As long as Google’s algorithm is a link-based one, high-quality links will always be important to any campaign. Link building is an essential tactic to improve SERP results. So, how do you get links onto quality sites? In this post, we’ll cover two basic strategies, as well as our top three suggestions for free outreach tools.
I’ll preface these suggestions by mentioning that it is much easier to acquire links and quality media placements when you have good, solid content. People don’t want to link to an infographic that looks like a kindergarten dropout made it. Your content should be visually compelling, well formatted, and be focused around a clear storyline.
A guest post is when you are a contributing writer to a website. The post can be a one time thing or a recurring contribution. Many sites will want to see an established online persona with links to works that you’ve already created. You can leverage your experience as a writer to help you land on other high quality sites.
When you pitch a guest post be sure to check the website and see if they’ve ever accepted posts before. You may be the first to land a post on there, but it’s not likely. Find the requirements that they look for in a guest post and make sure that you meet them. Remember that you’re pitching a solution to a problem, not an advertisement for your company.
Pitching the media can be a tricky process, especially if you don’t have connections already established. While there are no hard and fast rules, a general rule of thumb is to keep your posts short and sweet. If you’re pitching an asset (infographic, whitepaper, research study) then it should be around 150 words. Pitching an idea may require a little bit more and should be around 250 words. Remember that reporters don’t want to read a novel in their email nor do they have the time.
The most important part of your email is…the subject line. It doesn’t matter how great the body of your email is if the recipient doesn’t open it. A good subject line can draw interest from the recipient and get them curious about your pitch. Make sure that when you’re pitching reporters that you’re giving them something of value that their readers will like. Avoid pestering and excessive follow-up—sometimes you just won’t get an answer back.
Sometimes the hardest part about pitching someone is finding an email address for them. There are several tools out there to test email addresses to make sure that your email actually goes to an inbox. Mailtester is a tool that allows you to plug in an email address and will let you know if it is a valid email.
Best Pitch I Ever Got is a website that interviews journalists to teach PR people on how to pitch them. It’s a great resource people to learn how to pitch top-tier media outlets. The best part is it’s a free service!
Michael Smart is a communications trainer who teaches people how to land coverages in local, national, and international media outlets. Michael has a free weekly newsletter that offers advice be the experienced and the inexperienced pitcher. He also has a paid service called the inner circle, which has some real golden nuggets of information.
There are other paid resources that you can use to help land your site on top-tier websites, but you can’t beat free. Utilizing a creative writer and some good content resources can help you land a guest post or a placement in a local media source. Enjoy!