Shawn Joshi is an online marketing professional at Vovia, specializing in SEO. Shawn loves basketball and is often told he sounds like Isaac Hayes... "Oh yeah, baby".

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Got New Content? Spread the Word!

new-contentThis is a continuation of Shawn’s previous post on Content Marketing, which can be found here.

So you’ve got a great looking, well thought out piece of content. Now what?!

Outreach is the process of contacting prospective website owners in your space and informing them about your new content, with the goal of getting them to link to it or share it on their website (while crediting you as the author).

On the surface, outreach can seem like a fairly straight forward task.: send a few emails and BAM – you’ve got links and some great referral traffic to boot! Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

Website owners (especially those that have large followings and are seen as “authorities”) are bombarded with email requests for links, guest posting opportunities, and other content initiatives on a daily basis. So if you want any chance of getting a high quality link from these sources, you’re going to need to stand out in a big way.

Here are 3 key points to keep in mind when engaging in outreach for your content:

Use Their Personal Contact Information

It’s going to be very easy for your emails to get piled under a bunch of support requests if you try using the website’s general contact form.

The truth is, website owners pay much more attention to their personal email inboxes. Do whatever you can to get their personal address and your response rates will be much higher. This might involve a little selective snooping: LinkedIn and other social media networks can be excellent places for finding personal contact details. Keep in mind that you may also need to reach out to personal assistance or gatekeepers – be prepared to impress.

Better still, consider picking up the phone and giving the blogger, webmaster or site owner a call. This is a far more personal medium than an e-mail, but be sure you’re professional and have something of genuine value to offer.

Use Their Real Name

When you’re reaching out to someone, you must address them by name.Nothing screams of a templated email like “Dear website owner,” or “To whom this may concern,”.

If you can’t find the name of the person you want to contact on the website, then try using the general contact form to ask who you can speak to about your new content initiative. You might also do a simple WHOIS directory search for the domain name, as this will usually uncover the person who registered the domain name (unless they’ve been privately registered).

Make it About THEM

Appeal to their interests in a genuine way. You should be contacting these people because your content offers them something valuable and relevant to their interests. Communicate how they or their audience can benefit from your new piece of content.

Even further, communicate that you’re a fan of their content! This doesn’t mean that you feed every prospect an insincere “you’ve got a great blog” or “you’re providing a really useful resource” line. These types of statements come across as disingenuous and will be met with the click of the delete button.

Read a couple of posts or articles on their website and tell them EXACTLY what you liked about it and give your opinion about the topic. Find conversations they’ve started that you might be able to contribute to. This will convey that you’re actually a real reader of their website and will help to build more rapport.

But most importantly, look for ways to cultivate a relationships instead of just a link. One link is great, but never underestimate the power of an enduring relationship: the ability to share ideas, tap into each others’ audiences and contribute to ongoing discussions.

Sweat Equity – With A Payout

Thanks to Penguin and Panda, gone are the days of “Easy” link building. To succeed, you’ll need to build resources people care about, then get them in front of the right audiences.

Proper outreach does take time and effort. You need to take the time to familiarize yourself with each prospective website, craft a personalized email and make sure to follow up with those that haven’t responded to your first email. While canned messages can be used to speed up this process, use them with caution: even a canned message needs to be personalized enough to cut through the clutter and communicate a value offering.

While the process can be labour-intensive, the rewards of obtaining highly relevant links and targeted traffic are significant – and that says nothing of the important of building relationships and cultivating interest in your brand, your business, your thoughts and ideas. Approach outreach less as a link building tactic and more as a relationship and brand building exercise.

Your prospects are people with their own needs, desires, and motivations – tell them how your new piece of content can help them achieve their own goals and you’ll see your response rates sky rocket!