how to get published

How to Get Articles Published in Major Publications

There are two ways to build your brand through content marketing:

Start producing 10x content on your blog or get your articles published in other websites' publications.

Both require a strategy, process, and of course, execution to succeed in what you do.

We'll focus on the latter today: getting your articles published on other blogs.

If you're starting to build your own brand, you won't get much attention if your content isn't properly distributed to online places where your audiences are.

So, the idea of writing for other blogs is extremely beneficial for many reasons besides capturing other people's audiences. Here are a few:

  • Helps increase the chance to invite other blog writers (publishers of blogs themselves or their contributors) to write for your brand's blog.
  • Develops your writing portfolio in your industry, whether you use your own personality or create a content persona.
  • Establishes your authority in the niche through expertly-crafted content

And there are other reasons your brand (or you yourself) will miss out if you don't participate in distributing your content to highly valued blogs.

how to get published

 

How to Get Articles Published in Major Publications

This process isn't a sure-fire formula to success, but will definitely give you chances to land on big publications.

Let's start this simple process.

A. Start Building Your Writing Portfolio

Big publications will either invite you to write for them (that depends on your authority and expertise built on the subject) or become a contributor through pitching yourself.

I vouch for the latter because that's something you can control.

However, you can't pitch yourself to write for a publication without any samples of your writing.

It's easier to get opportunities accepted when your prospects have an idea of the quality of content you produce.

Also, it would be efficient to have your editorial links link to your blog's main content from your guest posts — if you have content assets ready on your blog.

So, start writing for your blog. Make it as 10x content as possible. Always think of its intended purpose of using it as your portfolio when pitching other publications.

10x content creation involves the process of having experts or industry practitioners to write for your blog. That said, if you haven't had one available in your team, you may have opted for this option:

Hire domain experts to write for your blog or for other blogs

freelance writer

An article about health written by a freelance writer is different from an article crafted by someone who has 10 years of experience in the medical field.

The latter content comes from the first-hand experience. The article includes examples, tests, own versions of examples, and other things that will make it easy to convince readers to finish the content. The web piece adds tremendous value to the readers.

The cost of hiring a domain expert who can write for you depends on their expertise, the vertical they're in, length of content, and other content factors. In our experience, it can start with $100 going up to $2500 per content piece, even higher for the highly technical fields.

It is best to consider the expert's writing portfolio, not only his or her writing capability.

If he has written multiple articles for different niche publications, it would be worth hundreds of dollars to hire as a domain freelance content creator for your target blogs.

Now, that's how you start to build your writing portfolio.

B. Choose Publications to Write For

You can't choose to write to all the publications in your industry.

Being selective is a must, so you can start building momentum over time.

What are the things you have to consider?

Check publications' target audiences

Choose publications that match your target audience.

This is a no-brainer thing, yet many brands fail to identify their audiences and aggressively pitch publications right away.

Even you land an opportunity for an authority blog, the odds of bringing their audience back to your site decreases.

So start knowing who you want to write for.

In cases when you're in a very specific niche, there may be limited publications to get your articles published.

Not all industries have a high number of writers, publishers, and content creators. There are ones that have a high demand for publications — mommy, local, etc.. Some verticals have just a handful of publications to pitch to.

One recommended option is for you to target shoulder niches.

shoulder niches

Shoulder niches are a basic idea of Brian Dean wherein you find niches that you can tap into for a guest blogging opportunity.

Check publications estimated organic traffic

If your intended purpose to write for other niche major publications, you want to ensure you get the most value from it — basing it on the website's ability to drive readers to your brand.

Use Ahrefs, or SEMRush to check the publication's estimated organic traffic. 

semrush guest blogging qualification

Majestic offers the ability to discover the exact category of the website. This will help you assess if it's a good fit for your brand.

majestic topical trust flow

Check publications engagement

This is an additional factor you can consider. Given that not all blogs or publications have high community engagement, where people post their own insights through the comment sections, it is still a good metric for assessing major publications to get your articles published.

Check publications requirements for contributors

Every publication has different requirements for their contributors — whether you wish to submit a one-time off article or become their regular contributor.

The reason you have to know this is because even before you send an outreach email to the publisher, you can gauge your chances of placing an opportunity.

Are they looking for industry practitioners who have had several articles written already? What topics of expertise are they looking for?

Even the minimum number of words required for each article will help you in estimating your costing budget if you wish to hire domain experts to work with you.

All these things can be seen in the contributor pages of a publication. So check that first before you pitch them.

C. Pitch Yourself to Become a Contributor

The pitching process is a challenging part to get your articles published in publications.

The reason is very simple: if you can't prove yourself you're worth a try to contribute an article, you miss the opportunity.

That’s not to say you can't pitch again, but doing it once, you should give your best try as much as possible.

Given that publications receive tens or hundreds of guest blogging pitches every day, they already have ways to figure out which ones are worth a response. Some publications require an exact phrase to include in the subject line of an outreach email — this filter out any mediocre outreach emails.

On value proposition and personalization

Always do your research about the publication. Know the needs of the publication in terms of content and topics they care about.

You can't hit and miss every time.

Begin thinking of value proposition by providing better topics when doing outreach for guest blogging. You can find any content gaps in the industry that you (your team or your domain writers) can create content. You can check out my detailed entire process of content gap analysis

ahrefs content gap analysis

Be highly targeted when pitching. It may take a couple of minutes to do so, but worth your effort if you land one or two in your initial campaign.

Based on Pitchbox email outreach study, personalization for subject lines can boost the response rate of emails by 30.5% while personalizing the body of email content can have a 32.7% better response rate than those emails without any personalized messages.

Remember, to get better outreach placement rates, start offering a ton of value to whom you're pitching.

Use domain outreach persons to scale outreach campaigns

Remember hiring domain experts to write for your blog or for other publications?

It's also the same process you can take when scaling outreach campaigns. But this time for setting up an effective outreach campaign.

Consider creating your own outreach persona that has multiple effects for niche-related clients/ brands. Specifically, you can tap into that outreach person for every relevant client as this has enough writing credibility to get into someone's publication.

Test pitching to assistant editors and support functions of publishing teams

One tip to increasing response rates is to look for emails of assistant editors of the publication, not just emails of main writers, authors, or publishers.

The reason being is that assistant editors normally have functions of filtering emails referring to any publication matters. They know which and which is for publication. Therefore, those people are more responsive to emails about content contributions.

D. Write Content for Their Audience

Once you have your topics approved by the publisher, it's time to write the content.

Overall, the content you should be writing depends on the terms, agreements, and requirements of the editor.

Content assets that are customized, experiential and expertise-driven have chances of getting articles submitted to major publications.

Doing so requires some inspiration.

One tip is for you to make a list of websites to inspire and help you generate content ideas, format, and style for your industry.

Create your own public or private Twitter list of websites generating the best content in your industry.

content inspiration twitter list

Other Ways to Get Your Articles Published on Publications

Besides pitching to become a contributor for major publications, you can apply other methods to get the same exposure on those sites.

HARO

You can check out my extensive guide on using HARO effectively. It is a solid tool for anyone looking for free opportunities (mentions and links) on relevant content publishing websites.

choose haro inquiries

Interviews / Round-ups 

Link roundups aren't dead. It's such that most of the roundups published in many industries aren't generating engagement from readers as it is used to be.

One of the primary reasons is because of the sub-par quality content creators make when curating answers of experts and influencers in their industries. A few examples are:

  • One generic question was thrown at, so the likelihood of similarities of answers from interviewees will be higher. Without it being curated well, there is high friction of less engagement to consume the entire blog post.
  • Topics chosen have been generated multiple times (e.g. SEO tips, link building tips, real estate tips, success tips to __, etc..). The length of content is at a maximum level, yet repeated topics won't satisfy the readers anymore.

Start looking for roundups that offer great value to your intended audience. HARO now has opportunities for round-up style contributions. Assess the quality of the possible roundup content, the type of questions, and what types of blogs they'll be published.

Here is an example of a good link roundup: What 15 CEOs Learned Building Top Agencies by ConverxionXL

Why did it work?

