Sometimes those seeking media placements employ less-than-clean-handed approaches. In one example, in July, a freelance journalist revealed that a well-known London-based communication agency offered him financial rewards for featuring companies it represented in his articles.
That story raised questions (and tempers) about relationships between writers and agency reps, particularly those who cut corners and use dishonest earned media tactics.
So, let's spotlight how communicators can pursue earned media placements legitimately. Backlinks, SEO and Brain Engine Optimization (BEO)–more on this below–can result in coverage without 'paying' journalists.
PR and SEO: an harmonious link
Research shows organic search accounts for more than half of web traffic. As such, SEO’s importance in B2B PR is clear. Indeed, 60% of communicators affirm that PR and digital marketing should work more collaboratively.
SEO should start at the content-generation stage. Focus on keywords for every format–whether a press release, article, blog, or a tweet. However, this doesn’t mean keyword overkill or adding words that dilute the content’s meaning.
Instead, you will have better luck with carefully crafted copy that ties your B2B organization to keywords with core industry and market-themed links. Consistently appearing on authoritative third-party domains with content ranking high due to SEO will help your company demonstrate industry leadership.
Powering search engines–the brain
With advancements in the digital world, we forget that people drive B2B sales. 68% of online experiences begin with a search engine, yet searching starts with the B2B customer, a person, searching her memory. An online check follows.
Our brain favors familiar things. So, memorable brands will benefit, gaining trust and similarly positive outcomes. PR pros can use this knowledge of BEO to build brand recognition online.
If we agree BEO helps link memory recall to a Google search, how can communicators use backlinks (when one website links to another website with an anchor text) to direct traffic to their site?
Major search engines consider backlinks votes for a page and indicators of quality content. Google uses authoritative backlinks as signals for ranking content, making them a vital part of SEO tactics.
Dominating search results is one thing, but ensuring click-through to a company’s website is a vital goal for SEO-driven PR campaigns. Click-through from backlinks in organic content can be tracked through UTM codes, marketing platforms or website analytics tools.
This brings us back to where we started–content. Interesting, original content can score credible backlinks and help organizations keep a good ranking on Google.
SEO, BEO and backlinks
Accordingly, successful SEO requires extra effort building backlinks from distinguished sources. This means directly engaging journalists with the goal of placing content in publications your prospects read.
Embed backlinks into placed content to provide a clear route to your website so you can earn visits from a highly relevant audience. Add a piece of appealing gated content on your landing page, such as a deep-dive white paper or informative webinar–and you may start capturing extremely targeted leads.
Evolution of online media outlets has opened doors for B2B organizations to improve online lead generation, enhanced by SEO and backlinks. With efficient tactics, B2B PR pros should make the most of our brain ‘computer’ to create and build an impressive and memorable B2B brand.
Jamie Kightley is head of client services at IBA International