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PR is Your Most Valuable Link Building Tool

A large component of effective SEO is to acquire links from authoritative sources that are relevant to your brand. Getting a link from a respected source validates your domain in the eyes of search engines, thus increasing your chances of achieving greater visibility for your website and ultimately driving an influx of qualified traffic to your site. Respected sources can be traditional news outlets, blogs, and even the social media pages of relevant industry thought leaders. As an SEO professional, a question I get asked quite often is, 'Greg, our competitors are outranking us because they have more links and/or better links. How do we acquire more links?'? custom written paper What people should start realizing is that link building is essentially PR. Most companies already employ a PR team, which essentially serves the same function as link building. For the past couple years, search engines have been devaluing irrelevant links, and recently there has been a crackdown on sponsored links and advertorials. Valuable links come from relevant content and relationship building that maximizes connections with authoritative sources. PR is essentially relationship building. Link building comes from relationship building. Just to hammer the point home, I'm going to put this in layman's terms by outlining other things that are essentially the same. Cheez It/Cheese Nips While essentially the same thing, I don't know one person that likes Cheese Nips more than Cheez-Its. In fact, as a child I was always a little saddened when my mom would cheap out and bring home Cheese Nips from the market. With that said, I would always eat them'?¦because cheesy crackers are delicious. Any Fast Food Burger Sure there are slight differences in taste, but at the end of the day, they are all delicious and they are great ways to get diabetes. AJ McLean of Backstreet Boys/Chris Kirkpatrick of NSync I would challenge you to remember these two members of their respective 90's boy bands. Therefore, they are the same person. Ok'?¦you get the point. Link Building and PR are 'two peas in a pod'? You might already be employing people to build relationships and broaden the trajectory of your company's message, so why not educate them on basic SEO practices and reap the rewards of their efforts? They already did the hard part, so now all they have to do is ensure that their outreach efforts include a link back to a relevant part of your website (preferably with well optimized anchor text). As an SEO professional, there is no greater frustration than seeing that a client got covered on a well respected website, only to find that there is no link back to their own site. Guest blogging can also be a great way to acquire links as well. Neil Patel wrote a pretty great post on guest blogging best practices, so be sure to check it out. In short, here's how it works. Your company creates compelling content that can help a blog owner add value to their own site. In return, the well-respected blog owner posts the content on their blog and links back to your company. Now, instead of having your social invalid of an SEO person establish that relationship, you should leave it to your seasoned PR professional. That PR professional can also help to get authoritative people to talk about your company on their social networks as well. You COULD trust this person: But you'd probably rather have this person do it:

AMP's Guide to Landing Media Coverage

by Melia Dayeh, Senior Account Executive, Integrated Public Relations Many agencies take different approaches to media pitching. At AMP, we not only use our strong media connections to earn coverage for our clients, but we also recognize the importance of addressing the media's unique needs through our everyday outreach. Here are a few of our guidelines for securing media coverage. 1. Target the appropriate media contacts. Take the time to plan ahead and research the reporters and editors you should be pitching to. It's called homework and yes, it's important in the PR industry. Read the reporters and editors' most recent news stories and learn whether or not they're the right contact for your story. Each reporter and editor has a personal style and preference, so keep that in mind when deciding who to pitch. If you're pitching an environmental editor and your story is more appropriate for the technology section of a newspaper, then you can say 'bye-bye'? to earning a placement. Putting time and effort into doing your homework may mean that you're not able to reach as many media contacts, but remember: Quality over quantity is essential when it comes to landing placements. It will pay off! 2. Create customized and genuine pitches. Reporters have jobs to do and deadlines to meet. Don't waste their time by pitching generalized templates. Make sure you communicate to the reporter why your story fits his/her specific coverage and writing style. Personalize each and every pitch so you're addressing what each media contact is most interested in. And don't forget, media is no different than the rest of us. They love compliments on their work; after all, who doesn't? If you've read a particular interesting or compelling story by a reporter, make sure to mention that when pitching to him/her. By doing so, you're letting the reporter know that: a) you actually read their work, b) you understand their style and therefore know what to pitch, and c) you are a fan and believer of their work. Creating customized pitches means that you'll be promoting two-way communication with reporters ' not using a one-way pitch that a reporter will delete from his/her inbox. 3. Pitch in a short and concise manner. Reporting is one of the busiest professions. Respect that notion, along with the fact that reporters generally write in a brief, factual manner ' and don't send lengthy, wordy pitches filled with jargon. Better yet, if you have facts on hand that support your story, make sure to use them in your pitch. On that same note of brevity, don't bog down your email pitches with attachments, even if those attachments contain relevant information. Reporters receive hundreds of pitches a day and they don't need their inboxes clogged. Instead, ask the media contact if he/she would like additional information sent in the form of an attachment or use a link with information instead. Trust me; your media contacts will appreciate your thoughtfulness. 4. Take the time to develop relationships with media beforehand. Don't make the mistake of only contacting reporters and editors when you need them. With social media, it's now easier than ever to directly access the media using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and more. By building relationships with media contacts ahead of time, they're more likely to listen when you pitch. Friend and follow three reporters to start off and see what it's like. Reporters are working under a lot of pressure and great time constraints so if you can offer a hand, friendly yet useful conversation, or better yet ' a great story ' you'll develop a relationship in no time. 5. Ensure your pitch is newsworthy. In today's cutthroat world, it's essential that your pitch is newsworthy for placement. The last thing you want a reporter to think when they read your pitch is, 'So what?'? Here are some elements of newsworthiness to use as guidance: Timeliness ' Make sure your story covers a new or current topic. Significance ' The more people affected by your story's topic, the better chances it will earn placement. Proximity ' Ensure your story is relevant not only to the geographical region of where you are pitching, but also the cultural undertones of the region. Prominence ' Famous people get more attention because they're famous. Plain and simple. Uniqueness ' Is your product the only one on the market that can do something in particular? If so, you have a better chance of earning placement. Human interest ' Stories that appeal to emotion tend to earn more placement. Readers like a story that pulls at their heart strings. After earning media placement, it is important to follow up with the media contacts and thank them for their time. Remember, this is not a 'one-and-done'? industry. Media relations is an ongoing effort.