  • Questions were categorized based on the desired flow of the topic (from individual contributor to agency owner, landing that first big client, scaling people, processes, and financial acumen, and marketing an agency that's lived off referrals).
  • Written appropriately in story form with the flow with coherence and consistency on the subject

Further Resources:

Getting Your Articles Published in Major Publications Takes Time

If you are starting to build your brand, start penetrating mid-tier publications. Then embrace higher opportunities once you have a good writing portfolio in your arsenal.

Success in content marketing takes time. It involves a process to eventually reap the benefits of additional branding opportunities, backlinks, and assisted sales.


how to send a follow up email after no response

How to Send a Follow-Up Email After No Response (Increase Links by 30%)

You send an initial pitch. You open your inbox the next day. No new email.

For that reason, you want to send a follow-up email after no response.

It’s either you are hesitant to do it or you lack the knowledge to write one.

Sending follow-up emails is extremely important — we can attest that our campaign's success rate increase by 30% just by following up once per link prospect. 

If you don't how to write and send an initial or second follow-up email, this post is for you.

how to send a follow up email after no response

How to Send a Follow-Up Email After No Response

1. Check if your initial pitch was opened.

You can manually check every email you send for open rates.

It's easy to identify which emails were unopened if you have a tool at hand. Better use an email tracking platform or outreach tools like Mailtrack, Buzzstream, Boomerang, or Right Inbox.

mailtrack tracking check lines

Some tools will give you insights as to the number of opens per email. Was it opened once or multiple times?

The reason behind knowing that is to understand the behavior of your link prospect.

If the email is opened multiple times after several days it was sent, it may mean that the potential linker is likely to be interested in what you're offering (guest post, product review, link request, etc..).

If the email isn't opened yet, then maybe you have to modify your email subject lines to entice an open.

The next step is to:

2. Write a follow-up email based on open rates.

Because you now have an idea of how many opens an email receives, you write your initial follow-up based on the open rate.

It's a good metric to consider in the outreach campaign as it gives you the appropriate context for each email.

You don't simply blast your link prospects with generic follow-ups. You ensure that what you send corresponds to their behavior and what they're actually looking for.

If emails have no opens, your step is:

3. Modify subject lines if there are no opens.

Your subject line is critical to opens.

If emails have no opens, you have to modify subject lines.

Your revision will be based on your original subject line.

Ask honestly this question to yourself, if you will open an email, will you open yours if that's your subject line?

Here are some more tips when sending follow-ups for emails with no opens:

  • Use the template [Asset] for [Website] as your followup's subject line. It gives the right context both for the type of content you're offering and for addressing properly your link prospect.
  • Include the original email in your initial follow-up. You can insert the copyright below your follow-up message. The reason is this: your link prospect doesn't have to bother finding your original follow-up — gives more chances for your follow-up email to elicit a response.
  • Another subject line you can use is this one: "Just in case you missed this.." or any lines with "Haven't heard..".

4. Use FWD as your subject lines for emails with one or multiple opens

Fortunately, when your email is opened once or multiple times, there is a clear indication of interest from the end of the link prospect.

With that, here are some tips you can apply for follow up emails with one or multiple opens:

  • Use Fwd as your followup's subject line. Very short, yet specifies an email has been forwarded and demands an open. It is also the subject line best for emails for forwarded emails (email address given to you for the proper addressee).
  • Include original emails. Like emails with no open, it is best to give them a short preview or message of what your original email looks like.
  • Make variations or use them straight to your follow up emails: "Just in case you missed this", "Is there anything you need", or "Re:followed by your original subject line".

How Often Should You Send Follow-up Emails?

Another question is, "How long you should wait before following up?."

As a link building agency that sends hundreds of follow up emails every week, here are three of our recommendations when it comes to sending follow-up emails.

First follow up within 2-4 days (excluding weekends).

It is best to give an allowance to your link prospects to respond within a few days after your initial pitch. Also, it's a good idea to choose the best date and time for your follow up email sequence. 

There are a lot of reasons why people don't respond within 24 hours, especially busy link curators and publishers in your industry. Take off 2 to 4 days for that specific outreach campaign and send that time resource elsewhere.

Second follow-up 5-7 days after the first email

One follow-up email might not make the cut for receiving a response.

That's when you send another follow-up.

Send 1 to 2 follow up emails per pitch. Don't overdo.

Put yourself in the link prospect's shoes. If you were in that situation, you also don't want to receive three or more follow-ups with the same angles of the pitch.

After previous follow up emails, if you wish to send another follow-up email after 2 or 3 times, it is best to send another angle of pitch or find any pain point.

If a pitch to become a guest contributor for prospect's blog doesn't work, try pitching your resource guide or an interesting infographic you've recently published on your blog.

Lastly, do not send any follow-up cold email to link prospects you've never pitched in the first place. Follow-ups are only given to email campaigns with initial pitches - sounds very basic, yet mostly overlooked.

Follow Up Email Template

Here's our sample follow up email template for a broken link building pitch.

Re: found a problem on your {{Resources}} page

Hi {{Name}},

I'm a 3rd-year student from WGU Missouri and I am currently researching for my new project about people with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).

Just checking to see if you received my email regarding errors on one of your pages. If you have, my apologies!

I'm not sure if you're the one who handles the page. If not, would you be kind to let me know of the person in charge of that webpage? 

Best,

[ Name ]

FURTHER RESOURCES ON FOLLOW UP EMAILS:

Don't Lose The Link Prospect Without A Follow-up

You've made an effort to discover your link prospects. Be sure to invest more efforts in the outreach process, particularly in following them up after no response.

A good link prospect deserves a non-aggressive, value-adding follow up email. With a proper call to action in place, the follow-up campaign itself can increase your overall response rate (law of average). 


how to use haro

How to Use HARO to Get Free Publicity and Backlinks

how to use haro

What is HARO?

Help a Reporter Out (known as HARO) is a free service that connects journalists and publishers to content contributors with the aim of securing valuable media coverage for brands and individuals.

If you are a brand looking for publicity, don't look any further than HARO. It has a lot of benefits that you could ever imagine only spending 30 minutes to 1 hour a day.

help a reporter out

Benefits of Using HARO

1. Free service

If you're looking for ways to promote your brand without having to spend much on high-priced tools, HARO is a must-try for you.

It's premium features allows more filtering and offers more opportunities to maximize your strategy of using it, but HARO's free service is a good start for new and established brands.

2. Easy to respond

There are many available platforms that connect you to publishers and journalists but most will require you to participate inside the platform.

There's nothing wrong about it, especially if you're trying to put all campaigns in one place. However, if you're only working on one site, you want the flexibility of communicating with the publishers at your own pace.

HARO can easily send story requests straight to your emails. You can reply to them either you're on desktop or mobile.

3. Personal branding and thought leadership

Personal brand, as originally coined by Tom Peters in a Fast Company article, "The Brand Called You", are figuring out how to transcend the narrow boundaries of their categories and become a brand surrounded by buzz. He forecasted that human beings would think of themselves as a unique product.

If you can personally put your brand ahead by showcasing your expertise on a subject matter, HARO gives you a way to do that.

Knowing the subject matter and being known for it are two different things. Through requests of journalists for questions being answered, you are hitting two birds with one stone: getting more exposure and targeting an audience with your brand can actually offer (servicing their needs).

4. Social proof

Getting featured in top publications in your vertical can be used as social proofs on your website. Whether it's a logo you can include on the most visible sections of your homepage or you can use as additional credibility to your guest blogging portfolio, both of these give leverage to further push your brand out there.

How Does HARO Work?

Sign up as a source. 

how to sign up haro

After you sign up, you'll get three emails a day — scheduled at 5:35 a.m., 12:35 p.m., and 5:35 p.m., ET from Monday to Friday.

Those emails come from journalists requesting additional content contributions, interviews, and even quotes for stories they are currently working on right now.

You, as a source, respond to their requests, and these journalists will respond to you if they found your response fit to their needs.

Finally, you get featured in their publications.

How to Use HARO?

Choose relevant topics

To best maximize the use of HARO, choose topics that are only relevant to your brand. Don't waste time trying to pursue topics you don't have an expertise in.

haro preferences

Check boxes of industries where you can highly participate in content contribution. You may be tempted to check all, but it will only add clutter to your HARO emails.

I highly recommend to only choose one or two that best fit your site. If you're an agency, it's no doubt you choose all for your clients — and only filter the emails based on categories and expertise once they arrive.

