When we hear the term “public relations,” we tend to think of big, flashy brands with exciting or innovative products. But what about those not-so-exciting industries, like accounting, real estate or law? How can a public relations professional build value for these “boring” brands?
To help answer these questions, I recently spoke with Lucas Miller, founder and CEO of Echelon Copy. Despite not studying public relations in school—he actually graduated with a Spanish major, Miller has become a six-figure entrepreneur by landing great digital press for his clients, many of which come from so-called “boring” industries. So what’s the secret to his success? Here are a few ways to achieve quality PR results in the digital age.
#1 Don’t Stoop to Unethical PR
The first step in landing successful press for your clients is to avoid unethical public relations practices—at all costs. Miller explains, “One of the biggest problems we have nowadays is companies that buy links to try to boost their SEO rankings. This goes against Google’s quality guidelines, and while people might get away with it in the short-term, they always get caught. You don’t want Google to slam you for unethical practices—it’ll kill any chance you have of ever getting a good ranking.”
Unethical public relations and SEO practices go well beyond buying links, with irrelevant keywords, hidden text, and sneaky redirects all attempting to enhance digital visibility. In the long term, however, these practices will only cause a website to get punished by Google. Don’t be tempted by this “easier” path as the end results are never good.
#2 Research Matters
“You can’t cut corners when trying to earn press for your clients,” Miller says. “You have to do your research.” After all, it’s one thing to build a relationship with a press outlet or contributor, it’s quite another to find outlets that will actually reach the target audience of your PR client.
Because of this, PR professionals need to do their background research to find press opportunities that will best meet the needs of a “boring” client. Understanding a particular contributor’s audience and writing style can make all the difference between a digital press placement that brings in new customers and one that falls flat. PR professionals also need to place a higher emphasis on domain authority—websites that will actually contribute SEO value to a client and get information in front of new readers. Better domain authority and niche relevancy will make it easier to find quality press opportunities.
#3 Build and Leverage Relationships
So how do you go about actually generating press for a boring client? Miller notes that it all starts with building relationships.
“You have to use every resource available for connecting with media contacts. I’m a big fan of using Twitter and LinkedIn for initial engagement and outreach. When done in an authentic way, you can gradually build those conversations into meaningful relationships.”
These relationships are the basis for creating digital press opportunities. By leveraging key relationships, public relations professionals can land the introductions they need to get ahead and earn valuable press for their clients. For Miller, relationship-building has led to valuable guest posting opportunities on high-authority sites, where he has been able to share information about his clients and drive new customers to their businesses.
#4 Be a Giver
An often overlooked aspect of digital public relations is the law of reciprocity — the idea that recipients of positive actions will always respond with another positive action themselves.
As Miller explains, “PR professionals should be willing to be genuinely helpful to others without expecting anything in return. Yeah, you might not get anything out of providing a referral or sharing some free tips, but more often than not, that person you helped will provide you with a referral or a press opportunity in the future. Even if you don’t seem to benefit directly, it still helps you build stronger, more authentic relationships that will make it easier to land future press for your clients.”
Public relations doesn’t have a very strong reputation when it comes to honesty. This is something Miller has encountered repeatedly while pursuing his entrepreneurial efforts, and it has had a profound impact on how he approaches digital press opportunities.
“It sounds so simple, but it’s true: you should never lie. Not to an editor, a contributor, a journalist or a client. You may think you can get away with a small lie and that it’ll help you land better press coverage or get a new customer, but it’s never going to work out in the long run. All those good relationships you’ve worked so hard to grow will be gone in a flash if someone finds out you’ve been lying to them. One discovered lie could destroy your credibility with a media outlet forever.”
Time to Spread the Word
While landing quality public relations press for your “boring” clients may require a fair amount of work and relationship-building, the results are well worth it for both you and your clients. As you follow these guidelines for generating quality PR and SEO, you’ll be able to deliver successful outcomes for any niche.
Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.