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A Guide To Digital PR

If you’ve landed on this blog, chances are that you have heard all about Digital PR. It’s been an industry buzzword for a few years now & has really taken off in this time; even though many agencies, including ourselves, have been doing this for over 5 years!

Digital PR has been used in conjunction with SEO to help grow visibility for websites in a very holistic manner. While these two elements were previously siloed amongst marketing campaigns, more recently, agencies have started combining the two to provided added, targeted benefits for both their SEO and Digital PR campaigns. By combining the two elements, you are able to use the data-research side of SEO with the creative PR side of Digital PR to drive consistent campaigns. This not only drives high quality links into your website and grows brand awareness, but also supports growth in your overall SEO rankings and, therefore, traffic to your website and subsequent sales/conversions.

So What Is Digital PR?

Digital PR is essentially a strategy or plan which takes the principles of traditional PR & applies it in an online environment to online content & placements. Think of it as promoting a product or service but in the digital space and with the added incentive of creating high quality, relevant links for SEO. In turn, you also get the added bonus of the optimisation that comes with that. 

Digital PR has been around for as long as PR has, but has only really come to the forefront in recent years. This is mainly due to the value that it can add to SEO campaigns and the real world returns that PR of this style can generate. PR has never been more measurable from an ROI perspective as it is in Digital PR format. This makes it an appealing option for businesses who are looking to grow sales/leads in addition to just growing standard visibility. 

When we look over time we can see that “link building” in its raw format has always been a popular option for companies looking to improve their “website authority” or “Domain Rank” for SEO. In the last few years, however, we can see that Digital PR has started to meet link building as an equal. This has mainly been due to the rise in popularity of the term as a buzzword, but also the approach being seen as a more effective, sustainable and achievable method of link acquisition.

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We’ve even seen John Mueller, Google Webmaster Trends Analyst, weigh in on it through his Twitter account, offering his view that he loves some of the things that he sees from Digital PR: “It’s just as critical as tech SEO, probably more so in many cases.” Who are we to argue?!

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Although we’ve compared Digital PR and Link Building together above to review trends over time, it’s important to note that the two can be very different. Digital PR is a more holistic offering. It’s designed to not only improve SEO value and drive leads to your website, but also to enhance your visibility and start to create buzz around your brand, just as traditional PR does.

What Are Some Common Digital PR Techniques?

Digital PR, like any element of digital marketing, is done in a number of different ways depending on the agency that you work with and the results that you are looking to achieve. For example, Digital PR for an ecommerce company looking to drive sales of a specific product would look very different to a company looking to launch a new product, or a company who is looking to improve their overall awareness and traffic within a specific niche. 

That said, there are a couple of techniques that can work across a number of different situations, they just need to be applied in different ways. Some of the most common Digital PR techniques that we use here at Cedarwood include:

Newsjacking

Newsjacking isn’t a new concept to PRs; it’s essentially the process of finding a newsworthy topic and putting your client at the front of the conversation. As Digital PR has continued to grow, so has the popularity of both Proactive and Reactive Newsjacking as a way of landing great quality coverage for a client while also showcasing that client’s expertise. 

There are generally two different types of newsjacking: proactive and reactive. Both work in a slightly different way. Traditionally, proactive newsjacking would involve researching events in advance such as the launch of a new product, event or movie, or the launch of a new report, perhaps from NHS Digital or the ONS or a particular themed day or month coming up. This gives time to plan, gain the right comments and angle, and outreach in time to land coverage for clients.

Reactive newsjacking, on the other hand, involves monitoring the media to identify opportunities where we can potentially jump in with expert commentary or advice. To be reactive you need to have a great media monitoring set up and you need to be able to get into the conversation quickly with a fresh angle. You also need to have a quick turnaround on comments. We often recommend speaking to clients or your internal PR team in advance to prep them where tight turnaround might be required. Ideally, try to develop a process for this early on so you don’t miss out on key opportunities. For media monitoring, there are a lot of tools out there but some of the most popular are social media platforms, such as Twitter and TikTok, BBC Breaking News, Hashtags and daily newspapers.

Newsjacking is a very popular Digital PR approach here at Cedarwood as it not only generates high quality expertise-driven links it’s also fast-paced and often fun. We love to get stuck in putting our clients in the centre of the conversation. Over the years we have created some fun newsjacking campaigns, from talking about how plants would handle lockdown ending to recreating Harry & Meghan’s Oprah garden scene. As well as tackling more serious topics such as highlighting the signs and symptoms of Cervical Cancer for Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. 

Done effectively, Newsjacking is a quick and effective way to gain your clients coverage and to gain those all-valuable links back to the website.

Data-Led Campaigns

At Cedarwood we’re a fan of always-on link acquisition, in fact in one slide we could summarise our approach to Digital PR as follows:

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That’s where data-led campaigns come in. Small, frequent data-driven campaigns are a great way to land links, highlight your client’s expertise and create a stable environment of always-on Digital PR. The days of high risk, high reward campaigns are often behind us, as we find journalists increasingly inundated with the larger style of campaigns. They now seem to prefer a smaller, more expertise-driven approach to Digital PR through data.

