Digital PR

future marketing trends 2019
1000 667 Kerri Rogers

Trend Forecast: 5 Online PR Trends to Watch in 2019

Whether you’re a digital PR specialist working for an agency or working within a marketing team for a brand, you need to be on top of your online PR game for 2019.

Whether you have spent the first week of 2019 planning your digital PR strategy, or you’re just looking for some information on the emerging trends in online public relations, we explore the trends we expect to see breaking through over the next twelve months and how you can incorporate them into your digital pr campaigns in 2019.


Online PR agency predicts trends for 2019

1. Position ‘0’ and the mysterious featured snippet will become hugely important

A featured snippet is a hugely useful tool in any digital marketers arsenal, but you might be wondering if it’s worth going the extra mile to secure position ‘0’ status (spoiler alert: it most definitely is).

By securing a featured snippet, the algorithm has picked your page as the best answer to query the user is searching. Whilst the inner workings of the algorithm remain a mystery, we can be sure that the following can contribute to the likelihood of you getting a featured snippet for your brand:

Query based and long tailed keywords

Analyse your keywords and extract query based and long tailed keyword searches to base your content around.  

Top Tip: If you have a search function on your site analyse what your customers are searching for. This information is gold dust as it can give you a real strategic insight into the keywords you should be optimising your content for.


Build high quality backlinks to these pages   

Flex your digital PR muscles to build high quality and relevant links to the pages on your site that answer those questions. This all sends lovely, positive signals to Google that your content is the most authoritative and should be used as a featured snippet.

Find out more about digital PR for link acquisition, here.


Format your content & use lists and tables

So you’ve got your page containing the answer to your query, you’ve got some juicy backlinks pointing to the page so the next thing to check is the formatting of your content.

Top Tip: Make use of header tags all the way through your content to signal to Google what the important bits are.


Paywalls are one of the emerging trends in public relations

2. News outlets will continue to hold content behind paywalls (but there may be a workaround…)

With many of the larger news outlets moving towards subscription based models and paywalls, there is likely to be some flux in the way that content is indexed by Google.

To give a bit of context, back in 2017, Google discontinued their ‘first click free’ (FCF) rule, and moved towards a ‘flexible sampling’ framework, allowing the publishers themselves to decide what content should and shouldn’t be behind paywalls. We predict that during 2019,  we will see the roll out of a pay-as-you-go or pay-per-read model, where the reader can pick and choose which content they want to purchase.  

It will still be a sore subject for many online PR specialists who are working to secure indexable coverage for their clients, until Google figures out a foolproof way to include paywalled content within the index.


Onsite content like blogs are integral to the success of outreach and digital PR campaigns

3. Onsite content will become integral to the success of outreach and digital PR campaigns

SEO is becoming more and more intertwined with digital PR, meaning that the outreach specialists are becoming more savvy when it comes to optimising their onsite content in order to give their offsite campaigns the extra ‘oompf’ their clients and brands are looking for.

Whether that’s influencing organic traffic through featured snippets, or creating data led digital PR campaigns where publications have no choice but to link back to the raw data, SEO is becoming such an important tool for online PR and outreach specialists.

Think you have what it takes to work in Digital PR? Take a look at our careers page to see what vacancies we have on offer.


Digital pr tools like buzzsumo will be pivotal in scaling outreach and promotion

4. Technology and tools will be pivotal in scaling outreach and promotion

There’s so much chatter about measurement of content and digital PR, but our prediction here focuses on the technology and tools that will help us scale our outreach capabilities.

From media databases such as Roxhill (who now have a really handy distribution service) to Buzzsumo which helps you discover the most popular content within your vertical, there’s so many different tools to help scale the outreach and promotion process so you can increase the reach of your content.

We’ve mentioned a couple of ‘paid for’ tools above, but there’s so many free-to-use SEO tools you can manipulate to ensure you’re squeezing the most out of your outreach campaigns:

  • Twitter Lists: Use these to identify key contacts working for your target publications
  • Google Advanced Search Operators: Use these to pull out relevant publications to target with your content
  • Google Search Console: Use this to identify queries you’re already ranking well for (and those you’re not ranking quite so well for, too!)

digital PR tools like those that help with keyword research will guide online PR strategies

5. Keyword research will hold more weight and serve to guide online PR strategies

Whilst you may already have a guide from your client or your brand on which keywords they would like to influence, there are likely to be more keywords you could target for a surprise win!

Some of our favourite tools for identifying these opportunities are:

  • Keywords Everywhere: A brilliant little extension for Chrome, which provides search volume right there on the search engine results page. If you install this, you really will have keywords, everywhere!
  • SEO Minion:  A great Chrome extension for your everyday SEO tasks. If you don’t have time to conduct, or want a full in depth analysis of a page this will really help you out giving you a quick overview of things like h tags, broken links, and SEPR previews.
  • Answer the Public:  Great for identifying longtail and query based keywords, to inform your link building and outreach strategy
  • Quora: No matter what topic you’re covering you will find relevant questions on Quora which can help highlight long-tail keywords you might never have thought of.

Want to learn more about what the future holds for digital pr and content marketing? We asked 6 experts for their predictions.

Digital PR and SEO events to attend in 2019
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13 Digital PR and SEO events to attend in 2019

Here at JBH, we love to attend digital PR conferences and SEO events. They provide a great opportunity to meet and network with fellow industry experts and learn more about new and exciting developments that can inspire ideas for future campaigns and projects that we work on.  

Conferences and events bring a wealth of opportunity to build your network and gain valuable industry knowledge and insight, so for this reason, we’ve put together our comprehensive list of the top digital PR and SEO events throughout the UK in 2019:  


BrightSEO, SEO event in Brighton

@brightonseo Instagram

1. BrightonSEO | Brighton | 11-12 April & 12-13 September

BrightonSEO has become an institution in the UK, starting off in a small room in a pub with just a few attendees it has now grown to become one of the UK’s largest SEO conferences hosting over 4,000 guests last year.

Set in the beautiful seaside town of Brighton, over 2 days, some of the best and brightest in the SEO industry host talks and small group sessions sharing detailed and practical SEO insights.


Read our key takeaways from September 2018’s BrightonSEO Conference


2. SMX London | London | 21-22 May

Anyone who knows anything about SEO has probably gathered some of their knowledge from the Search Engine Land blog – one of the best sources of SEO industry news and technical developments you can find. SMX is their three day SEO event in London, that you can attend to improve your search marketing efforts.

