YouTube shows, and contributed articles to more traditional media outlets.

Quotes Drive Backlinks

So, for example, in the last couple of weeks, our team has contributed to two blog posts: one on common PR mistakes that entrepreneurs make via PRontheGo; and another on smart strategies for keyword research developed by the team at Niche Site Project.

The first piece is a compilation of advice from PR professionals around the world – each expert sharing one piece of advice. I love the fact that not only is our team quoted and our site linked, but that the other professionals quoted also have great, smart things to say. This is the type of piece I would share with clients, especially new ones that are eager to make their mark and need some reminding that PR is a build process. All of the advice here – from making sure you’re ready to tell your story; to reminding people that you can’t go from obscurity to a feature in the Wall Street Journal without putting some work in; and our contribution about pulling a whole story together, that includes third parties, customers, etc. – is valuable. This makes for a great backlink. And it doesn’t hurt that all of the participants are smart marketers, so are likely sharing and linking to the story as well!

The second piece is also a compilation of advice – this time on keyword research. Again, it includes a long list of smart influencers, and provides an opportunity for folks to link, share and connect as the piece is posted and re-posted in various forums. And again, there’s real actionable content here. Experts are sharing specifics about what works – and what doesn’t – and offering a roadmap for others to duplicate their successes. This is the type of content that gets ranked – because it is useful and because people want to share it.

Consistency is key – and builds upon itself

PR programs that integrate a range of strategies – from traditional earned media, to guest blogging, to contributed articles and more – can help drive the backlinks that will help your prospects find you. And they can give you content to share on social channels, on your blog, and via newsletters and other channels. So, for the time being, and the fifth or sixth time in my career, it seems that predictions of PR’s demise are once again premature.

For a really helpful primer on backlinks, check out this piece from SEMRush.

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