The great news when it comes to data-led campaigns is that there’s a tonne of free resources out there that you can utilise. In fact we’re currently pulling together a separate blog on all of the free data sources you can utilise, so watch this space. For now, we’ve listed some of the key ones below:NHS Digital

Once you have your data, undertake analysis to understand the angle. Remember a new, fresh angle backed up by expertise is your best friend when it comes to landing data-led campaigns. It’s therefore always good to have some ideas in mind prior to your data analysis, so you know what you are looking for. 

If you aren’t able to gather the data freely then there are a number of paid for options, especially if you have something specific that you are looking for. Google Surveys and other survey providers can offer good options here. In many instances, it might be that you only need to ask just one question, in which case it can often be quite affordable too. Data-led campaigns don’t have to break the bank to be successful.

Here are a couple of examples of recent data-led campaigns that we’ve turned around quickly and outreached to gain some great placements and Digital PR for our clients.

Patient Claim Line: COVID-19 Survey

Cash Lady: Cheapest Roast Dinners 

MIST: Pets & Smoking Habits

Thought Leadership

Thought Leadership is a great approach for modern Digital PR as it tends to combine a number of elements which are hugely beneficial for SEO – predominantly expertise and link acquisition all rolled into one!

Thought leadership is also a great way to extoll the virtues and expertise of your brand to a wider market, and really join the conversation on topics which matter to both you and your brand. Thought leadership is one of the elements that underpins a strong always-on Digital PR strategy and something that we love to do to build the expertise of our brands.

Speaking on his Twitter account John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, speaks directly about how one very relevant link can be significantly more important than a whole chunk of links built into a website. It’s very much about quality over quantity. In many cases, Digital PR firms steer away from thought leadership as they see it as a lot of work for maybe just one or two links. Yet, in many cases, these one or two links can be more valuable than an entire creative campaign if they drive the relevancy and expertise that Google is looking for. 

“Or there could be one really good link from one website out there that is, for us, a really important sign that we should treat this website as something that is relevant because it has that one link. I don’t know, maybe from like a big news site’s home page, for example. So the total number essentially is completely irrelevant.”

John Mueller

So while many agencies and in-house teams are set on creating link goals or link targets based on the number of links achieved, to deliver real impact you need to focus on the relevancy and quality of individual links, rather than just trying to build links as a whole to the website.

Is Link Building Dead?

The way in which link building is done has come a long way in the last 10 years. Unfortunately, I still hear stories of agencies paying for links and more often than you would think. This is against Google’s guidelines. While it might work for a short period of time, after a while Google’s algorithm will catch this, and your website could be at risk of either a manual penalty or an algorithmic penalty from the Google Penguin update.

For those of you that are unfamiliar with Google Penguin or what it is, Google Penguin is an update designed to penalise websites that have undertaken dodgy link practices. There was a significant update many years ago now called Penguin 2.0 and it caught out a lot of Webmasters who had been purchasing links. For many of these it took years before they were able to get their websites back onto a good standing. 

So link building is definitely not dead, but the industry as a whole is still seeing a lot of paid for link acquisition. It wouldn’t surprise me if there is a new variation of the Penguin update (which now runs in real time) to tackle this. 

Digital PR is a great way to drive links into your website for link acquisition purposes, but it also helps to build on key E-A-T signals & drive relevance for your brand. Again, link acquisition definitely isn’t dead, but SEOs are having to adapt the way that they build links to really reach best practice.

Does Digital PR Actually Work?

Absolutely, hands down Digital PR is one of the most important elements of any SEO campaign. It’s also a great way to drive your overall brand relevancy and the visibility of your website. Digital PR is arguably one of the most important elements of any SEO campaign. It helps to build relevancy and expertise across your website, in addition to growing some great visibility for your clients. 

Good Digital PR can help to build your traffic & visibility over time & correlates with SEO visibility & performance by helping to improve the overall authority within the website.

Below is an example of a client that we have done Digital PR for, for a number of years:

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As you can see, the number of high quality links that we have created correlates closely with organic visibility & performance. When done well, Digital PR can have a direct impact on your SEO performance.

How Do I Find Relevant Topics?

Relevancy is an important element of any Digital PR campaign. Ensuring that your Digital PR campaigns match the relevancy and recency of your clients is very important to ensuring that you get the maximum impact from them. 

One of the ways that we look to drive relevancy for our clients is by creating a mind map to really understand the core themes of our client. We can then build out content and topical resources around this. 

Here’s an example of one that we did for a client in financial services. It shows how we are able to map everything to central themes to ensure that we keep relevancy at the heart of our campaigns.

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It’s not just enough to find relevant topics though. You also have to find topics which are trending and topical, i.e. topics that journalists want to cover. There are a number of tools that you can use for this, from Google Trends through to BuzzSumo. These really help you to identify what is trending and, most importantly, anything that has already been covered to ensure that your content is topical and relevant.

How Can I Make Journalists Love My Content?

