In this episode of the Unbottleneck Podcast, our accomplished Online Visibility Strategist, Monique Quarles, is joined by PR Director Will Hobson of Rise at Seven to discuss Link Building for global publications, essential outreach strategies and the art of newsjacking to build links.

About Our Guest: Will Hobson

Will Hobson is Public Relations Director at London-based Rise at Seven where he leads a team of 26 PR experts at the fastest growing search-first creative agency in the world. He has worked with some of the world’s largest brands in every industry from fashion, finance and gambling with brands such as Ladbrokes, Bloom & Wild, Missguided, Pretty Little Thing and Game.

Sponsored by Ryte

  • Traditional PR vs Digital PR 
  • Link Building Defined
  • Email vs Social Media Outreach 
  • Newsjacking as a Link Building Strategy 

Traditional PR vs Digital PR 

Even in the digital world, we have to go back to the basics. Before the digital age, traditional Public Relations (PR) consisted of strategies to build brand awareness through coverage in print, television and radio. 

Digital PR consists of those same strategies, but with SEO knowledge across an array of platforms. Digital PR is all about driving people to your website with great content that other sites can link back to. Unlike traditional PR, digital PR has the capability to not only build brand awareness, but produce tangible results in real time. 

Google ranks your website in its search engine by using several trust signals, including backlinks. 

Think of it like this – you get a “point” for every quality link you earn and the more “points” you get, Google rewards you for that with more visibility. So if there’s more people talking about you, Google can identify you as a trustworthy authority. 

The key to building links is to create cool, newsworthy stories that are impactful and shareable. 

Pro-Tip: You don’t have to be a big brand to be impactful! Just create a story that is relevant and timely. 

Email vs Social Media Outreach 

Most link building outreach is done via email, but you can use social media as a way to establish a rapport with journalists before drafting that outreach email. 

Journalists get hundreds of emails everyday so you have to make yourself stand out. Before emailing a journalist, do a soft outreach via Twitter to understand what they want first. By reaching out beforehand, you can find out what exactly they’re looking for. From there, you can follow-up via email with your story. 

Drafting  a Solid Outreach Email 

When you craft your email, be sure to follow these general guidelines to ensure your email doesn’t get looked over: 

  • Create a short subject line 
  • Get straight to the point in the email body
  • Make their job easy by giving them the story 
  • Study the journalist’s previous stories and use their language 

Avoid These Common Email Problems

Here are some tips to avoid when you are conducting your email outreach: 

  • Do not add too many external links – just add a link to your campaign 
  • Do not attach files or images – instead add a dropbox or cloud link
  • Do not change the subject line or email body if you don’t get a response right away – give your campaign enough time to get some traction  

Pro-Tip: Try to keep your email as simple as possible. Overloading your email with links and files can send your email to the spam folder. 

Newsjacking: The Art of Reading the Room 

Newsjacking has proven to be one of the best strategies to not only build links, but establish expertise, authority and trust. 

In simple terms, newsjacking is the reactive digital PR strategy of jumping on a trending news subject or breaking news story and offering commentary, stats, or data from your brand to generate links. This is a great supportive strategy for existing content and it is an effective way to build relationships with journalists for future trends and breaking stories. 

The truth is, not everyone is going to be engaged with your brand 24/7, so this strategy is an ideal way to meet your ideal audience where they are in order to put more eyes on your brand. 

An effective example is the trending news of Ariana Grande’s recent wedding. The team at Rise at Seven, works with a jewelry brand that released a story of how much her ring was worth and included a jewelry expert’s opinion on the ring which generated much buzz. 

This can be done for any industry including travel, finance and lifestyle as long as it is relevant to your brand and is timely!

Pro-Tip: Stay away from sensitive topics. If you are questioning whether you should newsjack a certain topic – DON’T. 

Keep up with the best link building and outreach strategies. Follow Monique on LinkedIn!