× Close

Please tell us about yourself so we can do our best for you.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

MozCon 2019: Shannon McGuirk – How To Supercharge Link Building With A Digital PR Newsroom


Continuing on with our Ignite Search MozCon blog series, where we discuss some of the most influential and informative presentations at the 2019 MozCon Digital Marketing conference in Seattle, Washington. In this week’s blog post we will be discussing Shannon McGuirk’s presentation ‘How to Supercharge Link Building with a Digital PR Newsroom’

Who Is Shannon McGuirk

Before jumping into the presentation, we would first like to introduce Shannon McGuirk. Shannon is the Head of PR and Content at Aira Digital, a marketing agency in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, England that provides an array of digital marketing services including SEO , PPC, Content, Social, Web Design and many more! She started her career as a traditional PR and has now transition to developing creative content campaigns, digital PR strategies and media relations/ link building.shannon-mcguirk-speaker

Now For The Presentation Details

Shannon begun the presentation by comparing two news editorial pieces. 1948’s Daily Express editorial piece on a global historical event – the birth of Prince Charles, and 2015’s Daily Express digital editorial piece on the continuation of the family line, Meghan Markle’s announcement of the birth Price Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.

daily express 2015 meghan markledaily express 1948 prince charles

She revealed these publications shared four facts:

            1. Baby’s sex
            2. Baby’s weight
            3. Mothers and baby’s health
            4. Where the baby was born

In addition, Shannon revealed that these publications were planned 6 months prior its released. This approach is what Shannon refer to as ‘Planned Editorial’, where by editors have decided what the publication would entail based on a specific time frame.

Shannon claimed that link building and digital campaigns today are geared towards Planned Editorial. And should consider two other very vital approaches – Reactive Editorial and Planned Reactive Editorial.

Planned Reactive Editorial refers to features written by journalists on a topic that ties to a seasonal event or theme that we know will be covered in a specific timeframe, however remains inconclusive

Reactive Editorial refers to features written by journalists in the ‘here and now’ and are typically unplanned and can’t be predicted.

All Three Types of Writing

Shannon suggested all three writing styles should be considered when developing a content-driven link building campaign. She explained by primarily focusing on a Planned Editorial approach, we would miss out on 66& of links, and gives way to inconsistent results.

three writing styles pr editorialThese inconsistent results – as many digital marketing specialists are familiar with, when it comes to link building can subsequently put digital campaign budgets at risk and devalue the importance of link building.

Launching a Hero Campaign

In order to make sure we’re maximising link building opportunities and tying into all three types of writing, we have to be launching hero campaigns that tie into planned editorial and then sitting a level underneath this, we should be outreaching evergreen, attributable and newsworthy campaigns to tie into the steady drum beat of the media.

hero campaign

Shannon explained that the most successful planned editorial campaigns are based on insight. Insight is defined as to gained an accurate and deep understanding of someone or something. She suggested that digital marketing specialists alike to seek an understanding of the brand’s audience and work with it. In attempts to bridge the gap between PR and SEO, she shared three areas to focus on – Planning, Resources & People.

  1. Planning: There are four main planning sessions you need to set up for the digital PR newsroom:
    • Scrum meetings – these meetings are typically in the morning and allow your team to review current trends. These trends from numerous sources including Reddit and awareness days where by will enable your editors to create content via a Reactive Editorial approach.
    • End of week reviews – these meetings will encourage planning content in advance allowing your team to understand and balance launches of ‘hero’ Planned Editorial campaigns and Planned Reactive campaigns so that your team isn’t oversaturating the press whilst also providing essential media assets ready to go.
    • Monthly editorial meetings – these meetings ensure content and necessary activities are mapped out allowing the implementation of all three areas of journalistic writing.
    • Quarterly reviews – these meetings can help spot trends and insights that can be brought forward into the following months.

planning icon

  1. Resources: The meetings above are structured around a number of documents and tools:
    • Master media list – can provide your team with assets such as key contacts and specific publications.
    • Content calendar – can map out all of the awareness days to target for link building as well as identifying the days to launch your campaigns
    • Quarterly reviews – should include an evaluation template such as a success matrix, which can visually comprehend the effectiveness of your campaign and the necessary resources required that lead to its success.
    • Tools – can provide insightful data and information assist your team in the development of your campaigns.

resources icon


  1. People: your digital PR newsroom can be set up on two roles – storytellers and story makers
    • Story makers – ideate, design and develop campaigns
    • Storytellers – create media assets, launch campaigns and undertake reactive outreach


people icon

What We Can Take Away From This Presentation

The digital PR newsroom, if implemented correctly and efficiently, does provide a solution to the ongoing challenges we face as digital PRs, SEOs and link builders. By tapping into each and every sector of journalistic writing we are opening up our chances to increase ROI for clients and deliver consistent results.

Recent Blog Posts