While attending a recent talk on content and link building by Kirsty Hulse, MD of Many Minds, at the recent Nottingham Digital Summit, I was inspired to tackle some of the misconceptions in the world of digital PR and link building...
Like any industry, digital PR is full of misconceptions, rumours and differing opinions. However, as digital PR also has to dip its toes in the ever-changing SEO world too, these misconceptions are more frequent, and higher in number.
In this post, we will look at some of the mysteries in the digital PR and link building domain. We will explore what makes content “good”, who the media actually are and also look at some of the more technical aspects of digital PR that we all should know about!
“No Follow Links Are Pointless”
Building a comprehensive backlink profile for your business or client with coverage on relevant, high authority sites is our job. However, there is an obsession with only getting “follow” links in digital PR. Whilst the follow variety should be your first point of call for SEO value, there is a large school of thought that argues that “no follow” links should still be a part of your link building strategy.
Experts including Megan Marrs from WordStream and Pratik Dholakiya from Search Engine Land, argue that no follow links still drive large amounts of referral traffic and contribute to your overall authority online. Furthermore, rather than concentrating on follow or no follow, you should be building your brand with different types of links that will build trust. As Megan explains:
“Don’t think of what links are good for SEO, but instead think what links are good for your business, your brand, and what links can help establish you as an industry authority. Ultimately, you want a healthy balance of do follow and no follow for the perfect link profile”
“Brand Mentions Aren’t Worth Getting”
As we’ve already discussed, Google considers more than just links to determine authority. How many of us are disappointed when we get unlinked brand mentions and then chase that link? Well, again there is evidence that brand mentions are a powerful ranking factor that we should be chasing and tracking as part of our work.
Experts speakers from Google and Bing confirmed last year that mentions on relevant quality sites and across social media are a ranking factor – you can read more about their findings here.
There have also been new updates from Google such as the Panda Patent that recognises mentions as “implied links”, and these can bump up your rankings. This is good news for us in the industry as brand mentions are easier to get than links, and will likely help boost your business or client. Like any balanced diet though, you should still look to build high-quality links to compliment your brand mentions.
“All Content Marketing Will Get Links”
If there’s one thing we learnt from Kirsty Hulse’s talk at the Nottingham Digital Summit, it’s that sometimes content just doesn’t work – even if you do everything right. Whilst you can have a great, topical idea, build a watertight media list and pitch like you’ve never pitched before, sometimes campaigns just fall flat and it’s something all the best brands experience.
The trick is to take it on the chin, learn lessons and try to do something different next time. As we’ve already mentioned, think beyond just links too. Look at social shares, referral traffic and be patient – you might see results come through further down the line.
Some other tips for content marketing:
*Use lots of data in your content marketing – there’s so much research and stats out there ready to use
*Try using cheap tools to create quizzes, timelines and other shareable content
*Work with influencers and link partners to create mutually beneficial content
*Stand out, don’t follow or play safe. Remember, it’s important to fail fast!
You can take a look at our latest content marketing piece here.
“No One Is Interested in This Content”
So initially this might seem a bit misleading. Of course, there will be content ideas thrown around that have been talked about a million times before, so don’t waste your time on these unless you have a new angle. However, real PR professionals know that there are so many publications out there that will gratefully receive your “boring” content.
The skill comes from exploring an industry you’re not familiar with and building relationships with the right media. Soon, you’ll gain loads of interest in that top tips for cleaning ball bearings article.
“The Media Will Care About This”
There are some hard truths that PR professionals and their clients have to get used to in the world of modern media. However, as heartbreaking as it might be for businesses, it’s better to know what journalists actually care about. Want to find out what they don’t care about?
Here we go, deep breaths…
*New joins – unless you’ve just taken on 200 new staff in a week, keep this to yourself
*Attending a conference – businesses attend thousands of conferences every day
*Product launches – unless you’ve invented a device that will change the world, save this news for your website
These are just a few misconceptions that we experience in Earned Media. Why not share some of yours? Remember, our digital PR and content experts are here to help when you need us, so contact us today!