How Online Marketers Can Leverage PR

11 mins read

Have you ever thought about taking your link-building efforts to the next level? If the answer’s yes, PR is the way to go. It’s the only means for online marketers to get high DR links that would otherwise be unattainable.

And it’s not impossible to pull off either. 

By maintaining a good image, fruitful relationships with the media, and adding real value to your niche, you can leverage PR for high-quality backlinks.

Let’s see how.

What is PR?

Well, one of the most important aspects of PR is content creation. From whitepapers and original research to news articles, PR is, at its core, based on creating valuable content and promoting it to the media.

But that media promotion isn’t like your average link-building outreach. It needs to be extremely personalized. 

How You Can Leverage PR

In our PR campaigns, which we have used to land extremely valuable backlinks from high DR media domains, we had three basic steps we followed:

  1. Find a good story to run. Write a valuable piece, with data, surveys, and strong research behind it.
  2. Spend time prospecting properly. This is not the time to send out a massive email campaign. It should be extremely focused on individual journalists.
  3. Send a hyper-personalized story to the journalist.

As you can probably tell, this is not a numbers game. At least, not as much of a numbers game as regular outreach. Leveraging PR for online marketing should be a very targeted process, from beginning to end.

Finding A Good Story

Most media institutions (and definitely all major publications) won’t really care about a top 10 list of the best products in your niche. While that’s a good commercial article for your affiliate campaigns, it won’t help your PR efforts.

For good PR campaigns, the content you’re promoting needs to be top-notch. We don’t just mean flawless writing, enticing headlines, or flashy images and infographics. You still need those, like you would for any article on your site.

But on top of that, you also need something that a journalist, or big media institutions, would be interested in. 

Instead of researching keywords in Ahrefs, you need to research trends, the topics approached by journalists and media institutions, and create a good story based on that. 

Here’s a good rule of thumb to identify these topics: when you’re writing for your site, you’re writing for a very specific audience that’s interested in your niche. If you want to be featured in journalistic articles, you need to write something that the general population would be interested in or something that the audience of that publication would want to read.

That’s a notable difference. The audience you’d create content for on your site might be very different from the audience of a publication. For example, the Daily Mail gets a lot of success with wanky puzzles. That’s probably not the first type of content you’d want to create for your audience. But it works for the Daily Mail, so keep the audience of a publication in mind when creating content for PR.

That’s the first step. Then, while creating the content you want to promote, aim to have something original about it. Add your own research, survey, or valuable data that cannot be found anywhere else. 

For example, a few years ago we talked about ranking criteria, and what matters most in the eyes of Google when deciding where to rank a page. But we didn’t just eyeball these criteria. 

We created a crawler and analyzed over 1 million SERP results to find the metrics that truly count. You don’t have to spend so much resources on this – analyzing a million of anything can be time-consuming – but this is the general gist of it.

Prospecting Journalists And Media Institutions

When you have a piece of content to leverage for media attention, it’s time to identify potential partners to reach out to. 

While the regular link-building outreach can be done with tools, and it’s a numbers game, to leverage PR as an online marketer you need to get in the trenches. You need to research individual media institutions, and even particular journalists, to see who’d be most willing to use your content.

The simplest way to find these people is to head off to Google News and search for your niche. Set the date to the past 6 weeks or so, and you’ll find publications, as well as journalists that could be interested in your content.

You can use media databases to find the email address of someone after you know their name. Another great tool to find journalists to reach out to is HARO (Help A Reporter Out). With HARO, journalists make requests for the content they’d be interested to share with you, in exchange for a backlink.

This is a platform you can also use for regular link building. But it’s especially valuable to get in touch with media institutions.

Reaching Out To Journalists

When reaching out to journalists to leverage PR, the first thing you’ll need to do is adjust your expectations. Your content might be used for a feature article all about it. Or it can just be a small side note in a bigger article

That’s the nature of PR in online marketing. While your content might be fantastic, it might not always match the needs of a journalist.

So head into this with an open mind, and don’t have specific expectations.

Other than that, the most important aspect of getting noticed by journalists is the subject matter. Some prefer a small talk before getting to business, others don’t. Some of them want attachments that summarize your content, others will just think it clutters their inbox.

There’s no true and tested formula for the perfect email to reach out to journalists.

So it’s all about the subject matter, and what content you can offer.

You can, of course, increase your chances of getting noticed by personalizing emails. To leverage PR as an online marketer, you can’t just pump out the same template to everyone. You’ll need to use everything you found while prospecting to personalize your outreach.

Sending heartfelt and polished emails might not get you a backlink all the time. But it increases the chances of you getting a response, and implicitly landing a backlink in the future.

Maintaining Business Relations

PR work is not just about the initial article and reaching out to specific journalists. To truly leverage PR as an online marketer, you have to employ networking best practices to boost your long-term success in getting links from media sites.

That includes reaching out with a genuine desire to help spread valuable information and following up regularly. 

If a journalist or media institution isn’t interested in the content you created, that doesn’t mean you should just drop communications altogether. Any connection you make in the present can help you down the line.

And communicating with the journalists you contact can provide insight into what they need. 

If you’re a good source in your niche, they might even get back to you in the future asking for specific content. It’s a possibility, not a certainty. But it can only help you if you maintain good business relations with the people you contact.

In Conclusion

If you want to land extremely valuable backlinks from media sites, the only way to do so is to leverage PR. As an online marketer, you’re very well positioned to do so. At their core, news sites are all about content.

If you can create extremely valuable pieces that are appealing to a media site’s audience, you can get in touch with them and be featured in their articles. However, you shouldn’t treat it as a numbers game. Devote a lot of time to each content piece, and the journalists you reach out to, and you can leverage PR as an online marketer successfully.

If you want to learn more about online marketing, you can also check out our article about how to make money blogging. It’ll take you through the basics of monetizing your site.

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Nastya Zelenovskaya

Content marketing manager at PRNEWS.IO.

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