When you need to talk publishers into placing your content or finding reasons they should mention you, you use the publisher outreach process to manage outreach efficiently
The first step in the SEO link building outreach program is to identify likely targets. We perform a backlink analysis on the websites of competitors to identify pages they link to within competitors websites. We use a number of tools to accomplish this including Majestic, SEMRush, as well as internal processes and best practices.
When the competitive research phase has completed we end up with a list of target websites and contact information with which to develop a link building program that provides links with high relevance, trust, and authority.
The approach we take to communicate with each prospective publisher is modified based on what we believe the needs of the publisher might be. For example, a blogger specializing in CNC tool manufacturers often wants reviews of tools or repair vendors. A mortgage company may want articles that curate other authors views on where they believe rates may be heading. We attempt to discern the needs of the publishers before outreach begins. With that information we develop outbound communications.
An outbound communications specialist manages initial outreach. Working with the outreach list she will modify email templates that have worked well for past projects. She will target publishers that may be amenable to guest posting contributions with targeted messages offering to provide very high quality custom online content at no charge. She won't "spam" publishers, but will instead send out a measured number of specific emails. We track the emails using a tracking pixel to know who has opened the email, who has clicked, and what they clicked upon. This helps us gauge level of interest.
People are busy. We will follow up with certain publishers at least once in order to assure they are not simply overlooking the email. We are offering a valuable service and will try to get a response if possible. On average 5 - 10% of outbound emails receive a positive response.
We usually offer third-party publishers a few headline choices. We have found that offering compelling headlines based at least partially on click bait practices helps them choose. Rather than the publisher coming up with the content we try to make it easy. Usually the publisher will choose from the choices we have provided. Sometimes they provide guidance like "please write the article much like those written on blog.example.com". Or, "please don't include a link to pornography, casinos, or cat juggling sites".
The outreach person has done her job at this point. She has located a publisher in a relevant niche that is willing to accept a guest post. She has gotten the publisher engaged and has a topic to write about. At this point a writer is engaged. The writer is a subject-matter expert chosen specifically for the assignment. She or he will research the target blog or publication and create content. Embedded in the content will be a link like the "cat juggling" link embedded in the paragraph above. The link will be appropriate for the content, have relevant anchor text, and will link to content relevant to both the article and the anchor text. It will also link to a sub-page of our clients site, thereby passing "link juice".
The guest post we write and place must have alignment. The site on which the article is placed must be topically relevant to our clients needs. The article we write for the website must fit naturally into the topic-space as well. The anchor text we place in the article must be relevant to the article and to the target page on our clients website. Finally, the target page on our clients site must be relevant to the anchor text and the article linking to it. In short: it all needs to make sense.
A web page placed on a third-party site tends not to be promoted. It just sits there. The publisher normally doesn't promote guest posts, so some promotion is almost always justified. We promote web pages on third-party publisher sites using social media, inbound links and sometimes Wikipedia or other citations. Our objective is to get traffic moving toward the page, and ideally to have links and citations begin to occur naturally.
While the writer has been creating great content and the outreach specialist has been offering the content to publishers, the basic outreach program has been progressing. New publishing targets are found and the process begins anew. Over time a number of targeted links with relevant anchor text on high authority pages cause the target pages on our clients site to begin rising in search results.
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Image credit: Min An