Pubcon Liveblog: Link Building through Press Outreach

Rob Woods, SEO consultant, will share insights on press outreach that leads to strong link building in this Pubcon Las Vegas 2014 session.

Rob Woods at Pubcon Las Vegas 2014
Rob Woods speaks on link building through press outreach at Pubcon Las Vegas 2014

Why do Press Outreach?

  • One of the few authoritative links left that are guaranteed to stay safe for the foreseeable future
  • Press links have good link equity
  • One link can lead to many links
  • Don’t just focus on link equity – traffic is good, too, as are citations
  • Press links are important for small, local sites as well as big, national sites

Caveat: Going after press links is hard work and takes time and money. When approaching this type of link building/link earning process, you are going to face rejection from reporters.

Getting Ready

Have something to say. A lot of people think they can reach out to the press without having something to say. Whatever you’re pitching must be newsworthy. You have to be helpful, know your stuff, and build a decent press page.

Press Page Must-Haves

  • Basic explanation of who you are
  • Proof of why you are an expert
  • Social proof if you have it (we have 100,000 Twitter followers, etc.)
  • Include the assets a writer would need (logos, infographics, images)
  • Contact info

What to Talk About

  • Leverage current events
  • Leverage seasonal events
  • Site or app launch
  • Major events

Finding the Right Journalists

Search for your major keywords and comb through the SERP results (10 pages deep even) and find articles on your subject. You can also comb through Google News results.

Find out as much as you can about the journalist. Journalists and bloggers get a ton of inquiries – differentiate yourself by knowing how to get their attention by getting to know what they write about, what they’re interested in.

Look at their Twitter, their LinkedIn, their bio pages, etc. Maybe you’ll find a commonality that you can mention in your initial correspondence (for example, perhaps you went to same college or root for the same sports team).

Associated Press and Reuters should be your top targets. If you’re reaching out to them, make sure to write custom, carefully crafted emails.


  • Be useful.
  • Be timely.
  • Be available. Reporters work weird hours. Be there for them when they want you.
  • Don’t be afraid to give away the farm. Give them lots of information up front.
  • Respond quickly.


  • Muckrack: a good place to find journalists on Twitter, searching by “beat” or niche. Through Muckrack you can save lists and create alerts
  • Followerwonk: search Twitter bios by keyword
  • Use Vocus or Cision to find journalists and their contact info

Acing Your Interview

  • Be prepared for written, phone, Skype or live interviews
  • Make and use notes
  • Know your stuff
  • Be professional
  • Be flexible with your time. If they want 8 p.m. … be there at 8 p.m.
  • Get media training of public speaking experience
  • Practice
  • Bend over backwards
  • Have unique data or insight they can’t get anywhere else
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for the link


Kristi Kellogg is a journalist, news hound, professional copywriter, and social (media) butterfly. Currently, she is a senior SEO content writer for Conde Nast. Her articles appear in newspapers, magazines, across the Internet and in books such as "Content Marketing Strategies for Professionals" and "The Media Relations Guidebook." Formerly, she was the social media editor at Bruce Clay Inc.

See Kristi's author page for links to connect on social media.

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