Link Building
Jun 4, 2024

What Is PR Link Building and How Does It Work

What Is PR Link Building and How Does It Work

PR link-building entails leveraging the power of PR to build a solid, ever-growing link-building profile.

That’s what you’ll learn from this article. You’ll get:

  • The advantages of digital PR link-building compared to regular link-building
  • 5 actionable methods to start your link-building campaign
  • Useful templates you can copy
  • Insider tips from Blue Things’ experience
  • Examples that move the needle

Keep reading below.

Benefits of PR Link Building:

  • PR link-building combines public relations and link-building for mutual benefits.
  • It enhances authority, ranking, online presence, and organic traffic.
  • PR link-building ensures long-term visibility in quality outlets.
  • It outperforms regular link-building with competitive edge, faster ranking, and quality visibility.

Methods for PR Link Building:

  1. Creating Linkable Assets (The Link-Bait Technique):
  • Develop valuable tools, industry studies, statistics, and more.
  • Generates long-term traffic and quality backlinks but can be challenging.
  1. HARO (Help A Reporter Out) and Similar Journalist Platforms:
  • Connect with journalists seeking expert insights.
  • Free, but competitive; can lead to high-profile media mentions.
  1. Guest Posting:
  • Write high-quality content for niche websites.
  • Expands audience, builds authority, and improves search rankings.
  1. Establishing Yourself as an Authority:
  • Use in-house teams as experts.
  • Create expert roundups.
  • Newsjacking for timely PR opportunities.

Choosing the Right Strategy:

  • Select PR link-building methods strategically based on your goals and resources.
  • Consider the pros and cons of each approach.
  • Seek professional guidance for an effective digital PR strategy.

What Is PR Link Building?

Let’s start with the basics:

  • PR stands for “public relations.”
  • Link-building is creating and acquiring hyperlinks that direct users from one website to another.

The strategies for different business also differ. We've already written detailed guides on:

When you combine the two, PR link-building emerges.

Basically, you’re using public relations strategies to acquire valuable backlinks from other websites to your own website.

And since you’re leveraging digital PR, you aim to build mutually beneficial relationships.

(We’ll show you how in a second.)

For now, let’s look at the following.

Benefits of PR Link Building

Let’s start with the benefits of link-building to see how PR link-building transcends them:

  • Authority: A solid backlink profile signals to search engines that other websites see your content as trustworthy and authoritative. That means you get a:
  • Higher ranking: The more high-quality backlinks your website has, the higher it will rank in search engine results pages (SERPs). And that higher ranking translates into:
  • Improved online presence: 5% of Internet users only look at the first nine results on the first SERP. So if you’re ranking higher, you’re likelier to be discovered by people doing searches on Google.
  • More organic traffic: If your authority, ranking, and visibility are improved, that enhanced SEO performance translates into more organic traffic.
  • Reaching your goals: That increased traffic and authority will help you reach your marketing goals faster.

But what makes PR link-building better than other link-building strategies?

It ensures your long-term visibility in quality outlets.

PR link-building is like regular link-building on steroids. Let’s review the differences:

regular link building vs pr link building

1. You Gain Authority Links with a Competitive Edge

PR link-building makes your link juice float from reputable websites with high authority.

Why? Because you’ll give them an important reason to (we’ll discuss that in the next section).

And this isn’t just one mention or two; do link-building PR consistently, and you’ll build a solid link profile.

Side note: Those links will help you rank for high-competition keywords.

So you have:

  • Increased quality of mentions
  • An important reason to be mentioned in authoritative websites
  • Ranking for competitive keywords

All these lead to a significant competitive edge because your competition can’t mimic your link-building SEO strategy as easily.

For example, Modash.io has built a fake follower checker, which gets mentioned in Whatagraph.com, a website with DR 77 on Ahrefs:

whatagraph screenshot
Source

2. You Rank Higher Faster

With regular link-building, Google sums your mentions and increases your rankings.

But with PR link-building, people actually click on your high-quality links.

Imagine you’re reading the above article on influencer marketing. That means you’re probably trying to start an influencer marketing campaign.

In this case, you are likelier to click on that fake follower checker hyperlink.

Remember: Your potential customers click on things that are useful to them (as everyone does).

And that accelerated referral traffic makes Google pass more authority to your website.

You basically hit two birds with one stone:

  • Your search engine authority grows faster.
  • Your referral traffic increases the number of visitors engaging with your website and products.

And those two factors increase your ranking more consistently than regular link-building.

Remember: Most of the usual white-hat link-building techniques companies use don’t generate as much referral traffic as PR link-building.

