10 min read

PR Link Building 101: Boosting Your SEO Strategy

Dmytro Sokhach, CEO of Admix Global
PR Link Building

Digital PR is a highly effective approach to link-building. In the article, we'll blend the finesse of public relations with the brute force of link-building.

Our guide provides a snapshot of:

  • What PR link-building is
  • Its benefits
  • Common PR link-building tactics
  • How to hire a reputable PR agency (and red flags to watch out for).

TL;DR

  • PR link-building is an SEO strategy that involves creating newsworthy content and pitching it to journalists who may link back to it to add value to their articles.
  • There are two main benefits of PR link-building: it helps you secure backlinks from high-authority domains and develop long-term mutually beneficial relationships with journalists and bloggers.
  • Journalists find data-driven research studies particularly attractive because they add authority to their articles.
  • In product PR, you create press releases about upcoming product or feature launches and pitch them to journalists specializing in your niche.
  • Another way to secure media coverage is by establishing members of your organization as thought leaders in your field and creating content showcasing their expertise.
  • Organizations can also capture the attention of journalists with creative campaigns. 
  • Newsjacking and reactive PR rely on identifying trending news stories and topics and creating content that adds to the discussion.
  • In HARO, you respond to journalists' requests for contributions. If you’re quick enough and offer unique insights, you may be able to earn a backlink in the most reputable newspapers and magazines. 
  • When hiring a PR agency, analyze their previous results and processes. Look for an agency that offers live monitoring and a good value-to-price ratio.
  • Steer clear of agencies that promise miracles, have poor communication practices, cannot retain clients, and sort out their backlink profile.
  • If you’re after a quality link-building service, why not have a chat with Editorial Link’s team?

What Is PR Link-Building?

PR link building is an SEO strategy aimed at securing backlinks from media outlets.

The process involves creating newsworthy content and pitching it to journalists, who link back to it to add editorial value to their content.

Irina Maltseva, the Founder at ONSAAS and Growth Lead at Aura, outlines two main ways digital PR campaigns can benefit your company.

First, it generates high-quality backlinks from reputable sources by distributing engaging and newsworthy content

Media outlets, like Forbes or The Times, have high-authority domains. That means high link equity and a bigger impact on your SERP performance.

Want to know the best part? Such links are very difficult to replicate by your competitors.

PR efforts revolve around topical events, unique research, or company achievements that aren’t easily cloned.

This makes it difficult for competitors to gain similar links unless they have comparable, newsworthy content or stories of their own.

It doesn’t stop there. A single link in an article published by a major news outlet can generate significant referral traffic and additional links.

Here’s an example that Emilia Korczynska, the Head of Marketing at Userpilot provided:

When TechCrunch reported on Userpilot securing $4.6 million in seed funding, it triggered a snowball effect. Soon other journalists covered the story, which led to a surge in referral traffic and earned Userpilot a bunch of backlinks.

Sample of PR Link Building

Well, what about the second main benefit?

⭕ Second, it builds valuable industry relationships, leading to organic link opportunities and enhanced brand credibility, which can significantly improve rankings.

PR Link Building Tactics

What PR strategies can you leverage for your link-building campaign? We’ll tell you about a few most common ones.

Most Effective PR Link Building Tactics

Data-driven research studies

Data campaigns are a PR tactic that involves leveraging data-driven content to attract media attention, earn coverage, and generate backlinks to your website. They are based on the idea that data-driven insights and statistics can make your content more newsworthy and appealing to journalists looking for quality sources.

How does the strategy work?

In a nutshell, you identify a relevant topic in your niche that can be explored or presented through data.

Next, you gather the data, either through original research or by analyzing industry reports and mining existing data sets. The key is to extract new and valuable insights.

Once you have the data, create compelling content around it, for example, a report, and a press release highlighting the key findings.

According to Evaldas Mockus, the VP of Growth at Omnisend, this is the key part of the process:

⭕ PR link-building campaigns should begin by showcasing unique content rather than approaching journalists aggressively. We published research derived from our tool's data, specifically focusing on omnichannel statistics… Over the course of a couple of years, we generated 1168 backlinks.

how generated more then 1000 backlinks

Original research is a link-magnet in its own right but PR efforts allow you to amplify the results.

The next step involves identifying journalists and media outlets using tools like Prowly or Roxhill and reaching out to them with the press release.

Roxhill Interface

The journalists use the data to write their story, link back to your report, and job done!

Product PR

Product PR focuses on increasing online visibility and creating positive public awareness of your company’s products. And earning backlinks to the company’s website.

For example, when you’re launching a new product or feature, you can leverage product PR to create buzz around the launch.

What does it look like in practice?

You craft press releases highlighting the unique features of the product and share them with journalists and media outlets covering your industry.

That’s what Wordtune did when they were launching their AI Content Detector. Wordtune’s PR team reached out to journalists specializing in the area and managed to get coverage from several outlets, including a popular Israeli magazine, Geektime.

Geektime Ai Content Detector

Here’s the impact of the campaign on organic traffic:

impact of the campaign on organic traffic

Thought leadership

Thought leadership PR campaigns focus on positioning you or your organization as an authoritative and influential voice within your industry or niche.

They aim to establish credibility, build trust, and enhance visibility by gaining coverage from high-authority outlets and showcasing your expertise and insights. If you want to give it a go, start by crystalizing the key messages and themes for your thought leadership campaign.

To showcase the expertise of your thought leader:

  • create features and bylines on relevant topics, 
  • leverage guest speaking opportunities and media briefings at trade events,
  • promote their insights on social media and your company’s website or blog,
  • offer exclusive interviews.

