6 Link Outreach Tips & Tricks

Here at BuzzStream, we keep our ear to the ground about the latest and greatest in content promotion and outreach techniques.  Here are 6 cool tips and tricks we’ve seen lately:

Use Custom Search Engines or the Site: Modifier to Learn More About Your Prospect Site

When I look at a new site for outreach, I ask myself, “Have they written about me before? How about my competitors? Have they written about my main topics previously?” 

Now, I could read the whole blog, and for particularly high-value prospects, I’ll take this approach.  Otherwise, I want to get the ‘greatest hits’ of my brand, my competitors, and my relevant topics.

To do this, I’ll use a site: query, with my brand name, my competitor’s brand names, and some relevant keywords.  (When we do this for BuzzStream, we look for things like keywords like “influencer marketing” – you’ll have to play with the keywords to understand what’s too broad versus too narrow.) 

Now I have a digest of what that blogger has written about my brand, my competitor’s brand, and my outreach themes, so I can refer to these in outreach.

Engage with People that Pin Your Content

While finding and engaging with people who follow your brand or client but haven’t yet linked on Twitter is well documented, this method is extensible to any social network.  It’s harder to implement and requires a little legwork, but it can be very, very valuable, especially to brands with a strong Pinterest presence.

Download the Pinterest Bookmarklet from Aaron Friedman’s website.  This bookmarklet gives you a list of users that have repined your content.

Take this list of users, and make a list of their websites listed in their Pinterest profile.  Throw out Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social profiles.  (You could outsource this to something like Mechanical Turk or oDesk, or automate this with a little XPath magic.  You could even find someone from oDesk to write a script for you, and cover both bases.)  

Now mash that list up with your inbound links from Google Webmaster Tools, Open Site Explorer, or AHrefs.  Use VLookup or a SQL merge to make a list of all of the Pinner’s sites that don’t link to you.

Now you have a list of people who have engaged with your content on Pinterest (and are at least somewhat interested in your brand).  You can put this list into your BuzzStream account and begin reaching out to these people, offering guest posts, product reviews, and other linkable assets.

Turn Linkers into Evangelists

Building on the last tip, it’s easier to convert someone who already likes you into an evangelist than to convert a cold contact into a link or social share.  So, it makes sense to identify people who are already interested in your client or company, and build strong relationships with them as part of your process.

You can find people who have sent your site traffic – thru Google Analytics, or tools like LinkStant and EngageFinder – and consider working further with these people.  Would they like to be an affiliate?  Can you guest post for them?  Can they guest post for you?  What can you do to help that person achieve their goals?  If all else fails, through some swag from your last trade show into a box, and send them a card saying thanks for writing about you.  

But Matt, you might think, why do I care if they already linked to me? 

Well, they can link to another page – perhaps a deeper page or a category page. They could write about you in their email newsletter.  They can give you more than a link, but actually become a promoter.  They could write about you on another site.  They could tweet about you.  They could become an affiliate and work to send converting traffic to you on an ongoing basis.  There are lots of positive marketing outcomes evangelists can achieve – they make links that build links. 

I recommend monitoring you or your clients analytics on an ongoing basis, and find new referrers to engage with.

Set a Launch Date for Content

(This is a great tip I learned at SearchLove Boston from Distilled’s Rob Ousbey.)

Set a launch date for your big content.  This naturally divides outreach into 4 stages:

  • Research/Ideation/Co-Creation
  • Pre-Outreach/Relationship Building
  • Launch
  • Follow Up/Clean Up

These stages align the outreach team’s work with the creative/content team.  They also give a natural structure and goals to the outreach team’s work, far better than “Go get some placements.”

Ask for Referrals to Other Influencers

Rather than focusing solely on getting one link from one link, think about building relationships and networking the old-fashioned way.  If you just got a great product review from a blogger (and sent the blogger a free product), why not ask if any of their friends would be interested in a similar arrangement?  Then you can get warm introductions, dramatically increasing your odds of outreach success.

You can keep executing this tactic and moving through social circles to place content and reviews.  In the offline world, this is how Mary Kay became one of the world’s largest cosmetic companies. 

Use Time Constraints in Google Search Tools to Surface Active Blogs

The Google Search Tools Time Constraint (now in the dropdown underneath the Search box) can dramatically improve the effectiveness of  link prospecting queries.

Many link building queries (like “online marketing inurl:category/guest”) return sites that haven’t been active for years.  Often these look like the perfect opportunity, but haven’t been active in the last several years as the owner has moved on to other things. 

I recommend setting the ‘Any Time’ dropdown in Search Tools to ‘Past Month’ or ‘Past Year’ when running prospecting queries, so you only get sites that are actively updated.

What are your favorite outreach tips, tricks, and hacks?

1 comment

  • You could also setup Google Alerts for topics related to your niche.

    Then Google will send you content to your email (near instantly or daily)