That’s the number of blog posts published every day. It’s no wonder then that influencers are inundated with requests to share or link to posts. Every. Single. Day.
The problem is, most of those folks out there are doing their outreach wrong. They’re using the wrong outreach template, showing off the wrong content, and maybe even contacting the wrong influencer.
And until now, the SEO gurus have done little about this. Let’s change that, will we?
We’ll discuss outreach tactics, particularly addressing types of content you should use for outreach purposes. Let’s begin.
1. Do Question and Answer Sessions (AMAs)
This is probably the easiest way to get your content on another platform. You can do AMAs on industry forums (e.g Inbound.org for marketers), general forums (e.g Reddit), or social media.
This helps you showcase your expertise in your niche and it’s also a good link-building opportunity.
Participants will often ask questions on topics you’ve written about before. When that happens, simply give a brief description of the solution, and share a link to an in-depth article you wrote on the subject.
For example, this is how Brian Dean does it in an AMA on Inbound.org.
Notice how he inserts links to his posts in his answers.
Also, notice how Steli Efti of Close.io answers the questions on an AMA session here. In some cases, after saying he has written about the topic before, he simply gives a link to an article he wrote that discusses the problem.
That’s some white-hat link building there!
Also, don’t forget to read forum guidelines or rules for any forum you plan to use for your AMA.
Oh, and you can do AMAs on as many forums as you desire, as long as they’re a good fit for your product or service.
Brian also did another one on Reddit.
Apart from following forum guidelines, be sure to:
- Introduce yourself: It’s important on every forum you’ll do an AMA on, but especially on general forums, where some folks there may never have heard about you. Tell them who you are, what you do, and why you’re in a good position to answer their questions.
- Mention the duration of the AMA session: They rarely last more than 12 hours. But you can leave it open for as long as anyone has questions to ask. Choose a reasonable duration and time that works for you and your audience.
- Answer questions: Try to answer every question, as long as they’re asked within the session’s time frame. You can decide to answer questions asked outside the time frame, or not. Feel free to link to other resources as an answer to a question if you’ve not written about it yet.
For stuff you’re not sure of, inspiration is a Google search away. A search query like “name of individual+AMA” can work for you.
Here’s one for “Noah Kagan + AMA:”
Question and answer sessions can help you spread your content across different platforms.
2. Become a Case Study
According to Content Marketing Benchmarking Report, case studies are the most effective content format.
Most times, businesses decide potential case study candidates from their list of customers. They may choose candidates using the following criteria:
- Exceptional results: Customers who have experienced insane results from using their product or service. Even better if they’re in a niche different from their regular customers. It’s the reason we see headlines like: “How X customer saw 400% increase in sales from using Y product.”
- Strong product knowledge: Customers who know their product inside out. They can explain the value of features of their product or service in ways that appeal to potential customers.
- Switched from competitor: Customers who use them after leaving a competitor. Might help highlight why they’re better than the competitor to indecisive leads.
- Big name: Being a big brand or company automatically means case study candidate. Can you imagine the likes of LinkedIn or Adobe doing outreach to become case study candidates? I can’t imagine it either.
You can reach out if any of the first three criteria applies to you.
You can use an email like below to wake the suggestion:
“Hi (insert name),
I can’t thank you enough for your (insert product/service name). I’ve had an incredibly positive experience using it.
That means (insert exceptional result here) while using (insert product/service name).
I’d be happy to share my experience as a testimonial or be the subject of a case study if you don’t mind. Just let me know your preference.
Keep doing great stuff with (insert product/service name).
The template above, or a variation of it is great because you’re providing value without asking for anything in return.
For best results, send the email to someone with any of the following titles at the company:
- Marketing Manager
- Chief Marketing Officer
- Content Marketing Manager
- Content Marketer
- VP of Marketing
Some companies may ask you to write the case study yourself, which is sweet, as you can include links to relevant pieces (if any) on your site directly.
Buzzstream allowed an employee from Material.com to write a case study as a guest post on their site.
Drift included several links from 15Five in this case study.
Apart from some link loving, you’ll also take your relationship with the company to another level.
3. Get on Podcasts
That’s the number of active blogs in the world today. In contrast, there are about 250,000 active podcasts according to Edison Research.
Podcasts are just getting started and that means lower competition. That is no barrier though, as several people vouch for its effectiveness.
In an Art of Charm Podcast, Hal Elrod credits being on 150 podcasts in the two years since his book came out as the number one reason he now sells twice as many more books monthly.
Coincidentally, I’m on Pat Flynn’s newsletter, and some days ago, he sent this.
And he gave reasons he’d keep his podcast over every other content platform here.
Guest podcasting helps you reach a wider audience with your posts, books, and services. And you can get links to all of these in the podcast show notes.
Just make reference to any of them during the show, and your host can include it in the podcast show notes.
These are links Lolly Daskal got on Entrepreneur on Fire’s podcast show notes:
Srini Rao also got links to his post, book, and website on Jeff Goins’ podcast show notes:
Get on 20 to 50 podcasts, and the results will speak for itself.
You know the best part?
Guest podcasting takes considerably less time than writing a post.
“A good article usually takes at least five hours to write and edit, and a great long-form article like the kind featured on Sumo takes at least ten and sometimes twenty hours. An hour long podcast on the other hand only takes an hour. If you add on two more hours (one for research and one for prep), it’s still only three hours vs ten.”
– Taylor Pearson
4. Write guest posts
Top SEOs know that guest posting is still one of the best ways to get your content across different platforms and get links too.
There are many ways you can get your posts published on top sites, but we won’t discuss that here.