Thought leadership PR is an effective strategy because it generates results long into the future. Once you establish yourself as a thought leader in your niche, journalists and bloggers will keep coming back for more of your wisdom.

Creative campaigns

Creativity is another way to capture the attention of the media and attract backlinks from high-authority sites.

Have a look at the /OutHourse_ <Your_Email> campaign by Visit Iceland.

The 2021 campaign to promote Iceland as a tourist destination was based on the idea that you can hire Icelandic horses ‘trained in corporate buzzwords’ to handle their inboxes while you’re enjoying your vacation.

The campaign’s landing page includes a video featuring horses walking over huge keyboards and ‘typing’ out-of-office replies and amazing Icelandic vistas.

The ‘service’ even offers a level of customization - you can choose a specific horse for the job. Genius!

pick a horse and start outhorsing your emails

How effective was the campaign?

It got coverage from hundreds of outlets across Europe and secured over 1.1k backlinks from over 500 domains.

result of outhorse email campaign

Newsjacking & reactive PR

Newsjacking and reactive PR leverage news stories and trending events related to your niche to generate media coverage and, subsequently, backlinks to your website. The strategy requires constant monitoring of news and social media for breaking news in your area.

An easy way to do it is by tracking trending keywords. Google Trends is an easy-to-use and free tool for the job.

openAI in Google Trends

Next, you create related content that adds value to the conversation and reach out to journalists and bloggers covering the topic.

That’s exactly how the campaign on chatGPT growth managed to secure over 60 backlinks from high-authority sites like Yahoo News, The Wrap, and Time magazine.

example of reactive PR

HARO

HARO, or Help A Reporter Out, is a service that connects journalists seeking input with subject matter experts.

Here’s how it works:

You create your account, choose the niche you have expertise in, and the service sends you relevant inquiries from writers.

If you find a query where you have unique insights, you write a 300-word pitch. If the journalist finds your contribution valuable, they feature you in their article and you get a backlink.

Media outlets that use HARO include Fox News, Mashable, The New York Times, Time, and Wall Street Journal, so it’s a chance to secure a link from a high-authority domain.

Of course, HARO isn't an industry secret; the competition to get on journalists' radar is high. So how do you win at this game?

I'v asked Evaldas Mockus.

To achieve success with HARO, we recognize two main keys:

  1. Response speed: The quicker you react to journalists’ requests, the greater the chance of being published.
  2. Engaging content: Journalists receive hundreds of responses. Differentiate yourself by offering unique data and a distinct approach.

We conducted an experiment aiming to generate all our PR mentions via HARO during the quarter. We secured 21 mentions, including coverage from Forbes, Marketscreener, and others.

All of our pitches provided a unique angle. If you believe that HARO will work for you with basic ideas, you are mistaken.

 

Evaldas Mockus - VP of Growth at Omnisend
Evaldas Mockus

VP of Growth at Omnisend

HARO Main Page

How to Hire a Digital PR Agency?

Hiring a digital PR agency is the easiest way to start with PR link-building.

Such agencies have their dedicated teams made up of professionals with relevant experience.

They have tried-and-tested processes and well-established networks of contacts, so they can help you realize your link-building goals in less time and at scale.

The catch is that choosing the right agency isn’t a straightforward task. Here’s a breakdown of key criteria you should pay attention to when partnering up with an agency.

  • Results and reputation. Check out the case studies, testimonials, and reviews from previous customers. Don’t take their results at face value - dig a bit deeper to verify them.
Editorial.Link case studies
  • Progress tracking. Look for agencies that give regular updates on the PR campaigns and allow you to monitor your new links in real-time.

If you’re using a link-building agency and still don’t get a proper report and have a live dashboard with an overview of their work – you might be flushing over $10,000/year down the drain.

No serious agency will keep you in the dark. You should have a live view of your links, have them crawled regularly, and ensure they’re not getting quietly removed over time.

Michal Jackowski, Founder at BacklinkManager.io
Michal Jackowski

Founder at BacklinkManager.io

  • Tools and processes. A reputable agency will be happy to share their processes and the tools that they use so that you can verify they know their trade.
  • Price. You need to strike the balance between what you can afford and the quality you want to get. The cheapest options don’t always offer the best value. They may be able to secure links but of lower quality. Reputable digital PR agencies charge in the region of $750-1200 per link.

Red flags when you hiring a digital PR agency

There are a lot of dodgy players on the link-building scene.

Contracting them to handle your PR campaign will cause more harm than good. In the best-case scenario, you’re going to lose a lot of money. In the worst, they can tarnish your reputation and incur SE penalties for your site.

Red flags when you hiring a digital pr agency

These things should set off your alarm bells:

  • Unrealistic goals and timelines - link building takes time so be wary of agencies that promise to build hundreds of links over a very short period.
  • Poor communication - it’s difficult to have a productive business relationship if you have to wait for days to hear back from your agency or keep chasing them constantly.
  • Poor client retention - link-building is a long-term game, so if clients don’t hang around, it may be evidence of poor service or results.
  • Poor backlink profile - if an agency isn’t able to sort out their backlink profile, what are the odds they’ll sort out yours?

Conclusion

Digital PR campaigns may be pricey, especially if you’re hiring an agency, but they allow you to secure backlinks from high-authority websites.

The easiest way to start with PR link-building is by hiring a specialist agency. If you decide to do this, look out for agencies with a proven track record of delivering results to their clients, and transparent processes.

If you need help with your link-building processes, why not have a chat with the Editorial Link’s team?

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