Content outreach: put more in, get more out
These days, it is important to do all you can to get your message across and ensure your brand gains the right exposure. One of the best ways of doing this is through content outreach: a marketing strategy whereby through new and existing contacts, you partner to share and promote your content on like-minded websites and social pages.
Content outreach, particularly the link-building aspect, should be treated as a mid to long-term strategy. It can take time to build and establish relevant contacts and requires a regular time investment to research and author content on an ongoing basis. If you need shorter-term marketing results, or are light on content creators, then digital media advertising might be a better option for you.
Content marketing builds your online presence in the following ways:
- Increase brand awareness: Through organic outreach and targeting relevant new audiences.
- Increase brand trust and reputation: Having people with brand authority quote you.
- Increase organic SEO ranking with backlinks: Quality external sites that link back to your own website help you move up the Google search results.
So that’s why content outreach can boost your online presence, now let’s look at how you can activate your plan with our four-step guide.
Step One: Identify the content you want to promote
You may already be creating blogs for your own website; therefore, content outreach is a great way to extend the range of your existing blogging activity. Content should be relevant to your expertise and your customers’ needs. Anything you create should be fresh and original, ideally brand-new content. However, if ‘fully new’ is not possible due to time and budget constraints, run a content audit on best performing blog posts and/or social media posts to see which subjects you could potentially re-purpose. If you re-purpose you must avoid duplication issues by introducing new, distinct and unique copy in your edit.
What is important to remember: you need to entice third party websites with something they cannot write or create themselves. This must be content that does not already exist on their website and therefore something that adds new value to their audience.
Here are some examples:
- A video demo of a new hotel or suite
- An invite to a restaurant opening / unveiling of a new menu
- An insight into a new destination with full hotel offering
- Local insights, travel and destination guides and advice
Step Two: Establish who you want to share your content
There are three types of contacts to consider, they are not mutually exclusive:
- Influencer / blogger outreach
These kinds of contacts are usually paid and if you are collaborating with a macro-influencer (someone with over 500,000 followers) it may be through their agent. Ideas that could secure a blog across their social platforms are things like a free hotel stay, or meal in one of your restaurants.
Examples of this are Liberty London Girl promoting The Hoxton’s dog-friendly service. This blog appears on the influencer’s website with added affiliated links to the hotel:
- Guest blogging
When an individual or a brand write a blog on another website which is relevant to their audience. This is a two-way partnership, as the content originator gains increased links back to their website, as well as an increase in brand awareness. In return, the site hosting the content gets fresh (and hopefully interesting) material for their online audience.
An example of this type of partnership is this very blog written by us, LAW Creative, on behalf of the Hotel Marketing Association.
- Traditional PR
Where you share content through more ‘traditional’ methods, such as press releases and campaigns. An example of this is when Air BnB partnered with Mattel to promote Barbie’s Dream House rental. The press release was sent out to a host of contacts, including B2B publications (e.g. Marketing Dive) as well as lifestyle websites (e.g. Refinery 29).
Our guide to identifying the right contacts
Building your prospective partner list can be one of the trickiest elements of your content outreach proposal. To get you started, here’s our checklist to get the wheels in motion:
- Check out their ranking: Tools such as Moz’s Link Explorer determine the website’s domain authority – a good way of determining how influential and/or popular a potential contact may (or may not) be.
- Find content that performs best: Online tools such as BuzzSumo identify trending content, most engaging influencers and keep you up to date in real-time. They offer a free trial to unlock key features followed by a monthly subscription.
- Engage on social media: This will enable you to fully understand prospective partner propositions and content style (and whether it is relevant to you). Following their own channels enables you to begin a conversation (by engaging with their posts etc). If you do this, be genuine and thoughtful with your comments – remember, you are looking to build a mutual relationship.
Note: Be realistic. A high profile contact may not engage with you if you have no previous relationship with them, whilst a mid-profile contact may be more receptive (after all, you’ll potentially both be gaining an equal amount of opportunities from any forthcoming partnership).
Step three: Saying ‘Hello’
Once you’ve chosen your preferred contact(s), you need to know the best way of getting in touch with them. Chances are you’re going to send them an email – so, make sure you make it personal (after all, a personalised email can get a response rate that is up to 6 times higher). Address it to the relevant person and not just a brand. Tell them why you have reached out to them and talk about their brand / blog / website. Don’t be afraid to flatter and tell them what it is about their content that you like so much!
Explain what you can offer and why you believe a collaboration will be successful. Many popular websites that accept guest blogs have submission guidelines. Make sure you read these and take them into account in your pitch. Influencers likewise often have contact/approach guidelines.
You can see why it helps to have struck up an initial conversation via Social Media, your ‘hello’ email will no longer be completely cold.
Not everyone will respond positively to your pitch. For guest blogging we’d recommend a top 5 target list, at least while you are starting out. Once guest posts are accepted, remember to keep them coming – it is about forming a long-term partnership.
Step four: Monitoring your success
Once you have successfully outreached your content there are several ways to monitor its success.
The partner website should be able to share the number of views your content is receiving – is your target audience looking at your content? Likewise, with social media, you can see engagement and view statistics. Some guest blog sites allow reader comments, review and engage with these, readers will often ask questions allowing you to share additional knowledge and insight.
Look at your own website’s traffic and/or Google analytics too – how much traffic to your own site are you generating from the outreached content? Tools like Moz and SEM Rush will show you the additional backlinks you are gaining and the impact these are having on your domain authority.
By reviewing engagement and audience statistics you can identify the best performing partnerships and continue to nurture them. Developing a content outreach strategy can take time, but it can also be highly rewarding, allowing you to engage with an audience you wouldn’t otherwise have access to and by increasing awareness of your brand.
At LAW Creative, we’ve produced award-winning content and creative campaigns for a variety of blue chip clients. To talk to us about how we can help with your marketing strategy and creative communications please get in touch with [email protected]