AMP's Guide to Landing Media Coverage

by Melia Dayeh, Senior Account Executive, Integrated Public Relations Many agencies take different approaches to media pitching. At AMP, we not only use our strong media connections to earn coverage for our clients, but we also recognize the importance of addressing the media's unique needs through our everyday outreach. Here are a few of our guidelines for securing media coverage. 1. Target the appropriate media contacts. Take the time to plan ahead and research the reporters and editors you should be pitching to. It's called homework and yes, it's important in the PR industry. Read the reporters and editors' most recent news stories and learn whether or not they're the right contact for your story. Each reporter and editor has a personal style and preference, so keep that in mind when deciding who to pitch. If you're pitching an environmental editor and your story is more appropriate for the technology section of a newspaper, then you can say 'bye-bye'? to earning a placement. Putting time and effort into doing your homework may mean that you're not able to reach as many media contacts, but remember: Quality over quantity is essential when it comes to landing placements. It will pay off! 2. Create customized and genuine pitches. Reporters have jobs to do and deadlines to meet. Don't waste their time by pitching generalized templates. Make sure you communicate to the reporter why your story fits his/her specific coverage and writing style. Personalize each and every pitch so you're addressing what each media contact is most interested in. And don't forget, media is no different than the rest of us. They love compliments on their work; after all, who doesn't? If you've read a particular interesting or compelling story by a reporter, make sure to mention that when pitching to him/her. By doing so, you're letting the reporter know that: a) you actually read their work, b) you understand their style and therefore know what to pitch, and c) you are a fan and believer of their work. Creating customized pitches means that you'll be promoting two-way communication with reporters ' not using a one-way pitch that a reporter will delete from his/her inbox. 3. Pitch in a short and concise manner. Reporting is one of the busiest professions. Respect that notion, along with the fact that reporters generally write in a brief, factual manner ' and don't send lengthy, wordy pitches filled with jargon. Better yet, if you have facts on hand that support your story, make sure to use them in your pitch. On that same note of brevity, don't bog down your email pitches with attachments, even if those attachments contain relevant information. Reporters receive hundreds of pitches a day and they don't need their inboxes clogged. Instead, ask the media contact if he/she would like additional information sent in the form of an attachment or use a link with information instead. Trust me; your media contacts will appreciate your thoughtfulness. 4. Take the time to develop relationships with media beforehand. Don't make the mistake of only contacting reporters and editors when you need them. With social media, it's now easier than ever to directly access the media using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and more. By building relationships with media contacts ahead of time, they're more likely to listen when you pitch. Friend and follow three reporters to start off and see what it's like. Reporters are working under a lot of pressure and great time constraints so if you can offer a hand, friendly yet useful conversation, or better yet ' a great story ' you'll develop a relationship in no time. 5. Ensure your pitch is newsworthy. In today's cutthroat world, it's essential that your pitch is newsworthy for placement. The last thing you want a reporter to think when they read your pitch is, 'So what?'? Here are some elements of newsworthiness to use as guidance: Timeliness ' Make sure your story covers a new or current topic. Significance ' The more people affected by your story's topic, the better chances it will earn placement. Proximity ' Ensure your story is relevant not only to the geographical region of where you are pitching, but also the cultural undertones of the region. Prominence ' Famous people get more attention because they're famous. Plain and simple. Uniqueness ' Is your product the only one on the market that can do something in particular? If so, you have a better chance of earning placement. Human interest ' Stories that appeal to emotion tend to earn more placement. Readers like a story that pulls at their heart strings. After earning media placement, it is important to follow up with the media contacts and thank them for their time. Remember, this is not a 'one-and-done'? industry. Media relations is an ongoing effort.

PR for your company: A popular option, or growing necessity?

