Here, Skout MD, Rob Skinner asks have you considered the HALF concept?
I recently presented a webinar for B2B Marketing on the subject of how to triple the value of a B2B PR agency budget by adapting or extending its goals and objectives. One of the ways of doing this that I discussed was around aligning PR with SEO, to accomplish a great deal in terms of quality inbound link building from your existing PR efforts. We often find that clients are running SEO programmes wholly separately to PR, viewing the two as very different beasts. However considering that external links are vital to SEO, we find that a little education changes attitudes, and greater benefit is derived by making PR and link building a collective effort.
Essentially, generating media coverage is one of the best ways of achieving natural inbound links to your website. Although traditional goals of positive PR may focus more on building brand awareness and trust among audiences, the fact that much of the media is now online and a good proportion will include links to relevant sources in the articles they publish, makes link building and SEO an equally important PR target.
Integrating SEO objectives into PR does however mean a review of the approach being taken. The main area of this is around storytelling and media strategy – in other words what stories are you going to put out there and what media are you going to try and get them published in? We’ve aptly named this strategy as the ‘other HALF’, where HALF is an acronym for High Authority Link Friendly media. A HALF publication is one which has both a high domain authority (meaning it’s seen as quality by the likes of Google) and also an open policy to including links. HALF publications may well be different to the traditional media your B2B PR agency is targeting, so adding SEO and link building to your PR goals and measures often means changing or extending the media you’re looking to target.
Here’s a quick illustration of that.
A financial software vendor needs to build its profile with financial directors and CFOs in order to help sell its product. It therefore targets professional media with a high CFO and FD readership, plus some industry publications in sectors where it is really strong. However 80% of these publications are either in print, or the online ones have no free links rules, or have low domain authority.
But the company wants to use PR to build more relevant links as part of its SEO strategy, so it looks at what HALFs it could target and how it could do this. It discovers that by adding selected online small business media and national consumer media, plus some trade publications with a slightly broader focus, it can vastly increase its link building potential.
That just leaves the decision over what stories and content it needs to produce to create the links in these media. This means a partial departure away from some of its core specialist subjects to exploring broader topics it can comment on, and even looking at consumer finance trends that it can build stories around. The result is a double-barrelled PR approach; on one hand the company still talks with authority to its potential buyers and on the other it ticks a big SEO box.
If you haven’t looked at the ‘other HALF’ of what PR could be doing for you maybe now is the time!