Outreach is the art of connecting with bloggers or authors and building relationships through social media, email, or other online channels.
It’s a subject near and dear to my heart.
Earlier this year, I spoke about this topic at Authority Intensive, sharing the insights I learned while down in the trenches — building outreach teams from scratch, and seeing them lose opportunities to gain substantial visibility because of a lack of data-driven research and improper targeting.
Truly effective outreach is based upon deep research, relationship-building skills, and a fundamental understanding of SEO.
To form the relationships you want, you need to customize each outreach campaign.
Unfortunately, outreach campaigns often fail when content marketers only perform surface-level research.
Here are six essential tips for conducting thorough outreach research that creates a foundation for ongoing, strong relationships.
1. Review outreach fundamentals
Data-driven research helps you identify relationships that are mutually beneficial.
There are several consistent, fundamental components of outreach execution:
- Relationship Maintenance
But one element is especially easy to neglect: Using data to hyper-target potential relationships.
When you perform outreach correctly, you form a mutually beneficial relationship.
2. Assess your value-add
The first question you should ask yourself when working on outreach is: “What’s your value-add?”
Notice the phrase “your value-add” rather than “their value-add.” This slight mental shift is an extremely important part of outreach.
You need to offer valuable information, including, but not limited to:
- Original data and studies. Provide proprietary industry or consumer data, or studies in the form of stand-alone content.
- Unique expertise. How can you help through Q&A sessions, live blogging, interviews, etc?
- Exclusive resources. To appeal to a publisher or blogger, offer an information page that complements their research or interests.
- Supplementary help. To initiate a relationship, present the assets you can contribute other than content.
3. Identify potential relationships
I heard somewhere that everybody on this planet is separated by only six other people. I find it extremely comforting that we’re so closely connected.
But building meaningful connections is not easy. You have to find the right six people to make the right connections.
Some teams fail because they search Google to find relevant publishers or bloggers — that’s basically busy work.
The best place to start is with the actual data from your website or your client’s website. Review:
- Backlinks and mentions. Backlinks help you find authors or publishers who have covered you in the past. Mentions reveal discussions about your brand.
- Competitors’ backlinks. Take advantage of tools like Majestic SEO to dig through their backlinks and mentions. Since you have similar audiences, use these sources to create a list of publishers or bloggers to contact.
Once you have a list of author and publisher websites, you should also mine:
- Backlinks of the publishers’ websites. This will help you identify who shares their content.
- Backlinks of those backlinks. This will help you identify their extended audience.
- Authority metrics on the publications. Determine domain authority, citation trust, and citation flow scores of both small and large websites to help you decide who to work with.
The goal at this point is to make a large list that you can whittle down with the tools listed at the end of this post.
4. Learn about authors
Notice I wrote “authors” — not publishers, not the editorial staff. Authors.
Since you’re going to build relationships with authors, take time to understand them. Find out:
- Who are they?
- Where are they from?
- Where did they go to school?
- Where do they write?
- What topics do they love to cover?
- What are their interests outside of their industries?
- Are they active on one particular network over another?
- What are their temperaments?
- What topics or brands do they love or hate?
- How well does their content perform socially and organically?
In the screenshot below, I’ve pulled an example that shows basic data about an author who writes for The Next Web. You see URLs of posts he wrote for the specific publication, social metrics, and organic metrics, such as number of referring domains and backlinks.
The data gives an overall view of whether or not the content performed well, or if specific topics resonated with the audience. Next, I usually check out comment engagement.
There are multiple tools that you can use to aggregate this information. BuzzSumo has quickly become my favorite tool because it allows you to view metrics and segment your search by types of content, specific authors, or URLs.
BuzzSumo also allows you to view metrics about other posts from that author, and SharedCount is a tool that quickly pulls social metrics. I use Majestic SEO to pull backlinks and referring domains.
5. Make your cold market warm
Relationships always start out cold, but that doesn’t mean they can’t quickly become lukewarm with a little bit of effort.
You can find ways to genuinely connect with different authors, even if you don’t have any type of potential collaboration in mind.
Focus on building relationships that are both personal and professional:
- Connect through social networks and blog post comments.
- Share their content that you find interesting.
- Talk about non-business topics.
- Meet in real life at a conference or event — just make plans ahead of time so you are not relying on happenstance.
6. Drive success
Once you collaborate on a project with a particular author or publisher, your job isn’t done. Contribute to the success of the content.
Different techniques and strategies depend on individual situations, but here are a few examples.
