That’s a wrap – Link building, PR and playing the long game

That’s a wrap - Link building, PR and playing the long game

If you’ve ever seen a footballing megastar get his “Lambo” wrapped in vinyl camouflage or seen Conor Mcgregor briefing the design of his new plane, there’s a chance you’ve watched Yianni Charambulous aka “Yiannimize” on one of his various TV shows.

Or heard him on his podcast.

Or you’re one of over 3 million of his YouTube subscribers!

I met Yianni this year as part of a story my client was working on to forge a licensing agreement to create a range of car cleaning products…my working headline – “Yianni cleans up!”

Now, launching a product range like that into the media takes time, a LOT of time and even MORE patience.

It took nearly 2 months (from May to July) to get what I was chasing down, a fantastic write up by the Daily Express’ Motoring Editor, complete with shiny backlinks to the product pages on the Halford’s store.

Trust me, this is rocking horse poop territory!

There was nagging, cajoling, reminding, nudging, free samples, more nudging, new photos being sent, every trick in the book really, before we finally got what we were after – whacking great national coverage.

The 5 links were to me, a BONUS.

However, for a lot of marketers and business owners, those links are becoming an obsession. I get that they help with SEO and that they have huge value but sometimes, we must remind ourselves that the chase for these links can come at a cost because if you play the link-building card incorrectly, it can bring your PR game to a crashing halt.

Worst still, it can scupper any hard-won media relationships before they even get started.

Especially if you throw social media into the mix….

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 these reporters on board with you.

A while back, a Twitter media storm erupted when an SEO guru; and folk on his side of the debate kept on at the Retail and Mergers and Acquisitions Editor of The Times about backlinks.

Yes, The Times.

The reporter 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.

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 jeopardise the commercial model of the media – look at how good Facebook is at keeping you on their platform.

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 just to scupper it by annoying a journalist.

Also, how would you rate your chances of ever getting coverage from her/him again? 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. The 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.

And that’s a wrap.