PR link buildingGoogle’s Penguin updates in April 2012 and May 2013 have sent out a clear message to businesses: unnatural and manipulative link profiles are out; no more submitting links to just any directory, blog, article library or website out there, and definitely no more buying links in bulk.

Maybe your business has never strayed too far into this territory, but even so, how you go about acquiring links now takes much more care and consideration than it did in the past. Sites and blogs must be assessed for relevancy to your business niche and for quality indicators (using domain authority and PageRank scores for example).

In this evolving climate, public relations (PR) is emerging as an increasingly important way of building links; it’s pretty much Penguin proof.

It’s PR dahling

PR has always offered an effective route for raising your company’s profile; an appearance in a high quality publication carries more credibility with your target audience than most direct sales or marketing activities.

When it comes to the web, the PR opportunities for businesses are vast. Not only are traditional publications now online, but there are many other publications, organisations, bloggers and media outlets offering a potential platform for your story.

The people who write the news, articles, features and blogs are always looking for relevant information to help them create content. The aim is not to try to sell your company or services directly but to add value; this could be by offering research results, case studies, opinions or a unique story.

What’s your story?

The Artlab recently contributed to a feature on website design for manufacturers in the June edition of The Manufacturer. We provided useful background information to the journalist and a customer case study (in this case H & O Plastics). Both companies were mentioned in the article and acquired links as a result.

Here’s some PR ideas for your business:

  • Growth or investment stories (’10 news jobs created at X’)
  • Major performance improvements or results (‘Waste cut by 40% at X)
  • Awards or recognitions (‘X CEO gets MBE’)
  • Accreditations – especially if rare / unique
  • Exporting angle (‘X sells tea to China’)
  • Innovation – new product or process or other
  • Charitable activities, community
  • Industry or customer research and knowledge
  • Commenting on Government policy or industry news
  • The unusual and quirky (‘Astronaut travels to the moon with X’)

Make contact

Once you have an idea for a story the next step is to think about where to try to ‘place it’. Is the story very niche to your sector? Then an industry-specific platform might be best. Are you North West Business of the Year? Then a local, general business platform might be best.

Pick your platform with care, having in mind one question: ‘would I want a customer or competitor to see me here?’; beware of the company your story or contribution could be keeping.

Making contact and building a relationship with a writer or journalist can take time and persistence. Be helpful and try to make their job as easy as possible by supplying a press release, relevant information, photos or data. After the hard work of getting the PR you want, it’s advisable to maintain your contacts; you never know when you might need each other in future.

Some publications supply editorial calendars, with information on themes for future issues. It’s worth reviewing these and thinking of ways that you could contribute.

And finally…

Past online PR wins shouldn’t be wasted either – if the site is a high quality one it might be worth getting in touch to ask for a retrospective link; you might be turned down but in my experience people will try to help if they can.

Offline PR offers a different type of opportunity for your business online. You may not get a link out of it but you may be able to add content on your website. For example, The Artlab were featured in Greater Manchester Business Week, a MEN Media print publication, in April.

The article was not going to be made available online, so we asked for permission to add it to our website. The benefit to us was new content using a balance of keywords and phrases – great for SEO. The important take away here is to always ask for permission and to acknowledge the source of the content.

For SEO services that deliver results, come to The Artlab. Please contact our team on 0161 875 2528.