Setup your emails through filters

Once you properly set up your emails, you'll be starting to receive emails listing journalist HARO query connected to your topics.

haro

Furthermore, create filters to all emails ‘from:[email protected]’ inside your inbox. Here are the filter options you can use:

  • Apply the label — label a category to HARO emails as soon as they arrive, so you can quickly prioritize them at times (particularly, if you're getting hundreds or thousands of emails).
  • Never send it to spam - prevents any HARO email to get caught in your spam filter.
  • Categorize as Primary — to quickly transfer those HARO emails to your inbox's Primary Tab.

Setup IFTTT for important requests

To ensure you can respond to important requests, you can set up IFTTT (If This Then That) to give you updates quickly whenever there are new HARO requests.

The advantage of doing so is that you can respond immediately to email requests even while you're on mobile. It works best for people outside the US/UK timezone, as you can do the HARO strategy even while away from the office.

If you want to take advantage of more of the technique, here are some IFTTT tricks that can help you with some semi-automation activities.

  1. Create an Applet to get an SMS sent to your cell phone whenever you receive an email from HARO inquiry focused on a specific topic.
  2. Craft a draft email response in your notes so when you receive an SMS alert of new HARO inquiry, you can simply replace a few fields in your response template, and sent over to the journalist as quickly as possible.

email to sms ifttt

Those IFTTT initiatives can help you to stay on top of PR requests.

Choose relevant HARO inquiries

Scan your HARO emails quickly. Choose inquiries that are most relevant to your small businesses. Look at categories such as Business and Finance.

choose haro inquiries

That's the reason why it's important to identify your (or your brand)'s expertise, given that it'll be easy for you to make choices when reading HARO emails.

Next, the most difficult part of this HARO strategy is writing pitches that work.

How to Write a HARO Pitch That Works

Needless to say, journalists receive several responses for HARO pitches.

Like you, brands, agencies, and individuals are ready to send their replies as soon as they can.

But you can't simply send quick emails without properly thinking about your content. You may end up pitching tens of emails every day without getting much return from the strategy (i.e. contextual links).

You can't shortcut our response to an inquiry.

Here are some tips to write a HARO pitch that works effectively:

1. Get in early

This tip should be first in line.

You can craft a highly effective HARO pitch, but if it's done 24 hours after you received the HARO email pitch, you won't get much success with it.

Timing is important. Respond as quickly as possible to HARO emails. Your response time should be as 30 minutes as possible.

However, make sure you deliver a good quality response. It won't make the cut if it's just an early response yet a crappy contribution.

2. Read the instructions carefully

In most cases, journalists or publishers whether from big publications like Mashable, WallStreet or New York Times or from a niche authority publisher provide explicit instructions to follow. These include what type of content they need you to submit, what they're actually looking for in a contributor, and even what not to do.

It's important to read those instructions before jumping to write your email.

3. Make subject lines relevant and clear

For example, if a HARO lead is a journalist writing a blog post about "personal kanban productivity", your email subject should be as straightforward as this one: HARO: Personal Kanban Productivity.

You want to make sure your email subject line is 100% relevant. This will cut through the noise of other responses to that same HARO inquiry. It's the same principle that applies to every other outreach campaigns like blogger outreach

4. Write a concise email

The last thing you want to do is to craft an email that's worth 10 minutes of time to read.

The key to writing a HARO pitch that works is to keep it short.

First, do not promote yourself in the email - you can add it later. But don't start your email with a full background of yourself and what you do.

And don't ask for links very quick. I'll discuss later how you'd ensure links from your quoted contribution. But for now, focus on the value of your contribution.

The simplest way to concise your email is to write 2 to 3 bullet points with data that would help the journalist on the article he/she is writing.

Focus on the goal of being quoted as a source in the article. Publishers and journalists don't come into HARO and ask for an entire article — remember they're looking for a tip, data, or a short-form text to the content piece they're creating.

Here is an email template from ____ that you can play around it — split test over and over again depending on your needs.

Hi [Journalist's Name],

My name is [Your Name], [short bio]. Here is _____________________:

1-2 sentences.

1-2 sentences.

1-2 sentences.

I'd love to talk more and help you with your article. Just drop me a line at [your email] or [mobile number].

- [Your Name]

Keys to success:

  • No over promotion in the first contact. By offering much help in the first place, you can instantly build a rapport, and get returns in the long run (more on this later at relationship building part).
  • A quick introduction is important, like any kind of email.
  • Send a succinct content contribution to a HARO inquiry. Write exactly how you want it to appear in the article.
  • A contact ender line at the end of the email address helps the publisher to contact you immediately if there's any revision he/she needs in your quote and/or wanting more of you to discuss what you contributed.

5. Send appropriate attachments, quick bio, and headshot

This is the moment you can't be aggressive with follow-ups.

Remember HARO journalists get a gazillion of requests for inclusion of short content all the time. It may take a while before they respond to your HARO pitch.

But once you receive a response from them, they may ask you of any appropriate attachment, a quick bio of yours/your brand, a headshot and additional contact information to the content you've contributed.

A good recommendation here is to upload your headshot to your website or to Imgur, and simply send them a link in your HARO response, instead of attaching it to the email itself.

6. Build a mutually-beneficial relationship

Achieving success with your HARO pitches can be repeated as long as you are able to deliver good content to the same journalist.

Build relationships with publishers. Ask them gently to get back to you if there's another opportunity to work together.

Tell them you are open to work with them and provide all the details they need.

Don't just contact when you want something — find something useful first relevant to what they want to write about and send it over to them.

Build trust more than just getting a link.

You can check out this guide on the best email outreach tips to further enhance your relationships with publishers.

7. Seek out freelance journalists

You would find journalists who are doing freelance work — these are ones who write for a number of different publications at once. They have ongoing relationships with different publishing sites and have a huge network of content creators they partner with.

If you can actually connect to these people, you'll have a chance of acquiring more inbound links from their connected sites.

One good way to leverage this strategy is to set up alerts for any new articles written by freelance journalists you've engaged with.

Start sharing their latest articles on social media and/or comment on their content as soon as it is published. This initiative would help you put on their radar and would add up to chances of getting more HARO opportunities.

You may at times share new content ideas with them via email or add additional input. This is a perfect way to follow up with them and potentially acquire editorial link or a social share.

When you don't get a response from your HARO lead, what do you do next?

Monitor your HARO placement.

How to Monitor Your HARO Placement

You won't always get a response from your HARO journalist — so the best way to stay on top and identify if you actually get a mention or your quote get cited in an article is to monitor your link placements.

You can use Google Alerts or Ahrefs alerts to keep track of the quoted person/brand you've included in your HARO pitch. It's important to remember what you've included in your contribution as a contributor — that will be the element you'll be monitoring.

ahrefs set up alerts

HARO Link Building In Action

This guide will not end without a short case study of how I actually do it.

The process I've shared is exactly the same workflow I followed to get a contextual link from Inc. Asia:

inc asean haro active link

So here's how it started.

I signed up in HARO, chose preferred topics that I'd like to contribute to HARO requests, and scan daily emails.

Then I stumbled upon this HARO inquiry. It perfectly fits my background - ASEAN entrepreneur and someone who loves productivity at best.

haro inquiry inc asean

I respond quickly with a short and concise response. As you can see below, there aren't any bullet points yet, as there is no instruction or direct questions from the inquiry. So this an exemption to the rule of adding bullet points. Always check the instructions if these are included in the HARO inquiry.

haro pitch to inc asean inquiry

Then I received a response from the journalist - asking me a set of questions.

haro inquiry response

Without a doubt, I submitted my response - quite lengthy as it answers 5 questions.

my response to help a reporter out lead

Here's where I'll stop for a moment.

I actually got the link already, but there's another opportunity for another backlink. You may also want to set up a Google alerts to monitor your mentions.

good relationship with haro lead

To make the long story short, I submitted another response to her next set of questions and got another link.

inc asean struggles between academic and entrepreneurship

Keys to success:

  • Respond quickly as much as you can.
  • Be straightforward to send your response.
  • Build relationships with the journalist/s - you might get another feature in his/her story.

