Small Business Support Blog

If you are interested in reading about how to get your business visible online, with regular insights into being an entrepreneur and navigating your way through the business world, then this blog is for you!

We regularly post interesting articles on topics on leadership, management and visibility - with guest articles and features from experts in their field.

If you are interested in collaborating and would like to do a guest feature then please email [email protected] 

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Category: Digital Marketing

  1. Why guest blogging is bad for SEO...

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    Why guest blogging is bad for SEO...

    Manchester SEO Specialist

     

    Ummm what now?! What are you talking about? Guest blogging to build links is one of the first things you teach Pamela so why are you saying this now?!

    Because it’s true. Guest blogging purely for building links is bad for SEO. Quite simply because Google knows when link building is artificial. It knows when you’ve been artificial and it won’t do you any favours. John Mueller (one of the honchos at Google) has been quoted as saying “if you are guest blogging for links, you had better no follow those links” - and that is because Google wants link building to be natural, not artificial.

    I’ve been really encouraging my SEO membership group to get active with blogging and guest blogging, and it’s been great to see them enthusiastically exchanging details and looking to exchange content. What I need to emphasise even more though is that the quality of the content that they are producing is of upmost importance, and that merely exchanging a few hundred words with a few links thrown in will not actually help them.

    So now you are thinking should I carry on guest blogging for my SEO then?

    Guest blogging for SEO, when you focus on high quality content with natural link references can be a great tool for building up content and authority on your website. You have to think about a number of things however to actually get the benefit of doing this type of SEO activity which all centre on producing high quality content:

    • The structure of the content
    • The volume of the content
    • The relevance of the content
    • The natural references
    • The value add for your audience


    In this post I’ll go into each of these in a bit more detail to help you understand more about guest blogging for SEO, and how if you are careful and considered, focussing on creating high quality content, it can be a benefit for your website ranking.

    guest blogging bad for SEO

    Guest blogging for SEO tip number one - The structure of the content is important

    Poorly written guest blog posts which have very little structure and that are hard to read will not fair well, and you are better off not doing them. This is where you need to be selective about who you choose to collaborate with. If they are producing guest blogs purely to advertise their business rather than add value to your audience, say no. If they are looking to guest blog to generate high quality information which will add to the user experience for your audience, then you can wholeheartedly say yes to this.

    Well structured guest blogs will have a clear outline in their introduction, they will have organised information with relevant headings, sub headings and a good summary to conclude. The information will be clearly laid out and there will be images and graphics to accompany the piece.

    Guest blogging for SEO tip number two - The volume of content really matters.

    I’ll start to sound like a broken record here, but fundamentally if you are blogging for the sake of it just to build links, you would be better off doing something else with your time. If you want to guest blog to produce valuable content to increase your audience then creating a post which actually is useful and comprehensive will take time and effort. I’m often asked how long should a blog post be - well the reality is that pages that rank on the first page of google on average have between 1200-1800 words, and Hubspot say that a blog post should be at least 2000 words! Yes I said 2000. There is an irony to this because if you google "how long should a blog post be?" the rich snippet is from Yoast which says 300 words - which prettty much says everything you need to know about the yoast plugin.

    So do I literally have to write an essay every time I blog I hear you say? Well, if you are serious about creating blog posts that are going to be seen, you’ll need to write something that is pretty comprehensive, yes. The next question is how do I find something to write that much about? The answer to this lies with you, and how much you can go into detail about your topic. The more detail you can go into your topic and give thorough explanations, the more the post will be recognised as a quality post.

     

    Guest blogging for SEO tip number three - the relevance of the content is essential

    Broken record time - blogging for the sake of it and just to build links is useless and could actually be damaging for your SEO because it could get flagged as being Spam if you have loads of low quality blogs with dodgy links which are obviously there just to advertise.

    Being careful and considered when choosing who to partner with when guest blogging is really important, because you want to make sure that the content you produce is going to be relevant to that website and the audience. This is why I always encourage people to collaborate with others in their niche or industry, or at least related industry so that the content they produce is both relevant to the audience and has more likelihood of being interesting to that audience! The moral of the story here - if your business is in finance, there is not a lot of relevance to guest blog on a cake makers website if you are writing about a finance topic.

