SEO v PR v Advertising v The Times – how NOT to win at media relations

The battle for hearts, minds and marketing budgets rages. Can’t we all just get along?
The answer of course is YES, if you integrate these specialisms they wield HUGE power for the marketing arsenal.
However, as with all weapons, they are dangerous in some hands.
Especially if you throw social media into the mix….
Can we get a backlink? A question I get asked by an increasing number of clients and understandably so. It is easy to measure and what gets measured, gets managed. 
However, there is a reason why I never make promises about these slippery little links and it is this…it can REALLY RUIN all the hard work of getting them on board with you in the first place.
Check out the Twitter storm that raged last week when an SEO ‘guru’ and folk on his side of the debate kept on at Deidre Hipwell, the Retail and Mergers and Acquisitions Editor of The Times.
Read it, look at the impact short and long term and think about how carefully you need to play this game.

Hipwell pointed out that a journalist’s role isn’t to market the companies they report about and the aim of a news article is to provide readers with all of the information they require without linking to external sources.

As the Twitter war raged on, people rightly asked where it all ends because if you do it once, you have to do it for all or face accusations of bias.
There is also the concern that links AWAY from the website might jeapordise the commercial model of the media – look at how good Facebook is at keeping you on their platform as you surf about merrily. 
Now, I could argue that if the article needs MORE info, that can be provided by a link to a specific page on the client’s website that ADDS VALUE but don’t start asking for or even demanding hyperlinks just because it suits your marketing objectives.
Good PR and media relations requires a delicate balance and a win/win mentality between the client and the media. That’s why PR experts are the people who should make these pitches to the press. They think Win/Win/Win.
I’m not saying an SEO expert shouldn’t contact them but if they do, they should wear a PR hat when they do it. There’s no point in getting close to a great piece of coverage and doing all that hard work just to scupper by annoying a journalist.
Also, how would you rate your chances of ever getting coverage from her/him again?
My tip is that there is no one size fits all when it comes to media relations and the preferences of journalists. 
Some like a phone call, some hate it. 
Some encourage a pitch via Twitter, some will find it incredibly rude. 
Linkedin can be a great place to start for some but not for all.

Bottom line is it is all about horses for courses so be flexible and be strategic. PR is a long-term game, don’t lose goodwill over the loss of a link. 

Happy Headlines
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