3. Quality Visibility for Your Qualified Leads

Plenty of solid link-building techniques enhance your visibility.

But you need quality visibility.

If you’re a new candidate running for US president, getting increased coverage in Italy won’t do you much good.

It’s the same thing with backlinks.

You need to earn links from niche websites in your market with which you share a target audience.

Essential fact: Aligning yourself with the right audience right from the top of the sales funnel means you can get more qualified leads later.

It’s like selling ice cream in a neighborhood full of kids versus selling ice cream in a room full of lactose-intolerant people with the flu.

PR link-building puts you in front of your target customers, specifically where they are.

4. You Don’t Just Get More Visitors. You Gain a Community

Regular link-building increases your visibility and ranking, so you get more search engine traffic flowing your way.

PR link-building:

  • Gets you organic and referral traffic.
  • Allows you to prove your expertise and trustworthiness in front of the right target audience who is reading those top-tier publications you’re posting in.

Those are key ingredients to building a loyal brand community.

That community will share your links on social media, email, or on their websites. And that will snowball your traffic, reputation, and ranking.

5. Achieve Your Marketing Goals in the Long-Term

Digital PR allows you to reach your business goals in the long term, even if you stop your link-building efforts for a while.

If you create evergreen, relevant assets and relationships, your traffic will increase steadily.

Yes, even if your link-building team is on a break.

Now let’s see how you can achieve all those benefits:

Method One: Creating Linkable Assets [The Link-Bait Technique]

You already saw a link-bait example above; Modash.io created a fake follower checker for influencer marketers.

But that’s not a link bait just for Modash’s audience.

It’s a link bait for potential link partners with high authority in Modash’s niche.

Remember: Create assets those authoritative websites will want to put in front of your common audience.

That’s the magic of the mutually-beneficial PR relationship:

  • You get worthwhile mentions.
  • Your potential link partners get a valuable topic or tool to mention.

Win-win.

So, linkable assets include:

  • Relevant tools specifically designed for your target audience
  • Industry studies
  • Relevant statistics
  • And more

SEMrush publishes the yearly State of Search:

semrush state of search for 2023
Source

This document contains many statistics relevant to SEO marketers, company leaders, and digital advertising people.

In just under three weeks of its publishing, this report has 332 backlinks, 95% of which are do-follow.

semrush state of search links
Source

And that’s in a world where 94% of all online content has zero backlinks.

Let’s stop for a second and summarize this method’s advantages and disadvantages.

PROS:

  • Long-term quality traffic
  • Steadily increasing the number of quality backlinks from high-authority domains
  • Improved reputation and authority

CONS:

  • Difficult to create

Obviously, a figure-packed industry study is more difficult to build than a regular article.

But you don’t have to aim as high as our friends at SEMrush.

You can create a smaller-scale study.

For example, you can evaluate industry trends by surveying your own clients.

  1. Ask a virtual assistant to gather and organize data from your sales team.
  2. Go through that data to extract insights.
  3. Find trends.
  4. Explain the causes of those trends.
  5. Find potential solutions to unwanted outcomes.
  6. Ask your web design team to create infographics for those insights.

And you have a good study you can send out to potentially interested link partners.

Pro tip: Remember that you can also create a wide range of innovative tools as well.

Method Two: HARO and Similar Journalist Platforms

HARO, or Help A Reporter Out, is an online platform that connects journalists with sources for their stories.

It’s a win-win situation:

  • Reporters get expert opinions and insights.
  • Sources get valuable media exposure.

Here’s how HARO link-building works in a nutshell:

  • Reporters post queries requesting information on topics they’re covering.
  • Experts in those fields (aka, you) receive an email with the query based on their filters. Here’s what your inbox will look like:
HARO emails
Source
  • You can choose a question and respond with your unique insights.
  • If you’re fast and in-depth enough, journalists will publish your perspective, linking to your website.

If you’re interested in this PR link-building tactic, follow the three tips below:

  • Respond to queries quickly: journalists are always on a deadline. And they usually tend to read the first replies.
  • Pitch yourself as an expert in a specific area rather than just a generalist.
  • Set your filters correctly to maximize the chances of receiving relevant topics in your niche.

PROS:

  • It’s free.
  • You can get quoted in high-profile media outlets like Forbes, The New York Times, and TODAY.
  • The platform is easy to use.

CONS:

  • Competition is fierce.
  • You may not be quoted correctly or timely.

Here’s how you can solve that problem:

At Blue Things, we used a mix of HARO and relationship-based link-building to take our sister company, inBeat, from 500 to 70,000 monthly visitors.