One of the main ways that we understand what journalists are looking for is through the concept of “Why Does The Reader Care?” At the end of the day journalists are looking for clicks on their articles, so we need to make sure our content is juicy, relevant and backed up by great data and a clear methodology. Get journalists to love your content by giving them what they want and giving it to them in a format that they can use without having to make too many changes. This can include:

  • Attaching any imagery that they might require
  • Clearly stating your methodology or linking to the methodology if required 
  • Ensuring that you have a clear bio of the company or person that has created the article
  • Including any relevant links internally within the press release
  • Making sure the press release has a clear hook for the journalist (and readers)
  • Answering any questions that the journalist has previously asked.

Journalists are busy creatures so ensuring that you include all of the relevant information within your press releases is a great way to ensure that they’re best placed to cover your content. Additionally, make yourself available to them in case they have any quick questions. Don’t be afraid to jump on a quick call and point them in the right direction. 

Journalists love content which gets clicks and which really engages the user, mainly human interest pieces. So when you’re creating your mind maps, stories or even brainstorming, creating ideas which have a strong human interest point is a great place to start. Always think about who might be reading the article and what they might want to know. Make sure that you have that great hook, a great angle and, most importantly, that you bring something new to the table. 

Looking for more information on how to create a press release? Check out our guide to press releases which will help to point you in the right direction!

How Do I Measure Digital PR?

Measurement is essential to any effective performance marketing channel and Digital PR is no different. Being able to measure and justify the investment in this channel is key to growing clients and proving value and strong ROAS. So, how do we go about measuring how successful our Digital PR campaigns have been and what value this particular channel adds?

Measuring Digital PR can be done in a number of different ways with a range of different tools. Before you start measuring, take the time to work out what you are trying to achieve; it shouldn’t just be just a certain number of links. Think about the business goals and how you can map those down to online goals accordingly. I’ve always thought of it like this:

Business Goals – Online Goals – KPIs

By ensuring that you always have the business goals as the top marker, you know that you are delivering that all-important value and ROAS. Now that you have your business goals where do you start with measurement? Well this can be done in a number of different ways but I’ve listed the two most common metrics that we use below:

Link Scoring

We know that not all links are equal, so setting a simple link target wouldn’t quite cut the mustard when it comes to understanding the value we are delivering for a client. That’s why we use a concept of “Link Scoring” to understand how important and valuable our work can be. 

Our link scoring matrix takes the type and relevancy of the link and combines it with key metrics such as Domain Authority and Rank to produce a “link score.” Each month we set a target based on this link score and tie it back to our KPIs. This ensures that any Digital PR work we undertake is focused on our client goals and keeps relevancy, expertise and value at the core at all times.

Visibility Metrics

Key visibility metrics, such as overall traffic value, help us tie our Digital PR service closely to website impact and SEO results. By looking at a metric like traffic value we can combine a keyword’s position with its estimated traffic level to understand how much valuable traffic we are bringing to the website.

By measuring in this way we are ensuring that higher rankings for keywords are actually bringing in traffic. We don’t want to fall into the trap of getting keywords to position one that bring no traffic or value for the client. By tying these metrics back to our Digital PR campaigns we can prove value and ROAS for our client’s investment.

Summary

Digital PR is a hugely effective tool and a big part of the modern digital marketing mix. With experts from Google singing its praises and highlighting how important it is within the marketing mix, we can be sure that effective Digital PR will play an important role in digital strategies for many years to come. 

 

Want to find out more about how Digital PR can help your agency or business? Get in touch.

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Rounding Up Five Recent Quick Turnaround Newsjacking Campaigns

With the first half of 2022 already drawing to a close, we thought we’d have a quick look back at five recent quick turnaround newsjacking campaigns which have delivered high-quality, relevant, super expertise driven links to our clients with very little prep or turnaround time.

Knowing how important our E-A-T signals are, particularly for some of our clients in Your Money Your Life verticals, building high quality, expertise-driven links is important to our client’s SEO success. Here we’ve rounded up a couple of examples from recent months where jumping on the latest trends has helped us to deliver solid links for clients with a quick turnaround time.

Cheapest Roast Dinner

Links: 112 / Average DR: 55

The Cheapest Roast Dinner campaign for our client Cash Lady was one of our favourites – a super simple campaign to carry out with a clearly defined purpose and an outcome which had a great hook for journalists and relevant at a time where the cost of living is increasing and general costs are going up. This campaign involved researching which supermarket offered the cheapest roast dinner, compiling the data together and then presenting it on our client’s website. We created some juicy angles around the data and seeded it out to our media lists.

The campaign was a great success placing well across a range of regional publications, in addition to a number of key dailies including The Daily Record, The Daily Star and Birmingham Live.

New Years’ Resolutions

Links: 23 / Average DR: 82

If you’re like us then the New Year is a great time for change and New Years Resolutions are one way to at least encourage yourself to change or improve something (or just give something up) from the year before – but we all know that these never last – so we looked into search data for one of our ecommerce clients MIST, to find out exactly how long people manage to hang onto those New Year Resolutions before they start slipping back in to their old habits.

