As it turns out, media relations is absolutely measurable, if you use it in a three-pronged approach—brand awareness, SEO, and lead generation.
The second prong—SEO—is where I want to spend some time today (the first is brand awareness and the third is lead generation, which we’ll cover later).
Media relations success, you know the kind that you can measure to real results, cannot be achieved without the other two prongs.
Make sure you check back in coming weeks to learn how they all work together.
Search Engine Optimization
You are not going to become an SEO expert overnight.
Nor are we asking you to do so.
But you do need to know the basics and understand how simple things you can do in your media relations efforts will affect your Google juice.
You are taking your media relations expertise and using it for the front-end work of optimization.
When you do this, you are going to create the very valuable link back to your website or blog that Google places priority on…and you’re going to do it using sites that have more authority and credibility than your own.
Having done this, you will build trustworthiness for your organization, both internally (on the website) and externally (with targeted audiences).
This will also have the benefit of increased search results and increased domain authority (both of which are measurable).
Not only will the SEO team want to kiss you, the executives will, too.
The very best way to increase your domain authority and gain the very valuable link back to your site is to do traditional media relations.
And guess what? That’s where your expertise lies!
Use Media Relations to Increase Your SEO
For example’s sake, I am going to use “PR metrics” as the keyword I want to focus on.
You will use a different keyword—either ask your SEO team for a list, or create a list by determining what most people will search online to find you.
- Determine your priority keywords or phrases. If you don’t have an SEO team already focused on keywords, you’ll have to create a list. The easiest way to do that is write down a list of questions prospects, customers, and other shareholders ask. Then look for the common phrases. Those will go on your list.
- Use the Google keyword planner. Take your words or phrases and input them in the Google keyword planner. I’m going to input “PR metrics” to show you the results. The keyword tool shows me is has 210 monthly searches and it has media competition. This is good! I don’t want to do all this work around something with tons of searches and high competition. I want to do it around a topic that has highly qualified people coming to our site. And I’d rather have 210 highly qualified visitors than 10,000 tire kickers.
- Do a Google search. Do a Google search for your priority keyword. Just a plain old search.
- Create a spreadsheet. Turn on the Moz MozBar (if you don’t already have it, it’s a must—download it). Create a quick spreadsheet with “website,” “domain authority,” and “can compete?” as the headers. Now jot down the websites that are on the first page of Google results for your search in your first column. With the MozBar turned on, you’ll also see the domain authority of each site. Jot those numbers down in your second column.
- Determine if you can compete. Now you will fill in the third column of your spreadsheet. Using the link popularity drawing that Andy Crestodina uses, we can determine whether we can compete. Spin Sucks has a domain authority of 66, which means we can compete with any site that is 86 or lower. On the first page of Google results for “PR metrics,” every site is 86 or lower, except Medium. So I’ll put a Y in the third column, except for that one.
- Create your pitch list. This is very important! For this exercise, you are not going to use your Cision database or write a news release that you’ll distribute to every journalist and blogger you know. This is far more targeted than that. You are going to use the media outlets and blogs that already rank for your targeted phrase. You’ll do this because you know they’re already interested in the subject and because their domain authority is higher than your own. You can add to your media list by going to the second and third page of search results to see who else has written on the topic and has a higher domain authority than your own. In this case, we’d write something for Medium and pitch PRWeek and a couple of the other trades.
- Include a link to your website or blog. Now do your media relations. Pitch OpEds, interview opportunities, story ideas, and contributed content. Develop these pitches from your content hubs and repurpose existing content. And then, this is the most important part, work with them to include a link to a page on your website or a specific blog post. If you don’t get that link, this exercise will not work to increase your SEO.
- Anchor text. But it can’t just be the link (well, it can, but it’ll work much better if it’s more), you must also include anchor text. This tells Google you are an authority on the subject. So, in this example, we will pitch stories that include “PR metrics” as the anchor text and, when clicked, it will lead people to a specific blog post, a FAQ page, a white paper, an archived newsletter, or other content you give away free (meaning, you don’t require an email address to gain access). The link should NOT go to your home page. If it goes to your home page, I will cry. Don’t make me cry!
- Measure your results. Now we can track who visits the site from each media outlet, which outlet is the best lead generator, and where the visitors go after landing on the initial piece. The goal, of course, is to capture them through a landing page so we can add them to the lead nurturing program, which we’ll cover later. All you have to do is go to Google analytics (if you don’t have access, get it now…pronto! HURRY!) and sign in. On the left-hand sidebar, click on Acquisition, then All Traffic, and then Referrals. On this page, you will see a search bar. You are going to input the URL of the media outlet or blog that ran your story (and included your anchor text and a link back to your site). This will tell you how many visitors that story brought you, how long they stayed on the site (you want to see it higher than average), and how many pages they visited.
- Track effectiveness. But where the real rubber meets the road is how you begin to rank in search results. We actually do rank for “PR metrics” and that Medium article I mentioned? Also ours. My goal now is to grab the featured snippet from Glean. It works! In fact, it works so well, you’ll get super excited about it and hit refresh over and over again to watch your website climb up the rankings.
Bring it Together
Now you can start to see how two of the media relations prongs work together to build something that is extremely valuable to the organization.
With the brand awareness prong, we can prove effectiveness that drives the investment.
On this prong, we can prove search results have increased and, adding to the work of our SEO colleagues, your website or blog will begin to really stand out.
Suddenly something that used to be measured by media impressions and advertising equivalencies is proving to be extremely valuable to the organization…more than just ink and a nice ego stroke.
Now it’s your turn to try this.
But before you do, what questions do you have?