In my last post, I wrote about the fact that there are two key components of successful link outreach. The first component is getting people to actually open your link requests and what elements online marketers should consider.
In this post, I want to address the second component of successful link outreach: how to increase the likelihood that publishers will actually say “yes” when you have successfully started a conversation about link acquisition.
Yes, there are elements of your email communication that increase the likelihood someone will open your message once received (see my last post). But the reality is that savvy online marketers start the communication process weeks, if not months in advance.
How do you do this? Here are four key steps for improving your success rate at link building outreach.
Social Media Research
Once you have a short list of publications and site owners, obtain relevant social media profiles and contact information associated with them as well. We leverage social media marketing as a mechanism for facilitating communication ahead of direct outreach.
While the manual review of a website’s “Contact Us” page and organizational information should always be done, commercial resources and plugins help expedite the process.
- BuzzStream’s Media BuzzMarker help “pull” social media and general contact information from target web pages and websites.
- Once an email address has been identified, Rapportive offers a Chrome plugin which aids in identifying social media profiles associated with that email address.
With this information in hand, its important to assemble target lists to organize information. This is especially important if your building contact information for multiple clients, business units, or industry objectives.
- For Twitter, use private Twitter lists to assemble relevant information streams.
- For LinkedIn, make note of key industry-specific LinkedIn groups that potential contacts are associated with and join where applicable and follow the organization’s company page for regular updates, especially if they use LinkedIn for content marketing efforts in particular.
- Don’t forget Google Drive, Evernote, and other shareable and collaborative resources, especially if you are working across teams or business units in your link building efforts.
Build Relationships First
This is where we have the most success supporting direct communication in link outreach. Twitter in particular is one of the simplest social media platforms for actively engaging and building network awareness.
- Share and retweet relevant updates and content from target publications and communities.
- Respond to questions and statements.
- If applicable, participate in relevant Twitter chats (just make sure you have something worthwhile to contribute).
All of these activities help increase the likelihood that the organization will recognize you and respond once direct outreach is made.
If target organizations use platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn for content marketing distribution, it makes sense to maintain a level supporting activity in those networks too.
- Sharing and “liking” organizational page updates through LinkedIn can be an underrated way to build awareness, since there is often a lower level of activity associated with LinkedIn posts (in comparison to other platforms). LinkedIn provides a notification system for page administrators as well.
- Facebook is more difficult to stand out unless you’re actively commenting and engaging in discussion; particularly with Facebook pages that have a greater level of engagement. The notification system in Facebook also consolidates information, making it less likely you’ll stand out by just “liking” posts.
Time Your Outreach
Once you’ve invested time in engaging with a publisher or site owner in social media, its time to coordinate direct outreach. A few factors come into play when developing your communication strategy.
- Identify How You Found Them
While you probably have stalked their social profiles for some time, make sure to identify a solid path explaining how you came across their information. Perhaps it was a great content marketing asset, a recommendation from a networked colleague, or even a conference or event.
- Forecast Their Mood
If you’ve done the necessary social media research, you could have a reasonable idea when publishers are more frequently online and how receptive they are to direct communication. They may also provide clues through status updates on when a good (or bad) time to reach out may be.
- Offer To Help As Well
As indicated in a previous post, while I’m not suggesting a complete SEO audit be built for every link building communication, if you encounter “quick wins” that might help the recipient improve their online presence in search, make the suggestion.
- Finally, pay attention to the steps I outlined here and make the best first impression possible when sending out your link communication.
Keep Relationships Alive
Here is one final point: don’t end your communication and support just because you’ve secured a link. You never know when new opportunities will arise where industry connections and these relationships will continue help.
That said, it is even more important to understand that the people behind the publications and link opportunities are what matter. Successful link building management has evolved into much more relationship building online, through social media platforms, and certainly in real life communications.
Interested in learning more? Check out my colleague Brendan Cottam’s post which provides more specific examples and steps we’ve taken combining social media and link building efforts.
What elements of communication and network development have been more important for your organization’s link building campaigns? I’d love to hear your thoughts via the comments below.