If you want to make certain that your content has maximum impact; then this guide is for you. Honchō’s outreach team took an inventory of all of our projects from the last 3 years and distilled what worked from our very best work into these 14 elements. Here’s what we learnt:
Since the ‘Medic’ update in August 2018, Google has been refining its results and favouring content that better serves the searcher’s intent. A key factor in determining this is the authority of the content and the person who produces it. Therefore, the bigger your ambitions the more important it is for you to be an authority in your space, except it’s impossible to allocate budget to amplify each article that appears on your website or social media.
If you follow the steps outlined below your outreach can influence:
5. Social engagement
Does your outreach campaign have a specific message to each individual that you are making contact with? Blanket messaging does not work, break down your contact list so that a specific message applies to the person you’re making contact with.
Tip: When it comes to outreaching a self-tan product, your messaging will have to cater to the beauty bloggers you’re contacting but, sun protection won’t be as important to them. You can segment your contact list to separate those influencers that are more interested in ‘sun care’. A clear message lets people know what you want and why they should be interested in you.
We all know how it feels when someone you don’t know contacts you and immediately asks for something. At the same time, you don’t want to send a long rambling/vague email or waste someone’s time by not saying what you want quickly enough.
Tip: Leverage your brand and give kudos by following the people you want to amplify your message. Follow your influencers on social from your brand account, that way when they see an email from you they’ll already be primed for exchanging with you.
Using the right tools means that you can scale your work and take data-led action to refine what’s working. You can schedule second and third round emails to those influencers that didn’t reply the first time around so that you can focus on fielding replies. Find out what link building tools we use on a daily basis to help with our outreach efforts.
Tip: Breakdown the outreach process first measuring emails received, then look to increase replies. After that seek to improve positive interactions. A / B test everything to distil your message and to iron out kinks. After a few rounds of this your outreach will be more streamlined.
It sounds basic but the temptation is to widen your contact list in the hope that someone out there will bite. The danger is that you alienate a contact that might be useful later on.
Tip: Only reach out to those influencers that will be interested in ‘this’ campaign or content. A tighter list is more likely to give you a return on your efforts.
Optimise your content so that you can offer longer term results. Social signals, and of course backlinks are a factor in SERPs. Get the on-page factors of your content aligned with the corresponding landing or services pages of your main site.
Tip: Be careful not to dictate anchor text to your influencers; let them decide. That way the human factor is retained in your link back. If on social, then use your target keyword as a #tag.
Use of all of the channels at your disposal. Incorporate all your social platforms but preserve a unique and distinct message for each channel. You can also include your content in your company newsletter campaigns.
Tip: When releasing a new article on your blog remember than you can create a condensed version for other platforms. Think SlideShare or LinkedIn where you can link back to your main post.
Run an audit on what the competition are doing. You can use tools like BuzzSumo to see social engagement or Majestic SEO to check backlinks. Once you have an idea of what works you can refine the message and create your version which incorporates the good bits from the competition but then also incorporates your twist.
Tip: Do not parrot your competition. Instead always seek to add to the conversation so that you’re picking up the conversation where it was left off.
That way when it comes to reporting you can group your content by objective and leverage the cumulative impact of your campaigns against that objective. It sounds simple but you’d be surprised at how often this is omitted.
Tip: Reverse engineer your content silos from these objectives. If the goal is to increase the rankings in Google of your category pages, then track the rankings of those pages and annotate your analytics platform.
Returning to the SEO component of your outreach campaigns. An article on its own that links to nothing else on your website will do little for SEO. You can inter-link your editorial content in clusters by topic.
Tip: For example, if you wanted to increase your visibility against a keyword then have a series of articles that would serve that keyword. Interlink that content so that you’re able to harness all the link juice in that content to boost your visibility. When it comes to your own website you can use exact match anchor text to send search engines a clear signal as to what you want to rank for.
It’s easy to target those influencers that simply have the biggest following on their social channels. Just be aware that if your goal is to increase rankings then the number of followers an influencer has will have zero benefit to you.
Tip: Prioritise those influencers that have a solid social following AND have a strong website. You can use quality indicators like domain authority, trust flow or citation flow.
Making sure you tag your URLs is super important for measuring the impact of your campaigns. Tagging helps you measure the amount of traffic that is generated from each post. These insights are helpful for tailoring your content posts for what causes the most traction on your site, which results in a deeper understanding of your site’s audience. From this, you can more successfully meet the demands of your users, which will ultimately help boost SEO on your website.
Tip: Use Universal Tag Manager codes on your URLs to get an accurate view into exactly where your traffic is coming from and which channels or referral sites are worth giving more attention to. This is especially valuable if you want to show how your content is driving conversions.
Earlier we mentioned setting a goal and reverse engineering from there – this is super important. In tandem with creating content and pushing that, monitor the media to see if they pick up on your content. The rise of data journalism means that content that is worthy of a reference abounds.
Tip: Set up Google Alerts so that you get notified as soon as someone references your content. You can then reach out to them and make sure they give a linkback or share your social posts on the same subject.
Discover what your influencers want and do your best to give them that. When working for Renault Retail Group we reached out to their buyers clubs and found them incredibly receptive. Making friends via a shared passion helps build bridges. Meet with people on their level and speak from a place of passion when it comes your reasons for reaching out.
Tip: Where possible speak to your influencers – be it an event, over the phone or a video conference. You’ll find people go the extra mile and honour agreements once they’ve spoken with you.
Starting an outreach campaign from scratch each time is inefficient, it reduces your ROI and is downright expensive. Instead revisit relationships that worked in the past and go to those people first. They get to have the scoop on news and you get a faster turn-around.
Tip: Always negotiate a win-win and keep in contact once you’ve got what you wanted. Send a bi-annual wrap up newsletter to your influencers informing them of your forward features, new products and opportunities. Influencers love to share new info with their networks and they’ll appreciate being considered in your busy schedule.
The very best content speaks for itself; our influencers want to have content that is going to get their audience engaged and keep them coming back for more.
Outreach is an incredibly nuanced branch of digital marketing because it combines the technical with the personal, which is key for creating sustainable campaigns. If you can crack this, you will be left with high quality content that is search-ready and backed by high authority figures in your industry. The result? Quality traffic to your website and quality link juice from your influencers. Win-win!
Have we missed anything? We would love to hear your thoughts on our Twitter.