So we circumvented the disadvantages of HARO by mixing it with other long-term PR and non-PR link-building strategies.

Remember: Book a free strategy call; we’ll also help you reach your best results

And here’s a free HARO response template you can copy:

Subject

[Relevant Topic] Expert Available for Interview

Dear [Journalist’s Name],

My name is [Your Name], and I am an expert in [Relevant Topic].

I’m so passionate about [Relevant Topic] that I have created [significant research to mention]. I’m confident I can provide valuable insights and perspectives that interest your readers.

If you’re interested in interviewing me for your article, I would be happy to provide more data and answer any questions you may have. Please let me know if there’s any specific information you’re looking for.

I’m available at [time slot], but we can talk and connect whenever you’re free.

Best regards,

[Your Name]

[Position at Company]

[LinkedIn profile link]

Method Three: Guest Posting

Guest posting is a powerful digital PR tactic.

But you can’t write a random post and hope for the best.

Remember: Create informative, valuable pieces of content that resonate with your target audience.

Here’s how you can get the most out of guest posting:

  1. Find the best website to post on: You can use a link-building tool like Ahrefs, SEMrush, or BuzzSumo to make a list of journalists in your niche. Ensure they have enough traffic and a good domain rating. Also, ensure you share a common audience who deems them an authoritative source.
  2. Research the website: Understand what kind of content they publish and the tone they use.
  3. Craft your pitch: Keep your outreach emails short and polite. Your link builders should outline the mutual benefits of this collaboration.

Pro tip: You can choose a topic that directly correlates with your niche or one adjacent to it. Just ensure you have a solid keyword research strategy that allows you to rank for the keywords you’re aiming for.

Take the influencer marketing agency inBeat, for example.

The agency’s CEO frequently publishes guest posts related to the niche, such as this article about YouTube influencer marketing in Metricool:

inbeat agency guest post
Source

But inBeat’s CEO also publishes about niche topics, such as:

inbeat agency guest post 2
Source
  1. Write your blog post: Ensure you’re delivering value to your readership. Create timely, relevant content that showcases your expertise in the subject matter.

Of course, there are some rules to follow when creating a blog post:

  • Include your main keyword in the title, URL, meta-description, and intro.
  • Don’t overuse your primary and secondary keywords inside the body.
  • Choose a relevant, long title of 11-14 words, which is shown to perform better.
  • Write according to your customers’ search intent.
  • Long articles of 2,000+ words are proven to generate more traffic. However, don’t write fluff for the sake of a higher word count.
  • Use a scannable structure with short paragraphs and bullet points.
  • Leverage visuals: include infographics, screenshots, and videos explaining in-depth concepts.
  • Use a solid link structure, adding a relevant internal link or two to your website.
  • Only use relevant sources with high domain authority for your external links. Some of your potential link partners will ask for recent references, up to 3-5 years prior.

Pro tip: Choosing the right format according to the search intent is also essential.

Formats that people read more include:

  • How-to articles
  • Reviews
  • In-depth guides

Remember: These articles should offer relevant information and actionable advice so your readers don’t bounce back to Google.

By contrast, opinion pieces aren’t as popular as they used to be – unless you want to take a controversial stance that would bring you a lot of (possibly negative) publicity.

PROS:

  • You can tap into a new audience you may not have reached before, increasing your reach and potential customer base.
  • You can build authority in your niche, boosting your credibility as an industry leader.
  • The received backlinks can improve your search engine rankings and increase website traffic, especially if they’re do-follow.

CONS:

  • Guest blogging can be time-consuming to research the right websites, pitch your idea persuasively, and create high-quality content that meets the website’s guidelines.
  • You risk your links being lost or removed over time, especially if the website you’re posting on is not well-maintained.
  • You might not always get do-follow links.
  • A lower link placement decreases your chances of getting referral traffic.

Method Four: Establishing Yourself as an Authority

You can establish yourself as an authority in the field in several ways.

1. Use Your House Teams

You can increase your link coverage by using the people in your teams as experts.

Remember: Journalists and valuable link partners are always on the lookout for those experts.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Arrange meetings with the most valuable in-house teams.
  • Interview them about relevant topics to your audience.
  • Use the insights to make pitches for journalists.
  • As you make these pitches and offer value to your link partners, you can create a long-term relationship.

PROS:

  • You address the right audience with insights specifically targeted to their search intent.
  • You can build long-term relationships with link creators.
  • You become a go-to source for these link partners after establishing your authority in the field.

CONS:

  • The method is time-consuming.
  • You have no guarantees of actually being cited at the right moment to maximize your link-building opportunities.