The answer? Not very long – after reviewing and analysing search data it turns out that February 19th is usually the key date – less than two months after the resolutions have started! To reach this conclusion we analysed five years’ worth of search data and evaluated when specific keywords spiked that related to an ending of a specific resolution. With most resolutions revolving around health – it was easy to see when a spike in keywords such as “takeaway” rose that people were starting to give up on these habits…

Once we had the data we pulled together some great press release angles and sent it out to our media lists. A super quick piece to turnaround which landed over 23 links across some high tier publications including AOL and Yahoo!

Childhood Hepatitis

Links: 29 / Average DR: 70

As cases of childhood hepatitis rose towards the start of the year it was something that was trending broadly within the news. We worked closely with our medical negligence client Patient Claim Line to produce expert comments on how parents can help to identify if their child could potentially have meningitis and what to look for – as well as what to do if they find that they have suffered from misdiagnosis or a delayed diagnosis.

The piece was quickly picked up by mainstream media and landed 29 links with an average DR of 70.

Holiday Savings Tips

Links: 42 / Average DR: 66

Brits love a summer holiday and as summer holiday season started to ramp up we saw that a lot of newspapers and publications were starting to publish savings tips and tricks which would be particularly effective in the current economic climate. With this in mind we teamed up with Instagram Mum Emma Stretton to deliver some great holiday savings tips at a time where everyone was looking to make their money go a little further.

Once we’d spoken to Emma we pulled this together in press release form with some great hooks for journalists and outreached it to our media list. The content landed really well with over 40 links generated on high quality publications including Wales Online, The Sun, MSN and the The Birmingham Mail.

Gardening Hacks

Links: 15 / Average DR: 74

As we approach summer, gardening has been a hot topic of discussion across a lot of news channels, working with our client Hayes Garden World we have jumped into numerous conversations and added our expertise to news jack and build high quality links into our client’s website. Topics that we have contributed to include: “How to fertilise without chemicals”, “Everything you need to know about planting trees”, “How to prevent weeds growing” and “Making the most of your garden in March”.

Our expert commentary and news jacking has been featured across a range of high profile publications including House Beautiful, Daily Express, The Mirror, Ideal Home and the Yorkshire Post.

Newsjacking is a great way to land solid links by jumping on a trending topic and it’s also a great way to push expertise driven links into your website, adding that all important E-A-T value! To find out more about our newsjacking service and Digital PR or how we could help to gain you brand coverage and valuable high quality links enquiry today!

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Backlinks and Brainteasers: a marriage made in SEO

Cedarwood’s resident Digital PR expert Alex Fisher talks to Emma Stretton about the power of puzzles in earning links.

Most people know that SEO often means keywords. Backlinks, on the other hand, are a slightly lesser-known buzzword and, yet, they’re an incredibly important way to increase your website’s search engine rankings. Backlinks are when another website, preferably a tried and trusted one links back to your website. They essentially tell search engines your website is one worth going to.

Who?

Building genuine links into a website is a great way to improve the overall authority of the site. Having websites with a high domain rating direct users to your site indicates to search engines that your website is also trustworthy and will increase the authority of your website. In turn, this will improve your website’s rankings. A website’s authority is one of the key factors that Google considers when ranking websites, so the more authority your website has the better chance it has to climb up the SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages).

Let’s look at how we’ve used this recently for one of our clients: Rimmers Music. When Christmas kicked in we thought it would be a great time to grab some extra coverage and use the opportunity to build links into the Rimmers Music site. Backlinks aren’t always game, set and match and we knew we needed some attention-seeking content that would definitely get Rimmers Music noticed.

What?

After an unusual year, the run up to Christmas 2020 needed some festive cheer and light heartedness. With that in mind, we decided to create a Brainteaser based on Christmas carolling (because it was for a music shop – see what we did there)?! Journalists and publications benefit from brainteasers because they’re shareable, they keep people on the page and they bring light to balance the shade.

Why?

The Rimmers Music brainteaser was a big picture full of people singing Christmas carols. The idea was that you had to spot the one little boy with his hands over his ears refusing to take part. We tied the concept in with data found by Rimmers Music the previous year, which uncovered that a quarter of Brits won’t open the door to a Christmas caroller. This gave the press release more weight and more for publications to work with. The end result was for websites to include an article about the brainteaser with a link to Rimmers Music. Whilst we do want to secure those all-important backlinks, we are also aiming to get as much coverage as we can. Getting your client seen on major websites with hundreds of thousands, sometimes millions, of readers is a result in itself.

The Results

  • 86 pieces of coverage
  • 39 backlinks
  • Average Domain Rating – 63

We don’t like to brag (well maybe a little) but it did the trick. The Rimmers Music brainteaser resulted in 86 pieces of coverage and 39 backlinks. Incredibly, one article alone led to 1000 new users clicking on the link and heading to the Rimmers Music website. Most sites ran the story early on in December but some picked it up later, providing additional coverage. It was the Christmas gift that kept on giving.

Backlinks signal to search engines that a website can be trusted. They’re a bit like a good friend recommending a restaurant; you’re more likely to go there if you were sent by someone you trust. Not to mention, the more people shouting about your service, the more likely this is to convert into sales. Getting into a search engine’s good books might not sound that exciting but finding new ways to get noticed and creating content that lands is what SEO experts (like us) thrive on.

