Many people are fearful of outreach link building work and having the door slammed hard in their face, but we all know a well executed outreach campaign can have a great return on investment. There is a lot of misinformation in the blogosphere and hopefully in this short post I can dispel some of the myths I often read online.
- You must have a Pre-exisiting Relationship – a lot of link building posts advise that you must do some form of networking with your link prospect first. And the “cold-pitch” is the worst thing you can ever do in your career. I am a firm believer that relationships certainly increase the likelihood of your link being placed but a great pitch will always beat some tepid relationship. Personalisation is the key to a good pitch so take some time to find out some basic information.
- You have to pay to play – you don’t always have to pay or offer payment in kind for your site or product to be featured. Beyond the fact Google don’t like paid links, the FTC requires bloggers and celebrities to disclose of payments received for endorsing a product online. It’s very important as a link builder to understand the difference between editorial content & advertorials. My belief is that outreach is more about PR than paid media.
- Content is King – don’t get me wrong I am bit by the content bug & understand the power of of a well executed piece of content in marketing your business online; but let’s be honest content is only another piece of currency for your outreach campaign, whether that’s a video, infographic or guest post. To take your outreach to the next level make the blogger you are pitching to the king. Think about what they want to get out of the partnership; not just the content you’re hoping to put in their way. I have found exclusive interviews & give-aways are popular with bloggers
- All Hail the Mommy Blogger – so many link builders and outreach professionals praise at the foot of the “mommy blogger” temple, but the thing is the “mommy blogger” is actually a mythical creature much like a Unicorn. Lots of people see “mommy bloggers” as a “link cash cow” as their lifestyle blogs often cover a wide variety of topics and categories from iPad apps to food to home furnishings and clothes. It’s quite common for “mommy bloggers” to want some form of payment for their work and I have found more success with bloggers who have a long tail lower ranked niche blog and have never been kissed by an agency.
There you go I promised it would be a short post, but I hope it has gone some way to putting to bed a few of the outreach myths that we see so often on other SEO blogs. I would love to hear your feedback in the comments.
I wanted to write this blog post as a response to some posts from people on internet marketing blogs and forums who feel that the Penguin Update has ruined their easy link building efforts. Well guess what it has. The barrier to entry for link builders was lowered with the simplicity of cheap blog networks and automated tools such as Xrumer and Scrapebox which can build thousands of links per day with very little user interaction. IM Forums are littered with SEO’s crying that it’s just too hard to obtain editorial/contextual links from webmasters or bloggers and guess what I’m happy. A skill set I’ve worked at over the past few years to develop has just become even more in demand.
Well I’m going to tell you why YOU suck as a link builder.
- It’s all about YOU YOU YOU – I’ve seen your outreach emails, I get them every day in my spam folder and the ones that slip through are pure narcissistic egotistical waffle. Nowhere in your outreach efforts do you offer any form of benefit to the webmaster to link to your site. It doesn’t have to be an exceptionally long piece of prose but a few bullet points to explain why a link to your site would be of interest to their community would probably increase your response rates 10 fold.
- Pay it Forward – Your responsibility as a link builder grown adult is to establish some sort of relationship and invest in it before expecting someone you’ve never met to do you a favour? Come on, grow up and welcome to the real world. Subscribe to your prospects blog or Twitter Feed. Comment on their blog posts, share their stuff on your social media accounts and answer their questions on Quora. If you have anything about you the first email you send to them won’t be a begging letter for a link but actually offering them some feedback, advice or technical assistance. Just remember when you are link building you are dealing with a REAL person with REAL emotions and not a website.
- Put the hours in – there was a reason you were paying a few dollars per link to BMR. You haven’t worked a single day in your life. The best link builders hard working, they get into the office early just to Skype with a blogger in a different time zone. Their mobile devices are buzzing day and night with emails to let them know their prospects are checking in nearby on Foursquare or have Tweeted a question. If you want to succeed at link building you need to work hard…
What do you say to a failed Link Builder?
- Y U NO Tenacity? – Wait a minute you just sent someone who probably receives hundreds of emails every day, one email? Do yourself a favour and if you haven’t received a reply in a few days send another. What you didn’t get a response the second time? Pick up the phone, dial in their telephone number and speak to them. A good link builder won’t fall at the first hurdle and if after all this effort they still don’t link to your infographic on kittehs, make sure you keep their information for future link opportunities.
- You’re just playing a numbers game – you scrape a bunch of contact info from Google and then just blindly fire out emails. Guess what, you’ve probably got more chance of winning the lottery than getting a link from an authority website in your niche with that method. Research and find the right people by asking yourself a few questions:
How many social followers do they have?
How many RSS Subscribers do they have in a search with Google Reader?
Who are they connected to by checking with tools such as Mentionmapp or Klout?
Will they link to me? Have they linked to anything similar before?
If you follow the advice I give above you’ll start #winning at Link building. We all reach points in our projects where we would rather blame a bunch of external factors than actually look at the things we can have an effect on. Just like any marketing effort link building doesn’t just magically happen, we need to plan, measure, execute and refine our processes.