Creative campaign formats that build links and boost brand

Kristina Lazarevic

As the best practice for gaining high-quality relevant links Google guidelines state that your brand needs to create “unique, relevant content that can naturally gain popularity in the Internet community”. While tried and tested link building tactics are catered towards specific audiences, the wider Internet community is demanding more. With video consumption at an all-time high and social media constantly introducing new types of viral content, digital PR campaigns need to explore new formats that will secure relevant backlinks by telling engaging stories.

Experimenting with new content formats is a double-edged sword, especially if the budgets are tight and the pressure to deliver results focuses on one digital PR campaign only. As Mark Johnston, founder of Content Hubble explained, an approach that would let you have the best of both worlds resembles the portfolio strategy where you spread the investment between tried and tested tactics while leaving some on the side for more innovative approaches, depending on the risk appetite.  A higher risk tactics such as launching a new product offering, developing high quality video content or interactive pages that engage users are normally considered costly but they don’t need to be.

The secret to untapping this resource is in collaboration as well as aligning goals between departments, and these are four examples of how that can be done successfully.

Give existing video content a new life

Most businesses have recognised the importance of video and have created some content in this format in the past. Sometimes, that could be an explainer of how your services work, an interview with the founder or a step-by-step guide. To identify what kind of existing video content might be suitable for link building, firstly speak to internal teams to understand what content you have on file. With a help of content and PR teams as well as your agency (if you are working with one), the next step involves shortlisting content that can be repurposed for outreach depending on media angles and alignment with the SEO objectives, followed by developing a plan of action.

For example, while working with Icelandair we took this approach and spoke to in-house teams to find out what video content they had available. With most of the world being in lockdown and travel not being possible, we wanted to bring Iceland’s breath-taking natural beauty to people’s homes. Pairing it up with authentic and mindful narration by an Iceland-native, the videos revealed untold stories about these sites. This has given previously recorded video content a new life, creating a stunning campaign that is genuinely helpful for the brand’s audiences while driving backlinks and topical relevancy in the unprecedented times for the travel industry:

Engage your audience and the media with personalised campaigns

Understanding your target audiences’ concerns, aspirations and challenges is a great place to start when it comes to building useful content. While internal teams have a wealth of knowledge about audience segmentation, working with an external agency brings an additional layer of expertise on how to use those insights to create a story that will resonate not only with your customers but with the media too.

A joint effort between internal PR, social media and content teams and digital PR agency goes a long way and a recent campaign we’ve developed for Sage is a true testament of it. By combining customer insights, expert advice and a side hustle culture phenomenon that inspires people to start their own businesses, we created a quiz-style interactive Are You Ready to Be Your Own Boss? which provides recommendations tailored to people’s current mindset, business know-how and financial situation. Not only did the newly-launched campaign secure 25 relevant backlinks and counting, but it has already also sparked a genuine interest amongst at the target market with 28,000 future entrepreneurs checking out the quiz and a social reach of over 12 million.

The Sage Boss-Ready quiz

The Sage Boss-Ready quiz

Give your business announcements a creative kick

Business announcements represent a regular drumbeat of news that a PR team is carefully planning and delivering. By collaborating and understanding the internal announcements agenda, digital PR expertise can contribute with insights on how these can be optimised for link building. From ensuring that the right target URLs are included in PR outreach emails and press materials to working together on finding innovative formats to deliver company news, this approach brings traditional and digital PR teams together.

We worked closely with Better’s internal teams on its gym reopening strategy that needed to outline all safety guidelines in an engaging way. Our creative team came up with the idea of delivering this announcement in a form of a short, animated video that would keep people engaged while at the same time communicate an important message about the new rules in Better gyms. While this announcement wasn’t a digital PR campaign aimed to drive backlinks per se, it organically built 25 relevant backlinks and the animated video was viewed by over 30,000 YouTube users at the time of writing. This approach showcases how integrating link building into day-to-day press office activities can help identify opportunities that are low effort but highly effective for your brand.

A screenshot from our re-opening video for Better Gyms

A screenshot from our re-opening video for Better Gyms

Collaborate with experts and content creators

Identifying your core audience interests sometimes lies in collaboration with those who are already speaking with them on a regular basis. With many people from different niches and industries sharing credible content online, it only takes some additional research to source the right expert that can elevate your digital PR campaign. By collaborating with content creators, you are introducing your brand to new relevant audiences these influencers have built.

Marrying love for travelling with food, resulted in a beautifully crafted The Caravan Cookbook that we developed in a collaboration with a chef Pippa Leon for Towergate’s Caravan Insurance product offering. This format allowed combining survey findings about food people tend to bring when going on caravan trips with Pippa’s culinary expertise to create innovative recipes using the most common ingredients. This resulted in an evergreen piece of content that is genuinely useful for the target audience and can be pitched to journalists all year round.

This collaboration brought backlinks placements from extremely relevant publications to Towergate’s potential customers such as Camping with Style and Lyons Holiday Parks.

An example page from Towergate's Caravan Cookbook

An example page from Towergate’s Caravan Cookbook

Pursuing innovative formats through cross-department collaboration

Traditional PR, marketing, SEO and digital PR all play on the same team aiming to improve the overall business performance by optimising paid, earned, shared and owned media strategy. Ensuring there’s an ongoing collaboration between these departments both in-house and with your agency maximises potential of existing initiatives while allowing them to evolve with an innovative twist.

Additionally, with digital PR campaigns increasingly taking an integrated approach that focuses on purpose-driven storytelling and creative formats, the benefits that their success brings to the business goes beyond the SEO objectives. From securing coverage in relevant publications, creating social media buzz to inspiring your target audiences with useful content, digital PR campaigns have the potential to resonate with your customers throughout all stages of the marketing funnel.

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