The talks are designed to be accessible to both newbies and veterans, meaning that every attendee will be able to take away practical and actionable tips from their sessions that cover almost every topic imaginable in search.


CMALive - one of the top SEO events to attend in the UK

@hellocma Instagram

3. CMA Live | Edinburgh | 5-6 June

CMA Live is an Edinburgh based content marketing event that plays hosts some incredible speakers in the content marketing industry. Past speakers include Ann Handley of Marketing Profs and Chris Brogan, CEO of Owner Media Group so you can expect this years line up to be just as exciting.

These industry experts are constantly creating incredible content for the web and attending CMA Live gives you the opportunity to learn first hand the practical experience and technical knowledge they can share.


4. SearchLove | London | 14-15 October

SearchLove conference takes place over 2 days in October each year. Guest speakers give presentations on content creation, analytics, trends, mobile search and a range of other digital marketing topics.

It is geared toward both in-house and agency professionals as well as business owners and marketing managers looking to improve their SEO strategies.


Marketing Show North, formerly Prolific North Live, digital marketing event

@ziferblatlpl Instagram

5. Marketing Show North | Manchester | 27-28 Feb

Marketing Show North is the biggest digital marketing event outside of London (formerly Prolific North Live). It covers more than just SEO and digital PR going into broader topics of media, branding and marketing and sales.


6. Outreach Conference | London | 8 June

Outreach Conference is the UK’s only event that is dedicated entirely to outreach, digital and online PR. Here you’ll learn all about the techniques, tips and tricks that go into gaining links and coverage for your campaigns.

Top industry professionals host sessions on mindset, creativity and outreach strategy, providing you with a ton of tips to generate coverage and improve your website’s backlink profile.


SEO and Digital PR conference

@ungagged Instagram

7. Ungagged | London | 1-3 April

Ungagged is a 2-day SEO & Digital Marketing event taking place on April 1st and 2nd, with day long intensive masterclasses happening on April 3rd.

Ungagged isn’t your typical marketing conference and promises an unconventional delivery with uncensored sessions that are sure to both inform and entertain.


8. Search Leeds | Leeds | 20 June

Search Leeds is one of the few SEO events in the North of England. Its tagline is ‘No sales pitches – just actionable advice’ and that’s exactly what you get. Speakers are search industry specialists who really know their stuff, running sessions to share their knowledge. You really do come away from this event feeling like you’ve really learned something. Plus, it’s completely free of charge to attend!


9. International Search Summit | London | 20 May

This is the event to attend if you are running an online, digital marketing or SEO project that involves multiple countries and/or languages.

The summit complements the larger SMX London event (as it’s organised by the same team) but this part of the conference focuses primarily on the linguistic and cultural challenges which can affect the operational running of a multilingual site.  


10. Atomicon | Newcastle Upon Tyne | 8 March

Atomicon is a marketing event with a difference. They brand themselves as the most fun digital marketing event in the UK and put a core focus around providing practical insights on a range of topics as well as advising how you can implement them to ensure what you learn is going to make an impact.


11. Marketing Technology Expo | London | 27-28 March

This two-day expo showcases all the latest and greatest technologies and that are impacting modern marketing practices.

They boast an impressive range of speakers this year including Andrew Fryer from Microsoft, Yoann Pavy from Depop and Martin Tavener from IBM.


12. Benchmark Search Conference | Manchester | TBA

Benchmark Search Conference is the North’s leading search marketing event, packed full of inspiring, engaging and entertaining talks from world-renowned experts.

Last years event featured speakers from huge industry names such as SEMrush, Google, Canon, Barclays and BingAds. While this year’s event details have not yet been released, we can expect it to be just as inspiring.


Digital PR and SEO events 2019

@liveryonchev Instagram

13. Youth Marketing Strategy | London | 16-17 April

This event gives attendees a youth perspective and helps brands understand the latest trends, meaning you leave will everything you need to know about winning over the most diverse, influential and ambitious generation of young people yet.


Get started building authoritative links to improve your SEO.

Content Marketing Trends for 2019
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Content marketing trends for 2019: 6 experts share their predictions

The world of content marketing is changing every day, new tools and technology are emerging constantly and the bar for high quality content continues to rise. Even with all these changes one thing is still certain, Content is King and it won’t be giving up its reign any time soon. As content marketing changes and our approach to it evolves, we’ve caught up with 6 of the leading digital PR and content marketing experts to get an idea for what content marketing trends 2019 holds in store.

Check out their content marketing trends for 2019 below:


Michelle Garrett, Digital PR expert shares content marketing trends for 2019

Michelle Garrett | Writer / Public Relations Consultant | Garrett Public Relations

LinkedIn | Twitter

Aligning your marketing channels

As we look ahead to next year, I see content marketing, public relations and social media becoming more closely aligned. These three cry out to be better integrated in order to get the most from each of them. Keeping them in separate silos limits their power. Brands who are able to integrate the three will see stronger results with less effort.

For example, a piece of content touting the results of a survey or research conducted by the brand can be leveraged for earned media coverage (= PR). That earned media hit can then be used as social media posts.


Ashley Norris, Content Marketing Consultant

Ashley Norris | Consultant | The CMA

LinkedIn | Twitter | Twitter

Action and Reaction

I think this year has been one in which brands have been forced to react to external events from changing policies to accommodate GDPR through to re-assessing their social approach in response to Facebook’s news feed algorithm change.

This year, however, I think there will be fewer seismic changes, enabling brands to be more proactive. More will embrace social issues, hopefully in a subtle and supportive way.


Automation and Artificial Intelligence

I think we will begin to see more automation too as companies move from wondering what to do about Artificial Intelligence through to actually finding really useful applications for automation.


Long form content

At the same time I think brands will also look to engage with journalists in creating longform, sometimes challenging content.


There is a growing premium on longform now, words, videos and increasingly podcasts and I think companies will see significant returns in brand awareness by comissiong this type of content.



Perri Robinson, Head of Marketing

Perri Robinson | Head of Marketing, UK & N Ireland | Meltwater

LinkedIn | Twitter

Shift in marketing budget

There’s no denying that the numerous social media algorithm updates rolled out in 2018 have impacted content organic brand reach. We’ve been forced into a pay to play world as a result and as soon as we start putting budgets behind campaigns, the need for ROI measurement becomes greater.

