Reaching out to build relationships: Tips for outreach success
A well-planned and professionally executed outreach strategy is a crucial component of modern SEO. Gino De Blasio, Click Consult's head of content, outreach and social, explains why and shares some tips for outreach success.
Many believe that link building has become harder than ever since Google released algorithm updates such as Penguin and Panda. However, at Click Consult, we believe the changes were needed to encourage site owners to cultivate an ethical link profile by offering unique content to visitors.
Creativity has always been at the heart of marketing. A creative outreach strategy can potentially earn valuable links by engaging key online audiences and influencers with great content.
This approach ensures that your content is seen by your target customers and attracts the kind of traffic you want to your site. Quality is crucial when it comes to link building. A few links from relevant sites of real importance are likely to have a far more beneficial effect on your search rankings than many low-quality links on suspicious sites.
We earn those links for our clients (and ourselves) by devising, writing and designing engaging sharable material and then placing that material in front of key influencers, such as:
Building press awareness in the mainstream media isn’t an easy task. A lot of effort is required to build relationships with target media outlets. We invest time in discovering the right sites and publications – national, local and trade – for each client and getting to know the work of the staff writers and news teams on each title.
With the right relationships in place, we ensure that each writer is offered content that is relevant to their own interests and specialisms, which further strengthens the relationship over
Popular bloggers tend to be people who are very knowledgeable on a particular subject, whose opinions are highly valued and respected among their engaged audience of readers. These readers will often share the blogger’s content via their own social accounts.
A key element of your outreach strategy is to locate influential blogs relevant to your industry and build relationships with the owners. We’re talking real relationships here. Read their blog regularly and get a grasp of their editorial style. Over time, point them to the work you’ve created on your own site and discuss the possibility of becoming a contributor. Pitch some ideas that will grab attention; ideas that are creative, original and haven’t been featured anywhere else.
Social media influencers
Social media is a great way to reach out to the right people, attract attention to
your own content, and approach industry influencers.
Remember, quality is the watchword when link building. Search for people that have a prominent voice in your industry and are well connected.
Different influencers will use different media: some may prefer to tweet while the more business-focused may spend the majority of their networking time on LinkedIn. Contact influencers and build relationships with them by engaging with their posts/ tweets, actively contributing to discussions. Only when established as part of that community can you start pointing them to your content and showing them that you have something of interest to say about your industry.
Where's all the content?
The most effective method of link building is creating your own unique, original content that’s designed to be both engaging and sharable. Why would people want to share, link to or tell others about content that says the same thing as everyone else and doesn’t offer anything of value to the reader/ audience?
Consistency is important when creating content, so it’s a good idea to create an editorial calendar full of ideas (tied to topical events or key dates in your company calendar) that span blogs, videos, images, infographics, and anything else within your creative means.
By planning your activity in this way you can help to ensure consistent standards in line with your brand values no matter what channel you are using. Coming up with ideas for fresh content can be demanding but there are a few classic ideas that, if managed correctly, never seem to grow old. Competitions, for example, are a fantastic way to not only generate some links but also attract a lot of traffic and attention for your brand.
You’ll need to familiarise yourself with terms and conditions when it comes to creating competitions if you want to use social channels such as Facebook to promote and spread the word. Once you’re up to speed, however, you’ll have the knowledge and skills to create some truly effective backlinks.
Remember though, that when running a competition you have to be as ethical and
transparent as possible, so make it clear how you choose your winners and that everything was conducted in a fair manner.
Here's our take on things
Another great way to gain inspiration for fresh content is to respond in an interesting way to what others are doing online or to take information published elsewhere and repackage it in a way that adds value for the target audience you are trying to engage.
That’s exactly what we did for ourselves when the search team at Click Consult devised The Short Cutts website, based on the influential video blogs of Google’s head of spam, Matt Cutts.
Since early 2009, Cutts has recorded a huge number of videos to help struggling site owners understand their site in search. While the videos are great, some are relatively long-winded.
With that in mind, we watched every Matt Cutts video to pull out simple, concise versions of his answers: The Short Cutts! Our site provides additional value by extracting the essential concepts from Cutts’ videos and transforming the information into condensed versions intended for easy-viewing.
Not only has the site gained a strong following of thousands, it has also earned the engagement and approval of Matt Cutts himself.
A feature of the site is its unique t-shirt filter that categorises the videos in accordance with the colour of t-shirt Cutts 2014, a video blog was posted of Cutts in which his t-shirt repeatedly changed colour throughout the duration of the clip.
In a post written on Hacker News, Cutts has admitted that the video was part of an April Fools’ Day joke that was intended to trick the classification system of the t-shirt filter on The Short Cutts webpage.
The search team at Click Consult has since responded to by creating a ‘psychedelic’ t-shirt category on The Short Cutts site to classify the spaced out shirt. More seriously, we have also recently added a Google language toolbar to the site in response to the demand to convert Cutts’ videos into different languages, with French currently taking the lead for the most popular conversion.
The enduring popularity of the site is a testament to the diligence and creative abilities of our organic search team here at Click Consult. That’s why we’ll continue to reach out with great content in the future on our own behalf and on behalf our clients.
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