Advanced HARO Tips

We've covered how to write a HARO pitch that works. You'll have to start from there and test it yourself by changing elements to keep it short, yet adding more value to the journalist you're pitching to.

There are techniques you can test out yourself that will add incremental success to your HARO strategy.

Here are some advanced HARO tips you can apply directly to your campaign.

Request for homepage links

If you get a link in your mention for your contribution, you are extremely happy with it, especially if it's from a high publication site.

You get a contextual link for sure, but it isn't amazing to have a link to your homepage?

There is one way to do that: request for a homepage link.

It may be easy as it sounds, but you have to look at what types of content you have suggested to be included in your HARO pitch. You need to have a good reason for a link to a homepage.

If contextual fit, such as group interviews, quotable mention,s and the like, getting a link to a homepage link isn't much to ask. In fact, it's more natural to look at it from a reader or user perspective. If they want to know more about the brand or who quotes the tip, then they would simply click on the homepage link and see more details.

Respond via Twitter

There are times where there is an instruction in a HARO inquiry to connect via Twitter.

If you choose to respond via Twitter, be sure to give them your email so they can get in touch with you directly or you can offer to DM them details.

This kind of initiative speeds up the back and forth process of communication.

Send a content that requires less editing

When responding to HARO inquiries, always be mindful of your journalist.

You want him/her to spend less time editing your content. Do the content legwork for him or her. He or she should easily plug what you've contributed to their articles.

Given that, if your short-form content piece isn't quite fit, it could be a lost opportunity.

Use a compelling angle in the introduction

Many HARO pitches will have a templated introduction of what they do or what their company does.

While that may work if it's the right fit for what the journalist is looking for, I suggest you find a compelling angle that's relatable to their current inquiry.

This way, you're telling the journalist you deserve the quote, as it is something you have knowledge about. Don't mention links at all

Most journalists are irritated with people asking for links when they haven't contributed much value in their HARO pitches.

Don't worry, you can ask for a link later on your short-form content has been approved.

But during the engagement, stay focus on the value of your HARO pitch.

What You Get With HARO Paid Accounts

The first advantage of subscribing to a paid account in HARO is that you can set up your own profile or bio — which can be included in your pitches.

Though you can do quickly with your free account, your bio that includes your website URL and your social media profiles, when easily plugged in straight to your pitch, can lessen the time adding it to your email every time you respond to inquiries. This saves you enough time for crafting emails.

Another good thing with HARO paid account is that you can add details related to the specific areas of your expertise and any previous publications your brand has been featured in.

Moreover, with a paid subscription, you can set up alerts for HARO requests that match specific keywords you prefer. You may even get SMS alerts if you're in the US.

There are many extra features paid HARO accounts that can help you secure more media mentions for your brand.

Passive Way of Acquiring Links

Using HARO may not always give you what you want, such as links from mentions, but if you're doing link building, the strategy is worth investment of your time.

All it takes is for you to respond to 4 to 5 targeted leads a day to get press. For each HARO inquiry, you spend only 15 to 30 minutes to craft a relevant and value-adding message.

Have you had any success using HARO as one of your techniques to secure media outlet mentions? Share with us some tips that work for you in the comment section below.


who links to my site

How to Find Who Links To Your Website

Knowing who links to your site gives you a starting point in your link building.

who links to my site

If your website has been around for a while, you want to know the sites interacting with you. Those are the brands who can become your company partners, future advocates, or content collaborators.

There are many ways to find who links to your site, but here is one great tool to get you started.

AHREFS SITE EXPLORER

Ahrefs is by far the world's largest backlink index with a total of 15 trillion (it has more than that I guess).

Knowing that, it gives you the confidence of finding all the recent and finest links pointing to your site.

Ahrefs' Link Explorer gives you a wide array of information, including the exact referring page where the link is placed, potential traffic the site might bring to your site (Traffic), and the anchor text used on those links.

The good thing is you can use Ahrefs' Backlink Checker for free.

ahrefs backlink checker tool

For example, if I want to know how many links are pointing to this website, www.healthysleepy.com I'll simply enter the exact URL to the checker, and click the "Check backlinks" button.

check backlinks ahrefs

This opens up a data of information called backlink profile.

Before I go to what comprises backlink profile. let's see the numbers initially seen.

As you can see, the domain rating is 16. I sourced the exact definition of domain rating from Ahrefs , if you're not familiar with Ahrefs' Domain Rating.

Domain Rating is a proprietary Ahrefs’ metric that shows the strength of a target website’s total backlink profile (in terms of its size and quality). DR is measured on a logarithmic scale from 0 to 100, with the latter being the strongest.

There are 110 backlinks pointing to the site (answering how many links to my website?), with 97% of those being do-follow backlinks.

Forty-seven (47) referring domains from 110 backlinks are 96% do-follow.

The good thing with Ahrefs is that it gives you a rundown of the numbers that you need to know in a backlink profile.

Now, let's have a look at who links to your website.

AHREFS SHOWS YOU WHO LINKS TO YOUR WEBSITE

Scroll down the page, you'll now see who links to your site.

In our given example, U.S. Pain Foundation, Alaska Ocean Observing System, Gallatin, and Kirkwall East Church are some of the brands linked to HealthySleepy.

ahrefs backlink checker healthysleepy example backlink profile

There are a lot more if you scroll down-its up to 100+ backlinks. However, Ahrefs can only show you 100 of the backlinks. If you want to see more, it will require you to subscribe to their starter package tool.

Nonetheless, it's a great free tool to know who links to your website.

WHAT TO DO WITH WHO LINKS TO YOUR WEBSITE?   

Now you know who links to your site. The next question to answer is what will you do about it.

It's one thing to have a list of pages/websites linking to your brand's domain. It's another thing to do something with the list.

Here are some tips you can apply to make the most out of your list.

1. Try to understand why they linked to you

This may sound absurd. But there's a way to know the reason why the owner of the site/page linked to you in the first place.

For example, a contextual link (a link placed within the body of the content) is an indication of many things such as:

  • The content publisher, blogger, or writer found one of your articles on your blog worth referencing, so he/she mentioned it and credited you with a link.
  • The curator of another website listed your product in one of the recommended products on a specific category, with a link on the anchor text.
  • The writer quoted one of your statements on a press article with a link pointing to your about me or your staff page in your company site.

There are many other reasons why you were able to get the link.

If the brand or website who linked to you is someone you're familiar with, it would be easier for you to know the reason of linking - either it's from a previous relationship or partnership both of you are involved in or because of the value of content piece you've provided on your blog.

If you understand the reason why your existing linkers linked to you, you would be able to get multiple links from the same set of linkers as well as replicate the same strategy to other possible linkers in order to acquire the same type of links.

2. Start collaborating and connecting with your linkers

It's a myth in link building that all who linked to your site differ in their needs and context. The truth is your existing linkers may have a common need and reason for linking.

If you can nurture relationships (because you probably had connections with them already), you are opening doors of more linking opportunities. These opportunities may not be always coming directly from them, others would be recommending your site/brand or any offering you had to their peers or circles of networks.

If you know the email addresses of your linkers, you can send them individual messages with thank you notes, particularly if the links you acquired are organic — meaning you didn't do anything, even a manual outreach, to get the links.

You want to have a group of serial linkers. Joshua Hardwick of Ahrefs calls them as such because these are the people who've linked to your site multiple times.

In fact, you can actually see who links to your site many times using the top linking sites in Ahrefs.

ahrefs top linking sites

3. Brainstorm what works for your brand's content strategy

You may have published several content pieces that have gotten you enough links to track (who links to your site as we know).

Interestingly, you would discover patterns of content that work for your brand and has provided great value in your industry — which allowed you to acquire links to your site.

You want to know the type of content that works for your site because finding the pattern gives you insights to your next content marketing plan.

Enter the URL of your site and go to Ahrefs' Best Pages. This will give you a rundown of your site's top pages sorted from highest to lowest incoming referring domains.

ahrefs best pages by incoming links

Study the pattern of the type of content that gives you the most number of links. If you are just starting to build your own brand and haven't involved much in link building, I recommend you do this methodology first to your competitors.

See what works for them in terms of content type. Replicate it to your brand if it's feasible according to your brand's resources.

4. Fix broken links to your site

By tracking who links to your site and your best linkable pages, you may find a few or a couple of your pages to be broken (404).