     

    Guest blogging for SEO tip number four - natural references not artificial link building is the aim of the game

    Stuffing keywords and stuffing links is about as old fashioned as my Aunt Mildred’s wardrobe and should be avoided at all costs (a bit like Aunt Mildred’s wardrobe!). In order for links to be of any use to you for building page authority, you need to make them natural and relevant to the post you are writing.

    Linking to further information on a topic is a good thing for SEO. Linking to a relevant product you’ve been describing is a good thing for SEO. Linking to evidence on something you are discussing is a great thing for SEO. What is not great for SEO:

    • Listing links
    • Links which have no context to the text
    • Links which don’t add value to the text

    Natural references, evidence building and further information are the way to go with incorporating links into your guest blogs to make them effective for SEO.

    There was an interesting statistic from Hubspot which indicated that 43% of blog posts are only skim read, which means that links have to stand out and be interesting to a reader to make them click on them. Links to videos or other dynamic content also stand a better chance of being clicked on.

     

    Guest blogging for SEO tip number 5 - You have to focus on adding value to your audience

    Wait for it - blogging for the sake of it just to build links is not worth it. Spend the time working on your social media or upping your meta description game instead. Because honestly, unless you want to add value to the audience you are writing for, with well structured, thorough, detailed content with good natural references, you are not going to glean the results from blogging or guest blogging.

    But people don’t actually read blog posts anymore do they? They do if they are interested in the content! It’s true that people want quick answers to questions nowadays which is why featured snippets have become a popular trend, but at the end of the day people want answers to their search terms, and they want to be entertained. This gives you opportunities to solve those problems or satisfy those desires (I had to get that in or Aunt Mildred would have been unimpressed). For example, you’ve read this post! There are a number of reasons why you have probably read this post: 

    • The headline shocked you because it goes against what you think I’ve been telling you
    • Because you are interested in understanding if guest blogging is worth it
    • You were also probably wondering if you have been doing it wrong and looking for the answers on how to do it right (which I hope that this post is doing!).

    If you focus on adding value to your intended audience then actually you can get your content noticed. This works especially for guest blogging. It’s bad manners to create a guest blog for someone that you haven’t put a lot of time and effort into - and that won’t be of interest to their audience. Really consider the topics you are selecting when you are providing guest blogs, and be really selective about who you choose to publish guest content on on your website.

    So what have we covered in this post? We’ve established that poor quality content (ie blogging for the sake of blogging) and artificial link building is about as useful for your SEO as putting your TV remote in the fridge. We have explored the reasons why - that google can identify low quality and spammy like activity and we’ve made it clear that google is looking for high quality, relevant, thorough and accurate information to give searchers the answers to their search terms. We have dissected the elements of quality content production and discussed whether people even actually read blog posts anymore. After all that, I think we need a cup of tea/Diet Coke/wine! Who’s with me?!

    PRW Wine

  2. The importance of PR for small businesses, and how to increase your chances of getting featured in the media

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    The importance of PR for small businesses, and how to increase your chances of getting featured in the media

     

     PR business

     

    Securing PR as a small business can be transformational for your visibility; literally bringing you to the front of peoples’ minds and grabbing their attention. If you are seeing time after time in the local and national news another small business being featured and you wonder how they managed to get themselves front and centre in the media candy grabbing machine, and how you can get yourself there then you are most definitely not alone.

     

    In this article we are going to be focussing on why PR is so important for small businesses, taking a look at some examples of where entrepreneurs have secured PR which has had a positive impact on their business, and giving you a guide on how you can get yourself noticed by journalists and editors for potential features.

     

    In this post:

     

    • Why is PR so important for small business
    • The impact that securing PR can have on a small business or entrepreneurs journey
    • How to get PR for your small business

     

    Why PR is so important for small business

     

    “ PR has helped my business grow by building trust and credibility amongst my clients” Deep Bajwa, Opulence Events London.