If you want to get a bit more into the nitty gritty of backlinks you can read more in our blog ‘Why Are Links Important for SEO?’ or find out more about linkbuiling on our Digital PR services page.

 

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How to Balance Business with Fatherhood

To mark Father’s Day, our Digital PR Executive Alex recently worked with our clients and selection of small business to shed light on how entrepreneurs balance their careers and family life. Six leading businessmen from across the UK shared their advice with us on maintaining a healthy work-life balance, as well as the things they wished they’d known when they launched their careers.

The interview was featured on Fleximize’s small business blog – you can read the original here.

From making more family time in lockdown to switching off and separating business life from home life, the six businessmen shed light on the best ways to balance home and work life.

Maintaining a pressurized job whilst spending enough time with the kids can be difficult at the best of times – and it’s something that dads simply don’t get enough credit for. With Father’s Day on the horizon and many working dads juggling their career and kids in lockdown, five British entrepreneurial fathers have shared their experiences of trying to find the perfect work-life balance.  

The working fathers have shared their triumphs and mistakes, along with advice they’d tell their younger selves. The relatable pearls of wisdom are a must-read for working parents or first-time dads. 


Danny Toffel

Founder & CEO of Watches2U International | Father to two daughters (14 & 16) | Surrey-based

What’s the biggest challenge of juggling your job with fatherhood? 

I’ve always struggled to switch off from work. At my worst, I didn’t take a day off for seven years straight, including Christmas Day, meaning that my relationship with my kids suffered. Even when I’m out of the office, it’s all too easy to log on and do a little extra work at home or quickly check emails during family time.

How did you handle or overcome this? 

Once I realized how much I’d missed of my kids growing up, I actively invested in improving my work/life balance. I’ve found that it’s crucial to mentally clock out of work where possible so that I can be fully present with my family. I try to leave my job at the office. 

What advice would you give to someone who has recently become a father and also has a high profile job to maintain? 

Start as you mean to go on in terms of the time you spend with your family versus work. It’s easy to slip into bad habits but extremely difficult to get out of them. As cliche as it sounds, you will never get the children’s younger years back. 


Christian Beadell

Head of Medical Negligence at Patient Claim Line | Father to four sons (11, 13, 15, 18) & one daughter (7) | Manchester-based 

What’s the biggest challenge of juggling your job with fatherhood? 

After our second child was born, we took the decision to minimize the amount of time they would spend with childminders or in afterschool clubs – despite the fact that my wife also has a busy, pressured job which involves a long commute. For me, it was really important to be there for them at the school gate or sports field and not for them to miss out in any way.

How did you handle or overcome this?

I have made some calculated career decisions to work flexible hours where needed or pursue roles that restrict the demands on my time. I have worked at smaller law firms with a family feel and this has stood me in good stead, enabling me to have a challenging and rewarding career but also to be there for my children.

What advice would you give to someone who has recently become a father and also has a high profile job to maintain?

Decide what is important to you. You will not get the time back with your children and whilst some employers may say they are family friendly, not all are. When you have a partner that works also, get used to compromising early on! 


Frederic de Ryckman de Betz

CEO of Attic Self Storage Company | Father to two sons (8) | London-based 

What’s the biggest challenge of juggling your job with fatherhood? 

At first, it was a constant sense of guilt. When I was at home, I felt guilty for not being at work. When I was at work, I felt guilty for not being at home. More recently, it’s trying to find time for myself in and amongst all the madness.

How did you handle or overcome this? 

I sacrificed my own time, and learned to live with the guilt. Over time, I realized that many in my team faced similar challenges, and that by sharing our experiences and encouraging each other to make time for our families, it got easier. 

What advice would you give to someone who has recently become a father and also has a high profile job to maintain? 

Be open about your challenges, and ask your team for their help, support and advice. You’re not alone, and being a father is something to be proud of. You can’t wind the clock back so ask yourself: how do you want to be remembered as a father? 


Lee Simpson

PR Consultant at Fourth Day | Father to one daughter (2) & one son (5) | Manchester-based 

What’s the biggest challenge of juggling your job with fatherhood? 

Trying to do everything to the best of your ability is constantly challenging. As any parent will tell you, often you have to accept that you just can’t. 

What advice would you give to someone who has recently become a father and also has a high profile job to maintain? 

During lockdown when we, as families, are all spending so much time together, try to remember to dedicate some time every day to your kids away from homeschool. It could be doing a jigsaw together, fighting with lightsabers or building a den in the woods.

Whatever it is, I think it’s important children know you have time for them no matter what, and not time spent telling them to get on with work or screaming at them to eat vegetables. It sounds so simple but I hope I will remember this after the lockdown and always make sure I make time for them. 

What do you think has been the best part of working from home during lockdown?

Despite all its hardships and the obvious nightmares relating to Covid-19, I hope we will look back on this period fondly and remember trying to laugh our way through it. I complain relentlessly about it but I’m sure part of me will miss having children jumping on the bed next to where I’m working every day. 


