Relationship Building For Link Building
Is the personal or modern approach best for driving links via public relations efforts?
It has become an “age-old” discussion that, ironically, would not have been held even two decades ago: When engaging in link building practices, is relationship building still the most effective means to generate public relations (PR) exposure? Do traditional methods for establishing relationships with journalists still make an impact, or does the inherently concise nature of social media offer a more appropriate modern channel of communication?
Historically, those in the public relations industry would develop and maintain relationships with members of the media via phone calls and face-to-face interactions at various types of events. In addition to presenting a compelling and relevant pitch, establishing a powerful connection was often viewed as crucial to PR professionals’ ability to land placements in media outlets on behalf of their clients.
The nature of these relationships began to change a bit with the advent of email. As publication staff rosters were reduced and workloads inevitably became heavier, some journalists came to prefer receiving pitches via email over phone calls. While in theory less personal, quickly skimming an email is typically less time consuming than getting involved in a phone conversation.
Social media has further decreased face time between PR professionals and journalists. In addition, the term “journalist” has come to encompass bloggers and popular social media public figures as well as reporters and editors. For example, celebrity blogger Perez Hilton may not seem like a “real” journalist to some, but the size and strength of his audience lends him a certain degree of credibility.
There are people in both industries who passionately defend the role of traditional methods for relationship building, asserting that cultivating relationships in person or, if not possible, via phone is still the only way to go. Others argue that these “slower” practices are inconvenient to busy journalists and PR professionals alike.
In my experience, a little of each approach goes a long way. On one hand, in a single day I landed two coveted placements for a client by introducing him in person to trade magazine editors. I held several phone discussions with each editor prior to the meetings, carefully building and nurturing the relationships. On the other hand, I connected via Twitter with a blogger who wrote for a rather well known publication, and built my relationship with him from there. This interaction was born via social media because the blogger purposely omitted his phone number and email address on the publication’s website. He did so because, as he stated himself, the nature of his job required him to spend a great deal of time tweeting the latest popular culture and political news.
Driving links via placements in media outlets is often tricky, complicated and time consuming. With a virtual army of websites competing for the short attention spans of Web surfers, why settle for one plan of attack when, in this day and age, you have access to several?
The team at Loud Interactive recognizes the value of combining several different types of effective practices in order to build real, valuable links in a post Penguin world. We build lasting relationships between our clients and their target audiences, and we do so partly through strategic public relations efforts.