I predict that there’ll be a shift in how marketing budget is traditionally allocated, with more emphasis placed on content measurement tools to help content marketers justify their spend (and existence) in 2019.


Shift in influencers marketing

Influencer fraud is rife right now. We’ve seen major brands such as P&G pull out of using paid for influencers to support their content marketing efforts due to ever-growing influencer trust issues. Consumers are also becoming more cynical over their favourite Insta account constantly posting #ad and “in partnership with” content too.

In 2019, I expect we’ll see more brands (large and small) replacing paid for influencers with authentic brand advocates who are happy to share brand love due to their genuine passion for the company.

Greater emphasis will be placed on user-generated content because of this. That’s not to say that paid for influencer marketing will cease to exist, but marketing departments will need to adjust how they measure what influence is (in order to combat influencer fraud) and also how they measure the ROI of influencer marketing.


Rebecca Moss, Digital PR Manager

Rebecca Moss | Digital PR Manager | JBH – The Content Agency

LinkedIn | Twitter | Twitter

News outlets using a pay-per-read model

With many of the larger news outlets moving towards subscription based models and paywalls, I predict that the way that we both consume news stories and sell campaigns into news outlets is going to change drastically.

But just what does this mean from an online PR standpoint? Back in 2017, Google discontinued their ‘first click free’ (FCF) rule, whereby publishers were asked to grant access to one page of their paywalled content, allowing indexation. Google has since introduced their ‘flexible sampling’ framework, which allows the publishers themselves to decide just how much of their content they want to give away for free.

There is plenty of documentation from Google itself, explaining how to mark-up content that would be inaccessible to non-subscribers (using structured markup called JSON-LD). This helps Google to understand which parts of the content is included and which parts would not be visible within the publications ‘flexible sampling’ framework. Even with all this in place, we are still reliant on the news outlet implementing this in full.

One solution to this (and something I predict that we will see rolling out in 2019) is the pay-as-you or pay-per-read model, where readers would be able to decide on an article-by-article basis whether they want to commit to purchasing that piece of content to read.

Whether this is rolled out using Apple Pay, Android Pay or something else entirely, it would help to give consumers more choice and flexibility in the way that they consume news.

Whilst this would be a fantastic move for readers of news (as it could help to ensure that editorial quality remains high), it still doesn’t really help online PR specialists who are working to secure indexable coverage for their clients. A small client mention, link or citation may not be included in the ‘flexible sampling’ framework.



Adam Neale Managing Director of Bold Content

Adam Neale | Managing Director | Bold Content

LinkedIn | Twitter

Aligning marketing goals and video storytelling

2019 will be the year of bold and daring strategies for the use of video. Especially in businesses use of documentaries.

Businesses have become familiar with the documentary format, having used it’s techniques to tell case study stories, customer testimonials, explainer videos and the like. But the corporate documentary format is becoming familiar and audiences are used to seeing the standard talking head shot, cut with B-roll.

In order to grab attention brands need to try something different. It could be as simple as the use of creative editing techniques or adding a layer of animation or it could go as far as subverting the genre conventions.

Often, too little thought goes into what the video strategy should yield and marketing managers fail to see the potential of a truly standout documentary film.

As authenticity was the buzzword of 2018, 2019 will see the rise of experimentation to make brand content stand out from the crowd and that’s where talented filmmakers come into play.

By sitting down with filmmakers to discuss their marketing goals and determining how they can be aligned with the potential for high quality non-fiction storytelling, marketing managers can open the doors to content creation that can find new audiences, change perspectives, raise awareness, start a movement and ultimately change lives.

The exciting thing about brand documentaries is the many different forms they can take. There’s huge potential to tell great stories whether they are in the form of branded content about a subject that is unrelated to your brand, or in a piece of integrated comms about your brand, your founder or a CSR strategy.

The potential for positive PR, winning awards, film festival entries, should not be underestimated. The uplift in positive brand sentiment from a great short documentary film can be a powerful marketing tool.

Brands have to be brave enough to commission filmmakers with the remit of telling a good story. If they write a traditional brief they run the risk of inserting brand messages and diluting the story. Bland corporate messages and familiar testimonial videos lay down that path.

Especially in the B2B space where brands have traditionally relied on explainer videos, they now need to devote budget to making content that will reward the audience for watching. Content that will educate them, engage them, grab them and expand their worldview.


Liane Grimshaw, Founder & Managing Director of SupaReal

Liane Grimshaw | Founder & Managing Director | SupaReal

LinkedIn | Twitter | Twitter

Branded content hubs

Although content has always been at the centre of forward thinking B2B marketing, its growth and proliferation has resulted in often inconsistent assets and fragmented content experiences. Large brands, especially in the B2B space, are starting to do something about this and here at SupaReal we see this as a core consideration for 2019.

Developing branded content hubs that support a single brand across diverse product and service offerings, and across numerous target sectors and international regions, is going to be a key trend for 2019. Housing all brand content in one place, in multiple formats and for all stages of the buying journey, will help brands better leverage their investment in content marketing, not least in building awareness and authority around the key topics they want to be know for.


Content marketing essentials for 2019

Looking ahead, it is clear that content marketing will continue to evolve and grow with the rise of new and more sophisticated technology. It’s essential that content marketing strategies incorporate this technology in new and exciting ways to drive their campaign strategies forward.  


Want to learn more about content marketing? Read everything you need to know in our definitive guide.

Are nofollow links worth having?
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Are nofollow links worth your time and money?

What is a nofollow link?

A nofollow link refers to a link with a nofollow HTML attribute. This attribute is used to tell search engine crawlers that the link should not affect the domain or page ranking of the site the link is pointing to or pass on any ‘link juice’.

Users visiting the page will still be able to use the link but search engine crawlers will not follow it and it will not pass on any SEO value.


Black hat seo such as blog comment links are part of the reason nofollow links were invented

Why were nofollow links invented?

If you were around in the early days of the blogging boom you’ll likely remember that people started filling up the comment sections of blogs with ads to their own sites in order to improve their SEO.

To tackle this issue, in early 2005 Google’s Matt Cutts and Blogger’s Jason Shellen addressed the problem and came up with the nofollow HTML attribute.

It helped established and trustworthy sites by stopping their credibility being diluted by spammers and freeloaders attempting to take advantage of it to improve their own site’s reputation with search engines.

