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How to Use Public Relations to Get Backlinks

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Backlink strategy

Some of the most valuable backlinks that build search engine optimization for a website are the ones that come from mainstream media.

The practice of public relations includes good relations with mainstream media. So it’s logical for website publishers to think about using PR to attract attention from media outlets such as newspapers, radio stations and TV stations.

Getting their attention may result in publicity in their offline products, which often export articles and video to their websites. Any media coverage is useful and has at least a short-term impact.

If the coverage on their websites includes a backlink, the impact is even greater and longer lasting.

More importantly, media websites usually have high rankings for search engine optimization. A single backlink is a powerful vote in favor of the receiving website.

Getting Media Attention

Mainstream media websites often contain tens and even hundreds of thousands of articles. Many of them attract millions of visits a month.

The sites update dozens and even hundreds of times a day from new articles, new ads and comments from visitors.

Their large sizes and heavy activity gives them high credibility and authority from search engines. That means a link to an outside site has high value.

How does a website publisher attract those kinds of links? It is difficult but not impossible.

I have spent most of my career in media as a reporter, editor and online general manager. I have been on the receiving end of countless attempts from the public to get coverage in print and online.

Oddly enough, the pitches are largely in the form of emails, faxes, mail and phone calls requesting print or TV coverage. They rarely ask for a backlink.

In reality, no editor or producer will bother with adding a link in an article on the media outlet’s website just because if someone asks for it. If they did, they would get flooded with requests.

But they just might consider an article with a link if the external site has something new, useful or interesting or if someone involved in that site has expertise in something of interest to the public.

3 Steps in Getting Backlinks

With that in mind, a website publisher can try the following steps.

  1. Identify the site, section and person responsible for the section where you hope to get a link. For example, newspaper websites often have a staff list with their job duties and email addresses.
  2. Look at what they publish and try to understand why they thought the articles were worthwhile. If you have something that measures up to those article topics, write a news release that presents a strong case for getting attention and send it to that person via email.
  3. Give facts and figures for why this “news” about your site and expertise on the subject is worthwhile. Don’t embellish. They hate BS.

Chasing backlinks is not much different than selling a product or service. If 1 out of 10 tries results in coverage or a backlink, the site is getting a pretty good return on investment.

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