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3 min read

outREACH Conference 2019: Getting the Biggest Linking Coverage in the Hardest Markets – James Finlayson

This article was updated on: 07.02.2022

James starts his presentation with a shameless flex from Verve and their coverage across five thousand links and you know what, I don’t blame him. There are some absolute bangers in there and it’s great to see some lovely digital PR examples such as the Lens store gigapixel 24 hours in London.

James is discussing how people think that they can’t get links in their industry, because of the following factors:

  • Their industry is boring
  • There’s too much regulation
  • They have too much of a B2B focus
  • OR they’re in a very competitive industry

James begins to break each point down, let’s get to it.

1. I work in a boring industry

James says most people are trying to sell boring things unless you’re HBO or Bentley, I’d argue the former sold very boring things with the final season of Game of Thrones, but I get his point. Using the example of the Unicorn League for an accountancy business, which they created because they focused on what the public cares about. Content can allow people to look super smart and share niche knowledge to make them look clever to their pals. “Base your research on customers’ motives, not their declared needs.”

2. Tight regulation

James says medicine and gambling, for example, are industries where regulation is super tight. In these industries, you really have to avoid the product and purely focus on health. Verve highlighted the stress of rush hour most people can understand and how we go to bars to fix our issues (this one was a bit too real). They liked this idea, then they thought about where they could get data from. Twitter is where they found people venting their stresses in an open dataset. TensiStrength is a clever bit of tech which analyses stress levels from text, great find from Verve here, I’m intrigued what it would say about my life. It passed regulation as it was public data, anonymised and a credible academic was making the claims. They picked apart various angles and got a buttload of national coverage.

Cheeky little tip: Use annual reports from companies and you can pinch quotes from CFOs for example and show how your campaign marries up to that.

3. Because we’re too B2B

Start by looking to get stories on larger publications to then get syndication downwards into more niche publications. Ultimately, don’t just focus on B2B publications is what was said in this section, stories are going to be better for the client on larger publications.YouGov ratings also show you associated topics in niches, like the link between brands and hobbies.

4. My industry’s so competitive

Your industry is only competitive if you let it be. James then talked about the travel industry. They made a bunch of tools relating to travel for a client over the years. They tackled different categories within travel, for example, music or film to make their stories stand out in a crowded market. They aren’t competing then, they’re doing something totally different.

5. It wouldn’t work in my country

Ideas may not translate well and the media landscape is vastly different across countries.

James looked at the top 20 websites in each country ranking for this industry. He saw that you needed the most links in the UK out of the countries analysed to outrank competitors at over 115k, but in Finland at the other end of the scale it’s abou5 5.5k. With that in mind, your goals are different per country.

Rankings rarely increase from just one campaign. Anyone can have ‘one’ successful campaign. James is saying that everyone is coming together to tackle country barriers, tackle any problems, it’s a good time to be in the industry, I agree James.

Data is Plural a weekly newsletter of useful datasets – get on that everyone. James also recommends the content curated newsletter too as well as the Big SEO slack channel. Crack on with all them people.