If those pages have links pointing to them, they're a must to be reclaimed.

Otherwise, your previous efforts to build links to those pages may be forfeited somehow and you don't want those links to be missed.

What you need to do is to identify your site's broken pages. Filter your best pages by incoming links to only give you 404/broken pages.

Check each page and decide what options best work for it.

Either you redirect the dead page to a more relevant functional page or ask linkers to link to another working page relevant to the dead page.

There's no best option. It depends upon the situation. The first option is easy as it is something you can control; the second one might require you to send emails to all linkers. Take note that you won't be sure of the response time and modification of your linkers, if you choose the second option.

WHO LINKS TO MY SITE IS THE INITIAL TOUCH POINT

Having the list of pages linking to your overall site or to only one page is the first initiative. The next step is to understand why they've linked to you in the first place — in order to replicate the same approach to your next set of actions, or do the same thing to your other sites.

Feel free to comment below if you have any recommendations on what to do with the list of pages that have linked to the site.


how many websites your link prospector should be looking for

How Many Websites Your Link Prospector Should Be Looking For?

You've identified your link building strategy, you've designated roles for your campaign, and now, your first step is to look for link opportunities relevant to your site.

But how many link targets do you need to look for every week?

how many websites your link prospector should be looking for

This is a recent question from a community user of Traffic Think Tank:

"What is the maximum number of link opportunities that your link prospectors find? Mine are assigned 300-400 per week. I often wonder whether that's a high number or a low number. It often takes about 6 weeks before new link prospectors hit that, so I feel it might be high. But would like to know how many all of your link prospectors find on average?

The basic answer to this question is: it depends.

Before you close this page, let me explain.

Your link prospecting starts even before you actually jump onto your Google search and type in industry keywords to find blogs or sites.

You plan the link prospecting campaign based on different factors. The rate of your link discovery depends on your own concluded decision specific to your client's or your website's needs.

These are the factors that will help you estimate the number of link prospects you have to discover every week:

  • Historical data (average or estimate link placement rate of your past link building campaigns)
  • Industry links per content on average (based on links on average per similar content assets in your industry)
  • Metrics stated on agreement (for agency alike)

Since these factors may require some thinking, I'll dig into each of the factors here.

Let's start.

 

HISTORICAL LINK DATA ON SIMILAR STRATEGY

If you've done link building campaigns in the past, you may have a data to look at and see how many links you generated from a number of link opportunities.

Remember that the data you will combine from two or three campaigns should correspond to the type of link building strategy you use.

For example, you can't combine historical data of link placement rate (manual links acquired over link prospects) of a broken link building campaign from data gathered in a guest blogging campaign.

These two campaigns are different in their approach and have their own sets of factors to consider.

BACKTRACK YOUR LINK PLACEMENT RATE

If you have two or more link acquisition campaigns — for example, infographic outreach, you can check the average link placement rate by dividing the number of links you acquired over the link opportunities you discover.

In your next campaign, you'll now set a target based on the average link placement rate. Let's say you've got 4.6% based on your historical data.

If your goal is to reach at least 15 links per content asset for the site you're working on, a good number of link prospects' goal should be 326 websites.

Realistically, 450 to 500 websites or pages should be on your list, considering the fact that there are bounced emails, broken pages (404 pages) at the timing of your pitch, and so many other factors. So having an allowance of additional 100 to 150 is highly recommended.

WHAT IF IT'S YOUR FIRST TIME TO EXECUTE THE LINK STRATEGY?

If you're doing it for the first time, here is a good outreach placement rate: 5% to 7% range.

Siegemedia has this 5 to 7% outreach placement rate, to say the least.

Considering that the content you deliver to prospects is linkable, you are nailing it if the campaign reaches 5% of the total link prospects gathered to be actual links.

For broken link building, it may vary a little bit. In our experience at SharpRocket, 2 to 5% link placement rate is a good benchmark.

From that, you reverse engineer the number of linking websites you should be searching for.

TYPE OF CONTENT

The form of content you are pitching to matters in how many link opportunities you should be aiming for your content - which again, will depend on the root - outreach placement rate.

If you're pitching a high-end story, very localized in targeting, you may be getting a mid-to-high conversion rate, as it is very specific and could be exclusively covered by publishers.

Meanwhile, resource guides will require 300 to 500 links pages to expect at least a minimum of 10 resource links for a given linkable asset (for 2 to 5% link placement rate).

So, when knowing how many link opportunities you should be searching for in a given week, whether you are a solo link builder or an agency, you need to consider how linkable the content asset is and if's the type of content that gets the highest link reception.

INDUSTRY/VERTICAL LINK ENVIRONMENT

Every vertical has different link landscape.

For example, lawyers don't tend to link out compared to mommy bloggers. That's not to say that lawyers can't give you a link. If it's highly local in nature and your content is highly linkable, you'll get a chance to acquire links for sure.

mommy blogger example

There are industries that don't use blogging as their main platform to earn money besides their profession.

But for mommy and fashion bloggers, they get some affiliate commissions and earnings from advertisements of different kinds online. Thus, they get more free time to engage in any online marketing activities including SEO and link building.

Consider this fact as you decide on the number of link opportunities for a given niche client.

TIME SPENT ON PERSONALIZATION

The higher the number of link targets you can discover, the more time you'll have to spend in personalizing outreach emails.

This is a must to consider as you don't want to sacrifice quality of pitches just because you're looking for a higher number of link opportunities per week/month.

After all, the outcome is more important than the link opportunities rate.

If you are pursuing a larger size of link opportunities, you need to consider the time spent on personalizing your email pitches. Remember without proper personalization, you'll just lose the prospects, either they won't respond to your pitch (ignoring your emails overall) or delete them immediately as soon as it arrives.

METRICS

Lastly, setting a benchmark for link prospecting should be considered in assessing how many link prospects you should look for in a given week.

The higher the benchmark is for metrics, let's say DA50 and above for all link targets, the less websites or pages you may be including in your link list.

That's not to say that benchmark isn't good; it's for assessing quality as a baseline.

Nonetheless you have to consider your metrics if you want to cast a wider net in link prospecting.

FURTHER READING:

VARIATIONS ON LINK PROSPECTING NUMBERS

While there are many factors to consider in checking the average number of link opportunities your prospectors must look for either in a week or in a month: historical link data from past campaigns, type of content, industry, time spent on personalization and metrics, make sure to increase allowances in numbers.

By increasing more of the link prospects allowed, you increase the likelihood of getting more links for a given campaign.


influencer outreach

Why and How Influencer Outreach Works

influencer outreach

 

WHAT IS INFLUENCER OUTREACH?

Influencer outreach is a marketing discipline of identifying influencers in an industry, qualifying them based on relevance, clout, and engagement, and pursuing them by adding value to what they do.

It is a common practice in different outreach campaigns. The only difference is that you are reaching out to an influencer.

An influencer is an entity or a person with a massive reach (social, web or offline), who also serves your potential customers with content in their preferred platform.

When influencers endorse an offering from your site or a content asset you recently produce, you gain the reach from their existing fanbase. You also have the chance of absorbing their followers if they've found your content useful to them - which is the primary win for any brand that engages in influencer outreach.

Besides that, there are many other benefits a brand can get aside from the absorption of their current following.

Value of Association

Trust is a glue and attractive force that makes people want to buy from you. It's common sense that when a trusted person or entity endorses what you offer to the market, it's possible that potential customers trust you more.

When you do influencer outreach, you actually take the risk of associating yourself with the influencer you're targeting. That's the reason why it's critically important to qualify influencers whom you would consider in a partnership.

The moment they introduce any of your page or content piece, you're letting them associate with yourself.

If the influencer has a good reputation and doesn't simply endorse any site/content, you're putting yourself in a respected position.

Though the influencer has limits as to when and how they would co-promote your offering/content, the value of association is priceless as it gives more authority and trust to your brand.

Content Marketing Opportunities

You never know how far your content will be able to reach once it's been part of the influencers' circle of content.

You might have a chance to get opportunities not only from the direct exposure of the influencer, but potential ones its (influencer's) followers might provide for you.

Future collaboration can take place when that happens.

While many marketers discuss virality as a guaranteed mark of a successful campaign, there still isn't a perfect formula to make content go viral.