Blog comment spam occurs less often these days and is now considered a black hat SEO technique. Search engines algorithms, like Google’s, are also now much more advanced and discount blog comment links as they aware of the tricks people use to try and cheat the system.

Where are nofollow links used?


links on social media all have nofollow attributes

Social Media

Any links you post on social media, including links in your profile will all be nofollow links. This prevents you from just creating accounts on these platforms for SEO purposes and is used to prevent users from spamming these platforms with linked content that provides no value.

Comment Sections

Any website or blog that has a comment section will most likely have made sure that all the links posted will have nofollow attributes to prevent spamming, and so trustworthy sites don’t have their credibility taken advantage of.

Open submissions

Sites like Quora, YouTube, and Reddit, that allow users to submit content will all be nofollow links to stop you from being able to boost your link profile by going to these sites and posting a load of irrelevant links

Some publishers

Large publishers that have huge outputs of content (like Inc, Forbes and Huff Post) are now, more and more using nofollow links for any content created by their contributors. For the most part, this is due to the time that it would take an editor to check that every link in a submitted piece of content was relevant and worth passing on link juice to, and it puts more focus on creating content that is helpful for its users.


Why do nofollow links have such a bad reputation?

After the creation of the nofollow attribute, search engines not only told website owners to use it for their blog comments but also for any ad links as well. This way Google and other search engines would be aware of what content was sponsored and know not to pass any link juice on to that link.

The differentiation between paid and natural links protected site owners in later years when Google updated their algorithm and started penalising sites using black hat SEO and that were full of spam content.

Using nofollow links as an indication of paid content meant that many SEO’s wrote them off as completely worthless. Buying and selling links went from a huge industry to occurring much less and since then most content creators and SEO’s have avoided nofollow links like the plague.

Do nofollow links have value?

For the reasons stated above, nofollow links do not have the same value as dofollow links, but that does not mean that they are worthless. In fact, they can be hugely beneficial to your site, traffic, and reputation.

5 Reasons why nofollow links have value


1.Brand awareness

Major publishers such as Forbes, The Huff Post, The Mail Online and The Sun have all been replacing all their external links with nofollow links for some time. Does this mean that earning a link from a publication like this is not worth your time? The short answer: No.

When you’re out there trying to make a name for your business, links from sites like these can have a huge impact on your brand awareness and reputation. A nofollow link might not get you the SEO benefits from this site but it does add to your credibility and get you in front of new audiences.

Getting your brand name in front of these new audiences is vital to growing a business, especially if you are just starting out or have a niche product. Sites like Forbes are also considered highly trustworthy, they have a lot of credibility with their audience and a little bit of that gets passed on when your name is mentioned on their site.

Audiences generally trust major publications and news sites because they are established and will generally only report on something of merit, that’s worth talking about. If a potential customer sees your name in a major publication this adds to your social proof and they are much more likely to convert at a later stage of the buyer journey.

Not only that, but content that is high quality and published on top tier sites has a much higher chance of going viral, getting shared and generating buzz around your brand. While there is no direct way to measure the impact that this has on SEO, it is clear that there is some as Gary Illyes, Google Webmaster Trends Analyst said at the 2017 BrightonSEO conference:

If you publish high-quality content that is highly cited on the internet — and I’m not talking about just links, but also mentions on social networks and people talking about your branding. Then you are doing great.



Google says that it doesn’t transfer PageRank or SEO value across links that have a nofollow attribute.

In their blog, Google have said:

In general, we don’t follow them. This means that Google does not transfer PageRank or anchor text across these links. Essentially, using nofollow causes us to drop the target links from our overall graph of the web.”

The key phrase to focus on in this quote is ‘in general,’ which indicated that Google may make exceptions from time to time. Most likely, Google knows that high quality sites such as Wikipedia can’t afford to link to low quality sources or they would lose their audience, so even if these links are nofollow (which all of wikis are) it may still take it into account and adjust that pages position in the SERPs accordingly.

Rand Fishkin from Moz, tested this assumption by pointing nofollow links at pages and measuring the effect it had on their ranking; concluding that there ‘may be a relationship between ranking increases and in-content, nofollow links’  

3.Having a diverse link portfolio

If your link portfolio is made up of all the same kind of links from just a few domains – even if they are from high DA sites – they will lose impact. Links to your site that consistently come from the same domains signals to search engines that the link juice that is being passed on to you is no more than link doping and that these links are being gained for the purpose of generating sales and not to provide high quality content to users.

A non-diverse link portfolio, even if it is built up of links from high DA sites, will end up having the opposite effect on your SEO than you would have hoped for, as Google will penalise your website rankings. Diversification is essential in link building and even if a nofollow link is not passing along link juice it is still building your link portfolio and not insisting on dofollow links means you can get a more diverse range.

Why do nofollow links have such a bad reputation?

4.Snowball links

The Mail Online, The Sun and a number of other big publications often get requests from other sites to use their content. A nofollow link on a site like this can easily snowball into a number of dofollow links from smaller sites.

Small publications often look to bigger publications for content, so your content will be viewed by a number of other journalists. If you are creating valuable content that would resonate with their audience, journalists will then ask permission to use this content on their own site.

You can ask for dofollow links from any journalists that make these requests and you may end up with a bunch of new dofollow links from a diverse range of sites off of one piece of content you were tempted not to give to a site because they didn’t want to give you a dofollow link.

Social media is another great snowball source; any content that gets a lot of shares or goes viral will end up in front of a few journalists. As the digital landscape changes, journalists are using social media more and more as a source for content so even though a successful social media post won’t get you ranking no.1 for your main keyword it might help you generate some dofollow links that will get you on your way to that goal.

5.Traffic is traffic no matter the HTML attribute

Nofollow links will generate the same amount of referral traffic to your site as they would have if they were dofollow.

The nofollow attribute does nothing to stop users clicking through to your site, making referral traffic one of the biggest benefits of nofollow links. If you get a nofollow link from a site like HuffPost, that almost exclusively uses nofollow links, that still has a lot of value in the traffic that it will generate for your site. Huge publications like this have massive audiences and you will be getting in front of them giving you a much higher chance of driving traffic to your site.