Peter Rigby

Legal Department Head at Fletchers Serious Injury | Father of two daughters (2, 12) & three sons (5, 8, 9) | Southport-based 

What are some challenges you have faced whilst working from home around the family?

One challenge has been finding a way to change my mindset from work to home as there is no natural break at the end of each day. That is why it has become so important to put technology to one side for family time.

What do you think has been the best part of working from home during lockdown?

It has given me more time with the children and I feel I have gotten to know their personalities and needs better. I certainly feel closer to them as a parent.

Have you learnt anything from self-isolation/working from home in the past few months?

I have learned how important it is to have time away from screens. My children would comfortably sit in front of a screen for hours on end. Some screen time is ok, but they also need to use their imagination and make their own fun in the garden, with toys or with arts and crafts.


Manav Thapar

Managing Director at Loveraw | Father to one daughter (4) & one son (1) | Altrincham-based 

What have you found to be the biggest challenge about juggling your job with fatherhood?

Feeling guilty when I’m working instead of spending time with the kids. Owning a business is like having another child that needs just as much attention and care, and no matter which one you spend time with, you feel like you’re neglecting the others. Managing that balance is something I’ve always tried to work on.

How did you handle or overcome this obstacle?

We try to involve the kids as much as possible by bringing them to the office and making sure they know how the business affects them and us as a family. When I plan my week, I start with family time and schedule around that. If you focus on what’s most important to you first, you can always build around it.

What advice would you give to someone who has recently become a father and also has a high-profile job to maintain?

Take advantage of every second your baby sleeps by trying to get as much work done as possible. If you’re lucky enough to have a team, aim to delegate as much as you can, and plan your days well. I know exactly where all my time is being spent – right down to the minute.

Digital-PR-Vector

Is Digital PR Valuable? And How Is It Measured?

When it comes to planning and budgeting for a new campaign, analysing the success of previous campaigns is paramount. Therefore, knowing the monetary value of coverage is hugely beneficial, providing teams with the ability to make informed decisions and allocate spend accordingly.

We have put together a small guide featuring one simple tool that can be utilised to extract the monetary value of your PR.

Online PR - newspaper

How to get media coverage for your business in seven steps

As a small or start up-business, trying to get in the media is an important strategy, but can often feel like a daunting, nay impossible task. Where do you even begin? And do you need a big budget to make a difference?

At Cedarwood Digital, we work with clients with a variety of budgets from small-scale to larger campaigns. So we know first-hand that you can make an impact, regardless of size or budget.

We’ve rounded up our top tips and broken down the process of how to get media coverage for your business, so you can start a media storm. 

1. Understand what is valuable to journalists

  • Content that offers a new and interesting angle
  • Data-lead content
  • Eye-catching images

When creating a press release, make sure to bear in mind that journalists receive countless similar emails a day. You need to be sure to provide something valuable that they can’t get elsewhere. Try to make sure your content is something new, with research to support or challenge thinking.

Surveys that provide journalists with interesting and topical statistics are a great way to get your business featured in the press. Whilst there are companies that will run surveys for you, these can be costly, so SME’s can benefit from using their own customer databases to conduct surveys and research.

Images are also crucial for a strong press release, as we live in an increasingly visual world. Supplying a few strong images to support your press release saves the journalist time and energy sourcing a relevant image themselves, and could be the decision-maker for whether or not your story gets featured.

2. Know your target audience

  • Personalise press releases for each publication
  • Include regional and local press

Work out an angle to spin your story to make it relevant and interesting to the readership of any publication that you’re looking target. Try not to generalise content and send it across all genres of media – this will be clear to the journalist and look lazy. It’s best to brainstorm and research topical news, upcoming events or media trends in that domain that your content can be linked to.

Don’t neglect regional press, as a local angle can also be a great hook. Though regional publications will have a smaller audience than nationals, they offer the chance to showcase news and features on a local scale and can be easier to get featured in than bigger publications. If you’re offering research and statistics that cover the whole of the UK, try breaking your research down into key city demographics so that it is more relevant to regional publications. For example, if you have conducted a survey that investigates adult usage of mobile phones in the UK, you could break the results down into cities to make the statistics more relevant.

3. Create a list of media contacts

  • Use paid media databases or free tools
  • Make connections over social media

Though you may already be familiar with a few key publications you would like to target, it’s essential to expand your horizons and discover more outlets that may be interested in covering your story. Fortunately, there are multiple online resources to help you to create a thorough media list – including niche, trade publications to nationals.

Response Source, Vuelio and Gorkana all offer subscriptions to media databases, allowing you to gain access to a wealth of influential journalists’ contacts at top publications. Or for those with smaller budgets, websites like Hunter.io offer the chance to search a limited number of journalist contacts for free. Both Twitter and LinkedIn can be also be good places to start for building connections – monitor #journorequest and #prrequest on Twitter to look out for relevant feature opportunities and connect with interesting journalists on LinkedIn.

When building your press list, make sure you pay attention to digital publications as well as print. Getting featured in digital publications is not only good for PR but also for your website’s SEO rankings. Links to your website from popular online publications will help boost your website’s overall SEO (more info on this here) and so the online publishing world should form an integral part in your PR strategy.

