Why a PR mention from The Guardian is so much better than one from the BBC

One of the first things I do when I get to my desk in the morning is to browse popular media sites for small business stories. I like to see what makes the news and understand the many different reasons why small businesses get media coverage.

This morning, I came across this article on the BBC site, “Could tech reduce food waste and help feed the world?” – an interesting article about a food sharing app, Olio:


A great article from Tom Jackson that I’m sure the co-founders of Olio (http://olioex.com/  ) were delighted with – but unfortunately there was no link to the app so that readers could explore it for themselves.

I’m in the business of encouraging editorial links so I am a little bit biased but I believe that articles with live links are so much better than those without links. Here are 4 reasons why:

  • An editorial link is better for the reader – because they can click through and explore the app (or the business) if it is of interest.
  • An editorial link is better for the business – because in return for sharing the story, they’ll get many more people clicking through and visiting their site.
  • An editorial link is better the publication (in this case the BBC) – because the reader experience is so much better as they don’t have the frustration of searching for the app.
  • An editorial link is better for the cause of reducing food waste – which was of course the main focus of the article.

Contrast the BBC article with the coverage the same app received from the Guardian newspaper, in this article, Future of Food:how we share it, written by Katie Forster and Rachel David:


Anyone reading this article would have been able to click through to the app and see exactly what it was about; the app would have got more relevant traffic to the site and more users as a result; usefully, the article included editorial links to similar or competing apps which would have informed interested readers even more.

I think from just a reader’s point of view, the experience provided by The Guardian is so much better.

Now, of course, the BBC does on occasions link to businesses that are featured on the site – and on many occasions, the Guardian doesn’t link to businesses it writes about.

So if you are in a PR or SEO business, winning coverage is great but it’s even better when you get an editorial link.

However just like you can’t guarantee PR coverage, you can’t guarantee getting an editorial link.

But I do think the onus is on the business to create something that is worth linking to. I’ve given some more examples in this article on the Majestic blog – 4 Reasons Your Competitors Get Media Coverage (And You Don’t).

I’ve also written about 10 Ways to Increase the Odds of Getting Editorial Links and 14 Things to Do When You Get Great PR but No Editorial Links.

In the past, I have asked journalists in the Financial Times, CNNMoney and the Washington Post why sometimes they give a link and sometimes they don’t. Their answers suggest that they often don’t know.

Some media publications have a policy of not linking out to other sites, others seem to give editorial links on a whim – but increasingly they give links to businesses that create something that is ‘irresistible’ for a journalist to link to.

Like in this example from the Washington Post, ‘Motivate young savers with a bit of time travel to old age’.


The article links to an app FaceRetirement, created by the bank, Merrill Edge. The app uses the readers webcam to take a photo of themselves and then gives them a slider bar to show what you probably look like in 10 years, 20 years, 30 years or more.

This photo was created from a young woman probably in her 20s. I find that pretty compelling – and irresistible to link to!

Have you been successful in getting an editorial link?

If so, please tell us about it in the comments below – or even better, drop me a line at ken[@]mcgaffin.com and I could interview you for a future post.

New Link Building and Online PR Course

Get Links Pro – our new updated course will soon be available. You can add your name to the waiting list here!


Why old press releases still attract links


https://youtu.be/-eh9Khu05gA Press releases are time specific and one of the first things you see in any release is the date. So it’s easy to think that after a day or so they’ve served their purpose, and are no longer that useful. But press … [Continue reading]

59 lists you really must have to build quality links


(with Garrett French of CitationLabs.com) Compiling lists of all kinds is integral to the work of a link builder. Not only do lists make the job easier, they save a lot of time and make sure you don’t miss easy opportunities. Both Garrett and I … [Continue reading]

Are video interviews the ultimate link magnet? (with Andrew Warner of Mixergy.com)


Video interviews with experts are a terrific way to create outstanding content that attracts a lot of links. The technology required is simple–what is important is a process that ensures the end-product is interesting for people to watch and want to … [Continue reading]

FREE 12-part Link Building Course!


To be really effective at link building, you’ve got to have a reliable link analysis tool. Not only should the tool provide you with an endless supply of link prospects, it should be able to tell your the quality of those prospects: it should be able … [Continue reading]

Video: How Online PR adds a new dimension to your link building

Here's some great examples of editorial links from online PR. All the examples were gathered in just 30 minutes on a single day - November 5th. In the video, I explain 6 archetypal stories that journalists use time and again - use them in your … [Continue reading]

8 Lessons for SEOs from Muck Rack’s “Today’s Journalist” Survey


(This article was originally published in my regular column on SearchEngineWatch.com) One of the things that SEO and PR have in common is that many practitioners in both industries are self-taught. People in them tend to learn by doing -- just jump … [Continue reading]

3 Killer Survey Questions to Generate Useful Content For a Link Building Campaign


The quality of the content you create is influenced by the quality of the material on which it is based. However, that material may not be complete – a client's knowledge of their own customers is often far from perfect. A customer survey can be a … [Continue reading]

The Blarney Zone – Online PR Video Course

Journalists want news. Businesses want coverage.  When those two needs meet, you’re in ’The Blarney Zone’ and you get a great piece of news coverage. But often businesses forget about the essential ingredient – … [Continue reading]

Is Spectacular Content The Only Content Worth Creating? (Video)

In this video I want to explore the idea of spectacular content – content so good that it will attract links – often without asking. I want to tell you what it is, share a great example and give you 10 lessons that you can apply to your … [Continue reading]