Last night at dinner, a client of mine mentioned she thought some companies shy away from PR because they either don't understand it in principle or haven't had any accidental success with it, so they don't realize the impact it can have on their business. She's right in her observation, and in this case, ignorance is not bliss. PR becomes a huge missed opportunity for these companies to do something truly powerful and also very cost effective. At its core, PR is about creating awareness and fostering communications with consumers. Simply put, it's a tool every brand needs to grow profits, reputation, and consumer loyalty. So what exactly should a company do to implement PR and effectively open the door for consumer awareness and interaction? God is in the details and nuance matters, which is why professionals like the talented folks on my team at AMP spend their days and nights keeping up with news and trends to anticipate what will work and what won't for certain brands. It boils down to a proven process that is thorough yet simple: 1) Research the target consumer by investigating what they read, see and hear, and we think about who and what influences them. 2) Find the delta point between the target consumers lifestyle and the attributes of the product or service we're representing. We land on salient communications topics whether it's moms who need a healthy alternative for dessert but don't want to skimp on taste, college students in search of something fun to do on campus, or boomers who love to be online and want to stay connected to their kids and grandkids. 3) Determine the best way to deliver that message to consumers. It may be a placement on a morning show, a Twitter sweepstakes, blogger sampling campaign or a push for product reviews in long lead glossy magazines. As long as people read, watch and listen to the media and influencers around them, there will always be a 'right' channel for us to communicate across and a 'perfect' tactic that hits home. What does success look like? For every client the answer is different, but it's always a measure of how well the campaign increased awareness and cultivated consumer communications. Some PR successes we've recently seen at AMP include: *Reaching over 4 million impressions with college media in one semester for a product line *Securing television, print and Web coverage over a six month period for an emerging national brand totaling over $1 million monthly in value *Getting a niche group buzzing online about a little known product component leading to positive raves and reviews Buzz words and lingo aside, weighing the benefits to PR is simple: there is always value in heightening awareness and fostering communications. Feeling shy about PR? Email me at vshaw@ampagency.com and we'll put together an audience/opportunity snapshot and thought-starter recommendations to evaluate and see what PR can do for you.

The Dunk that Never Happened: How Nike (and LeBron) Should Rebound (pun very much intended)

I'm sure you've all heard about it by now. This past week, The King was dethroned. No, I'm not talking about the King of Pop. I'm talking about Lebron, 'King James'?. This past Monday during a pickup game at the LeBron James Skills Academy, he was dunked on by Jordan. The worst part is that the Jordan to which I'm referring was not MJ, the original #23. LeBron was posterized by Jordan Crawford, a sophomore from Xavier. If you're not keen on the lingo, let's put it this way; whilst Mr. Crawford flew through the air to slam the ball through the rim, an unfortunate Mr. James got in the way. Physics, by way of Sir Isaac Newton's laws of motion, tells us that once an object is put into motion, it will not stop until another object exerts force upon it. According to reports, LeBron James, though King of the hardwood, could not prevail over the laws of physics. You may notice that I said 'according to reports'? and there lies the very reason for this post. There is no video of the occurrence. Blasphemy! What is this, the dark ages? There's a video of EVERYTHING that's happened since 2004. There's probably a video of me reading this blog post! Well, let me rephrase my last statement; there was a video, two in fact. However, after a brief chat with the King, they were both confiscated by Nike Basketball Senior Director Lynn Merritt. Since the event, the blogging, marketing and sports world have been abuzz. Fraud! Evil Nike Conglomerate! they cry. It would appear that instead of letting the video of an act that probably happens 3-4 times in a normal NBA game make the usual 2-3 week journey through the internet before we all got bored of it, Nike chose to do PR tactic number one; sweep it under the rug. Now they've created something far worse ' the PR cover-up nightmare. Much to no one's surprise, in the days of blogs, microblogs, and nanoblogs (I may have made the last one up, but I'm sure Apple's working on it as we speak), chances are it's going to come back to bite you. See Airlines, United. So, what to do? Well, I'm going out on a limb here and am HOPING that both Nike and LeBron have enough marketing and brand savvy (after all, LeBron IS a brand) to turn this current nightmare into a dream opportunity. Maybe they can use that video to their advantage, it already has more buzz surrounding it than most celebrity sex tapes. Maybe Nike was just borrowing the video to convert it to HD, make LeBron's teeth look a little whiter as Jordan Crawford was flying past them, and are going to release it on YouTube next week. Maybe they'll even add cool sound or video effects like a starburst when Crawford throws down. Eh, maybe not. Here's what I would do if I were Nike. LeBron's your poster boy, he's arguably the best, or at least will be. But he's young. He's made it to the Conference Finals, the Championship, only to come up short. He's still got work to do, he needs to get better. There's your off-season campaign. Show the dunk, show it twice, slow motion, the whole deal. Show a grainy close-up of LeBron's face after it happens, the shame. Then cut to LeBron training, lifting weights, shooting free throws, hell, show him puking his guts out after running 50 full-court wind sprints. Show that he's still a kid, still human, and still can get better. Excite us about that, Nike ' he's great, but he's still has the opportunity to get better. That's enough to give you chills.

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