For example, in WordStreams link bait case study, they created a piece of content with the intention to generate links and traffic. The article they created used buzzworthy topics like social media and a news topic of an upcoming senate race that generated a lot of buzz and was linked to on sites like The New York Times and Politico, both of which were nofollow links.

The New York Times is one of the most trusted and most visited new sites in the U.S and as a result of getting a nofollow link on their site they saw the referral traffic quadruple, with thousands of pageviews in hours. A clear example of just how valuable these kinds of links can be in getting in front of new audiences and driving people to your website.


Nofollow links are certainly far from worthless. There are loads of benefits to acquiring them especially if they come from top-tier sites that will then generate further links and traffic for you from your content.

Any link building plan should include nofollow links, they diversify your link portfolio can get you in front of some highly relevant audiences and drive traffic that could convert to customers to your site.

Need help with your next link building campaign. Get in touch with one of our Digital PR experts.


Person using search engine
1000 667 Kerri Rogers

The 3 elements of SEO success

There are hundreds of ranking factors that determine where your website sits on Googles search engine results pages (SERPS). Most of them fit into three key areas, that if you improve you should see your site ranking higher for relevant search terms.


Technical SEO

Possibly the most important part of SEO is Google (or any search engines) crawlers being able to find your website. Without being able to find your site there is no way for Google to be able to show it in their search results.

Not only does Google need to be able to find your site but it also needs to be able to crawl the content on it. By scanning your site it can identify keywords and the topic of your site so it can be displayed in appropriate SEPRs.

You might look at your site and think because you can see everything on your site without a problem Google can too. However, Googles crawlers can only crawl text – this means any nice images, audio, or other media you have Google can’t see.

This is where technical/onsite SEO comes in; it helps Google index your content.


Elements of technical SEO:


Google crawls sites the same way you would – through the navigation and links. Ensuring all vital pages are linked (as text-only) means Google can find all of your important content and index it. Having internal links within your pages means that Google will also be able to find your less important content that isn’t directly linked in the navigation such as blog posts.


Page displaying 404 error


Broken links can be bad for SEO but also for user experience. If you click on a link and get the 404 – ‘Page not found’ error then you need to redirect to either the new version of the page or an alternative page if that page is no longer available. This stops you losing valuable traffic and means once the crawler has clicked on that link it hasn’t reached a dead end and can keep crawling your site.  


URL structure effects SEO

URL structure

Both search engines and your users don’t like lengthy URLs or a URL that ends with a random string of characters or with a complicated structure. They are confusing and spammy; instead you should focus on creating sort, clear URL’s that have the focus keyword of the page included in them.

Page load times

Page speed can have a huge impact on user experience; a survey conducted by Akamai and showed that nearly half of web users expect a page to load in 2 seconds or less, and they tend to abandon a site that isn’t loaded in this time.

Not only is a slow site bad for your users but it is ranking factor for Google on desktop, and since July 2018 the Google Speed Update means its a ranking factor for mobile as well.



Content is King – you’re probably sick of hearing it, but it’s true. Whenever you enter a search term into Google you are searching for content, this might come in different formats – infographics, videos, podcasts, blog posts – but its all content.

For SEO, content is what gets you visibility in results pages. This is because your content is providing answers to users search queries.

Regardless of what is being searched for the results are going to bring up some form of content. It might be different forms of content but it’s all content; having content published is the only way to appear in search results.

While crawling the page Google determines the topic of the page so that it can display it in relevant search queries. It will also determine the quality of the page through things like page length and structure, with higher quality pages displayed higher in the search results.

Keyword research

Keyword research is a way you can optimise your content for search engines. It can help you attract high quality and relevant traffic that will be more likely to turn into leads and convert into customers.

By discovering what phrases your potential customers are entering into search engines when looking for products or services like the ones you offer, you can then target those keywords and include them in your content for better search engine visibility.

On page SEO

On page SEO helps Google crawlers understand the page it’s on and mainly focuses on the words you use and where you use them.

  • Post title: place your keyword as close to the start of the title as possible
  • URL: include your keyword and remove your stop words
  • First 100 words: finding the keyword at the beginning of your page helps Google know that the page topic is correct
  • Atl tags: search engines can’t see images so using your keyword in alt tags helps add SEO value to your images

Link Building

Relevance, expertise, and authority are key factors that Google’s algorithm takes into consideration when ranking pages.

Backlinks can help you establish all three of these.

A backlink is content on another site that links to a page on your site.


Example of content linking back to JBH website


For example, the article above on unbounce features an infographic that our agency created so it links back to our site.

This link comes from a site relevant to ours (covering the same topic; content marketing) which provides more authority than coming from a random and irrelevant domain.

The more high quality links your site has the more of an authority on your topic you appear to Gooogle which is why when building links for SEO it’s not about quantity but quality.

Guest post JBH did for The CMA

Guest post JBH did for The CMA

Ways to generate links for your site:

  • Organic links: links that come organically from sites referencing great content you have created
  • Outreach: contact websites and pitching them ideas for content that they will find valuable and feature on their site that you can put a link back to your own site in
  • Guest posting: publishing a blog post on a third party website in return for being able to add a link back to your site in the post
  • Profile links: many websites offer the ability to add a link when setting up a profile.


These elements are responsible for your sites SEO success, by making effort to improve each one of them then you’ll start to see better rankings in the SERPS and in turn more high-quality traffic that will convert into customers.


Want to learn more about SEO and where it’s heading in future? Check out our key takeaways from this years BrightonSEO conference.


BrightonSEO front window
1024 538 Kerri Rogers

BrightonSEO: What we learned

BrightonSEO is a twice-yearly search marketing conference that welcomes 4,000 SEOs from across the globe to listen to some of the world’s top search marketers discuss the future of the industry.

For their September event, the conference chose a slogan of ‘Understand algorithms, understand the future’ and, of course, this meant they had a Back to the Future theme. Kelvin Newman, the conference’s founder, even came onstage to open the conference wearing a pair of Nike self-lace shoes and carrying a pink hoverboard.


the Delorean at brightonSEO

Source: Twitter


The conference bought in professionals from all backgrounds in digital marketing to give some great talks and share their keen insight into various aspects of the industry, covering everything from voice search to content strategy.


Key takeaways from BrightonSEO:

  • Web design is an important element of SEO. It helps build trust with your audience and provides them with a better user experience – user experience metrics (such as time spent on page) are having a greater ranking influence than ever before.


