You know those links you find going to your competitors sites that make you wonder “how the heck did they land these?” Well, here’s some strategies that will land you links that will make the whole niche jealous.
Update their content (do them a favor)
One of the easiest ways to get on the good side of authority sites owners / managers you want to acquire links from is to offer to help them, for free. Authority websites have thousands of articles. It’s impossible to update all of them. So, naturally, they have content that’s out of date. They have a problem, you can be the solution. Contact them and offer to update the article. Simple as that.
Step 1: Find outdated content on your prospect’s site.
Step 2: Find an angle where you can naturally insert the link (possibly anchor text) so that you get the link you need and they get a nice shiny new article.
Step 3: Contact the prospect. Tell them you were looking over their site and you found an article that needs updating. Explain how you’re an expert on the topic and you can help them update it with as much current info as possible.
Why this works:
- You are solving a problem for them (that they might not even know they have)
- Blog owners are often really busy. You are saving their time
- It’s easy. For them, and for you. They like the content idea, it’s not as though you have to pitch an idea they might not like.
I scratched your back, now you scratch mine
Creating skyscraper content is a really effective outreach strategy. I’m going to show you how I tweak it to make it even more effective. You want to create content for your skyscraper article that mentions authority sites (naturally). The exact same sites you plan to prospect for links. The concept is really easy. Authority sites are much more likely to promote or mention an article that positively mentions them.
A real life example as below:
I had a client that provides training for teaching English abroad. They created a skyscraper piece that took readers through a step-by-step guide of getting your first teaching job:
- Where to find jobs,
- How to apply
- How to prepare for interviews,
- What to expect when you arrive,
- How to prepare your first classes.
When talking about where to find jobs, it listed some authority sites that had job boards. It also talked about preparing lessons and mentioned resources there too. So it mentioned sites like:
- Tefl.com: a major jobs portal for the niche
- Tefl.net: a large resource and forum
- OnestopEnglish: a site that has lesson plans
The major niche sites of the industry that have great metrics and a lot of targeted traffic. We managed to get 7 links by contacting the 12 sites mentioned. For free.
Step 1: Research the kind of topics that are trending right now, and what are the best examples of content on that subject.
Step 2: Figure out how you can make the content better than all the other content out there.
Step 3: Decide who your authority-level outreach prospects are and how you can organically incorporate them into the content.
Step 4: Write the content. Get it online and start promoting it. Send social traffic to show it’s trending (FB ads works well and is pretty cheap).
Step 5: Contact those prospects who are mentioned in the article and invite them to talk about the guide.
Why this works:
- The content is awesome, they’ll want to link to it anyway, this just gives them an extra incentive.
- Sites can see the benefit in promoting the content because in essence, they’ll be promoting themselves.
- Some sites will feel a moral obligation to reciprocate.
The goal is to produce a killer article that name drops authority sites. Do that and you’ll be amazed how many promote and link to the article. It’s a win-win.
Laser targeted expert content
SEOs love mass scale outreach. We love scalability. The more we contact, the more guest posts we’ll secure. But there’s a problem with this strategy. It requires an infinite number of prospects. With niche specific authoritative links, numbers are limited. We need to be laser targeted when we approach them. And we need to be able to provide them content that they couldn’t create themselves.
A real life example as below:
We have a client who works in construction law. We created an article on how contractors should handle contract dispute resolution. Really technical stuff that would almost be free legal advice. We contacted contractor news sites, offered the article, and told them it would really benefit their audience (building contractors).
They couldn’t write it themselve, they’re not lawyers. We were the experts.
They would normally charge $500-1000 for editorials whereas we were acquiring links for free.
Step 1: It’s all about the value of the content. It needs to be both very niche specific and something that the sites might not be able to write about themselves.
Step 2: Create a specific plan without actually writing the article. The goal is to be able to demonstrate your expertise.
Step 3: Contact the prospects individually. This is laser targeted outreach.
You want to say how this specific piece of content will benefit their specific audience, how it is going to add value, and how you are experts and able to write it. Talk about specifics.
Why this works:
- You help the site to identify content that their audience would enjoy which they might not be able write about.
- You are positioning yourself as the expert. Everyone wants to get information from experts.
- You are personalizing your outreach, which always converts better.
Build a reputation
This is a long term strategy. As SEOs we’re pretty balanced. Our strategies often include short term wins and a long term goals. But when it comes to outreach, there’s no long term strategy… we want our links immediately.
But with high quality links, it’s not quite so simple. They only want experts writing on the their blog. And writers with experience and a reputation in the industry (niche). So we need to give them that: a verified expert.
We need to build a reputation. Either in your name or your client’s name. For example, the construction lawyer. We paid for editorial level links and had all of the articles posted in the name of the client. The client was a lawyer writing about legal issues related to the construction industry, his speciality.
The editorials were an investment. They allowed us to build a reputation by being on the larger niche sites, but also in a short space of time. Then we started contacting other sites. When we did, we referenced his work on competitors sites.
They were only too happy to have our content. Because of this, we can get links at will since my client has a reputation as an expert content contributor.
Step 1: Build a reputation online as an expert in a specific niche. You can acquire editorials or pay for guest posts if time is short. It’s important to have the content authored by the same name, for brand identity.
Step 2: With a reputation as an author in the niche, start contacting major sites in the niche we’re targeting. Pitch article ideas, specific to their audience, link to previous work in the same niche. Show that your content is popular with similar audiences.
Why this works:
- Showing a history of content in your own name (client’s name) provides trust.
- Having a history of creating high quality content online demonstrates your expertise.
- No one likes to be the first. Just by showing that other respectable sites have posted your content is a trust signal itself.
Putting a voice to the name
99.99% of outreach takes place via email because in most cases outreach is a numbers game. The more emails we send, the more placements we get. Simple math. But as I mentioned before, outreach for high value guest posts is not a numbers game, it’s about being laser targeted because there is a limited number of prospects to contact.
You need to make each prospect count.
Pick up the phone and call the prospect. (No seriously… call them). A lot of SEOs hate picking up the phone, but it’s extremely effective and the link is completely worth it.
Step 1: Identify your prospects, ensure they have contextual do-follow links.
Step 2: Send out your prospecting email, as you would normally. But mention you’ll call in a few days. “I’ll drop you a line in a couple of days to walk you through the article I’m proposing” Sounds weird but you’ll be different than the other emails they receive. You’ll be more “real”.
Step 3: If you don’t hear from them, make a call in 3-4 days . When you call, reference the email you sent previously.
Explain the idea and why why it’s a really good fit for their audience. Ensure that you’ve highlighted how you are the expert in this area. Try to get a commitment over the phone, it’s harder to say no to you than via email.
Why this works:
- It’s infinitely so much easier to say no in an email than it is over the phone. By phoning we remove the easy way out.
- It shows your professionalism. You’re willing to make a call.
- They feel bad. You’ve just reminded them that they’ve ignored your email. Some agree to a post because they feel they owe you.
- You can be more persuasive. You are able to listen to objections and overcome them. You can’t do that so easily via email.
For a lot of people, making calls is not very comfortable. Especially if you’re not a native, you might feel more comfortable writing. Find a way… Hire someone. The results will stagger you.
I’ve had sites that notoriously don’t allow guest posts accept a post from my team using a phone call strategy. I’ve also had free guest posts on sites that charge large fees.
By learning these 5 strategies you’ve learned how to optimize your outreach for getting high value links.
We have a very limited number of niche related authority links, we have to maximize our conversions and use different strategies that deliver results.
And a lot of these strategies work together. You can build a reputation, contact them with laser targeted, expert content proposals, and you follow up with a phone call.
Source: Authority Builders