Do you have content you need to outreach and rely on a tried and tested formula? Or, do you approach your external relationships in a less formulaic way as you try to keep your methods organic? If not, do you mix a bit of both of the above or do you do something entirely different to get the results you want?
Chances are, you do something different from the next guy or gal that reads this post. From the various blog posts, articles and other pieces that I’ve read over the last year on the subject of content ‘outreach strategies’, and there is a lot out there, as well as my own experiences, the best tried and tested formula you can use is the one that gives YOU the best return.
There is, it seems, no magic-bullet for this subject.
Of course, if your strategy is failing, for whatever reason, there maybe little nuggets of advice later on in this article from various sources that might just help kick-start a new approach.
Before that though, I’ve found planning outreach strategies painfully slow, extremely time consuming and sometimes tedious, yet they have always been key in gathering further intelligence about the content I’ve wanted to reach out with and most importantly they provided me with essential snippets of information about my targets and potential link partners (there, I said it), after all, the bottom line of our strategy never changes – we want links.
I’ve asked about, thought about, and researched about how I could stream-line the ‘time-vortex’ that is collecting and gathering potential link partners data for a specific outreach project, and the simple answer is; you can’t, not without compromising the quality.
Death by Spreadsheets?
Sure, use your existing partners and contacts where possible but also be mindful about just how often you use them, but more often than not, you’ll find yourself working on a niche you’ve not worked on before meaning that you’ll be opening up another blank spreadsheet very soon, I can hear the groans from here!
From the Horses Mouth
In a very interesting blog post published in Buzzsumo last year, Henley Wing identifies experts in their field of work and asked them ‘how they develop an outreach strategy’, some of the responses are well worth a read below.
In the article Kristi Hines, a Freelance Writer and Blogger comments about her own preferred outreach methods:
I’ve built a lot of relationships simply by following influencers in the online marketing world on social media and jumping into conversations whenever I can, plus commenting on their blog posts and sharing them with my audience.
I suspect most of you already do this, but her point about contributing with comments on others blog posts is a valid one and dare I say somewhat overlooked? Commenting on blogs is a great way to get your name recognised and to build up relationships with other bloggers too.
Jock Purtle, the Founder of Digital Exits gets straight to the point with his strategy:
The main goal is to build links to a specific piece of content…once we have that piece of content we then go out and find sites that have content around that topic and ask them for a link…Generally if we have created an exception piece of content then we will get links because the content is link worthy.
Arguably, this is possibly one of the more favourable methods employed by outreachers, it generally lacks the slow-burn relationship building that Kristi Hines employees and goes straight in for the cold, hard kill.
The benefits of this is when it does pay-off you’ve saved lots of time and expense and got an excellent return. The downsides however can range from your cold pitch becoming irritating or appearing cheeky to aliening an otherwise potentially positive relationship.
Sharon Flaherty, Founder of BrandContent has an entirely different approach from Jock’s:
I have a real bug-bear with any business objective to be solely to build links. Link-building should be part of the puzzle and not the sheer focus of SEOs…links are the bonus and come naturally because the content is great and people want to link to it..
It’s a fair comment and in an ideal world this approach would prove to be very sound indeed. However, I would argue that given the nature of the space we work in, the small time-windows these projects operate and the demand of the client as well as being mindful of our competitors actions, this can not always happen, can it?
Do you agree or disagree with what’s been said above? How do you go about building a outreach strategy? Have we all been doing this wrong and do we need to change our way of thinking?
I’d love to hear your thoughts!
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