4. Research the targeted journalist

  • Know the topics that journalists like to cover
  • Pay attention to deadlines
  • Don’t harass journalists

Once you’ve built your press list, make sure to pay close attention to detail when sourcing the relevant journalists’ contact details. Research who you need to contact, considering their speciality and position within the company, and then you can approach the target publication to source their details and preferred method of receiving information. You don’t want to come across as rude or unprofessional to journalists by getting their details wrong.

Make sure to stay organised with deadlines and publications dates to avoid pestering journalists when they’re working against the clock. There’s no problem in getting in touch to ask if a certain topic is of interest, but don’t harass them. If you’ve followed up twice via email and have still not had a response, then unfortunately the journalist is not interested in your pitch.

5. Design your press release to make an impression

Present your press release in a way that is as easy as possible for a journalist to dissect. Generally, try to stick to the following rules:

  • Immediately summarise the essence of the content in the first paragraph
  • Don’t use technical terms which aren’t accessible, and avoid just stating facts
  • Try to support your story with evidence or statistics if possible
  • Be black and white with information you provide – making claims about your business that you can’t back up will be complicated and unprofessional
  • Detail your contact information at the end of the press release, and make sure to be efficient and available for follow up calls
  • Include ‘Notes to the Editor’ at the bottom of your release. This is where you can include useful background information that does not feature in your press release, such as an overview of your business’ services, how you conducted your research for your press release or a brief history of your business. Then you’re ready to press send!

6. Add supporting information & special extras to the press release

  • Offer interviews, case studies and photographs
  • Consider exclusivity for larger publications

To give your press release a bit more zest, it’s worth considering what extra support you could provide to each journalists. Publications often want to get unique angles on stories to avoid duplicated articles, so offering think about offering a case study, interview or photograph to sweeten the deal.

If you have a larger publication in mind that you are eager to work with, then you could offer them the exclusive on the story first, as being featured on one large publication with a significant audience could be more worthwhile than features on ten smaller publications.

7. Build relationships with journalists

  • Be a reliable contact

For long term benefits, provide news and content on a regular basis to journalists, stick to deadlines, make yourself available for interviews and comment.  This way you will create a great reputation for yourself as a useful contact and build a relationship with the press. Don’t be intimidated when getting in touch with a journalist – if you’ve followed these steps and consistently deliver, your media coverage will soar in no time.

Why Are Links Important For SEO

Why are links important for SEO, and how can I get them?

If you’re in the digital marketing world, you’ve undoubtedly heard that getting backlinks from other websites is crucial for SEO. It’s important to utilise anything that can help to boost your website’s search ranking, so we’ll shed some light on why links are so important and teach you how to build them yourself.

Why are links important for SEO?

Building backlinks to your website (getting other websites to link back to yours) sends out a trust signal to Google that your website has good authority, and therefore should be ranked higher. However, this depends on the type and quality of the website that posts the link. Essentially, if a quality website which Google trusts links back to your site, Google determines that you too are a quality website, so should be ranked higher. You can work out the quality of a website by checking its domain rating on websites such as Ahrefs or Moz: the higher score the better.

However, Google can also penalise for backlinks which it sees as unnatural. For example, spamming forums, creating tonnes of directory listings, paying bloggers on fiver to link to your website are unnatural ways to build links, which in turn will lower your position on Google. It is far better for SEO to secure a few strong links a month than to build hundreds of low-quality backlinks in a short space of time.

Hence, you should always ensure that links have a natural connection to your business, which you can achieve with the following techniques.

Brand reclamation

 

It’s always great exposure when a publisher features your brand in their article, though sometimes they will mention a brand without linking back to the brand’s website. Whilst this can be frustrating, it’s easy to maximise this opportunity and secure a link from a high-quality website. Most of the hard work has already been done because a journalist has already noticed and written about your brand. Simply drop them an email thanking them for featuring your business and request a link to your website be added to the page in case their readers want to find out more.

Tracking brand mentions online is very easy to set up so that you don’t miss these opportunities. There are several web-monitoring tools that help you do this, such as Google Alerts (free), Ahrefs alerts and Gorkana. Some publications may have editorial policies not to include external links, but it’s always best to email and check.

Media tools

 

Now that GDPR is in place, media databases with opted-in contact details of journalists are more important than ever for sourcing good quality PR opportunities and contacts. There are a variety of tools you can pay for, as well as free databases that scrape public email addresses from across the web.

One relatively cost-effective way to find feature opportunities is through journalist alerts. These are email alerts that journalists send out to source contacts or information for the features that they are writing. You can then respond to queries that are relevant to your brand, offering information, images, product reviews or quotes. Not only do these tools allow you to effectively build links in a natural way, but they also allow you to develop relationships with key journalists in your market without the need of a pricey media database. Building your own database of journalists that you have successfully worked with makes it easier to work with them again in the future, as you can either contact them with valuable content or they may contact you with relevant upcoming features to you.

