Linkbuilding Tactics for PBS Stations – Part 5: Leverage Brand Mentions

Written by Melanie Phung, New Media Director, PBS Interactive

So far we've focused heavily about maximizing link opportunities/value within your own site and within PBS's publishing tools. One other easy opportunity with a high success rate, as we mentioned before, is to encourage COVE video embeds among people/organizations who were interviewed in your program.

In order to compete against other publishers, however, you will at some point need to request links from other sites.

Low-Hanging Fruit: Turning Brand Mentions into Links

Asking sites with whom you have no prior relationship can seem a bit more daunting, but a great place to start is to identify brand mentions that don't include a link. If a site, for example, mentions your show or episode in the context of broadcast, they are very likely to be receptive to contact from you simply letting them know where on your website their readers can find more information.

If a reporter or TV blogger wrote that they were excited about an upcoming episode of your program, why not let them know that the preview clip or the full show are available for them to use or link to? Don't take for granted that even your die-hard fans know about full-episode streaming online or that videos can be embedded. By taking a few minutes to let them know, you can build a relationship or train them to keep coming back to your site on their own to look for content they can share going forward.

Sometimes the opportunities may not be specific to an episode, but still be a great time to do outreach. For example, when the Internet was buzzing about Watson's win on Jeopardy, many sites would have welcomed a friendly note letting them know about the NOVA episode, Q&As with the engineers, and related articles about artificial intelligence and advancements in robotics.

How to do it:
  • Set up Google Alerts to get notified when sites are publishing/tweeting about your programs, episodes and personalities.
  • Determine which of the listings are appropriate outreach opportunities
  • Contact the author/blogger with a short, friendly and personalized note letting them know you saw their post and thought they and their readers might find value in this embeddable clip/article/interview/etc. The key is to keep your outreach email short, to the point, and to focus on providing value.
  • Follow up to thank your new contacts if they used your links.
  • Keep records of your outreach so you can go back to these contacts in the future if you have new contact that aligns with their sites' content.

This approach can lead to fruitful long-term relationships that will help you build a foundation for future promotion and link-building.

Linkbuilding Series Conclusion

In competitive niches, web marketers are going to great lengths and effort to build high-authority links in order to increase their search engine rankings, and there are myriad "advanced" link building tactics.

The steps outlined in this series, on the other hand, are all low-hanging fruit – relatively low effort, high rates of success and easy to replicate. (If you haven't yet read all 5 tips, start with Part 1 in our "linkbuilding for stations" series.)

Link-building is not a one-time effort, and not every single link is likely to directly result in hundreds of thousands of additional pageviews. However, building up the volume and quality of relevant inbound links to your deep pages will have significant, long-term traffic payoff. The earlier you begin taking advantage of inbound links, and develop processes and workflows for capitalizing on easy opportunities as they come up, the sooner you'll start generating more, and sustainable, SEO traffic.

For more information on SEO please visit our Best Practices for PBS Member Stations. Have more to add? Please share your comments about your SEO and linking strategies below.

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