Outreach and Link Building: Focusing on output over outcome
For the uninitiated, content marketing and digital PR were formerly referred to as outreach and link building. The process of building links involved persuading external sites to link to your website to give it more authority. Over the years, this has evolved into content marketing and digital PR.
Content marketing focuses on creating compelling and engaging content that people love linking to. Digital PR, as with some traditional PR, focuses on gaining coverage from high authority publishers. Albeit with the added and more measurable bonus of a backlink. Naturally, the two go hand in hand.
In the dark ages of SEO, building links was a very different and much easier task. In 2012, Google introduced the Penguin algorithm, which meant that quality replaced quantity as the prime objective.
From this point on, SEOs had to focus on new tactics if they wanted to avoid penalties and gain credible links that Google would value. We are now several years down the line. Of course, there’s no guaranteed formula for success. But our experience of building rich digital PR strategies shows that to increase your brand’s visibility, you need to use engaging outreach techniques along with compelling content to secure performance-changing links. We know that the best way to grow brands online is to start by thinking about user intent.
So, why might people actually want to link to your website?
By focusing on your output rather than outcome, you start building a positive brand reputation in the eyes of Google and site visitors.
Be Good At What You Do To Attract Natural Links.
We already know that a high number of outreach email flirtations end up in the trash or flat-out frustrating the recipient. Instead, if you give bloggers and publications something they need, you avoid becoming the kind of marketers we’re all sick of dealing with.
Create something that’s engaging and shareable. In short, if the quality of your content is useful, gaining links will be a much easier and more natural process!
Be Valuable. People Will Pay Attention.
You might have heard that digital PR is something you should be doing but it’s easy to lose sight of how and why. High-quality links are still very important to Google’s ranking factors, so digital PR should never be implemented haphazardly. If you’re not taking a strategic and tailored approach, you’re wasting time and resources. You are also risking your brand’s reputation and rankings.
Be Useful. Become Part Of The User Journey By Forgetting Outcome.
Aim to give people the right information at the right time. Whether it be educational content, industry insights, a solution to their problem or something that’s unusual, cool and interesting. Creative thinking encourages sharing and linking. Telling a story through data or statistics works well, while relatable content with a human touch can gain valuable shares.
This Google Maps version of Westeros from Game of Thrones was used to gain links to a popular travel website. This is a unique and memorable idea that’s easy to share and it’s connected to a TV show with a huge buzz around it.
The success of this piece shows that if your content becomes useful to a niche segment, a popular blogger or industry influencer, their community is more likely to engage with it too. Your output then reaches a much wider audience without press lists and pitches. Plus, you get a foot in the door with this extended audience, who return to your brand when they need your products or services.
You Can Earn It. Create Something Worthy Of A Link.
Invest, Research and Create.
Three key actions make outreach and link building easier and more effective:
Many businesses panic when they realise that you need time and/or budget investment for effective digital PR. But who says you can’t use your budget wisely? You could find collaborators and widen your organic audience even further. Bringing in expert graphic designers and copywriters to enhance content marketing with visuals, data and researched content can supercharge your efforts. Can you afford not to do digital PR?
Good content marketers recognise the importance of research. You can’t create valuable content in a vacuum. Look for new angles on upcoming events or annual holidays, use tools like BuzzSumo or AHREFS to see what users are sharing and discussing. We’ve seen gaps in user knowledge or needs transformed into valuable content pieces that build links and brand trust.
Consider your content format carefully to make linking or embedding easier. While visuals and videos are obvious choices for gaining strong links, creating the piece and keeping up with the competition can be challenging. An insightful press release, ‘How To’ content and shareable visuals can give plenty of leverage when done well. We’ve run content campaigns for clients that have used simple elements to build remarkable links.
With Creative Digital PR Your Links Will Be Better, Strong and Well-Deserved.
Planning where and how you’ll outreach content is a crucial component of the research process. Platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Inbound.org are ideal for creating communities where you can publish your post directly to industry experts. This way, your content is more likely to gather momentum within a relevant audience. Use PR tools that allow you to reach out directly to editors, journalists and publishers for specialist publications. If you’re not using every opportunity to get to know your users better in order to EARN their attention, you’re missing chances to streamline your digital PR process.
Is there a better way to prove your marketing chops than getting users to link because they want to, not just because you asked? We call that useful content.
Our content and digital PR teams work together to develop rich and creative digital strategies in line with user needs, digital developments and algorithm updates. Get in touch to discover how we can increase visibility to drive growth for your brand.
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