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3 min read

Brighton SEO: Alexandra Lever – How partnerships and sponsorships can help your search marketing efforts

This article was updated on: 07.02.2022

Alexandra Lever (@alexlever) from MEC opened the Link Building session with a talk on the benefits of partnerships can achieve the best SEO value for clients and brands.

The importance of partnerships

Alex started by outlining how successful partnerships are borne out of an association of values between two parties, and the transfer of these values and audiences from the partner to the brand, and vice versa. The aim is a mutually beneficial partnership that strengthens both parties.

She also emphasized the need for a strong, extensively thought-out strategy behind every partnership that outlines the benefits for each party and ensures that clear goals and objectives are understood by both parties.

Partnerships: the process

Get to know clients

Alex spoke about the importance of talking to clients and getting to know their challenges, USPs and aims in order to allow partnership inspiration to flourish.


Inspire potential partners by finding common audiences and goals between themselves and your client.

Be curious

Have your eyes open to what grabs your attention in everyday life and use this in your 9 to 5 role to inspire partnership opportunities.

The fundamentals:

Alex emphasised the importance of having the following in place before embarking on any partnership campaign:

  • Trust and Expectations
  • Transparency
  • Complementary Audience
  • Mutual Benefits
  • Willingness


Partnerships in practice

Alex used a real life case study to illustrate this process, namely the #tracksonthetracks campaign that she worked on with Great Western Railway.

The campaign was borne of out of data that demonstrated an increase in festival goers and music streaming and the fact that the client’s rail network passed many festival venues.

The idea of targeting fans with a Spotify playlist was born.

BUT….how could a rail provider talk about music with authority?

Q: How could a rail provider talk about music with authority?

A: By partnering with an authority on the topic, NME.

#tracksonthetracks was born into a piece of content that offered real value to the user by merging music and travel information and which was hosted on the client’s website. It was then outreached to relevant bloggers and influencers in the industry.


  • 80 pieces of coverage.
  • Increased time on site by 129%.
  • Associated brand with a new audience and increased traffic.

Partnerships on a smaller budget

Alex acknowledged the cost of the previously discussed campaign and offered another case study, which was executed on a budget for a community project that wanted to engage new members.


Alex talked the auditorium through the process.

Local knowledge – local groups contacted to find opportunities for campaigns and the opportunity to transform space into a community garden presented itself.

Pick up the phone – further partnerships were then made on the principle of value exchange

Do the leg work – whether it was research in the office, or transforming the garden – the campaign took time and energy.

Capture and record – work on the campaign was documented throughout the process to enable successful and engaging outreach at a later point.

Sell-in – this documented process was then sold-in to the local media and charity publications in the form of copy and images.


The campaign was in-keeping with the target audience and the client’s aims, it also achieved:

  • new audience reached
  • new media contacts
  • 19 pieces of coverage
  • 121,000 engagements on Facebook

Partnerships: top tips

Alex rounded up by giving her top tips for partnership campaigns, which included:

  • On-site content hub – where will the content be hosted?
  • Report the ‘ifs’ from the start – manage client expectations.
  • Set up the wider business for the campaign – who else can lend their skill set to benefit the project?
  • Internal linking and keywords – set up tracking and keywords – make sure that your cool content can be easily found!
  • Media release – a carefully planned and prepared media release pays.