Share across relevant networks
Find specific communities interested in the content produced from your collaboration. Do you know other authors who may want to share the content?
An author may find …read more
Source: Copy Blogger
By Tom Anthony
Right now, we are nearing a point whereby the convergence of several related technologies, combined with their improving accessibility (infrastructure and cost) means we are not far away from some big disruptions in local search. People will be expecting search results far more specific to their current context than ever before…. and they’ll be getting them. I’ve put together a simple and relatively typical story to illustrate some of the technologies (see section after the story).
A Search Story
Imagine someone who needs to pick up a gift for a friend of hers; she is wandering through London and searches for ‘jewellery shop’ via her phone as she walks. She gets a bunch of results for stores nearby, but isn’t happy and so refines her original voice search by simply speaking ‘show those with 4 stars or more’, and gets a subset of her original results a moment later. She is still unsure, so jumps on a rental bike and heads towards Oxford Street. Her phone recognises she is now cycling and updates the results for a wider radius.
She checks her results on her watch at some traffic lights, and decides the top results look great so clicks that. A short while after starting peddling again she feels her watch vibrate on the left side, and turns left as reaches the next intersection. She follows the haptic feedback from her watch for a couple more turns before parking up her bike near Regent’s Street when it indicates she has reached her destination.
Macys are already deploying iBeacons in their stores.
She walks into the store and knows she is looking for bracelets but isn’t sure where they might be. She pulls up Indoor Streetview on her phone and gets an instant map of the store, and sees she needs to head upstairs and to the back of the store. As she goes up the elevator she sees an ad for the store’s own app, so she grabs that over in their free in-store wifi and opens that up to see what offers there might be on.
As she heads out onto the floor she is now too deep into the building and has lost her GPS signal, but by now the store’s app has opened up and uses beacon technology in the store to guide her to the bracelets with perfect accuracy. She browses a bit and really likes a couple of the bracelets she sees, but can’t decide between them and decides to mull it over.
On the way to catch the train home, her phone buzzes to let know the electronics store she is nearing has the watch she was looking to buy as a gift for her boyfriend. She’d searched for the watch several times over the last few days and so her phone setup a passive search.
Later on that evening, the store’s app (knowing that she’d been in the store) throws up a voucher code for her to get a discount on their website. She decides to go ahead and take another look, so opens up the site and eventually makes up her mind and buys a bracelet using her voucher.
The Future is Now
All the technologies in this story already exist, and almost all are already available to customers (you’ll need to wait until February to get your Apple Watch with haptic feedback) and nothing in this story should be particularly surprising. The most important aspect will come from two things:
- All the technologies involved reaching widespread coverage.
- Consumer’s familiarity with these technologies and expectations from them.
Once the technologies are widespread and people have acclimatised, there is a lot of synergy between the various elements and I believe we’ll see a sharp uptick in them dramatically affecting searcher behaviour (which will be cyclical in affecting how businesses deploy these technologies).
I’ve discussed previously how we’ve noticed a trend for people who search on a mobile phone to have an expectation that Google/Siri/whatever will use not only their explicit search phrase to give them relevant results, but will also use supplement their query with implicit aspects based on their context (see this post for more discussion on that). A simple example to illustrate this is people searching for a phrase such as ‘breakfast’ as the sole phrase. Not that long ago such a search would’ve been crazy but now we know that Google will understand we are on a phone and what we want from our context (see this video for an extension of this).
There is no reason to believe this trend won’t continue and people won’t rely on further aspects of context and other technologies that will augment their searches. There is also no reason to suspect that the proliferation of the technologies in this story isn’t going to continue in the same fashion it has been. With that in mind, let’s take a look at what happened.
Breakdown of the Technologies
So what happened during this search, what technologies where involved? Let’s break it down.
- Search for ‘jewellery shop’ without any intent words (‘buy’, ‘find’, ‘nearest’), or location (‘cambridge’), or qualifiers (‘luxury’, ‘cheap’). The searcher expected that both intent and location would be implicitly understood from her context.
- Search refinement, a second search (‘show those with 4 stars or more’) which based on the first, rather than being a completely new search. Google calls this ‘conversational search‘, and with ongoing improvements in Machine Learning and in the data they have access to, it seems sure we’re going to see it get bigger and bigger (especially as wearable devices take off and users acclimatise to the concept). Likewise the Machine Learning powered Google Hummingbird update is going to drive improvements to this further, and so we’re also going to see this become a lot more powerful.