With influencer outreach, you're increasing the probability of your content being more visible, rather than just guaranteeing its virality (though that might happen as well). The truth is virality comes from higher visibility of your content in different places.

Influencer outreach does that for you. It helps you increase your content's visibility in your target audience.

HOW TO DO INFLUENCER OUTREACH

There are many techniques you can find in several articles on this topic, but there are common initiatives you must be able to learn and execute well to effectively get results from this type of campaign.

I. SETTING YOUR CAMPAIGN'S GOALS

This is common sense, but I find marketers jump into outreach very quick without even knowing why they are reaching out to influencers in the first place

What is your goal? What are you trying to achieve in your partnership with the influencer? Is it to get a mention in one of his blogs with a contextual link to your site/page? Do you want exposure in his non-text content (podcast or Youtube vlog)? Do you want to collaborate for a solid content piece that can dominate a keyphrase with high search volume?

Go deeper into asking the purpose of your campaign. Get a piece of paper and write it down.

II. IDENTIFYING INFLUENCERS

This initiative is the first activity among all influencer outreach campaigns.

Next to knowing your goals, you discover who you are reaching out to. And this is the part where campaigns will vary.

There are tools to help you semi-automate the process of discovering influencers in your industry. Let's discuss a few of them.

A. Google Search

The basic methodology of discovering potential influencers for collaboration is by doing Google search.

Use any of these queries to find influencers in your space:

  • "top bloggers" INDUSTRY
  • "author" site:TOPINDUSTRYBLOG
  • "top influencers" INDUSTRY

You can also discover influencers who are contributors to a blog in your industry. See the search query I used below.

B. Ahrefs Content Explorer

Not only that you'll be able to find the most popular articles in your niche using Ahrefs' Content Explorer. You can also locate influencers who have tweeted those top content pieces.

ahrefs content explorer search

After searching for the topic of your choice, you will see a list of the top pages for that topic. For each content piece, there is an available Details button which you can click on to see more information about the article.

Click on "Who Tweeted" and there you'll have a list of influencers who have tweeted the article.

who tweeted ahrefs content explorer

You can filter the list based on the recency of their tweets, the language they speak of, and the number of following/followers. Export it into a file for later use.

C. Buzzsumo

One of the most useful web-based products for influencer discovery is Buzzsumo. Its Influencers feature allows proper filtering.

You can filter the list by the type of influencers that you want to engage with: bloggers, influencers, companies, journalists, or regular people. This refining keeps your campaign more targeted to a specific group of influencers.

buzzsumo influencers type

For local influencer outreach campaigns, you can filter influencers based on location.

Buzzsumo gives you options to sort the list of influencers from highest to lowest following klout, retweet or reply ratio and average tweets.

Maximize the use of those three tools: Google search, Ahrefs' Content Explorer, and Buzzsumo in order to make a solid list of influencers for your content marketing campaign.

After setting goals for your influencer outreach campaign and discovering suitable influencers, your next activity is to think of a strategy that makes the content more valuable for both parties - I call this valued partnership.

III. CONTENT PARTNERSHIP

You will not send emails to your target influencers without thinking of the value that you'll provide for them. With several priorities they have, they only respond to emails that are worth their time.

One value you can provide to them is content that both of you will benefit from.

Here are some examples of effective content partnerships you can consider to your campaign:

A. Twitter Chats

Twitter isn't only a place for ranting complaints, but a good platform for learning conversations.

For example, there are brands in the digital marketing industry that regularly hosts Twitter chats where they invite special guests (agency owners and consultants) to join their discussions for topics they specialize in.

If you have a substantial number of followers in your Twitter account, you can use Twitter chats as a value proposition in your influencer outreach pitches.

Invite influencers to join your weekly discussions.

serpstatchat

It's important to have a solid strategy for Twitter chats, and not just make it as an ordinary discussion. One way to maximize it is to prepare questions related to the influencer's expertise. This would allow a more fruitful discussion with the community.

B. Video and Blog Interviews

Creating more useful content than what others have previously produced is now a challenge for content publishers. With much data and information published every day, a content piece must have a non-generic message people would actually consume at their best capacity.

This problem leads to content fatigue. It happens where there are excessive production and data of content that makes people become less and less receptive to the message that the brand is trying to send to its audience.

The solution to this problem is to collaborate with influencers for a solid content piece both parties will benefit from.

By doing influencer outreach campaigns, you can hit two birds with one stone-- engage an influencer while at the same time provide unique content to your target audience.

Produce an interview-type of content where both parties are able to discuss different yet thematically-relevant subjects.

video content engagement

By doing so, both parties may absorb followers (subscribers) from each other.

C. Free Accounts

SaaS companies provide free accounts of their web-based products to publishers and influencers. While this should be an easy strategy for some, I've seen SaAs brands fail to get buy-ins from influencers to use and promote their products to their followers. One of the reasons why it happens is because they don't emphasize the value of their products.

The key in crafting your email pitches to influencers is to understand what makes your SaAs tool different from its contemporaries. There may be just 1 or 2 features that you need to highlight and to focus on your pitch.

D. Facebook ReShares 

Facebook is a great platform to absorb followers from different asset pages. If it's done well, you can gain a massive following in a short period of time.

One of the effective techniques I absorbed in the past years that worked really well in increasing the visibility of a brand page is collaborating with other pages that target your audience.

facebook reshares

By developing partnerships through content supported by both entities, you'll be benefiting from each other’s additional organic visibility and increase of influence and authority in your niche.

IV. MORE INFLUENCER OUTREACH TECHNIQUES

Content is definitely a valuable asset that you can offer to influencers. However, getting your pitches into their hands will require some more additional techniques.

These influencers are getting several emails every day, so you have to make sure you do the necessary methods to get in front of their inbox.

A. Start with small-scale interaction

The ideal scenario is to pursue A-list personalities, but reality-wise, if your brand isn't well known and isn't that authoritative, the best recommendation is to start with a small-scale set of influencers.

As you develop relationships with low-tier to mid-tier personalities, you'll realize they would open more doors of opportunities for you - connections with other levels of influencers or a higher tier network of friends they know.

That process allows you to step by step build your own networks of influencers. It surely takes time, but the methodology of small scale interaction gives you leverage over a wide variety of connections.

B. Do pre-outreach engagement

Learn to know more about your influencers. It's not enough to quickly pitch them with your products or content piece.

If they haven't seen you in their circles, they're likely to ignore your outreach email.

It's every basic, but one of the best ways to increase the effectiveness of your campaign is to engage with them before pitching.

Share what they've posted on Twitter - a retweet with a comment that actually reads the article they wrote.

A sign up to their webinar or email newsletter to get to know what they're up to - their interests and value they're looking for.

Craft your emails in a way that it attends to your prospect's interests and needs. If you can write emails from scratch without any template, this will help hone your influencer outreach skills.

IDENTIFICATION BEFORE PERSONALIZATION

You can't personalize your email pitches without identifying interests and needs you have to provide to your prospect influencers. Do due diligence to profile them intently so you can write emails that best gives value and not just wanting to get something from them.


new audiences for links

Finding and Leveraging New Audiences for Links

Leveraging new audiences is incredibly helpful in growing your brand's online community.

It's a great way to drive more traffic to your site given that you will be able to absorb other sites' existing followers through links being placed on their pages.

Growth in terms of links and traffic is one of topmost priorities for seeking new audiences for your website.

new audiences for links

In this post, I won't go deeper into conventional methods of finding and maximizing audiences of other publishers such as creating text-based content pieces (guest posts).

I'll be sharing a few insights to leverage your own existing content assets' reach and discovering other on-the-brand linkable audiences.

Let's get right to it.

BUILD SUBSEQUENT CONTENT ASSETS FOR KEYWORDS ALREADY RANKING

It's easy to dive into creating content assets for other publishers. As relevant as they are, it's always a practical way of increasing your brand exposure for people who might find your content useful — and eventually capturing your content because of the value your content has been able to provide.

However, there's a probability of missing out opportunities your content assets have gotten success with already.

You can start by looking at your site's top ranking pages — pages that have ranked well not only for their target keywords but also for other multiple keywords within a singular topic.

