I recently attended Content Marketing World in Cleveland at the new Cleveland Convention Center. It was one of the most motivating conferences I have ever experienced. I saw famous stars like John Cleese and Nick Offerman speak, world famous journalists like Rajiv Chandrasekaran formerly of the Washington Post, now of Starbucks Coffee Company, and several industry experts.
You would think I would come away with something incredibly insightful from those speakers, right? Well, I certainly did…but I wanted to write about how much I appreciated the most practical session I attended. For years I’ve been told things like…
“Use the right keywords in your press releases.”
“Learn how to use Google Analytics to optimize your content.”
“Increase your Google ranking by incorporating key phrases and words.”
…and I’ve always thought, “Well, that’s great, but how do I do that?”
Gini Dietrich laid it all out for me, well, me and about 100 others.
I heard Gini speak last April at YouToo Social Media Conference at Kent State University about “Spin Sucks” and ethics, so I knew I wanted to hear her talk in her session titled: Media Relations + Content = SEO.
A few tools you need to begin:
- Google AdWords Keyword Planner – I know, I know this should be a no-brainer, but I’m new to the world of Google AdWords and all its beautiful glory. Forgive me.
- The MOZ Toolbar – This can help you gauge where your website lands on Google search including the page authority and domain authority numbers. It helps create insight into keyword difficulty score and ranks from 1 – 100.
How does this relate to media relations?
We work to create content daily for our clients or companies and also to find ways to use it more than once. This session really hit on how once you create content to find a website or blog that ranks higher than yours (but not so high that it’s unrealistic) to pitch the content to. Here are the steps to success:
- Start by researching keywords using Google AdWords keyword planner. For me, it took a while to get use to this crazy tool but Google has some really fantastic videos to help! Watch them! Pick the keyword or keyword phrase close to what you want to rank for but with the lowest competition. I searched for “soccer” as an example.
- Search for the term you picked. Create a spreadsheet using the handy MOZ toolbar with: website, domain authority and whether you can compete or not with the website domain authority. To determine if you can compete, stick with websites that are 20 points above in domain authority at a maximum. Don’t try to go after the New York Times if you have a domain authority of 20…
- Create the typical list of journalists, blogs and publications, but create targeted pitches and content for each outlet. Gini mentioned also going to the second and third pages of your Google search to get additional ideas on who to pitch.
- Pitch OpEds, interviews, story ideas and contributed content. Work with these publications to have them include a link to a page on your website or a specific blog post. This is key. Don’t have it go to the homepage, use anchor text that includes your keyword or phrase.
- Measurement afterwards is how you sell this to upper management and clients. It’s all about the ROI, right? (That was probably a rap song at some point?) Use Google Analytics’ search bar (under acquisition, all traffic, referrals) by putting the URL of the media outlet or blog that ran your story. This will show you the visitors brought to your page, how long they stayed and how many pages they visited
Gini stressed to only link back to your company page one time, then track the clicks from that link. Don’t link back to your website every single time you mention your company or client’s name…that’s excessive and a no-no in the SEO world.
She showed it pays to do the keyword research up front, allowing you to pick the keywords that make the most sense to you. Then, design your media relations plan around using that keyword or keyword phrase in the appropriate places.
The Perfect Blend
Her cycle for pitching any content is to post your first story or blog on a client’s website, wait 30 days, write another blog post on the same subject with some variance, wait another 30 days and then pitch to other media or bloggers. This stands true for agencies posting for clients or even those who work in-house.
Gini has a blog post that goes deeper into this subject, so check it out for more details. I’ll be trying this method out over the next few months and will hopefully have a success story for you!
I enjoyed my time at Content Marketing World and left looking to bring the right information to the right people – coworkers, clients, friends. At the end of the day, just remember to “find interesting ways to say boring stuff”, as I learned in Ann Handley’s session, and you might have a chance at that golden content ticket!