6 Tips To Generate Great Inbound Links With Online PR
When On Page SEO Just Isn't Enough...
Whether you’re a small business, independent school, non-profit, high tech company or travel agency, once your inbound marketing is up and running and the initial shock and awe of “getting found” by your first few prospects wears off, you may begin to experience symptoms...
For some it’s an obsessive compulsive need to open the analytics dashboard every few seconds to see if another lead has popped up. For others it’s constant tweaking of their on page SEO, looking for an instant boost in page rank. And for some it’s publishing blog after blog after blog looking for just the right content to start a conversation with the next prospect. The SEO and blogging are both useful activities (the OCD dashboard thing… not so much) but your next frontier to stimulate top of the funnel activity should be inbound links. Inbound links are other web properties that point back at you and in effect say “here is an expert on this subject”.
There are many techniques and tactics for generating inbound links but one of the simplest is online public relations or PR. Online PR gives you the ability to distribute news about your business through special distribution channels.
Done correctly, press or news releases distributed through online PR result in your information showing up at content aggregation sites and on social media networkds with links pointing back to you. Writing and distributing press about your company is something either you can do or have an inbound marketing agency do for you. Either way, knowing what helps a press release perform is invaluable to the inbound marketer. Here are 6 powerful tips for outstanding online PR:
1. Any Business Can Issue a Press Release: Many small businesses think PR and press releases are only for big companies. Not true. In fact, this very misperception can help a small business look big for relatively little investment. This doesn't mean you should just blather on about yourself and issue your diatribe as a press release, but there is no reason that smaller companies can't take advantage of online PR to increase the authority of their value proposition.
2. Perform Keyword Research: In each press release, you should target 2 or 3 top keywords that are relevant to your industry. If you already have an SEO campaign in place, you probably have a good idea which keywords you need to target. If not, you can use a free keyword research tool, like Google AdWords Keyword Tool to identify relevant keywords.
3. Include Your Company Name in The Headline: The reason you want to include your company name in the headline if possible is so that you can own the top search results for your brand. That way, whenever a customer or a reporter searches online for your company, they’ll see your website and a bunch of news about your company. It increases your credibility, and it’s helpful for driving down any negative search results if they exist. Secondarily, include you keywords both in your head (or subhead) and in the first paragraph of the release to increase the associated relevance between your content and your keywords.
4. Use Keyword-Rich Anchor Text: Links are the key to increasing your search engine presence. Most news directories allow you to include links back to your website within your press release. To increase the visibility of your press releases and your website, use keyword-rich, targeted anchor text in your links. For example, suppose one of the keywords you’re targeting is “inbound marketing”. You’d want to include a link in your press release around the words “inbound marketing” that links to a page on your website about inbound marketing (and on-page SEO optimized for the keyword you use to link back).
5. Use Reputable News Distribution Services: You won't get something for nothing and quantity doesn't trump quality when it comes to PR. The low grade press release websites are something I recommended avoiding. You’re wasting your time if you’re posting press releases to these websites, because they won’t get found. Being linked to these websites could even hurt your reputation with Google or Bing. In addition to the channels you 'release' to, make sure you include social sharing options in your release to that it's easy for others to pass it on - there's little inbound marketers like better than a viral press release.
6. Tell a Story: Does your press release sound like spam? If you want your press releases to spread far and get picked up by good news websites, you need to have something important and relevant to share. Unless you're a massive brand and market mover like Apple, using PR as advertisement does not work. The best releases - those that get the best pick up and hence a halo effect on your business - are releases that tell a story about something new, interesting and valuable to a definable audience and do so in an educational, non-salesy but actionable way.
Done well, online PR can be a powerful inbound link generator and begin to build visitor activity at the top of your funnel to power your lead generating website beyond those few initial conversions. If you're still not sure about doing online PR yourself, an inbound marketing agency is a good place to turn.