3 min read

Creating visibility with digital PR and outreach: key takeaways from outREACH conference

Outreach, digital PR, link building or media relations – whatever you call it, it is still a relatively unexplored area of SEO when you look industry-wide and one that many marketers are still in the dark on when it comes to best practice and generating top level results. Our team of digital PR and outreach experts were in their element this Friday though when they attended outREACH conference in London and mingled with fellow link-builders.

Joined on stage by some top speakers, including; journalists, digital PR and outreach specialists, and creative copywriters and experts, and taking part in some open panel sessions, we discussed some of the top tips and hacks for the industry, as well as the best methods for campaign ideation and came away feeling completely inspired.

Here are some of our team’s top takeaways and considerations for anyone looking to build brand visibility through digital PR:

outREACH conference in London

Fran Griffin, Honchō’s Digital PR Specialist:

  1. “In the struggle to be seen, have we neglected the importance of being misunderstood?” asked Kim Bjørnqvist, associate professor in creative writing, copywriting, idea development and consumer sociology at Kristiania University College in Oslo. This really resonated with me from a PR point of view. So often it’s easy to focus on getting a killer campaign together that we think will get loads of media attention, but the reality is that press want a human story. Kim grounded the audience and reiterated the importance of creating a campaign that has a human connection and element that has a logical reason behind it; not a campaign for campaign’s sake!
  2. Measuring PR is tricky at the best of times. The most refreshing takeaway for me from Friday’s event was from Carrie-Rose (freelance Digital PR Strategist), Alex Cassidy (Head of Outreach, Verve Search) and Hannah Bednarova’s (Bednar Communications) panel discussion about digital PR pitches: all agreed that they didn’t track domain authority for coverage. Working in a digital marketing agency, and especially since I come from a traditional PR background, I’m surrounded by SEOs whose ideal is for coverage to include follow links and be on sites with high DA scores to help with SERP rankings. It was reassuring to hear other digital PRs say this and credit, not discount, tier one coverage without links and set separate PR KPIs.
**Side note: you’ll catch me at Brighton SEO in September discussing measuring digital PR in more detail and continuing the link vs no-link debate on quality coverage!

Stacey Barton, Honchō’s Senior Outreach Executive:

  1. James Finlayson, Head of Innovation at Verve Search: “People want to feel good!” To have successful outreach campaigns, focus on what the customer cares about most, not what the product is. Everyone wants to feel good so sell them that experience rather than the product that will help do that.
  2. Shannon McGuirk, Head of PR at Aira: “Use data as well as outreach gut feels to make decisions!” My takeaway from Shannon’s talk was to use data more than just gut feelings before making a decision on when to launch a campaign. Check to see what day publications are talking the most about your niche so you can launch inline.
outREACH conference panel

Anna Tank, Honchō’s Junior Outreach Executive:

  1. The admin side of outreach is becoming more important as journalists and blogger become more busy and saturated with emails. Certain key aspects need to be considered before even sending your first attempt email. Awareness of media in your brands’ key industries are important according to Shannon McGuirk from Aira; you need to know when each is most active during the week and when their main publishing days are. Additionally, scheduling your first attempt email before journalists meet with their wider editorial teams should also be taken into account as this is when they are most hungry for content. Finally, knowing the publication is essential. In the guest talk from Sian Elvin from MyLondon, she revealed that only take stories and content concerning areas within London so finding stories outside of London would be of no interest to them.
  2. Reading between the lines is a massive part of successful campaigns, highlighted James Finlayson from Verve Search. Rather than focusing on a product’s features and attributes, success comes from assessing the user’s emotional state. For example, if the user wants to feel or appear a certain way through the use of the product, it is that emotional response that needs to be honed in on. Again, it’s listening to the user demand and meeting their needs with an effective campaign or pitch, not creating a fad product or story.

Thank you very much to all the team at Verve Search for putting on such an insightful and sociable event. We’re looking forward to next year’s already!

If you’re reading this and interested in learning more about Digital PR and Outreach at Honchō, you can get in touch to speak to our expert teams: hello@honchosearch.com.

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