But one thing is sure: before you start a guest posting campaign, you need to be prepared.
Sure, you can use guest posts to create awareness for your service or product. But we’ll focus on using guest posting to expand your content’s reach.
First, you need to create pillar content on your blog. Bonus points if you do some keyword research and the post is on a keyword you want to rank for.
For example, Ryan Stewart created a monster 5,000-word post on optimizing a blog for Google.
He has since been able to get backlinks from Content Marketing Institute, Ahrefs, and several other sites.
Bamidele Onibalusi has also found success with linking back to his resource in guest posts.
It now ranks for several keywords on guest blogging.
The point is, you can improve your SEO and by extension, your content’s reach by placing useful links back to your content when you write guest posts on other blogs. Just be sure that it is useful to the target blog. With time, that content will be easily found and more people will link to it.
5. Write/Record product reviews
I know it sounds cliché, but I don’t mean 500-word generic reviews about a product or service.
Unfortunately, for some products, there are still scarce great reviews.
For example, here’s a Google search for reviews of the link tracking tool Clickmeter.
Click on all of those links and you’ll find just one review that’s over 1,000 words. *Sigh*
That is still insufficient. And it’s obvious they’re just writing the article for the affiliate link.
I know you’re wondering, what should I do?
I’m glad you asked.
Write useful reviews.
That means don’t just tell people features of a product, show them how to use it. Or show them how you use it.
It’s not easy. It will take thousands of words. It will take days or sometimes weeks to create it, but it will be worth the effort.
Here it is in action from the guys at Authority Hacker.
This review is super-detailed at over 8,000 words
Martech Wiz also has a detailed review of over 4,000 words.
Another useful Ahrefs review
It’s no wonder they rank highly in the SERPS.
Plug in the URL for those reviews into Moz’s Open Site Explorer and you’ll find that none has more than four sites linking to it.
For Authority Hacker:
For Martech Wiz:
While more backlinks from several sites is a good idea, you’ll notice too that one link from a site with high domain authority can be good enough. And a good internal linking structure on your site works for site SEO too. For example, Martech Wiz has linked to the Ahrefs review over 10 times on its own domain.
For Authority Hacker the high DA site is NeilPatel.com, and for Martech Wiz it is Reddit.
Did I mention that both reviewers created videos too? Epic stuff.
Here’s a quote from Rand Fishkin on link-building:
That is what Matthew Woodward did with this piece “Ahrefs vs Majestic SEO – 1 Million Reasons Why Ahrefs Is Better.”
The guys from Ahrefs linked to it.
Write detailed reviews for products or services you use. It works.
6. Create Research/Personal Data
People share data for any of the following reasons:
- To provide evidence for the points they raise in an article
- To convince an employer to invest in certain products, services, or strategies
- To build trust, and establish authority
For example, in this post, I have made reference to some research to support my points. Read any useful post on the web, and you’ll find some data to support the writer’s points.
Large sets of data can reveal new and interesting findings.
That’s also because most simple, common sense observations have been made already in almost any niche. And also, since most marketers do not have the time or resources to do research or analyze big data, this can be a gold-mine for you.
See the number of external backlinks on each below.
Links to Hubspot’s State of Inbound
It would be difficult to replicate such on any other form of content listed here, except probably number 8 (see below).
If you cannot carry out the research on your own, it’s always a good practice to collaborate with someone else in your niche to create it.
In fact, whether you can do it on your own or not, collaboration is a good thing.
And that’s the next point.
7. Collaborate to create resources
Look at this screenshot from CMI’s research page:
You’ll notice that CMI collaborated with Marketing Profs and they were sponsored by Bright Cove.
Collaboration doesn’t just mean help with expenses, it also means a wider reach for your content and more backlinks.
The companies you collaborate with are more likely to share and link to the resource you created together, whether on their blog or in guest posts.
Hubspot’s Marketing Resources Library features lots of content from Hubspot’s partners.
Hubspot partnership isn’t free though
Also, you can create the resource, and ask an influencer in your niche to write about it.
That’s what Buzzsumo did after analyzing one billion Facebook posts. Neil Patel wrote lessons he learned from the analysis.
Buzzsumo then summarized Neil Patel’s conclusions in a SlideShare presentation.
Don’t hesitate to seek opportunities to collaborate with influencers or other businesses in your niche.
8. Create an app or software
When the “content is king” movement began years ago, most marketers limited themselves to the written word.
But in just the third paragraph of his “Content is King” article, Bill Gates said:
“When it comes to an interactive network such as the Internet, the definition of “content” becomes very wide. For example, computer software is a form of content-an extremely important one, and the one that for Microsoft will remain by far the most important.”
Simply put, a software or tool is content. And like Gates said, for some companies, it “will remain by far the most important.”
Neil Patel made the case for software too, way back in 2013. In his words, “it has helped to grow my overall traffic and to increase the loyalty of my audience.”
See the number of backlinks to Quicksprout.com:
And the number of backlinks to Buzzsumo.
It’s difficult to argue that any other piece of content would even come close to the results above. Only original research or data comes close.
What Are You Waiting For?
Some content forms for outreach in this article, like software and original research, are advanced forms of content. You’ll either need to spend a huge chunk of time or money to create them.
Others, like guest posting, are unashamedly old school.
Do you have time, or do you have money? Your answer to that question will determine your best course of action.
A software, for example, could set you back by hundreds of thousands of dollars. But if you have the budget, the rewards are worthwhile.
Because you won’t be another brand or person struggling to be heard. You’ll be the fellow that arrived overnight from nowhere.
And when people ask you how you did it, you’ll bring them to this post. Or maybe you won’t.
It can still be our little secret.