  • Inputting clients first party data into Facebook audience insights can give you insight into their audience, such as who they are, what they’re interested in and what they’ll engage with.


  • FOI (Freedom of Information) Requests can be used to gain access to public information that can help with idea generation and pitches to journalists.


  • 78% of online audiences are already watching Facebook Live videos.


  • Finding broken links to your competitor’s site and offering to replace them with your own content is a great tactic for keeping link building cheap.


  • When pitching to a journalist, don’t assume who their audience is, study their publications media and what you find might surprise you – The Daily Mails audience is 78% millennials, 68% mums, 6/10 are foodies.


  • Reputation is a ranking factor.


  • Related videos and Browse/Featured sections on YouTube are bigger sources of traffic than organic search.


  • For every 10 organic clicks on the SERPs, there are 8.8 searches that end in no clicks.


  • Google is monopolising its advertising space and trying to answer queries in the SERPS so now is the time to make your website the centre of your campaigns.


Rand Fishkin's Keynote at BrightonSEO

Source: Twitter


Even though his talk encountered a few technical difficulties, Rand Fishkin’s keynote was one of the standout talks of the day. He covered the future of SEO, focusing primarily on the SEPRs, in a funny, if not slightly cynical 30-minute presentation, that delivered a ton of interesting insights into how Google has started taking advantage of its over 90% search market share.


Other highlights included a look into Data Journalism by Ross Tavendale, Marie Haynes dive into Google’s Quality Raters’ Guidelines and Laura Hogans presentation on Using Your Competitors For Free Links.


Want to learn more about optimising your content for search results? Check out our post on why content auditing is essential for SEO

Find PR Opportunities Using Twitter
1000 563 Perri Robinson

4 Simple Ways to Find PR Opportunities Using Twitter

Adweek reported that journalists make up 25% of verified accounts on Twitter.

The platform is swamped with the exact people PR pros are trying to reach, offering vast potential for PR opportunities. With that being said, not all of us know how to capitalise on Twitter with PR in mind. Here we discuss 4 ways to do exactly that!

Increase PR Opportunities Following These 4 Tips

1. Following relevant hashtags

Due to the real-time nature of Twitter, many journalists use the platform to help build on their stories since their requests are answered by the community quickly. Hashtags such as #PRrequest and  #JournoRequest are awash with potential PR opportunities. Simply pop the hashtags into the Twitter search bar.

If you want to make the search more relevant, you can use Twitter’s advanced search console to add more keywords. For example “#PRrequest” and “fashion”. This will help you filter out the noise and find PR opportunities that are more applicable to your company.


Twitter Advanced Search


Twitter Advanced Search


Those using a social media monitoring tool such as Meltwater can do the same, with the added benefit of receiving real-time alerts. Alerts are sent straight to your email to ensure you’re the first to know when any applicable PR opportunities come about.

2. Connect with Industry Thought Leaders

The message you’re trying to push via PR has more chance of pick up if you include another credible source to help tell the story. Connect with industry thought leaders (not just journalists) on social media and start nurturing the relationship with project collaboration in mind.

Chances are the thought leaders in your field are influencers in their own right. This means competition to get their attention will be high. To overcome this, you need to start acting like the advocate you claim to be. This can be achieved through relationship nurturing. Increase your number of PR opportunities by using the below influencer nurture flow as a guide.

Nurturing Pathway


If you engage little and often, gradually building up the engagement, your brand will be top of their mind. Taking the longer route isn’t for everyone, but if you’re organised and start the nurture process before you need to work with them, the relationship will be way more organic and authentic. Remember, mutual respect for one another doesn’t appear overnight.

Additional thought leader outreach tips:

  • Ensure the thought leaders you choose are active on social media so you can benefit from their reach
  • Never make the first contact with them about you and your brand. Instead, comment on their blogs or articles and share their content (ego boosts never hurt anyone).
  • Download their whitepapers, subscribe to their blog, ask them questions to show your genuine interest in what they cover
  • Deliver added value by answering their community’s questions to.


3. Follow Other Twitter User’s Twitter Lists

Feeling like you’ve exhausted your black book of contacts? Don’t reinvent the wheel and create more work for yourself by manually searching for new journalists to connect with. Instead, follow other Twitter user’s Twitter lists!

The beauty of a Twitter list is that you don’t have to create it yourself to benefit from it. By keeping an eye on relevant Twitter lists so you can identify new journalists – and therefore new PR opportunities!

Here’s an example of Marketing Week’s list of journalists.

Marketing Week Twitter Profile


You can find useful Twitter lists by looking at your competitor’s Twitter profile, as well as looking at the lists the influencers have been added to – not the lists they’ve created. You can do this by going to their Twitter profile, click ‘lists’ then ‘member of’. Chances are those lists are full of similar people – helping you to widen your search for journalists.


4. Follow Breaking News

We’re seeing a shift in how we consume news.

Since the introduction of Twitter, more and more stories break here first, rather than in the papers. Again, this is due to the real-time nature of Twitter and how community members use the platform. The pic below demonstrates this nicely!

Examples of tone of voice for various social media platforms


Journalists are using Twitter to keep up with what’s going on. This is most likely why they make up a quarter of all verified accounts. We can use this Twitter characteristic to our advantage.

Set up a social listening search and monitor conversations occurring in your industry before they hit the news. That way, you can flag the potential story, along with your expert quote, to journalists. Making their lives easier can only benefit your relationship with them, even if they don’t always pick the story up. Repetition of your message helps to reinforce what you do and position you as the source of authority – and with brand, credibility comes more PR opportunities!

Want to discover more savvy ways to increase PR opportunities? Read our eBook!

The Savvy PR Pros Guide to Media Intelligence e-book

Digital PR: How to put a smile on a journalists face
1000 667 Aran Jackson

Digital PR: How to put a smile on a journalist’s face

Any agencies, freelancers or brands involved in digital PR and outreach know how stressful it can be to spend so much time researching, ideating, creating content, pitching it and then not hearing anything back from a journalist – not even a squeak.

And there are so many things that could have contributed to its failing:

  • The subject line
  • The salutation
  • The opening pitch
  • Lack of relevant angle or hook
  • Wrong tone of voice
  • Too much copy
  • Bad formatting
  • Or just purely bad timing (how many OOO’s do you get in July/August?!)

So you end up split testing your subject lines, trialling different openers and sending all of this to as many relevant journalists and sites as possible, just hoping one will land and pave the way for more.