2. Create Expert Roundups

Creating expert roundups is a potential solution to this problem because you’re taking matters into your own hands.

  • This method aims to find experts willing to contribute their opinions to your content.
  • After creating and publishing this piece of content, you will send it to them.
  • And those experts will link to it from their profiles.

However, that’s easier said than done in most link-building campaigns.

Here are the exact steps your link builders can implement today:

  1. Find your link partners: Look for experts in your field using Google, a tool like BuzzSumo, or niche websites.
  2. Craft your outreach message: Keep this mail short and simple. Use an ego bait and ask a specific question with a small answer. Your experts should be able to respond in a few minutes during their lunch break.
  3. Create the content: Focus on offering value to your readers. Try to find unique insights, potential causes, and solutions that your readers can use. So, discuss the experts’ opinions – don’t just post them.
  4. Connect with your experts: Send them a memo a day before publishing the article to create curiosity. Then, send them the link to the published article – without necessarily asking for a backlink.
  5. Share the content: Share the expert content on your social media channels, such as Twitter, LinkedIn, and others.

Pro tip: Some experts may not respond to or refuse your pitch. You can still send these people links to your published article – without being mean, of course.

But it’s important to see what they’ve missed.

Here’s a roundup outreach template you can copy:

Hey [Name],

I’m [Name] from [Company Name]. I’m a big fan of your work; I specifically enjoyed [Relevant resource] – particularly your insights about [relevant insights].

I’m reaching out because I’m actually organizing a roundup on [specific theme].

I would appreciate it if you could tell me in about 100-200 words your thoughts on [your expert insight]. Our mutual audience will also be interested in hearing your opinion on this.

You can reply to this email or let me know if you want to arrange a call later.

Best regards,

[Your Name]

And here’s an example that moves the needle, in an article called “25 Top Interior Design Trends for 2023, According to the Pros.”

roundup post example
Source

Notice:

  • Each industry expert gets their quote and link.
  • The most prominent experts are cited first.
  • The article doesn’t stop at citing these relevant creators; it continues with three pertinent other sections.

PROS:

  • You can get a slew of high-quality backlinks that increase your reputation.
  • You can get traction on social media, thus increasing your traffic.

CONS:

  • Finding experts willing to contribute can be challenging and time-consuming.
  • Not all link partners answer promptly, which can mess with your timeline – especially if you ask someone else to contribute in the meantime.

Best advice: If you decide to use this link-building strategy, take your time with the research and the outreach.

Method Five: Newsjacking

Have you ever stumbled upon a breaking news story relevant to your business?

Newsjacking is the perfect opportunity to leverage that event to gain coverage and build editorial links for your website.

Essentially, you’ll be piggybacking on current events tastefully and appropriately to achieve your business objectives.

That means you can:

  • Attract media attention from top-tier publications.
  • Increase your audience.
  • Drive traffic to your website.

Remember: Newsjacking requires careful consideration.

  • Timing is crucial, so you should be fast.
  • Ensure your angle is relevant to the story without appearing opportunistic or insensitive.

Pro tip: Use Google Trends or a tool like SEMrush to find these key news in your market:

market explorer screenshot
Source

Or sometimes, the news hits you in the face.

This famous Oreo tweet from the 2013 Super Bowl is still remembered a decade later. When the lights went out at the Super Bowl, Oreo immediately produced this tweet:

oreo tweet
Source

But that’s more of a creative stunt with little impact on SEO. General Electric has built a more comprehensive newsjacking strategy following the COVID-19 pandemic:

newsjacking example
Source

The company has produced relevant tools to fight against this pandemic, basically placing the brand front and center of COVID-19-related news.

PROS:

  • You can gain increased domain authority and expertise.
  • You don’t need a lot of effort because you capitalize on an existing story.
  • You can reach a new audience.
  • Your website traffic, recognition, and engagement skyrocket fast.

CONS:

  • You depend on a story breaking out.
  • This strategy works best for the short term.
  • You have no insurance that your opinion will be cited unless you have a long-term relationship with the press or a pertinent opinion that directly connects with the event.
  • You can ruin your reputation if you don’t choose the right answer.

How to Choose a PR Link-Building Strategy that Works

As you can see, PR link-building has a wide range of advantages, but it’s not without its downsides.

While these digital PR methods improve your search ranking in the long term, they can be time-consuming.

And you need strategic planning to incorporate the right ones in your search engine optimization campaign.

Blue Things can help with that.

We can perform SEO management from the ground up, as well as professional link-building that brings results.

Let’s schedule a strategy call, and we’ll find the best digital PR strategy for your needs.

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