- Mode of transport as context. Android already has an activity recognition API which will recognise whether the user is on foot, in a car or on a bicycle. When we are doing a local search, it makes far more sense to consider …read more
By Brian Clark
Last Monday, we publicly launched the Rainmaker Platform. It’s a complete website solution for content marketers and Internet entrepreneurs.
With Rainmaker, you can:
- Create powerful content-driven websites on your own domains.
- Build membership sites and online training courses.
- Sell digital products like software, ebooks, and more.
- Perform sophisticated online lead generation.
- Optimize your content for search engines and social networks.
- Absorb cutting-edge tactics and strategy with included training.
- Avoid a patchwork of plugins, themes, and complicated code.
- Forget about upgrades, maintenance, security, and hosting headaches.
- Take your content to WordPress at any time you choose.
- A whole lot more …
We’ve had a large group of paid customers putting it to the test and giving us feedback since April. They got a special deal to do so, and now that we’ve evolved the Platform to version 2.0 thanks to them (their rave reviews are here), we’re giving you just a few more days to get the very same deal.
In a nutshell: Until this Friday, October 3, 2014 at 5:00 pm Pacific, you get our very best price on what Rainmaker is today, with everything it will become included at no extra charge.
Let me outline for you what those coming features are in 7 easy steps.
1. Advanced Reporting and Analytics
The way you see your business growing and changing each day will become even more useful in the near future. The Rainmaker Platform’s analytics and reporting functions will evolve with more advanced reporting options for those who want them.
You’ll be able to drill down into the stats that you really want to see, and slice and dice your preferences from within the dashboard itself. That means creating simple, at-a-glance views of the specific metrics you want (such as demographics, or specific segments of your customers and prospects).
This is exciting stuff, because you’d normally need a third-party tool to accomplish what we’re planning for analytics. For those who sign up this week, however, it comes standard with Rainmaker.
And yes, podcasting stats are on the way. Soon, you’ll be able to see how your podcast is performing, without the hassle of separate hosting and stats packages. We’ve got a few more ideas on the near horizon for Rainmaker Podcasting that we’re not quite ready to talk about (but you’ll get upgraded to). Just remember, we’re podcasters too, so you can bet we’re motivated to make this the best and easiest podcasting solution on the planet for entrepreneurs.
2. More Designs and Landing Page Templates
You may have noticed that there’s been a slight change in how we’re developing design themes lately. We call it the “Rainmaker First” philosophy.
Brian Gardner, Rafal Tomal, and Lauren Mancke are always hard at work designing and developing new themes and landing page templates, but now our (and their) focus has shifted to supplying our Rainmaker Platform customers with the best one-click web design in the world.
There are currently 27 design themes and 15 landing page templates (not including the new custom landing page builder) available to Rainmaker customers, and there are many more on the way.
And no, this does not mean we are neglecting our beloved StudioPress customers. In fact, this philosophy will end up benefitting everyone in the end. As these Rainmaker designs are tested and used in real-world online business situations, they’ll only get better.
3. Social Media Posting and Scheduling
This is a big one, and a no-brainer. Very soon, Rainmaker customers will be able to — from within the Rainmaker dashboard — post and schedule updates, links, photos, and other content to their social networks.
Your Rainmaker site is the home base of your business, and the importance of using social networks to attract an audience and send them back to your home base is undeniable. We think social media posting and scheduling tools have become a necessity for the savvy online publisher, but they should be integrated into your website platform with your daily workflow.
4. Integrated RSS Reader
So, the ability to post and schedule social media updates from your Rainmaker dashboard will be cool, but how do you find intriguing content from other sources to share with your audience? And how do you manage the very real potential for information overload?
That tool used to be Google Reader (RIP), but now, for our customers, it will be the Rainmaker Reader. This coming integrated RSS reader will be the place you’ll be able to strategically track your industry feeds, find great content to share, and glean inspiration for producing your own content.
5. Curation-to-Content Tools
Want to easily manage and publish a curated topical newsletter? Want that link from your RSS reader dropped into an existing post? How about effortlessly sending it out to your social media accounts?
The Rainmaker Curator will — with the click of a button — allow you to easily port the great content you find via RSS directly into a new or existing article you’re writing for your own audience. This will become an invaluable tool in your broader editorial role as a content marketer.