And then, one day you work on a campaign topic that the whole nation is talking about and the little lightbulb goes off in your head, flickering with excitement and you think…

“Yes, this is my chance to write a really funny outreach email, the ultimate outreach email – one that will make journalists chuckle.”


Digital PR and outreach email example


And it does the trick…


digital PR and outreach email reply


And another…


positive digital PR and outreach email reply


Obviously, their head wasn’t turned – but we’ll take the praise…


Not interested digital PR and outreach reply


Not a bit of them ?


great email digital PR and outreach reply


So while we wait and see whether we get pied off, we have learnt something. We’ve learnt that in a world where we receive so many emails (we receive our fair share of bad pitches too – mostly for guest blogging), if you can write an email – especially a humorous one that creates an instant connection with top-tier journalists, then that’s half the battle won.

And even if the content isn’t right for them, we still got their attention in a positive way and each future email can be followed up with “Oi, oi…”


Let’s hope we’re 100% their type on paper email in the future! ???

If this sharing of a small moment in our world has got you thinking, then spend a bit more time with us and read our definitive guide to digital PR


Digital PR apps
1024 683 Jane Hunt

Want to be a digital PR pro? These 5 apps will help

When it comes to digital PR, no two days are the same…

Whether it’s researching opportunities, putting together proposals, finding the right media contacts, or keeping track of campaigns, you’ve probably got an ever-changing to-do list that shows no signs of getting any smaller.

But this is where you need to work smarter, not harder. More so than ever before, PR professionals are able to call upon a cavalcade of tools to not only manage their everyday duties, but also improve and optimise them for the very best results.

Here are 5 of our favourite apps for digital PR pros…


1. Trello

Free to $20.83 per user/month

This all-in-one organisational platform enables you to organise and prioritise projects with the greatest of ease. Trello’s uncluttered dashboard provides a transparent overview of what you’re working on, who else is involved, and what stage the project is at.

Handy features like checklists and deadlines ensure you’re always on top of everything, while the ability to collaborate and communicate with others is invaluable. You’ll only need to use Trello a few times before it becomes the very first app you open.

Digital PR app - Trello


2. Meltwater

Pricing on request

Whereas some digital PR apps prevent our minds from going mad, others do what the human brain is simply incapable of. Take Meltwater for example, which decodes billions of digital documents from the industry’s largest database of global media, social media, and online content to deliver big picture trends.

In other words, you’ll receive all of your media mentions in one place, which are backed-up by intuitive dashboards, invaluable insights, and one-click reports.

You’re also given the tools to connect with key influencers and generate ready-made reports.

Digital PR app - Meltwater


3. Canva


Even the most unimaginative or unartistic PR pro can create visually stunning graphics with the help of Canva. It’s also incredibly easy to use thanks to a drag-and-drop system for layouts, elements, texts, and uploads.

Next time you need to grab your audience’s attention with an Instagram post, impress stakeholders with an internal presentation, or excite attendees with an event invitation, head over to Canva.

Digital PR app - Canva


4. PressReader

Free (From $1 per paper)

PressReader is one of those apps you’ll find yourself using outside of work again and again. Along with delivering an endless stream of relevant news stories to your smartphone, it also enables you to keep track of client mentions in the print publications you don’t receive.

It also eliminates the need to manually clip articles (hang your head in shame if you’re still doing this). Simply search the name of your client, select the publications you’re interested in, and capture those all important press clippings.

Digital PR app - PressReader


5. Buffer

Free to US$399 per month

Quite possibly the easiest, most efficient tool for social media management. Buffer is a one-stop-shop for scheduling, posting, and switching between your Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts.

But that’s not all. You can also create social media calendars, schedule custom posts for each platform, track your top-performing content for future repurposing, and give your followers visual stimulation with native support for video and GIFs.

Digital PR app - Buffer


Need additional help? Check out our digital PR services to see how you could gain more relevant, authoritative links.

Is Digital PR Getting Harder?
1000 667 JBH

Is Digital PR getting harder? [Article]

Is digital PR getting harder? In some ways yes, but it’s not all bad news. Stay committed to good storytelling and embrace the winds of change – they bring a broad range of new and exciting opportunities.

For those of us working with brands, the question of whether or not it is getting harder to get coverage is an important one. As digital PR continues to evolve, just keeping up can feel like a challenge. With help from some key PR influencers, we address some of the most common fears about whether or not the industry is getting more difficult to navigate.


The first PR campaign on record was the work of Edward Bernays back in 1929. Down in the history books as the ‘father of public relations,’ Bernays was employed by Lucky Strike to convince women to smoke. Bernays wanted to show women that smoking cigarettes was not only respectable, but a step in the right direction in the fight for equality. He paid his secretary Bertha Hunt to smoke on a crowded street during the Easter Parade. While people were initially scandalised, other young women soon followed suit brandishing their ‘torches of freedom’.  A few ads claiming cigs were great for those watching their figures and BOOM –  Lucky Strike sales had doubled by the end of the year.

Today things are a bit harder. Back in the good old days the lunches were long and boozy, KPIs were an afterthought and getting coverage was a piece of cake. Then digital came along and everything got a bit murkier. As print slides ever more out of fashion, today most of us are out chasing those elusive backlinks – and they’re getting harder to catch all the time. Linked closely with content for SEO and link-building strategies, the rules for Digital PR seem to change on a day-by-day basis. People expect more compelling content, the pace of change is accelerating and yesterday’s news was forgotten before yesterday lunchtime.

For those of us working with brands, the question of whether or not it is getting harder to get links and coverage is an important one. As digital PR continues to evolve, just keeping up can feel like a challenge. Since launching as an agency back in 2013, we have often found ourselves discussing changes in the landscape and the state of the industry with our colleagues and clients. Has it really got harder to make an impact, or are we imagining it? What are the new challenges faced by those working in PR  and how can we turn them to our advantage?

Some things never change. Whether you specialise in link-building or traditional media relations, everything comes back to the essential need for strong storytelling. As for the rest of it, it’s simply a matter of navigating modern challenges and turning them into opportunities.

With help from some industry influencers, we guide you through some of the concerns shared by those in the industry and advise on how you can turn them to your advantage.



