Link Building and PR, Best Friends Forever: How to leverage what you’re already doing for PR to build links

The recession continues to influence marketing managers to cut their marketing budgets and spend only on the most measurable and highest-ROI marketing tactics.

SEO and SEM fit the bill, which is why portions of ad budgets devoted to them have skyrocketed over the past few years.

This leaves traditional ad agencies in a tight spot. Clients clamor for sites that are optimized for search engines, now that they can no longer afford to spend six digits on a site no one can find.

Luckily, traditional, full-service ad agencies are in a perfect position to capitalize on their existing resources to fill the gap between their traditional strengths — branding, messaging — and SEO.

In comes: PR!

Links from relevant, high-authority sites and social media mentions are the lifeblood of SEO. Many SEOs have trouble transitioning from writing crawlable code and rewriting title tags to reaching out to bloggers to ask for coverage and creating social media campaigns.

This is where public relations departments should come in. PR and link building are so alike. They’re both based on earning, as opposed to paying for, exposure. They both are aimed at reaching particular audiences and establishing authority and credibility. Both require third-party media to cooperate in order to be successful.

Public Relations: Build a contact list of reporters, writers, press folks, etc.
Link Building: Build a list of blogs, sites and social media heavyweights in your niche.

Public Relations:    Target a piece of client activity – a launch, a re-launch, an event, a new product, a new company, etc.
Link Building: Target a piece of client content – infographics, blog posts, articles, videos, etc.

Public Relations: Pitch the activity of the client to the press folks in creative ways that will make them take notice.
Link Building: Send emails, make phone calls, send packages to folks to engage their interest and get them to provide links back to the content.

Public Relations: Measure success based on articles, stories and coverage.
Link Building: Measure success via links, rankings and traffic.

*List adapted from SEO-heavyweight Rand Fishkin’s SEOMoz blog post

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