Linkbuilding is still at the core of SEO and content marketing is now at the forefront of obtaining high quality links. Whether you’re writing blog posts, creating infographics, recording podcasts or publishing eBooks the purpose is to get people to engage with them. In a lot of cases, people won’t just stumble on your content and it’s up to you to promote it, usually through outreaching to blogs and news sites etc. but the question is how?
Firstly, anything you produce has to be good. It sounds obvious but no blogger, web editor or journalist is going to use something that is sub-par. Secondly, outreach and promotion is much more successful when you have a story to tie it in with and/or your content fulfils a problem for the end user. We’ll look at both points in more detail:
What makes great content?
This has been covered in a lot of detail on many blogs and the truth is, there is no set formula to what makes great content. However, good content has to have a purpose so before you start you should ensure your content fulfils at least one of these:
- Does it inform?
- Does it entertain?
- Does it persuade?
- Does it solve a problem?
Any content is also much more likely to be successful if it is original and for it to be original you need to invest time and effort into it.
Experimenting with different content should be encouraged and sometimes, a campaign that doesn’t work out as you would have hoped can teach you just as much, if not more than a campaign that was a success. Many companies will have stories of creating a piece of content that seemed fantastic and didn’t work.
From the beginning, you should try and tie your content into a wider story. Not only does this give it a clear purpose, it will help considerably when you come to do some outreach (we’ll cover this in more detail in the next section).
If the story doesn’t yet exist, there is nothing to stop you making it yourself. Polls and surveys are a great way to get solid data which you can create a story, and then content from. In the springtime, conducting a survey into people’s plans for their summer holidays could give you important data to compile something that would interest the travel industry.
What makes outreach successful?
As I’ve said, placing your content within a story or narrative will increase the chances of your campaign being a success. At this year’s Brighton SEO, Sharon Flaherty showcased video content from Confused.com which focused on drink driving. This was released in the run up to Christmas when drink driving is at the forefront of everyone’s mind perhaps more than at any other time. By all accounts, this campaign was incredibly successful. A campaign like this would likely have seen success anyway but promoting it in the run up to Christmas almost certainly helped increase this further.
Planning your content and outreach strategy from the outset is the key as it will ensure everything is ready for you to maximise success in a very short window of time. Depending on the circumstances, you may have as little as a few days to act. Knowing who you are going to contact before doing so will make things much easier. Compile a list of sites and contacts during the research phase.
Of course, you need to have all your resources ready to go as well; this could include press releases and supporting blog posts etc. the ability to react and act on leads is also important (more on that later).
In the news recently, Thomson travel took delivery of their first Boeing 787 Dreamliner and here at SiteVisibility we produced an interactive graphic that displayed the history of manned flight.
Despite alterations to the launch date, we had all of our resources in place and began outreaching to people as soon as it went live. This approach allowed us to get our content placed in national news sites and leading travel industry sites:
Earlier I mentioned the importance of being able to react to news stories and this approach allowed us to find link opportunities in places we hadn’t predicted including several influential aviation blogs. Simply by finding stories about the Dreamliner that had been published, we were able to approach them with our content and fit it into existing pages.
What if you’re creating content that doesn’t revolve around a specific event or story? Evergreen content (especially that which solves a problem) can make an excellent addition to existing content on the web and many editors are happy to include it.
- Plan thoroughly, extra effort now will pay off in the future
- Make your content great (and don’t be afraid to try new things)
Make the most of your brief window of opportunity.