Outreach and link building should form part of your overall marketing campaign (along with keyword research and on-site seo) to build natural links pointing to your website. But in order to build these links you need to form trust and of course provide useful content that adds value. If you don’t have these two things then it becomes harder to build those links naturally.
You’ve probably heard the saying ‘content is king‘ and it’s true, this is a great starting point when you think about how you want more people to come across your website. If you create content that people want to read and share then you’re half way there to building that trust and adding that value.
However, sometimes you need a helping hand getting your content or product seen by others, and with so much information on the internet available it can be hard to make yours stand out. Having a few outreach strategies in place will help achieve this:
Create an outreach list
Make a list of the genres and audience you believe will fit the content and theme of your site. From here, you can start to form a list of different prospects you think will be interested in your content. Don’t go too far off topic and add any sites you can find as this is time consuming and likely won’t prove successful.
The outreach list will consist of sites and should also include influencers who perhaps don’t have a website but exist mainly on social media. These are incredibly useful people to reach out to as although they may not directly link to your content, they could share the content through their channels and help get more eyes on your piece which in turn can result in links.
To help create this list, we use a tool called BuzzStream. This tool is perfect for collating all prospects in one place and to keep track of communications. If you’re happiest with a spreadsheet, Google Docs is also fine.
Make contact through social media
So you have your list of sites and influencers, the next step is to decide who you can reach out to direct and who you should spend time making contact with before you send the content.
This is dependent on your time scale, but if you have the time, try and reach out to the contact through social media a few times before sending them the content. Create a dialogue with them that is natural, retweet their content or ask them questions. When you come to email them, they might be more open to receiving the content and sharing it. Be natural!
Create your email
Pay attention to your subject line, this is the first thing your contact will see, if it looks uninteresting (or spammy) the chances of them clicking on that email is low and it will simply end up straight in their deleted folder before being read…opportunity lost.
Within your email you should be clear and honest about what you are asking of them, if you want them to share it on social media or their website then don’t be afraid to ask.
Demonstrate why you believe your link on their website is useful to their audience, if you know what their audience values and needs, then you can show how your link will provide that value. Taking a few moments to read through some of their past articles or things they share on social media will prove useful.
One simple, but often forgotten, step is to make sure you try and address the email to a named person (not always possible), even if you have to delve a little deeper into the website or click on their social media handles you’re likely to find a name of one of them.
Sites and influencers like everyone have busy lives and their inboxes can be overflowing, but don’t be afraid to send a chaser message. Contact them through social media if you think your email isn’t being seen, often you’ll get a faster response this way than by re-emailing.
Don’t be scared of rejection. As mentioned above, webmasters (especially those that are in demand) will receive many emails asking them to share or link to content and they simply can’t do it all.
Become an influencer to your peers
There is no doubt that if you’re continually present in social media conversations related to the type of product you are wanting to share with others that this will pay off when the time comes to share certain content with them. Become your own influencer in the field, share relevant content of others with your peers, show your worth and experience in conversations and be heard. This type of strategy is best built over a longer period of time and by likely someone committed to the company rather than an external agency (unless they so happen to have a shared interest of the audience so that it remains natural), but done right should pay off in the longer term.