Digital PR is the most profitable marketing type in 2019.
Potential customers are more educated than ever before and as a result will search online before making a purchase decision.
As you already know if you’re reading this page, links rank websites higher in Google. Higher ranked websites make more sales.
This process page explains exactly how we acquire these mentions in an ethical, white-hat, scalable manner.
These are the types of mentions and most importantly links that once built cannot be replicated by your competition, cannot be purchased for any price and are the largest drivers of increased organic rankings. Giving your business a large edge over your competitors. On top of the added benefit of increased rankings, these links also drive referral traffic.
Below is a timeline of exactly how we achieve these results. All campaigns are built on a 12 week timeline with our minimum contracts at Ghost Marketing being 6 months. Please note the digital PR process is quite different than the link building campaigns we run alongside this for clients in many scenarios, for more information on the link building processes themselves, click here
Content Curation, Strategy & Campaign Building
It all starts with something of value.
We call this content, but realistically it can be anything from your brand itself, a founder, a tragic event or a funny video. For the purposes of this process we’ll refer to any of these as “content” moving forward.
“Content” is a term that’s being thrown around a lot in the marketing space. Content marketing to myself can mean a very different thing to you or to a competitor. Our content marketing is based on achieving organic rankings for pre-determined profitable keywords, this content then ranks in Google, drives users into your sales funnel and converts them either on touch point 1 or in the future.
Content marketing, digital PR and link building are all forms of organic marketing – Meaning once implement, will continue to drive revenue and sales for your business in the future regardless of whether more campaigns are added. This, in my opinion is what makes digital PR so powerful – One campaign implemented months or years ago, can still continue to bring in traffic, leads and sales each and every month.
Content, in our process, is an asset that’s hosted on a client’s website. This is key as when a content asset is referenced (linked) we want 100% of those links to point back to your website and not a third party where the content may be hosted (press website, youtube, medium.com etc).
This content asset has one role; to add value to the reader.
As much as content marketers tend to overcomplicate this process, that is the sole goal of a content marketing piece. When this is achieved two things happen:
- Visitors are more likely to buy.
- Visitors are more likely to link and/or share.
Both are incredibly important KPI’s but for this process we’re focused on the linking element.
Remember, content isn’t some 500 word thrown together blog post. Content is something that is interesting, noteworthy, linkable and shareable, that if seen in a printed magazine or newspaper, would force-the-read, not because it’s so controversial but because it’s simply too interesting, useful or targeted to you as an individual for you to just scroll or flick on from.
This is obviously essential as the more interesting, unique and link-bait worthy this piece of content is, the more press media placements it will generate, as well as the easier it will be to generate links from other strategies.
“Your content should force-the-read” – Tom Buckland
Content Audit, Topic Creation & Leveraging Data
Part 1.1 of the content curation technique involves building the overarching strategy for the campaign.
What single piece of content we will be using to leverage our outreach and force-the-read, ensuring potential link prospects and customers take note.
Ensuring the correct content asset is used will result in potentially dozens more powerful placements and links in the future, as links are directly correlated to monetary KPI’s this can result in tens or hundreds of thousands in additional revenue.
In this process our team is looking for one of three elements to be in place:
- Link worthy content that already exists.
- Content or pages that are generating links naturally already.
- Interesting/close enough data/content that can be tweaked instead of entirely rebuilt from scratch.
During the content audit & on-boarding process, we work very closely with the client’s internal content or marketing team to determine the perfect content piece. Taking a piece of content from “good” to “incredible and link worthy” is a lot quicker and easier than building a new campaign from scratch. Therefore during the content audit we always look for pieces that are already good that can be built into authority pieces that are link and newsworthy.
Two elements that work incredibly well are:
- Leveraging data driven content pieces (interesting infographics, educational videos etc)
- Reverse engineering a technique or piece of content that worked well in a different vertical/niche and replicating the campaign.
All these elements from; competition analysis, reverse engineering what already works in an industry, cross-vertical aligning (taking something that works in one industry and moving it into another), content exploring and more allow us to build a content topic that we know before even starting will result in links from press, authority media and multiple dozens of site owners worldwide.
“Don’t reinvent the wheel just realign it” – Anthony D’Angelo
Content Audit, Topic Creation & Leveraging Data
This stage involves the actual selection and design of the content asset in question. Selecting the specific single content medium to be used and integrating this into a design & development plan. Part 1.2 runs alongside stage 2 entirely as content development can take between 14-30 days depending on the size and scope of the project.
Once the content is being produced we move onto stage 2 & the prospecting, initial outreach & rapport building strategies explained below.
Influencer, Journalist & Link Opportunity Scouting
Stage 2 involves finding the specific link opportunities (both websites and individuals) that would be the perfect fit for our piece of content. This may be the site itself but what generally works better is finding specific writers, influencers, journalists and bloggers who are respected in an industry.
These influencers tend to have a larger, more dedicated following and will result in a higher amount of referral traffic in the long run too, and of course a high proportion of great editorial links.
