A former newspaper editor and director of marketing in the high-tech industry, I am now a professional keynote marketing speaker as well as The Promotion Fix columnist for The Drum and a member of Toastmasters International. I use my prior careers in journalism and marketing to show businesses, conferences, and universities the true present and future of the marketing industry as a neutral observer with nothing to sell. My website: http://www.samueljscott.com/marketing-speaker/
First, you need to stop thinking about SEO as a "bag of tricks" to rank more highly in Google. "Will this get my website to rank more highly?" is the wrong question to ask in 2016.
The better questions to ask:
"What does my target audience want on a website, and how can I be the best one to give them that in the best way?"
"How can my website delight my target audience?"
Google is increasingly rewarding websites that provide a good user experience. If Google ranks websites highly that annoy people or return bad information, then that makes Google look bad in the minds of searchers.
In that context, hreflang tags are meant to provide a visitor with the optimal version of the site that it tailored to his or her country and language. So, in a way, it may help rankings in those locations if people have better, individualized user experiences. But you've got to start by looking at this issue in the right context.
Hello! I'm a Moz and TechCrunch contributor, and PR and publicity campaigns (those are not the same thing) are a speciality of mine. If you'd like a free 101 resource, here is an introduction to publicity strategy and the overall method that people such as me use:
If you'd like more advanced advice, feel free to schedule a call! Yes, I can give you some advice on finding and reaching out to the right journalists and bloggers.
Learn everything you can about what's now being called "growth hacking."
1. First, its all about the product. Create a minimum viable product (MVP) -- like a prototype -- and then present it to potential customers. Ask what they like, what they don't like, what they'd like to see, whether they'd pay for it, and how much they'd pay. You want to establish a perfect product-market fit so that it sells itself.
2. Integrate marketing into the product. Hotmail added a signup link into the footer of everyone's e-mail. Dropbox and other SaaS products offer referral bonuses to users.
3. Experiment with different marketing strategies to see what brings the most users at the lowest cost. Spend a little money on online ads, PR, and every other tactic to see what works the best. Once you see what delivers the best ROI, then pour all your money into that tactic.
Good luck! Let me know if you'd like to talk further.
PS -- I'm doing exactly this in my role as Director of Marcom at a high-tech startup.