We all know building backlinks and domain authority is a huge part of getting your site to rank on Google. Equally Google has become more particular about what backlinks is values, prioritising quality over quantity.
This has made getting national citations or press mentions online even more valuable. But many SEO’s struggle to do this as it differs from the traditional link building methods like guest posting & directory link building.
In this post I’ll break down how you can get a link placed in the national press without breaking the bank. By using simple digital PR best practice.
Step 1 – Generate a big Idea.
To get press coverage, you need to have a story that is current & relevant to a broad group of people. National papers don’t want to hear about the latest trends in your niche industry. They want to hear about interesting stories with broad appeal like a study on vegan diets for dogs…
Equally you’ll want a story that has some degree of relevancy to your business. For example, if you were recruitment agency you could generate a study on changing staff retention rates or create an infographic on the most dangerous industries to work in!
If your still not sure on how to test if your idea is good or not, ask yourself the following questions:
- Does the story have broad appeal (would your nan read it)?
- Does it relate to a trending topic?
- Can you tentatively link it back to your business in some way?
- Can my idea be presented in an interesting format? (Infographic, Interactive tool, imagery, video etc)
Step 2 – The all-important link back.
Now you’ve decided on a rough idea, it’s important that you find some way for the story you outreach to link back to your site. Whilst you may get a link in the form of a brand mention – this not guaranteed.
The best way to guarantee a link back is to offer more information hosted on your site, that relates to the story. Which will incentivise the publisher to linkback, as it provides added context and value to the thing they’re publishing.
Let’s refer to the recruitment agency story about the most dangerous jobs. If I wanted to guarantee a link back from this content, I could host an expanded piece on my site which displayed an expanded study including the safest industries to work in. This then appears to be a natural place for a link to go – because it is.
Step 3 – Packaging up your story for journalists.
On average most journalists at a national/regional news outlet, publish around 5 pieces of content PER DAY! That’s a lot of output for one person…
If you want them to publish your story, you need to make it straightforward for them. As they don’t have the time to heavily edit or fix things for you. That means:
- Making sure you supply a full article that is grammatically correct and well written
- Ensure the tone is right for the target audience
- ALWAYS include supporting images/tools/assets for your article
- Supply the publisher a summary on what the story is about in under 250 words
- Clearly reference all the sources you used for the content piece
Step 4 – Approaching the newspaper.
Now you’ve produced your story. Built solid supporting content on your site. And packaged it up in a way that would make if the most time-pressured journalist want to publish it. It’s time to outreach.
Getting In Contact
There are a few ways you can get to a journalist. The first is calling the newsroom of the publication and pitching your story there. This is often quite effective, and someone will usually give you the contact details of the journalist that publishes the column your story relates to (e.g. The showbiz section) if they think it’s good enough.
The second is finding their email by manually crawling the web or using tools such as hunder.io. This can be hit & miss as like most of us, journalist do a good job of keeping their professional email address off the web.
The third is a personal favourite of mine. Twitter. A lot of the time you can find out the name of the journalist by browsing the editorial team page on the publications site. However very rarely do they hand out email addresses. This is where Twitter comes in.
Almost all journalists have a Twitter presence – after all it’s a real-time news site. By using the details on the publisher’s site, you can find the journalist and direct message them about your story. Cutting out the middleman & newsroom altogether.
Framing the story
When you do reach out, it’s important you supply context as to who you are, and how this story came about. Along with any standout points in your content. Again, this goes back to making it easy for the journalist to see the value within a few lines – so they don’t have to read a comprehensive breakdown. 😑
Step 5 – Capitalising on publication.
Congrats! If you followed the steps & we’re lucky enough to get published – well done. But now you need to double down & maximise the stories reach & potential referral traffic.
Once it’s published SHARE IT EVERYWHERE.
This will improve the story’s performance & help it get more coverage. If you routinely supply a journalist with hit stories, you can end up with a long-term contact that will help you repeat the process over and over. Adding infinite value to your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) link building efforts.
Fundamentally nothing will guarantee press coverage (unless you pay for it). However, these steps can go a long way to helping your chances of getting featured by a big player in the news space.
Whilst I’m not going to go into the correlative effect of backlinks on rankings, the impact of one of these links of your SEO can be massive. Helping you boost organic performance dramatically & getting a load of referral traffic in the process.
If you have any questions about this strategy, feel free to hit me up on twitter. I’m there with the journalists…