During stage 2 we also build out micro-paid advertising campaigns as part of the digital PR and link building strategy itself. Without getting into too much depth as the full blog post is linked above, this simply involves getting the initial word out on Facebook, Instagram & other paid advertising channels for five core reasons.
- It naturally gets picked up and linked to.
- Gains social traction; shares, likes, comments etc (which we can leverage in future pitches).
- Click through traffic from social is an up and coming ranking factor and hence will help long term rankings.
- Brand awareness & sales from those click-throughs.
- Social proof we can use in our pitches to both media and non-media lists to increase conversions (below).
Developing The Non-Media List
Stage 2.1 involves prospecting the non-media list. What this means is the potential sources, influencers and bloggers that are not on larger news-based sites, but instead own their own web properties. This may be specific bloggers in an industry, specific articles that are highly aligned to our content piece or even just websites that are smaller in size and authority but are extremely relevant to what we are building.
Developing the Media List
The media list development stage involves determining the best journalists and mainstream influencers to reach out to and more importantly, why and how to do so.
Our outreach works because we spend an incredible amount of time personalising our outreach strategies to each individual journalist and not simply sending generic emails to thousands of unrefined prospects. We want to build relationships and rapport with these contacts, building longer term relationships which we can leverage into the future for existing and new clients. This adds value to both the journalist and to the client.
The best way to establish rapport with people and to win them over to your side is to be truly interested in them, to listen with the intention of really learning about them. When the person feels that you are truly interested in getting to know them and their feelings, they will open up to you and share their true feelings with you much more quickly – Jack Canfield.
The entire goal of stage 2 is to prospect and build rapport with relevant contacts which we can re-approach at a later stage, once our specific content has been completed.
This is a very different way of working than more time-sensitive link building campaigns, which is why we run other link building strategies alongside our core digital PR campaign (stage 3.1).
Link Outreach & Press Placements
Link outreach and press placements involves leveraging our content piece and previous relationships with non-media-based contacts to generate powerful, relevant links outside of press
Outreach & Link acquisition of non-media based backlinks
Part 3.1 involves leveraging our content piece and previous relationships with non-media-based contacts to generate powerful, relevant links outside of press.
These links are incredibly powerful and move the organic rankings needle very quickly when implemented correctly. We have outlined these strategies in multiple posts on our blog. If you’re looking for any more information about those specifically, feel free to get in touch.
The most common strategies utilised are the following:
- Resource link building,
- Guest posts
- Content acquisition techniques
- Local link building
- Unlinked mentions
- Competition analysis.
Outreach to Media based contact lists
Reaching out in the correct way to your media list contacts. Something that businesses, link builders and even PR professionals across the world get wrong all the time.
The key here is to simply add value upfront as we previously discussed.
Journalists, editors and site owners care about one thing above all else, and that’s pageviews & CPM. The more views and money you can drive to these sites, the more responsive they’ll be to your pitches now and especially in the future (making the process replicable).
Leveraging this, we can reach out to journalists in such a personalised, value-added way that we chat to multiple on the phone, meet in person (always buying the lunch it seems) and just building these relationships to the point where our team are now friends with these influencers. This of course allows us to utilise the age old adage below and create a win-win-win situation for the agency-client-journalist relationship.
People do business with those they know, like & trust – Bob Burg
Ongoing outreach, rapport building & Campaign Tweaking
During the outreach stages themselves, specific issues or elements can change and vary. Occasionally campaigns are tweaked mid-outreach to change the overall pitch dynamic. This is done to improve conversions of email pitches when something seems off during the process or conversions are lower than expected.
These are continually tweaked during the entire campaign to deliver the best ROI for the campaign’s investment.
In select cases we’ll run a 3.4 stage to the campaign
This occurs when content is gaining so much traction and attention in specific mediums that virality is very close. If this is the case you’ll see referral traffic and link figures start to increase exponentially from a couple of dozen links for the average campaign, all the way up to hundreds in some cases, as content becomes viral.
This is always the overarching goal of a campaign but given the nature of virality, content needs to be in very select circumstance. Many businesses do not want to add a controversial or potentially brand damaging element to result in an exponential increase in links. This is understandable and something we cover in detail in the onboarding process.
Campaign Review, Analysis & Re-Sign Up
Stage 4 involves analysing the entire campaign. What major links were achieved, what went well, what went not so well and analysing the overall success of the campaign. We’re 100% transparent with how we work and do not defend poor performance. In some cases, campaigns flop but in 92% of cases in 2018 we’ve helped our clients generate at least 30 links within a three-month campaign period, 22% of which have come directly from editorial media.
Investment & Contracts
One full campaign structure from stage 1 to 4 takes 12 weeks. All campaigns are built on this structure and we run 2 campaigns per contract for clients. As a result minimum contracts are 6 months long, and investments start at £3,000/month. Smaller link building campaigns start from £1k/month but do not follow this same process outlined above.
All content, design, development, prospecting, outreach, licensing, software, negotiations, project management & link acquiring costs are included in this fee.