I have used this idea for many years now and it has worked wonders for me. With this strategy you will have to set a set of rules to make this effective, but the key to success is to gamify this strategy for department heads to have a reason to help you. The bigger the company the juicer the incentive from my experience.
HARO is my main tool to deploying this successful strategy. We know how good HARO is for SEO’s and PR’s but little has ever been done in distributing this responsibility around others that may be able to answer the questions they need a lot more accurately with a link back to your website.
I should be writing here that company profits should be why they care, but we know that it’s not about that at all. It’s really not that they don’t care but most dept heads have their own goals and expectations set in which take about 80% – 90% of their time.
That extra 10% is valuable to them, How do I make it interesting enough for them to invest that 5% that is needed to meet my own goals? That is were I needed to make the decision on how I could elevate this opportunity geared towards their priority and needs.
One other big opportunity is showing them impact over time. This helps them understand that the little time they are investing is helping the company as a whole rank for important terms that matter to the bottom line. When review time comes around, they will be able to show how they attributed to the companies success.
There is one major value to department heads that is really impactful for their career. This value is based on name recognition that helps them appear as a brand representative in a very authoritative manner. It’s an easy boost in “ego” and opportunity for influence in future editorials. It really helps in making it easier for PR teams to engage these same people for bigger and better media.
For some department heads it is still not enough, Which is why I created the win a cruise competition that is primarily paid by using your own marketing budget. The idea is that each quarter a department head can win a cruise that can be used for themselves or a team member based on won media from HARO opportunities. This really engages them to “want” to become experts for these HARO requests.
Any PR or SEO will tell you that positioning links are super important and response is key. Make sure that your department heads know what your brand voice is, Only submitting to opportunities that present an expert write up about their current position. A great example is the IT manager responding to cyber Security expert requests. This could get risky on the PR side, but with the right rules and having them ignore the “lifestyle” request this can blow up your opportunities with real links that matter.
Looking at the opportunity, it may seem risky on the PR side but with the proper motivations it can help you scale link building as a whole separate strategy that is semi-automated. Give your department heads something of value and they will want to be part of your mission.