Striking up relationships with notable individuals and famous faces is not a new concept for many brands - in advertising, marketing and PR, celebrity endorsements and influencer activations are commonplace.
Similarly, brand ambassadors can also be considered as part of an ongoing press office approach or campaign work - being utilised to enhance press releases or onsite content.
However, ambassador-type partnerships and long term expensive deals frequently aren’t right for campaigns with a digital dimension - especially SEO initiatives.
Here, I’ll look at four ways you can take a more agile approach and use internal or external experts or well-known names to supercharge your Digital PR strategy, with a focus on how working with them can secure coverage and SEO-boosting links for your brand.
Many companies have internal experts whose expertise and insights can unlock media coverage - but the challenge comes when trying to source interesting content from them in a format that is digestible for the media.
It can be quite a daunting task for those not used to pulling together comments or providing quotes, so it’s important to work closely with them to instil confidence and ensure expectations are clear.
If you’re looking for a quote for a press release, it may be far easier for your spokesperson to add to a first draft rather than start from scratch, so send over some initial thoughts or bullet points to help guide them. This is also true of reactive commentary - asking questions that you know will resonate with the media will help guide your expert to content that is more likely to achieve coverage.
What’s important with any quote or commentary is that you are able to offer a journalist a new perspective or opinion, not just repeating what’s already been said by others. By creating that unique content, you’re far more likely to achieve coverage, and therefore links, with your content.
Top tip: We find the easiest way to guide experts to really insightful content is a template request form - we can then include links to existing articles and specific questions for them to answer on the topic and by creating a familiar document it makes the task easier every time.
In some cases it doesn’t make sense to only use an internal expert or spokesperson as part of a story - it might be because you need an expert on a specific topic, or you want to use someone who can help you achieve headlines because they are already a well-known name.
Examples could include a psychologist to comment on celebrity body language, an interior designer to comment on the latest wallpaper trends, or even a social media expert to comment on a brand’s latest TikTok crisis.
Using a third-party expert can add enormous value to your story and give journalists another voice to use within their article.
It can also be a great way to build out your onsite content with quotes, tips or insight from specific experts that may be a bit too long to include in your press release. By having insightful onsite content to link back to, it makes it far more likely the journalist will include a link within their article - and we’re all about maximising off-site SEO.
Top tip: It doesn’t have to be difficult to find people to include in your content - Twitter, now known as X, is a great resource for people looking for experts outside of their direct niche. Using hashtags like #prrequest or #journorequest can help you find relevant experts quickly.
During a client ideation session, it can be easy to develop an idea and then realise you just don’t have the expertise within your client’s team to build the story. In a case like this, you could explore building the entire story in collaboration with a subject-matter expert.
There are different ways to approach this. One way this can work is by defining the topic and starter questions but handing this over to the person you’re working with to write as much as they want on the topic.
The trick then is to know how to turn this content into a story a journalist would be interested in. Or an alternative approach would be to draft a skeleton press release and run that by your expert, and then work together to fill in the gaps.
However you approach it, it is much easier to create this type of story when you have people on-hand to speak to, so start building up your little black book when you work with people for one-off quotes. And again, Twitter/ X or LinkedIn can be good ways to source people who more than likely have a working knowledge of PR, as they are actively looking for these opportunities.
Top tip: Build this approach into your ideation sessions - a prompt such as “Is there a subject-matter expert you could use to create a story for the brand?” could get your team thinking about how to bring someone into creating a story from outside the business.
The tactic of interviewing someone who is knowledgeable and well-known in their field and then outreaching quotes credited to your brand is a very powerful way to drive coverage and links. And although there is often a fee attached to the expert for their time, it can really pay dividends in the form of high authority and relevant links if you pick the name carefully.
Choosing the right person for your brand is a hugely important decision - you need to consider the benefits of one-off vs longer term collaborations, and ensure you’re considering that their name will be associated with your brand for, potentially, a long period of time if the quotes gain traction with the press.
You should then consider whether the name can give you the content you’re after - for example, in the world of sport, you may want to pick someone with great knowledge of a particular team or set of players to target journalists interested in them, or you may want to speak with someone who’s known for playing for a lot of different teams and is therefore able to provide many different angles in one interview.
No matter who you’re interviewing, make sure to work closely with your journalist contacts to agree questions to ask or topics to cover - pre-outreach for this tactic is invaluable to line up coverage before the interview even takes place.
Top tip: Find subject matter experts within your team to help draft the best questions - the more passionate someone is about a particular subject, the more likely they are to be able to find the interesting titbits of content that may have been missed by someone working to a standard question list.
These are just some key examples of how working with celebrities, influencers, well-known names or subject matter experts on your PR activity can benefit your brand, and just a handful of ways to work with them to create a story.
Traditional marketing and PR teams often use celebrity ambassadors to launch campaigns and they can be the difference-maker when it comes to securing coverage. All too often, that PR team isn’t aligned with the wider digital goals of the business, and the ambassador content may not be used to its full potential onsite.
The recent update to the Google Quality Rater Guidelines around EEAT are important to consider to as part of any of these approaches. Brands need to demonstrate each of the four areas in their content: Experience, Expertise, Authority and Trust. Working with experts both within and outside your organisation can be an advantage here, both through your owned channels including your website and social media, but also your external PR activities.
Do you have experts within your business but unsure of the best approach to convert that expertise into coverage? Or are you interested in securing partnerships with well-known names in your industry to gain coverage for your company? Our Digital PR team has extensive experience of deploying these tactics internationally, so get in touch today to find out more.