SEMRush is a great tool in discovering these top pages through Organic Research.

semrush organic research

Go dig deeper to find what keyphrases those pages are ranking for. The Top Organic Keywords report shows you the entire list of keyphrases.

Filter the results of keywords by positions 21-50, which means you only want to see terms the page is ranking for on 21 to 50-ish range of search results.

You will only see now keyphrases where your specific page is ranking from positions third page of results, and further.

For example, this page, "Cyber Safety Guide" ranks for the keyphrase, "internet safety" while dominating for other 600+ relevant keywords. By checking, you'll see that there are keywords where makes sense to create subsequent articles just for them. Examples are cyberbullying picturesmalicious parents guide, and safety message ideas

Your existing content asset may be ranking well for those keywords (as it is perceived as being relevant to those queries), yet new pages can serve well for intents for each individual keywords. This leads to more ranking opportunities and more visibilities for your site.

ON-THE-BRAND LINKABLE AUDIENCES

In the hopes of building resource links, a lot of content publishers have started creating a series of content assets for different linkable audiences.

Given that these audiences are likely to link to your resource, as long as they fit the topic (e.g. ), it would be easy to create content, get links and grow your link profile.

For example, Affordable Colleges and DrugRehab have produced comprehensive guides for similar audiences (parents, teens, kids, teaching, PSTD, disabilities, etc..). 

While this is a good link building strategy of publishing different guides for different linkable audiences, there will be some disconnect brand-wise between linkable audiences and your customer profiles, if not planned carefully.

Every content publisher has to understand deeply their customer profiles (from top-view down to their execution of content creation).

This is important in order not to go too far away from their main blog's target audience. It's easy to create content for cancer patients, but when your customer profile does not include that, it would just be an additional piece to your blog that disconnects people from visitors to customers and are less likely to bring people from point A to point B of the customer journey.

I've been doing consulting with SEO agencies and brands lately, and I constantly tell people not to stretch their brand too much for the sake of creating content pieces for contextual links.

Getting links from off-the-brand links pages can help drive referral visitors but may not actually convert into customers, as the main offerings of the site do not fit to their specific profiles. Brands may get a lot of links from different guides for linkable audiences, but may not help in lead generation or conversion-wise.

This is why SEOs and content marketing agencies find it difficult to get buy-ins from marketing teams, execs, and content teams of their clients. Clients want to target direct consumers, but SEOs and link builders want to produce assets for other audiences. 

The key here is to exhaust all possible means of identifying the most relevant linkable audiences in your customer profiles (or if your direct customers are also one of linkable audiences - that would be a big advantage on your part).

Then, go look for other linkable audiences that are still relevant to areas within your customer avatars. Reaching far from your main customer audience (five levels sidewide relevance-wise) isn't practical when investing resources for content creation.

You can check out these comprehensive guides on link building and a cheat sheet of search engine queries

LEVERAGE NON-COMPETING BRANDS

Another way of increasing your reach through finding new audiences is to find any non-competing brands in your industry.

If you offer very specific products or service  (definitely targeted to niche customers), there are three ways you can approach this:

  • Find similar brands but are serving other local cities.
  • Find brands with the same target audience but provide different offerings.
  • Find brands of different types (affiliates, eCommerce blogs, etc..).

For example, if you own an affiliate blog for dog owners, you can leverage eCommerce stores that directly sell dog food, supplies, or equipment.

If you offer personal injury legal services in Texas, find medical institutions with the same target audience in your target local city.

LEVERAGE NEW AUDIENCES

By looking at the locality, website type, and expanding your industry horizon of topics, you can discover content opportunities you can take advantage of. Invest in building content assets on your blog first, then produce relevant pieces for other relevant sites as well.

By leveraging new audiences, you don't lock your brand into the limited efforts and resources you can reach by your own. You tap into other brands or online communities with existing reach to targeted visitors.


how to find the most receptive linkers in your industry

How to Find The Most Receptive Linkers In Your Industry

Outreach for any marketing initiatives including link building requires proper timing. When publishers are at the moment when they need what you offer, the likelihood of getting the link increases.

It is at a content creators' most receptive timing that they consider an exemplary content, which is way more effective than begging them for links when you start promoting your online asset.

In this post, we'll cover the factors that would help you and I determine the highest receptivity of potential linkers.

how to find the most receptive linkers in your industry

Normally, writers and publishers from niche blogs and other publications don't have a non-stop writing schedule for their online content. They have their own sets of phase - from content ideation, research for references, drafting, proofreading, and publishing, which allows them to secure the finest quality in every detail of its content creation process.

Consider the intent of a content creator performing a search query for his research. He includes parts of other online references - pages from other websites that will be of useful information to the content he is producing.

Content parts may comprise of any of the following:

  • Answers to questions potential customers wanted to know
  • List of industry jargons and lexicons
  • Reactions and counter-arguments to the latest big trending industry news
  • Industry concepts that require explanation and guides
  • Updated national or local laws, regulations, and implementations (i.e. PH's tax table)

You can use Ahrefs' Question Feature for discovering questions your users are looking for in your industry. There are questions where there is a need for a more detailed article or even a shoot a video for better content consumption.

You may have to find and hire academic and industry experts to help you with industry jargons - pull them off and create a list of terms and definitions that will be of use to content publishers. There are a lot of glossaries. So, one you should be putting out must cover more entries and should have highlight examples that are most commonly used in the market.

Influencers (e.g. vloggers) now have the luxury of producing video reactions to latest trending news that would get buy-in and support from other content publishers (if done with finesse quality - i.e. practical advice or information on the subject matter).

For retailers, you can invest in content pieces that compare leading products or brands in your space. Search for any productA vs product B high search volume phrases in Ahrefs and start determining if it's worth producing into content. I mostly see fact charts and tables for comparisons, but if you want to stand out, you can make little efforts to interview experts for impartial reviews or opinions.

TARGET FRESH PROSPECTS

When a website has been updated just recently - i.e. last week, last month or even last 24 hours, there is a higher likelihood for response to an irresistible pitch.

With very little efforts, one can find these very hot link prospects.

If you're doing link prospecting for a while, you would find Tools filter to be extremely valuable in refining your backlink targets. You'll be able to see newly published pages.

There are a lot of things you can leverage on this part, but one you can completely observe is there are many industries where there are missing good quality photos. So if a recently published article has a mediocre image, you can quickly send a pitch providing a list of high-quality images they can use for their blogs.

Independent bloggers normally don't have graphic artists on their team, so this is a good way to appeal to content creators in your space. 

If you have a plethora of high-quality images, you can do a massive reverse search for these visual content. This is to ensure you monitor any non-attributed images you can reach out to and ask to credit images to your website.

FIND JOURNALISTS SEEKING FOR CONTENT

Sending pitches to journalists who are looking for stories to cover on their publications requires a solid strategy for PR and link builders eyeing for big exposures. While it's an extremely difficult process for some, here are some guides I've found to be helpful for pitching journalists:

Journalists have timing where they are also at their highest receptivity. This is true when they already start looking for industry people to interview..

HARO is a great place to discover journalists seeking for stories your brand may be of interest. Another channel that is often underutilized is Twitter.

With a few Twitter searches, one can find enough available niche-specific story requests from journalists.

While most publication people would include #journorequest in their Tweets, you won't find this very often to be true.

Journalists normally use very classic terms that don't necessarily include the hashtag #journorequest. Here are some of the Twitter phrases you can use for discovery:

  • "looking to speak to" -#journorequest
  • "looking to interview" -#journorequest
  • "is there anyone" expert -#journorequest
  • "can you recommend" interview -#journorequest
  • "do you know" expert -#journorequest

There would be a lot of noise in Twitter search results, so you have to filter ones that are only journorequest and at the same time relevant to your industry.

One advantage of these non-common journorequest Twitter tweets is that they don't receive pitches as much as those users of #journorequest tweets that link builders and PRs reached out to.

HIGHEST RECEPTIVITY IN OUTREACH

We all aim for the highest receptivity in outreach emails. This is only possible if we are able to know and understand the stages where these content creators, potential linkers, and journalists are likely to respond.

With the above practical tips on strategic link prospecting for most receptive link targets, you'll able to expect more results in link performance.