Local links

 

Big-budget content campaigns can bring in a lot of high quality links, but exploring your local link opportunities can also be a good cost-effective way to build links on a smaller scale. Investigate whether you have any current connections that you could source a link from. Is your Managing Director an alumni of a prestigious university? If so, perhaps they could make a donation or share their business expertise on their website. Is there a local charity you could work with? Or a local group linked to your industry? Explore current connections that your staff and management have to see if there are any natural links that could be secured by sending an email.

Competitor analysis

 

If a key competitor outranks you for several of your keywords, performing an analysis of where their links are coming from is a great way to see what kind of outreach work they are undertaking. Tools such as Ahrefs enable you to identify which publications your competitors are receiving links from, as well as spark ideas for potential outreach content.

Are there any high quality review websites that your competitor has a link on? If they do and your brand doesn’t, then this can be an area to explore. Do they have any links from high quality bloggers? Again, if they do then you can contact the blogger who wrote the article to introduce your brand and highlight what you can offer them, should they be planning any articles which you could contribute to.


10 Outreach Tips From Brighton SEO 2018

10 Outreach tips from Brighton SEO 2018

On 28th September, the Cedarwood Digital team travelled south to attend Brighton SEO, a huge one-day search marketing conference. Here are 10 outreach tips that we picked up during the day:

Broken backlinks

Whilst many companies are familiar with fixing backlinks to their own websites, now is the time to start taking advantage of competitors’ backlinks. Screaming Frog, a website crawling tool, allows companies to find any inbound links to a competitors website that result in a 404 error. Once these have been identified, outreach teams can contact the journalist who published the article to suggest that they link to their company’s website instead. If the article contains content that the company’s website doesn’t currently have, then create this content first and then pitch it to the journalist alongside a link to the content. Laura Hogan – Use Your Competitors For Freeeeee Links 

Reverse image search

This may be an old technique, but it is still useful for identifying new link opportunities. Find a graphic or image that a competitor had featured in national publications and then use this in a Google image search. This will show the websites that covered that graphic and the context that it was used in. Then work on creating a graphic with updated information on it and contact the publications to see if they would be interested in your material. Laura Hogan – Use Your Competitors For Freeeeee Links 

Hashtags

Take a competitors URLs and paste it into a link tool such as AHREFS or Majestic and then identify their new backlinks. If there any hashtags in the articles they have recently received links from then make a note of these and simply Google these hashtags. This is a great way to find out which bloggers have worked with a competitor which gives an indication of the articles that they publish. Laura Hogan – Use Your Competitors For Freeeeee Links 

Backlink analysis

A backlink analysis is a great way to understand where a competitor has been recently securing links – for example, using the SEM Rush gap analysis tool. This will not only show the domains that are linking to your competitor, but also exactly where the link is and its context. It is likely that your competitor has a large number of backlinks in their profile so it is recommended to compile a list of around 15 top opportunities to start with and then build this list up in stages. Laura Hogan – Use Your Competitors For Freeeeee Links 

Set up alerts

Set up Google or Ahrefs alerts for your business and then set up alerts for your competitors. This will tell you when your competitors are being mentioned online, meaning that you can see if they are receiving links from high authority websites. Laura Hogan – Use Your Competitors For Freeeeee Links 

News & media jumping

This is a technique that is used on Twitter by those who work in PR and it involves using a set of hashtags to request specific information. These hashtags are #PRRequest and #JournoRequest and journalists often use these when they are are trying to find someone to comment or interview for a story or feature. Sign up for email alerts so that you don’t miss out on a potential opportunity. Charlie Marchant – Ways To Definitely Get Links For Your Business

Trade & industry publications

Industry-specific publications are always on the lookout for relevant content so use them as part of your outreach strategy. If you have any content that you would like to share that would be useful to others in your industry, then pitch this to relevant journalists. It is likely that the publication operates in print as well as online then this could also lead to some fantastic exposure for your business. Charlie Marchant – Ways To Definitely Get Links For Your Business

Secure links before you produce the content

Time is very important and every second of an outreach campaign counts, so try to secure a link before you have produced the content. If you have an idea for a piece of content or infographic, check first that this is of interest to your target publications. You can find out by pitching your idea to journalists and writers to get their feedback. If you are able to compile a small list of publications that would be willing to use your content with a guaranteed link then you can go ahead and make the content. Stacy MacNaught – Securing Links Before You’ve Even Produced Your Content

Surveys

If you want to create content or a press release on a certain topic that requires the public opinion, then try surveys. Google Surveys allow users to gather information in a short space of time, whilst Survey Monkey allows you to collect a large pool of data. Analyse this data, collate your findings and write them up into an interesting piece of content. Charlie Marchant – Ways To Definitely Get Links For Your Business

Data outreach

If you have a content idea that requires data and statistics from reputable sources, then try government bodies. The  Office For National Statistics (ONS) and Freedom Of Information Requests are great for getting reputable data from government departments, such as the police force or the department for education. There are already requests available that other users have submitted but you can submit your own. Charlie Marchant – Ways To Definitely Get Links For Your Business So if you work as part of an outreach team and have been struggling for campaign ideas, then try some of these outreach tips to ramp up your link-building strategy. READ NEXT: Why are links important for SEO?