How is it that the Big Brand M&E, HVAC and Building Services Manufacturers, Distributors, and Contractors always seem to get at the top of the Search Rankings and get all the exposure in Trade magazines and online PR? Whilst you are spending your hard earned money by optimising the keywords on your website, they are using some clever PR tactics which is actually boosting their Web Page Rankings above yours.
Many M&E businesses make the mistake of thinking that using PR is only for big brands and with a big Marketing budget, and therefore it’s difficult to get media coverage. The fact is, you can actually develop a PR strategy without even touching your marketing budget. So why do big brands get all the PR? We’ll show you how and why below with our public relations branding strategy.
PR helps improve SEO.
So how does PR and media coverage improve SEO? Public relations is not just about press releases and news coverage. Although what you write must also be interesting to the reader too!
Whenever you send a press release to the trade magazines, those interested publications will write about your business while providing a link back from their website to your website (known as a backlink). However, you have to be able to write in the first place. If you or anyone else can’t write articles properly and by including relevant keywords/phrases then your article won’t get published.
On the positive side, write well you’ll also receive brand recognition and build authority. When your articles do get published, you’ll even be able to create a section on your website to show off a list the publications that published a story about you.
Having a successful M&E, HVAC or FM PR strategy starts with identifying and then understanding your M&E/HVAC product/service, the specific target audience, the market, and positioning and your tactics to get coverage in the right publications to reach your Ideal Customer.
Before you start trying to connect with those trade publications, make sure you set specific goals to measure your success. For example, if improving Web Page position is your goal, you should focus on getting your website published on websites that offer “do-follow” backlinks.
Once you find the right websites to connect with, you can use these four straightforward tactics to develop an effective PR strategy. (N.B. You don’t have to do all of these, just pick the ones that work best for you)
1. Start a guest posting campaign.
Guest posting is the best way to get free media coverage. By becoming a guest poster/article writer in key publications means you can publish stories that also include your products on 3rd party popular blogs and when it’s published they also provide a link back to your website.
This is how it works. First, you find a blog in your particular M&E niche that accepts guest posts. You can find some from a detailed list of over 180 websites. Then, you contact those publications to suggest a blog post idea or article. If they accept your suggestion, you can write and provide the article while mentioning your business or including a link to it in your author biography at the bottom of the article.
The magazine benefits by getting a free high-quality post to generate traffic to their website and in return, you get a free backlink to your website. It’s great because you both benefit. There are also some very good rules that I suggest you follow:
The dos and don’ts of guest blogging. The following has been extracted from Solvid.com
- Do read the guidelines: Different blogs have different requirements for contributors and guest bloggers. Some may only accept posts that are less than 600 words; others may only accept articles if you are a known individual in your niche. Hence, always check the guidelines on a case-by-case basis.
- Do create exceptional content: No reputable blog would accept a poorly written post, especially from a guest blogger. Do your background work, support your claims, provide arguments, check your grammar and spelling mistakes. No one is perfect, but if your article is terrible, it will not get featured. Simple as that.
- Do show your expertise & experience: Ideally, you would only want to blog on subjects that you have an in-depth knowledge of. So, if you know your niche well enough and have sufficient knowledge of the topic – show it!
- Do write for the audience: Don’t go wild with SEO jargon if you are writing for a small business blog. The audience would not understand a word. Instead, tailor your content for the audience of that blog.
- Do create original content: Only write unique content that has never been published on other websites/blogs (even your own). If your post is accepted, you should still avoid republishing that piece.
- Do find out what works best: Identify what type of content does best on that blog. Is it top-10 lists or in-depth guides? You can evaluate that by the number of shares and comments a post has gained.
- Do craft a perfect byline: In order to present yourself in an appealing way, you need to write a decent profile bio. Do include your notable achievements and previous contributions.
- Don’t be spammy: Don’t send mass emails to 100s of blogs at the same time asking for guest posting opportunities.
- Don’t spin articles: Spun articles are so damn easy to spot. They are terrible and don’t read well.
- Don’t use the same article: Avoid posting the same article over and over again. If you are serious about quality guest blogging, you should only post a single piece on a single website.
- Don’t make guest blogging your only link-building strategy: The primary reason why Matt Cutts has declared a death of guest blogging is due to it being treated as a go-to place for easy links.
- Don’t post on spammy and low-quality websites: You would want to avoid spammy websites at all cost. Not only they can damage your reputation as a writer, but also get your website in trouble with Google.
- Don’t stuff your article with links: Editors are picky. It will take them no more than a minute to identify a self-promotional link. Unless it’s necessary to include a link (perhaps you are citing someone), don’t stuff them in. If you wish to have a link back to your website – use the byline.
- Don’t accept poor guest posts (for blog owners): If you don’t want to look sketchy – don’t be sketchy! Only accept quality guest articles that can potentially bring value to your readers.
2. Joining popular PR platforms.
A great way to get your articles and content published in blogs and M&E Trade publications is to join popular PR platforms. In this way, you don’t have to write the content for the media, they will write the stories for you.
There are many popular PR websites you can use to connect with journalists and blogs. HARO (Help A Reporter Out) is one of the most popular places that allows businesses to contact publications to share their stories.
You can also use sites like PRWeb and PR Newswire to publish press releases to get the media come to you for stories. But make no mistake, whatever you write has to be well written, be unbiased and be laser targeted for their readers – your ideal customers.
3. Asking Trade Publications to Link to you.
If you constantly want to make a noise in the trade press, you don’t have to be a major brand with a major budget to get the attention of the M&E media to generate links and build awareness. Even if you’re a small business that’s just starting out, you can use the great quality content to get publications to link to your website for free.
This tactic is a popular strategy many websites use to generate backlinks. This process means creating an in-depth guide or a resource about a particular challenge or issue on your own website and then contacting the key trade publications by asking them to link to your guide.
4. Tracking Brand Mentions.
A less well-used PR strategy that most M&E businesses don’t even know about is keeping track of places where your brand is mentioned. Many websites will often write stories about your products or services without you even knowing. When you find out about these you can use those stories on those other sites to build more backlinks to your website.
Setup a Google Alert to be notified whenever another website mentions your brand or product. Then, you can make contact with those publications to thank them and ask for a backlink to your website. Most websites will be more than happy to link to your website to add weight to their articles.
There are plenty of free and low-cost tools that any size Building Services, M&E or HVAC Businesses can use to develop a successful regular PR process with even a really small budget. You can even develop and maintain a PR campaign all by yourself. But remember in today’s busy world not everyone is creative or has the time to do this and often prefer to outsource this.
Whether it’s getting more links or more visitors to your landing pages, creating a proper PR strategy is the best way to stay ahead of your competition and grow your business at the same time.
Want to get started with an effective PR campaign? Why not give us a call, we’d be delighted to help.
This article was written by Chris Gunn of specialists Marketing 4 Contractors who specialise in HVAC Business Growth and Marketing Services