Further Resources:


How to Turn Undervalued And Forgotten Assets Into New Links

How to Turn Undervalued And Forgotten Assets Into New Links

Links are being given higher preference as a ranking factor in search. It will always be that way as it contributes hugely in the ranking system.

Eric Enge's viewpoint on why links are such a great signal comes down to these three major points:

  • Material investment of the one linking to the page - the effort to put a link on a webpage is higher than implementing a link in a social media post.
  • Links serve as a public endorsement identifying the brand with the page being linked to.
  • Links give way for visitors to jump from one website to another - a direct invitation to do so.

The importance of links in search marketing now gives rise to businesses allotting budget for this area of SEO.

It is a serious matter when an investment has been made. As such, one must maximize every content asset produced for the brand, whether that is a video shot, written words or audio.

How to Turn Undervalued And Forgotten Assets Into New Links

One consideration is to turn your old and existing content pieces into new links. There may be underdeveloped, un-updated, and almost forgotten assets your team can search for, go back, and think of ways to reuse to acquire more links for your site.

How is that possible?

Here are some tips you can apply to your link building campaign to maximize whatever old and existing asset you have on your site.

IDENTIFY THE FIRST SET OF LINKERS OF UNDERPROMOTED CONTENT

Look for any underpromoted content on your site that has gained links in the past. You can use Ahrefs to find pages that have at least 10 good referring domains.

ahrefs pages with more than 10 referring domains

Check the links if they are built manually or are just syndicated from its original source or links from scraper sites. You have to ensure these assets succeed at one point of either attracting natural links from content publishers or acquired resource links through manual outreach.

natural resource link

Can you see patterns of audience the underpromoted content piece has targeted? This gives you a clue as to which kind of blogs would be relevant to prospect and reach out to for links.

CHECK FOR ANY 404 PAGES LINKABLE CONTENT 

For many reasons, there are linkable content assets that have been put down by the publisher or webmaster.

While some may not be useful anymore, there are timeless pieces that can be made live again to get more links to your site.

You can easily discover dead linkable content using Ahrefs' filter feature "HTTP code".

ahrefs 404 not found pages

Assess the page if it's worth to republish by looking at the number and type of links it garnered in the past, timeliness of topic, sets of linkable audiences can be matched to it, and overall linkability of the page itself.

MATCH EXISTING CONTENT TO LINKABLE AUDIENCES AROUND THE WEB 

With 601 audiences, there is a big possibility of finding congruence with your existing content to a specific audience who actually links from their curated or resource pages.

Through a moderate amount of outreach, you can turn your simple existing piece of content into a linkable magnet. Broken link building allows that, by finding pages that have defunct links which your existing content is a fitting replacement for.

The same broken link building process is applicable, the only difference is in the part of content revision — where content has to be targeted for a chose linkable audience.

REUSE OLD VISUAL ASSETS 

Visual assets like infographics are being produced every day. While some succeed in attracting more than average views, there are many that flopped because of lack of promotion.

If there are old visual assets of your site or of your client, look at the links they naturally gained first time around. Take note of the types of websites that picked it up.

Assess if you can find similar websites within the same level of reach.

Given the amount of months or years pass without the visual asset being heavily promoted, there are newly emerge publishers you can reach out to for additional exposure of the content.

REFORMAT YOUR EXISTING CONTENT 

There are many ways on how you want your existing content pieces to increase its link-worthiness-- either restructure it, repurpose (turn it into other content formats), or consolidate your thematically-relevant weak posts into a comprehensive guide on the topic.

By doing so, you establish the linkability of your content asset - helping it to be perceived as deserving for natural links.

You can also dig deep within your organization and find resources you can use or refine for manual outreach.

Here are some resources you may take a look:

  • Frequently asked questions from customer service departments that can be refurnished as a FAQ guide — being added to an existing content
  • Old newsletters with a curated list of resources, how-to tips, and sections, and interviews with industry experts or influencers
  • Mini-ebooks distributed to potential customers
  • Slide decks of speakers in your organization that can add extra context and points to an existing blog post or you may turn into a sort of "ask experts" series of content
  • Internal training presentations that can be published as "inside the agency or business XY" signifying brand transparency.
  • Employee knowledge base that can be turned into a common questions section on the website

IMPROVING WHAT IS IN YOUR HAND 

Taking the effort to go through your content assets published in the past months and years may reveal opportunities you’ll otherwise miss if you simply just plan for new content creation.

Along with tips shared above, you can read this guide on content writing, content gap analysis, and this list of creative content promotion strategies.


organic links

Four Factors That Help a Content Gain Organic Links

While link building is a conscious effort-driven activity to pursue the right types of links, any properly executed content strategy will result to organic links. They call this "link earning" whereby links acquired are by-products of the receptivity of the linkable audiences to your content assets.

organic links

The question we need to answer is, "What makes a certain piece of content organically acquire the links?"

There are two important factors that can help us answer the question: context and timing

When the context is appropriate to fulfill the needs of its intended audience and is better perceived as link-worthy than its competing resources, there's a likelihood of an organic link building process come into play. 

When the timing is just as right such that the content is needed by its targeted users, whether they're looking for it and are spotted right in front of their eyes, the same organic linking is possible.

Here are the factors that make a content piece likely to gain organic links in the process:

1. Content is referential

This basically means that there is an intent of using the type of content as an additional resource or reference in the creators' work. 

Link referential activity happens when posts are researched by writers using search engines or by following the hosting blog (given its authority and established brand) and use them to source more information from the texts or to point out readers for additional learning.

Survey is a type of content that is referential in nature. If it's well-researched and has accurate findings, it could gain organic links from bloggers who're looking to support their opinions, statements and thoughts (and would add help in increasing their content's credibility to the market).

If you're pursuing .edu links for example, one way to catch interests from student blogs is to choose topics that have high potentials of getting referenced by the page/site of students and faculties and get them published on your blog. 

You can interview professors on topic of school interests, collect their input, and produce it as a content asset. 

2. Content is searchable

To enhance organic linking, a content piece must be well-optimized to rank in search results for its targeted keywords. If it  is found in SERPs by people in the content creation process - researchers, bloggers and other content publishers, you can really scale the link attraction process. 

Not only that, you should also produce evergreen content on your blog, but make sure these content are well-researched to dominate the top spot of search results. 

The searchability of your content allows non-industry publishers to quote or cite you in their own published works, which would expand the reach of your assets. This is a tangential approach to producing more links non-targeted market yet is highly relevant with your brand.

3. Content is shareable

If a content piece gets more social shares than what other average pages are capable of getting, it can multiply its effect in introducing your web asset to a new set of potential readers who might use your page as a reference in their future publishing works.

If the social shareability of your content continues for weeks (may not be extend to a year and rarely does it happen, unless readers found it and intently share it again in social networks), you are increasing the likelihood of boosting a good number of links in its initial promotion.

It is essential to make it easy for your readers to share and even follow you on social networks. Those social sharing buttons will form a great role as a call-to-action on your posts.

Another approach to scale the process is for your own party to share others' relevant content, especially those pages coming from individuals and entities who have substantial followers in their industry. 

The value of building alliances and reciprocity will go a long way in making your content more shareable to the masses. 

4. Brand hosting the content is trust-worthy

Aside from the content itself being appealing in design and its included visuals, another signal that will be of importance for organic linking is the exact website where the page is hosted. 

Whether it is a sales-oriented page or a page for linkable purposes, who sources the content is a great determining factor whether a piece is likely to be referenced by publishers.

The initial confidence brought by the authority of the entity/brand is so crucial that it speaks the reason behind the number of organic brand mentions in products of many brands online. 

Because customers got great experiences using the product or service, it's a natural thing to quote it on their own blogs, forums or micro communities. This kind of organic linking activity isn't something any brand can replicate because the brand is well-known for its greatness in customer service.

THE UNCONTROLLABLE AND INVISIBLE PART OF LINK ACQUISITION

The type of content and relationships between linking partners may not be publically present, but they form part of what makes organic linking more like an auto-pilot. 

If a content piece is referential, searchable, shareable, and is hosted by a trustworthy brand, the art of organic linking becomes more realistic in the scene.

The process involved in it may require conscious effort in consistently putting out content that are well-curated or well-written. The rewards from the process is astounding, a content publisher will repeat it regularly.