     

    PR for small business is so much more than having a feature in your local newspaper that makes your Mum proud (you know the drill, where she carefully snips out the article and adds it to her memory box promising to show Uncle Colin next time he is over). Securing a positive feature for you and your business can have the following effects:

     

    • Build awareness of your brand and its purpose
    • Showcase your products and services to a local audience which boosts sales
    • Build trust and credibility for your business
    • Drive traffic through having quality backlinks to your website
    • Establish you as an authority or expert in your niche

     

    Building brand awareness for your brand

     

    Being able to tell your story, your why for starting out and what makes your business unique is an important part of establishing your brand identity, and being featured in a high quality publication is a fantastic platform for this. The challenge here is going really deep on understanding what makes your why so unique – because there are a million “rags to riches” stories, many, many “I was broken and this saved me” tales, and a whole bunch of “this is my calling” vocational documentaries. Your story needs to be able to appeal directly to a particular audience, and it needs to connect on a deep level to make it stand out from the others.

     

    " PR wasn't on top of the to do list when I first started my businesses and I actually thought I had to wait until I was "successful" to go down that route. Once I'd been quoted and featured in some articles I realised that the opposite was true! Everywhere else in my business there was a focus on visibility and I'd let this one fall through the cracks. You need PR now ... whatever stage you're at and it will increase your visibility with positive results you can rely on" Dawni Baxter, Beyond the Dawn

     

    Showcase your products and services

     

    I will always remember when Victoria Beckham mentioned shopping at M&S food as being the ultimate treat when her and David were in the UK, and the sales absolutely rocketed for M&S food stores straight after. This is a perfect example of where PR can really elevate your products and services, and not just to your established audience, but to new audiences too. M&S Food experienced a wave of new, younger clientele as a result of that celebrity endorsement, which gave them a much needed lifeline for their flailing business. Securing a mention, a feature or a review of your products in publications and through influencers can be game changing for your businesses if managed carefully – but you need to be ready for it, or be able to quickly react to the change in demand if you are suddenly inundated, because the effect can be doubly damaging if you fail to meet the expectations of all of those new potential customers.

     

    “PR For me is a new way to showcase my brand, core values and reach out to brides to be who want their wedding to be a lavish and timeless event” Abha Benjamin, Owner VLW Events.

     

    Build trust and credibility for your business

    business trust

     

    One of the biggest positives that you can take from securing PR for your small business, is in the endorsement that your business will get from being mentioned. Word of mouth is hands down one of the best ways to get people to buy into your brand, and if you get included in an important publication it can add a credibility to your business that you can then leverage in your marketing campaign.

     

    Similarly getting positive reviews, winning or being nominated for industry recognised awards and establishing authoritative testimonials are also examples of positive PR which can have a positive impact on your small business. People are 72% more likely to trust and buy from a brand that has been reviewed or has received testimonials from either peers or established authorities (source: seo tribunal) so getting PR for your small business can really set you apart from your competitors.

     

    Drive traffic to your website through having quality backlinks from reputable publications

     

    Ahhh the holy grail for SEO that is backlinks! The more backlinks you can get, the more you will boost your small businesses online visibility and SEO, so getting publications to give a link to your business is a proper positive result of securing PR. The rule here though is to be careful in who you want to approach for getting those links. The saying all PR is good PR is a controversial statement which requires it’s own post entirely, but for the purposes of SEO and adding authority to your website, you definitely need to be selective about who you approach for getting PR or endorsement. Poor quality publications which have a low domain authority can actually harm your website performance rather than improve it, so make sure you vet your target publications before pursuing them.

     

    If you can get a high quality backlink from a publication then this can have the effect of driving additional traffic to your pages from your ideal client – which is what happened when Kate from BrambleSky, luxury wedding décor producer was mentioned in the luxury wedding blog Rock My Wedding. “Being featured in RMW for a real wedding last year added lots of positives for my business. I got more traffic from the link, but also brides knew that my products were on trend and high quality because RMW wont feature if you are not!” Kate Palmer-Irani, BrambleSky Founder.