Things that once seemed new, now seem old

They grow up so fast. The internet is 28 years old now but many of us are old enough to remember when it was new and exciting. Online shopping is 23 years old, the blog is 23 and with ‘Dancing Baby’ being the best thing about 1996, the viral video is 21 – almost a responsible adult! As publishers started to wake up to the power of the internet, the volume of online content grew exponentially. This has its pros and cons.

 41% of people (and 33% of millennials) claim to feel overwhelmed by the sheer wealth of content choice on the internet.

With so much content out there, it’s getting hard to surprise audiences with something new.

Make it work for you Don’t rely on cheap tricks and trends with a fast-approaching expiration date. If you have to spend time on refining that angle or money on sourcing that quality data, do it. To ensure you tell a strong story, stay authentic to your brand and its voice but also think about the sites you are targeting and the issues that really matter to their audiences. Embrace new technologies like AR, VR and chatbots, but to keep those links flying in, focus on getting creative with existing formats. Make sure you have a good story to tell – then tell it in a creative way.

“Has public relations really changed or is it that we just have various new definitions for what is essentially traditional PR? Influencer outreach, content marketing, stakeholder management – these are all classed as more modern PR tactics but they’ve actually been about for years under the umbrella banner of ‘Communications’. Yes, the platforms on which we unleash various campaigns are now wider than ever before, but the arsenal of tools available to the modern day PR professional makes tracking this work far easier than in days gone by. Not dark social though, that’s a whole new barrel of giggles for modern PR folk.”



More background noise

With new agencies sprouting every five minutes and more content uploaded in an hour than anyone could read in a million years, competition is stronger than ever.

400 hours of video are shared online every minute – and that’s just one format. [Expanded Ramblings]

Make it work for you For standout content embrace creativity, weirdness and trends for stand-out content. Make the most of your in-house talent. If you make great video content, work tirelessly to stay up-to-date with trends and refine your skills even more and build your reputation in that area. Obvious but effective.

“It is possible to have too much of a good thing. Sorting the wheat from the chaff is a huge challenge for communicators now more than ever. Everybody has the ability to access so much material instantly without going through traditional media channels, filtered by ‘professionals’. Equally, this means the opportunity for PR people to get their content directly to audiences without passing it through filters.”



More channels and platforms

As audiences flock to more channels and platforms every day it can be hard to know where to invest your time and energy

Make it work for you There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to this one – your strategy should be tailored to the specific needs of the business. Rank social networks according to where the brand’s audience currently is and where they are likely to be in the future. Don’t just look at numbers but at engagement, demographic patterns, organic activity, alignment with the core product and content.

“New forms of media have supplemented and become a channel for old. Modern relations practitioners must be able to work across all forms of media, and paid and earned. Media relations is making way for influencer relations. Journalists in almost every category have been augmented by so-called influencers that have built their own networks on reputation.”



Harder-to-impress journos

Journalists are so bombarded with pitches and requests (see Challenge 2) that it’s hard to get a response – let alone a feature.

Make it work for you The biggest complaint from journalists is that brands and agencies are sending impersonal emails pitching ideas and content that bear little to no relevance on their site/ publication. Spend time personalising your emails and targeting your content well. Try making the most of new and exciting contacts by asking if there are any specific topics they want covered and shape your campaigns and content around their needs.

“More and more PR pros are chasing fewer and fewer journalists. Journalists are being swamped with ‘spam’ press releases. It’s time the PR industry took their research more seriously and tailored their pitches. 90% of what is distributed needs to be cut out and the other 10% sharpened up.”



Jaded audiences

As content online gets ever more varied, authentic and often bizarre – audiences have more or less seen it all.

Make it work for you Packaging your content in the right way works, promoting it innovatively helps but it will all be for nothing if the angle doesn’t work. Finding a strong, unique angle may take time, more time than any other part of the process, but it is time well spent. Gather your whole team together, even those not usually involved in the content-producing process and try out some new brainstorming techniques. Our current favourite is the ‘hat’ or parallel-thinking method.

“Being able to target particular demographics means we’re still able to ‘shock and awe’. If all you’re trying to do is shock someone, you first need to select an audience that will react to seeing such a thing. By segmenting your audience, you’re able to more accurately predict how people will react.”


We’re so busy!

Technology has created a fast-paced 24/7 environment where PR pros are under pressure to be flexible and strong in multiple disciplines.

Make it work for you Try partnering up with other people to help bolster each other’s skillsets and relieve some of the pressure. Embrace change and stay flexible and open-minded. PR involves more tasked with the advent of social and digital media – but that’s also why PR is becoming more credible as a discipline – more value. Monitoring and responding in real time to negative sentiment on social and digital channels has become the norm for PR practitioners, consumers might knowingly or unknowingly become the catalyst for a major scandal, look at the American Airlines fiasco.

“At JBH, we think about PR holistically – it’s no longer a separate discipline with different objectives. PR is now so closely aligned with SEO, social and influencer marketing, it makes sense to combine strategy and activity.”


We’re drowning in data

We know the importance of an analytical approach but it’s hard to know where to find tools that pull the PR value out of all the data.  

Make it work for you It already is! Today we hear news in real time and have access to everything we could possibly want to know about audience trends and behaviours.No one has time to analyse it all – pick three metrics (e.g. backlink profiles) that correspond to your goals and check on them religiously.

“PR is becoming more scientific and data-driven – this is a good thing. Content needs to be relevant, with clear benefits and actions. PRs are now starting to track the effect of their output and feed this back into doing things better.”


Our job roles are changing

We’re all under pressure to learn more skills, our roles are entangled and everyone is stepping on eachother’s toes.

Make it work for you No one can do it all. Work with your strengths and take the time to really listen to new professionals as well as those from other disciplines. Accept help and offer yours to others. Stay receptive to change, no matter how long you’ve been in the industry.

“Time served is the typical measure of competence in public relations. It’s a lousy metric in a business that is moving so quickly. I’ve 20 years in practice but my social media listening skills are a work in progress and I’m lousy at visual community management. The Global Alliance recently published a global competency model. It needs to be developed and adopted as a standard by organisations and industry bodies. Practitioners need to sign up to continuous learning.”

We hope this has helped answer any questions you might have about the changing nature of digital PR. Every industry changes but the rules of good PR remain the same. Keep your finger on the pulse. Deliver the right stories to the right people at the right time. Embrace change and keep good storytelling at the heart of everything you do.


Happy link-building!