6. Serious Learning Management System
The first product ever launched off of Copyblogger, Teaching Sells, shows people step-by-step how to create sophisticated online training courses, along with the business models that power them. And since 2007, people have begged us to give them the turn-key platform that allowed for content creation, membership management, marketing, and all the other technological tasks that go with running a legitimate online business.
We’ve built that platform with Rainmaker. But we’re creating course creation tools that constitute a true learning management system — one that will help you with the administration, documentation, tracking, reporting, and delivery of e-learning education courses or …read more
Source: Copy Blogger
By Ian Cleary
Is your email damaging your business?
Imagine finishing up every evening without any email in your inbox. How refreshing is it to finish a day with an empty inbox?
If you add up all the time you spend on email and then add social media on top of this, I am sure it’s taking up a good portion of your day.
Managing your email more efficiently will give you the time you so desperately need on social media and other activities.
What Do You Do With All Your Emails?
At Content Marketing World recently, I listened to my friend Chris Ducker talk about email. He said he’ll never spend more than 45 minutes a day on email and when he gets an email there’s one of 3 actions he performs:
- Responds or creates a task
With a process like this in place you no longer have an overwhelming Inbox and if you restrict the time you spend on email you have more time to do other tasks.
Email is a major problem in business because we spend too much time on it, but it’s also a hugely important channel in the world of social media so we need to look at ways of solving this problem.
Here are some tips and tools to get you started.
This is one of my personal favorites. It basically manages your email by applying some automation processes to your inbox. It currently works with Gmail, Microsoft Exchange, IBM Notes and Office 365.
When emails come to your inbox Sanebox decides if they are important or not. If they are important they stay in your inbox and if they’re not they are put into a ‘SaneLater’ folder.
So how does it determine what’s important? Well, it uses your past interactions with your email as an indicator. For example, if you always open emails from a certain person within a short period of time after receiving it, Sanebox determines that this person must be important so all future emails from them will remain in your Inbox.
If you are viewing your SaneLater folder and come across messages from people that you want to start appearing in your inbox you simply drag that message to your inbox and then it will appear in your inbox from there on in.
This tool will save you a lot of time because you’ll have a lot less email in your inbox. You don’t ignore SaneLater completely but you’ll find that you’ll only check it once or twice a day, and when you’re checking your inbox there’s a lot less to process.
As you can see there are also other SaneInbox folders:
- @SaneArchive – These are emails that are older than 3 months, and so are automatically archived
- @SaneBlackHole – If you get email that is junk drag it to this folder and then any future emails from this account will automatically go to Junk
- @SaneLater – As discussed, these are non important emails which you can review on a regular basis
- @SaneTomorrow – If you are not ready to respond to an email you can drag it to SaneTomorrow and it will appear back in your inbox the next day.
Other functionality available with SaneInbox
- Get notified when people ignore your email – When you send an email you can get SaneInbox to send you a reminder if someone hasn’t responded to your email.
- Move attachments to the cloud – It can take all the attachments in your emails and automatically store them in Dropbox. Your emails will then contain a link to the attachment on Dropbox.
- Snooze important emails – I already explained about the SaneTomorrow’ folder where you can temporarily remove emails from your inbox and they then re-appear the following day. Well you can also snooze them for a week if you want.
- Summary of unimportant emails – You can get an email summarizing the emails that SaneInbox thought were unimportant and then you can action them in bulk within Sane.
If you get a lot of email SaneInbox will save you at least an hour a day.
2. Text Expander
Do you find you are constantly typing the same information over and over again within your emails?
I know the answer – yes, a lot!
Text expander allows you to assign a short-cut key that is used to copy in text you have already created. It can be used in email but can also be used in other areas e.g. Word Document,
Install Text Expander and create a series of templates (or snippets of text) that you want to use within your emails, then when you are typing you can call on these templates.
In the following example we have highlighted a template we use when we get requests for guest posting opportunities on our site. As we currently don’t allow guest posts we send back the same message all the time.
Instead of writing this message over and over again, we simply type the short cut ‘;gp’ in our email and it will automatically add in the text.
Text Expander is a Mac based application but you’ll also find PC based alternatives.
There is some overlapping functionality with Boomerang and SaneInbox but the feature I still use within Boomerang is scheduling of emails.
When I’m sending an email I either send it immediately or “Boomerang it” so it’s sent at a later stage. For example, it might be 11pm at night when you’re sending an email to a Journalist but you’ll probably get a better response if they receive it at 9am the following morning. Simply click the Boomerang button and send it whenever you want.
Boomerang is a Gmail app.
Source: Razor Social