     

    Establish you as an authority or expert in your niche

     

    “PR has helped me to position myself as an expert in my profession. It has helped me to grow my income, audience and visibility immensely. I am now regularly contacted by journalists across the media such as The Times. It’s helped me to gain more speaking opportunities, award nominations and more importantly to increase the impact my work has for women” Catherine Morgan, The Money Panel

     

    If you are building a brand where you are the brand, then being featured or quoted as an expert on your niche or industry can open further doors for you as well as building up your own business. Like Catherine has quoted above, once you become known for your expertise then journalists and editors will come to you – because they love a go to, and they love a trusted source for unique content. The trick with this is making yourself marketable to the media industry, and there are a number of ways that you can do that.

     

    Examples of where PR has had a positive impact on a small business

     

    “I’m the-style-whisperer, a home and wardrobe stylist for women over 40 who are going through life changes such as divorce, the menopause, or career change, and want to evolve their style to suit their new life phase, and feel more gorgeous, confident and comfortable in themselves.

    I’ve been featured in everything from Vogue and Self Service, to The Express and The Telegraph. Press is invaluable -and there are so many more outlets than ever before! Sometimes it’s the unexpected press that gets clients calling, whilst some is for credibility building. I was featured in Forbes recently, which was a personal goal, so that helps your confidence as well as positioning!

    Before working with private clients, I worked for luxury brands and magazines, and once quickly made an earring out of a coke can for  Kate Moss - someone called asking for one!!! You never know who is watching, but I’d generally say press is part of your long term strategy.

     

    Aleksandra Olenska, The-style-whisperer.com

     

     robot reg

     

    “‘We persisted with the press a lot, it didn’t just happen over night, but when we did it made a huge impact, the more we were in the press the easier it was to get more and more PR opportunities and people were talking about us, it really opened lots of doors for us.

     

    The more we spoke to journalists who wanted to report on us and tell our story the more confident we were to keep on doing it. Getting PR opportunities has been huge for the success of our business.’

     

    Charlie - Co-founder of Phonics with Robot Reg.

     

     

     

    “I worked with Pamela to craft a PR strategy around our international expansion into new markets with our luxury gin, and it was a real boost when Pamela managed to not just get us into the Manchester Evening News, but also a TV feature on the BBC News! The result was an increase in our website traffic and enquiries, but also an increased number of press enquiries which has been great for building our brand. I’m grateful to Pamela for her hard work to help build our luxury gin brand.”

     

    Andrew Niedzwiecki, Founder Worsley Gin

     

     

     

    How to get PR for your small business

     

    So if the rest of this article has been a but TL:DR and you’ve scrolled straight to the strong stuff then here you will find the advice and guidance on how you can secure PR for your business. To secure PR for your small business you need to think about:

     

    • Crafting your story
    • Branding your expertise
    • Creating a media kit
    • Targeted targeting
    • Local outreach
    • Get expert help 

     

    1. Crafting your story

    This is where it is hard to not sound like a broken record to be honest, because everyone will tell you to craft and hone your story, your why and your USP to make a compelling pitch to the media. Of course, you need to make sure that you have delved deep into your core purpose, your vision and your “why” to be able to tell your authentic story – but here is what journalists will respond to – why your story is shareable. Why do people need to know your story? What difference can you make to the audiences lives as a result of sharing? Journalists have the shareability of a feature on their minds all the time, so put this at the forefront of crafting your story and you may get better results.

    2. Branding your expertise

     

    People are creating how to guides, useful tips and insights all of the time, so if you think that just producing these will get the journalists salivating for your content, then you may want to think again! Branding your expertise is a great way of making you memorable – whether that is because you have a particular style or methodology, or you have a unique way of presenting information – look at what makes you different to your competitors, and then brand your expertise. My approach is to offer jargon free humorous takes on online visibility and digital marketing. It doesn’t make me the go to choice for the Financial Times, but my ideal clients don’t read that so I’m ok with it. It does appeal to business blogs, small business networks and female entrepreneur publications, and that is where my target audience hangs out, so I’m happy with that!

