04/05/22 Becky Stead

How to encourage journalists to include your links

Using links in digital PR

In short, links can be considered as votes for your site, where the sites with the most ‘votes’ win. But, not all votes are equal, and a focus on quality, relevant linking websites will be of the most benefit to your search visibility.

One of the most exciting ways to earn links is through digital PR. But while the creation of newsworthy content for the purpose of earning coverage is a lot of fun, encouraging the journalists who use your content to link to your website can be difficult.


Why don’t journalists always link?

In SEO, the websites that link to us are indicators of our own website’s quality and tells Google what and if we deserve to rank.

Journalists (and other webmasters) understand that linking to a site passes the value to that site, so they seek to limit the number of sites to which they are willing to pass that value. It’s also why practices around buying links were born – leading to Google’s introduction of the ‘nofollow’ tag.

By linking out, journalists are also giving their visitors a reason to leave their site, you’re going to have to give them a really good reason to do that – which means creating something worthy of a visit. This means that, as well as thinking about why the journalist should link, you also need to be thinking about why the user should want to visit your content.

All of this means that the reason journalists don’t link comes from a good place; they don’t want to show favour to any brands to avoid bias, so many publications apply a blanket ‘no linking’ rule as standard.

How to encourage links in your campaigns

As noted already, links are an important part of your search marketing efforts so you’ll want to gain as many high quality, relevant links as possible from the campaigns you run.

One of the most simple ways to do this through digital PR is to include links in your press releases. If you’re sending a press release to a journalist to outline your story, there is a chance the journalist will use the release verbatim, or at least take information from it to inform their article.

A good tip for this is that if you can naturally include the link in your press release, the journalist is far more likely to include the link, too. And that’ll only work if you’re linking to something which genuinely adds to or enhances the story.

Creating link-worthy content

While we might argue that journalists should credit their source, that credit is technically as valid in the form as an unlinked mention as it would be in a link. So, if we want journalists to link, they have to have a good reason to do so.

Link-worthy content is anything that adds to the story you’re pitching and might include:

  • Extended data or research
  • Methodology behind a study
  • Terms and conditions for a competition
  • Additional examples e.g. press release is ‘top 10’ but campaign page is all 100
  • Campaign page includes an interactive asset that is only represented as a static in your release

When creating your campaign, you really need to think about what reason the journalist would have to link through - is it worth it for them and their readers? 


Becky Stead

Digital PR Specialist, dedicated to producing newsworthy PR campaigns and creating unique tactics to build links worldwide.