Moving Beyond Press Releases – How to Use Public Relations to Boost Your Rankings

If your business isn’t at the top of search engine rankings, you could be missing out on business opportunities.  But how do you propel your website to the top of the rankings?  As part of a larger SEO and marketing strategy, you could try harnessing the power of public relations.  Many business owners have a passing familiarity with public relations.  However, public relations is more than just press releases that you find on the internet.

Public relations encompasses a wide variety of online and offline tools that can work symbiotically to boost your website’s rankings and enhance your business’ reputation.  Let’s analyze the ways in which you can become a superstar in your field and climb to the top of the rankings in your industry.

Winning at Public Relations

When it comes to using public relations, the key is to be creative and to enter into the idea with an open mind.  Using the power of public relations, your business will be able to enhance its reputation, position itself as an industry leader, create linkages with other businesses, attract new customers, and gain valuable links to increase in rankings.

The benefits of using public relations makes it a cost effective and worthwhile tool.  But it’s more than just churning out press releases to try and gain cheap and quick links. Instead, your business should investigate the other public relations tools that maximize your presence online and increase your visibility.  You too can be a pro at public relations if you’ve got the time and the energy to learn.

Let’s get you started with some ideas for how to use public relations to boost your website’s rankings:

1. Pitch journalists and bloggers on writing a story about your business.  One of the core staples of public relations is pitching your business to local or industry publications to highlight your business.  This is usually done with a series of phone calls and well written pitch letters.  For example, if your business is a new restaurant in town, you may want to contact your county newspaper, or lifestyle magazines that operate in the region to write about your new restaurant.  Call up these publications and find out who runs the restaurant beat and ask them if they’d like a scoop on a new restaurant that’s about to open.

Invite the journalist to come see your restaurant, to sample some of its dishes, and to photograph the restaurant.  When the journalist releases an article about your restaurant, you gain buzz.  Buzz is a good thing- it means people are talking about you.  You also gain links.  Because your links are from publications such as your local newspaper or lifestyle magazine, these links are longer lasting than the links you might otherwise obtain from a press release that you’ve put out online.

The key to obtaining this kind of organic press is to decide upon a newsworthy angle and to craft a pitch that is sure to attract the attention of the journalist and the readers of that publication.

2. Partner with review websites like Yelp to offer events for their vip’s.  Review sites are pure gold when it comes to public relations and SEO.  And you can leverage their link juice to boost your rankings.  Try reaching out to a site like Yelp to pitch a free event for their members.  They’ll take care of bringing the crowd and promoting it to their elite membership.  And you take care of creating a high profile event that their members will love.

In the end, you can gain hundreds of new reviews from real people instantly, all before your business opens its doors.  This is a creative and ambitious way to create buzz about your business online and to gain valuable links that will boost your website’s rankings.

3. Throw an event with a significant online component. Offline is the new online, don’t ya’ know?  One of the neatest new trends in public relations is to throw winning events that combine the power of online with the meaningful in person experience of a fun offline event.  To accomplish such a feat, try throwing a party at a local bar/ art gallery/ fun location to highlight your business.  Invite influential journalists, bloggers, industry thought leaders, clients, family, friends, well wishers, community council members, you name it.  And then brand your event.

Create a custom hashtag to use to discuss the event, invite your attendees to tweet or update their social media statuses live at the event.  Offer fun pictures, roving artists, or digital cartoons that these professionals can then use royalty free to write about the event later.

4. Get social to encourage more links! One of the best ways in which your business can reach out to its potential customers directly is via social media.  When you create valuable and highly shareable content, you’re better able to attract the attention of consumers online.  When people share your content, they then provide links which their friends see and can comment on and like.

The potential to be seen is nearly limitless if you work your content right.  So how do you ensure that you maximize this kind of shareability?  Try creating a contest.  People love to get involved in contests because they love to win free stuff.  Try giving away something – a free catered lunch, a free training session, you name it.

The key to executing this is to structure the contest to maximize your sharability.  For this reason, we recommend a picture contest where your business capitalizes on consumers who are sharing pictures of your business, commenting on their experiences, and then linking back to your site.  This is a great way to encourage more links that boost your website’s rankings incredibly.  Imagine how many people you could potentially reach with such a contest!

Strategize and Reach Out to Your Customers

Public relations is about conversing with your audience.  It is a conversation with your fans, followers, customers, and stakeholders.  In order to be a success at this, you need to be honest with your customers, be creative, and give them a reason to take notice of your business.  Don’t let your business get swept aside.  Instead, engage in public relations to boost your rankings and establish a positive buzz about your business.

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2 thoughts on “Moving Beyond Press Releases – How to Use Public Relations to Boost Your Rankings

  1. Running contests is always good. I have seen some blogs go viral because of that but you need an existing following or a way to get traffic to the contest.

  2. In our business, we’ve dealt with small businesses to large businesses, CBW. And in our experience, contests are a great way to help some blogs go viral. But if that’s all you took away from this article, you’re missing out. No matter your business, you can benefit from the power of public relations in a variety of ways. It may not be intuitive for everyone, but using the power of the press, you can boost your business and its website rankings.

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