    3. Creating a Media Kit

     

    Here is the thing – if you want to get serious about getting PR for your small business then you are never to small to have a media kit. If you are thinking what the hell is a media kit then don’t feel overwhelmed – it is simply a pack of information regarding your business. Include key statistics about your business and include high res high quality images so that you are basically handing the press your business bio on a plate. Create a page on your website with a pdf of your media kit available for the media – you can then link to this when pitching to your target press.

     

    4. Targeted targeting

     

    What I am referring to here is both creating your list of targeted publications and putting yourself in the target area for that desired media. The trick here is to create your list with a sliding scale so that you don’t feel disheartened if you are knocked back (or ignored which happens more often than is good for anyone’s mental health) by the big guys straight away. Build your target list with smaller blogs, magazines and local publications, moving up to the more national and international outlets. Understand that you are going to be ignored and knocked back, but persistence is key, and will pay dividends if you consistently look to outreach.

     

    The other side to this is making sure you are hanging out where the press, journalists and influencers are hanging out. So many small businesses have abandoned Twitter because they don’t think it serves their business, but it is still a major hang out place for journalists – so get yourself on the platform and follow the #journorequest. You never know when there might be a story that someone is working on that you can spin to you and your business! Other places to get yourself involved include the Facebook Groups Lightbulb and Feature Me! – both of these look to connect journalists with entrepreneurs for story opportunities. The other place to register is HARO ( Help a reporter out) – all of these outlets will give you opportunities to match your story to their feature needs.

     

    As mentioned earlier in the post, make sure you check out any targets to make sure that they are high quality and that you are given the opportunity to read back whatever is being featured so that it correctly represents your business.

     

    5. Local Outreach

     

    Research local events, charity functions and community initiatives that you can get involved in as a business – these are great for local PR and you don’t always need to donate money – donating time or resources can make a huge difference. The latest coronavirus pandemic has been such a massive blow to small and local businesses, but the amount of positive PR pieces that have come out of the situation is unreal – from craft gin distillers turning their skills to making hand sanitiser, to local fitness businesses like Leah at FarmFit offering free classes to NHS workers.

    The event décor company Sweetness and Lights North West have donated a full wedding décor package to a couple from the NHS who are having to delay their wedding and Worsley Gin gifted a luxury hamper to a worthy keyworker. These examples get the small businesses lots of positive PR, but also the word of mouth effect which will help their businesses once the world reopens for business.

     

    6. Get Expert help

     

    Now more than ever is the time to think about getting expert help if you want to propel your PR to the next level for your small business. Which is where expert PR strategist Nicola Rowley can help.

    nicola rowley

     

    As the owner of a Communications Agency specialising in helping female entrepreneurs get visible (NJRPR), it’s more important than ever to ensure your PR Strategy is aligned with your business strategy.

     

    I know that times are uncertain right now, but think about your messaging, your expertise and how you can help your ideal clients at the moment.

     

    Journalists are looking for positive stories about business owners who have diversified, who have pivoted to help others or are offering something that’s invaluable.

     

    Being visible right now through the power of Strategic PR storytelling has never been more important. And it all begins with understanding your story and your hey messaging. Don’t just make knee-jerk approaches to media outlets in the hope of being quoted. What do you want the outcome from every piece to be?

     

    If you haven’t yet worked out your story or what you can offer right now, I have 10 PR Strategy Sessions available to help you get clear on your communications. Email me at [email protected] for more details.

     

    And if you would like lots of free advice, tips and to join a community of fellow entrepreneurs and Journalists visit my Facebook group The Communications Community. We’d love to have you with us:

     

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/TheCommunicationsCommunity

     

    Nicola’s website can be found at: https://www.njrpr.com

     

     

     

    So if you are serious about getting PR for your business, have been convinced by the impact that it can have for your business journey and have got some tips to move forward with – what is stopping you from becoming a media magnet…