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How to Build Relationships and Links Using the Press Request Strategy

Relationship building will build you links!

Now, re-read that last statement and we might be on the same page.

That building quality and natural backlinks is a sure way of ranking high in organic search results is no news. What is also not news is the fact that link building has become very tricky; requiring a lot of hard work, with a touch of creative strategies.

One of such proven strategies remain relationship building, which will guarantee you backlinks, in addition to a host of other benefits such as increased brand awareness, content amplification, multiplication of followers, and importantly, offer you the golden opportunity of becoming an authority within your niche or industry.

There are several relationship building strategies but in the course of this post, I’ll be exploring ways to build relationships with a segment of those that matter in every niche and industry – journalists – using the much undervalued press request strategy.

Press Requests

Journalists are influencers present in every niche and industry and they wield the ‘proverbial magic wand’ that grants the ‘golden’ editorial mentions on top-ranking platforms and outlets. However, journalists do not have all the answers to the insatiable queries of their audience. They are also too busy to personally conduct all the research that produces the enormous pieces of content that ‘oils the engines’ of the platforms they are affiliated with and in simple terms – this is where press requests come to the fore.

Press request services offer journalists the platform to connect with valuable persons that can offer insightful inputs towards their next article. These persons include experts, thought leaders, and even ordinary persons who might have had an experience about a topic in question.

Press requests are used in a variety of ways and there are different platforms providing this service, however, they form an exciting way of building relationships with journalists and importantly, scoring a quality backlink back to your website, in addition to other benefits of an editorial mention.

Using the Press Request Strategy for Relationship and Link Building

The most interesting thing about the press request strategy is that it is a mutually beneficial effort. When you help journalists with their queries, many of them will give you a ‘shout-out’ in the form of a mention in their article and possibly a link back to your website for the sake of authority and legitimacy, in the least.

The following are important considerations towards the press request strategy:

Sign up –

Register on one of the many websites offering press request services. I use Help a Reporter out (HARO), which is one of the most popular and offers a free service too. When registering, be sure to strictly state the niche you operate in. This way, you will be able to get queries related to your field of expertise and will be able to make contributions whenever a topic where you are most comfortable comes up.

Once this is done, just confirm your email address and start receiving queries directly to your email inbox.

Responding to Queries –

It must be noted that the perfect query in your field of expertise does not pop-up every day. However, whenever it does, you want to be sure to give it your best shot possible. Importantly, you want your response to be concise but powerful enough that it passes the valuable information across, while saving both your time and that of the journalist.

It is ideal to utilize a template with a ready-made introduction that describes who you are and why you are the best person to help with such query and which also contains a conclusion that gives the journalist your best wishes with the proposed article. The conclusion should also advance your relationship building effort by informing that the journalist is free to contact you directly for future requests.

With this template, you are then free to plug in your unique contributions in the body and then sign off the email with your contact details, social media channels and other unique requests which different journalists might have, such as a head shot or short bio.

No Follow-ups

As an outreach person, I am a huge fan and a firm believer in the power of the follow-ups. However, in the case of press request, a follow-up is definitely a CAPITAL NO! The truth is some journalist will send you a short email upon publication, if your contribution has been used with a link to such article, while some journalists will not.

This is why I make a short research about the journalist and their affiliation prior to sending contributions. Other times, I follow them on their various social media channels, as they most likely will share articles on their platforms whenever the go live, and I’ll know instantly if my contribution has been used or not.

Building Relationships and Links

These are the major benefits you stand to gain from press requests asides the major satisfying essence of helping journalists with inputs for their next articles. I always advise coming forward as natural, with a sincere desire to help, rather than aiming to building links or relationships alone. It must also be noted that journalists are not compelled to use whatever contribution you submit in their articles or even give you any form of editorial mentions or link back to your website.

With that said, many journalists will gladly request that you include your details with a link to the website you would a link to if your contribution gets used. Normally, I just introduce myself in the opening section of the contribution as the Outreach Manager at Elephate (hyperlinking my agency name).

For relationship building, I conclude my contributions with my direct email address and other social channels, and then ask to be contacted directly in future for other queries and that I’d be glad to help. Finally, I follow these journalists on their social media channels and whenever my contribution is used, I send a message or reply (in the case, I’ve been contacted) thanking the journalist for the opportunity, stating how much I enjoyed the post, how I shared it with my own community, and informing of my availability to help with further queries.

Bonus Benefits of the Press Request Strategy

The benefits inherent in employing the press request strategy isn’t limited to links, relationship building and editorial mentions alone. It is also possible to benefit from this strategy in the following ways:

Guest Post Opportunities

This might seem far-fetched but it really does work when aiming to guest post the right way. A query on press request services actually gives you overall ideas of the type of content particular websites seek. This way, it is possible to contact them directly with a unique content idea which might be impossible to refuse. Perhaps, the websites themselves already have guest post guidelines which you can also tap into by submitting your own guest post with a backlink to your website and further solidify a relationship with the platform.

Other times, having built a relationship with a blogger you have helped with a contribution, you can signify interest in contributing on the same platform and it mostly works in the lines of ‘one good turn deserving another’.

Content Ideas

Content is key as Billy Gates pointed out. Since journalists are active players in every niche and industry, spinning their content ideas might give you clues into windows of opportunities to create your own unique, interesting, enlightening and more detailed content which would excite the audience in your niche.

Additionally, it can also help you create content ideas that can be pitched to other platforms and influencers to further build backlinks to your website through guest post opportunities and relationships that can help solidify your own voice, brand and authority.

Get on the Press Request Strategy Already!

The press request strategy is beneficial in a whole number of ways as I’ve pointed out in this post. It can help you build relationships and quality links to your website. These editorial mentions on top platforms will also give you the chance to be heard, build you a new audience and give you the possibility of becoming an authority within your own rights.

Published
  • 27 October 2015
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