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“If a tree falls in a forest, but no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”
This familiar saying is incredibly applicable when it comes to local link building in an effort to increase and improve your search engine optimization. Concerning SEO, if your company is hosting or sponsoring an event, donating to a local charity, or educating the community through niche workshops, but nobody knows about it—you’re missing out on a major opportunity!
Local business link building plays a major role in your local search ranking factors, which is becoming increasingly important to users and Google. In 2012, Google released an update that prioritized search results by relevancy and location. Since then, search queries with local intent have only continued to increase.
This means you can target an audience in your specific service area now more than ever before. However, you must first know how to capture their attention, their interest—and their clicks.
One way to do this is through local news coverage. Whether on-air or online, people in your community are looking for recommendations, events, and articles about topics, products, or services that they’re interested in. If your company is mentioned in a news story, or featured in a web article, you have a much better shot of piquing someone’s interest enough to learn more about your business and what you have to offer.
However, as a former local news reporter, I can tell you that a newsroom can be a hectic cluster of reporters and anchors working to write scripts, edit videos, and make it to the anchor desk with enough time to throw on their blazer and smile at the camera.
So, how do you make them care about what your company is doing? Even more so, how do you get coverage of your event to produce the local links that will help to build your authority and relevancy? When it comes to pitching your local event to news stations, learn from my inside experience and use these tips to ensure that your story will be considered.
1. Keep it short.
Send a brief, informative e-mail to the new station’s generic e-mail address and don’t worry about addressing a specific person. Since most news outlets are now operating on a 24-hour schedule, different people might be accessing this account as shifts change throughout the day. However, you should avoid sending automated messages, as they can quickly find their way into the trash folder.
2. Get to the point.
Don’t go on and on about the details of your event in long paragraphs stuffed with information. Instead, use bullet points whenever possible.
- Who will be at your event?
- What will happen?
- When is it?
- Where will it be?
- How many interview opportunities will be available?
- Why should they care?
3. Find an angle.
Unless you’re a non-profit organization or a charity that the news station sponsors or supports, you can’t expect a news crew to provide free advertisement for your promotional event.
For example, it might not be that interesting that your HVAC company is giving away free air conditioners to a few local families and explaining how certain features or settings work. However, if a flood or other severe weather event has recently impacted the community, causing damage to many homes in your service area, your local event is now a timely opportunity for a reporter to expand upon the importance of lending a helping hand and providing home comfort during a tragedy.
If people share pictures from your local event on social media, that will only help you to get more local links while also building authority in your community.
4. Build relationships.
We all have that one friend that comes around only when they need a favor. Don’t be that friend to your local news station.
If you run into a reporter while out in the community, give them your business card and ask for their contact information. Otherwise, find their contact information online and reach out to let them know you want to be a source in the community for them. This way, you can send them story ideas and it will be much easier to convince them to cover your local events when they can. Plus, by letting your local news know that you’re interested in on-camera interviews, you’re much more likely to be contacted for a last-minute news story.
5. Be persistent.
Like I said earlier, newsrooms can be chaotic. With people calling and e-mailing with complaints, tips, story ideas, and press releases around the clock, it can be very easy to forget about a story they actually want to cover—much less a story that wasn’t really on their radar.
Part of your local business link building strategy should be to send a follow-up e-mail a day or two before your event takes place. This will remind someone about your local event and give you a better chance of being on their coverage list.
How to Get Local Links Without Actual News Coverage
When it comes to local news, there is usually an abundant list of reasons why a news crew was diverted from covering your event. Whether it was a car crash, a housefire, or some other form of last minute, breaking news, there is no guarantee you’ll get the coverage you wanted.
That’s why building relationships with your local news outlets should be a priority for your business. That’s also why you should remain persistent in your efforts to get local links.
After your event, send another e-mail with pictures and information detailing what happened, who was there, and any statistics about money raised or product giveaways. This shows your dedication to building authority in your community and could possibly land you a web story or quick shout out in a later newscast.
How Do Local Links from News Stations Impact SEO?
By successfully gaining local links from a news outlet in your community, you’re exposing your brand to people in your service area and building authority. Because a news station is a credible and trustworthy source, people will be more prone to believe what they have to say about your company. It also gives you a new level of exposure in the community and, if they include your name, address, and phone number, you’re improving your local SEO factors both online and offline.
Even if a news station doesn’t end up covering your event, you can still encourage those in attendance to sign up for your e-mail newsletter, like your Facebook page, follow you on Twitter, connect with you on LinkedIn, or engage with your company on any other social media sites or online platforms. By offering to share any slideshows or informative materials via e-mail, you can provide more of an incentive for people to sign up.
Also, although it sounds way too easy to be true, people will generally do what is asked of them. Without prompting, they might not post about the incredibly informative event you hosted and tag your company on Instagram, or leave a five-star review on your Facebook page. However, if you ask them to do these things, you might be surprised by how many people follow through.
Are You Ready to Improve Your Local SEO Factors with Local Link Building?
Creating, implementing, and executing a link building strategy can be confusing. There are so many local SEO factors to consider and Google’s algorithms can change with little or no notice. That’s why a digital marketing company like Blue Corona can help you build links from your local events, whether through news stations or other event websites.
At Blue Corona, we know how important increased organic and local traffic is for your company and we can put your business in front of the people who matter most. Our content marketing specialists produce professional copywriting services that can target local areas, while building your local SEO and website authority.
Contact us online or give us a call today to talk about how local link building can make a big difference for your business!
About The Author: Mackenzie is a Videographer at Blue Corona. A former local news reporter, Mackenzie loves to meet new people and tell stories. She also enjoys playing tennis, exploring local coffee shops, and singing karaoke.
View more blogs by Mackenzie Roberts