Guest: Paul May (@paulmay). @paulmay is the CEO and co-founder of @BuzzStream. @BuzzStream is a link building, PR, and social tool for performing outreach. @paulmay has been working within startups for 15 years in marketing, product management.
What are the key components of link building in 2012?
There’s a lot of variance b/t verticals, so there’s no simple answer, but there are some things that cross-cut. Specifically, rising importance of content-based link building, social signals and authorship data. And there’s just a higher minimum bar for quality across all tactics.
Regarding quality…. Most site/link types that worked before still seem to work, but authority matters more.
Regarding authorship… Eric Schmidt described G+ as an “identity service.” That’s important info. Tells you that they want to see links from PEOPLE they view as influential and trustworthy… big focus for them. So tying community engagement, influencer mktg n link building together is very high value..but hard. It’s hard to do, but it’s going to get more and more important…makes it a good long-term bet.
@ashbuckles: Does authorship come more from social signals or content found around the web? Other words: content makes you auth or socl.
@paulmay: Great question…both, but clearly they want all to have g+ profiles, so they can overlay link graph w/social graph.
@victorpan: Can you elaborate on the types of authority we’re talking here? Too many definitions – PR, DR, Follower/Follow count
@ashbuckles: Authority goes deeper than anything you can game. Follower count doesn’t matter is you’re followed by 100% bots.
@kmullett: Hence the G+ rel=auth and rel=pub tie in with sites and blogs. This person is authoritative about X, Y, and Z.
@ashbuckles: I think many people miss that Google can nearly demand G+ is a win by tweaking SERPs to ensure it.
Why is marketing outreach [usually] so difficult to manage?
Biggest reason is that there are many moving parts to track and you need broad outreach to get results. Managing outreach gets even harder if you’re working across a team or on behalf of multiple sites.
hings to track: who’s relevant, who’s been contacted, who needs to be emailed, who’s responded/linked, etc. It’s easy to let things slip thru the cracks or, worse, reach out in a way that makes your brand/client look bad.
Solution: implement a system. For small sites, free tools might be enough. Gmail+smart use of labels+rapportive+boomerang. For teams n larger efforts, link building CRMs: BuzzStream, Raven http://t.co/UGT5Kv95, http://t.co/xi3gKlMy. Anything you can do to personalize outreach has a huge impact on performance….rapportive helps. The overall quality of outreach is very low. Any level of personalization/relationship matters.
@LeydaHernandezV: Is anyone else using other web tools/ext/softwares that have helped them in managing outreach marketing?
@kmullett: Somewhat obscure but tynt shows you if your content has been copied and sometimes where too. Ask for backlink.
What are your top tips for conducting outreach that’s both effective and scalable?
- focus on influencers 1st,
- ID multiple segments to target for each content asset,
- Use templates, but personalize
Influencers amplify, but they require work. Build relationships (tweets, comments, etc) and personalize outreach. heck out @pointblankseo’s efforts w/influencers and brand evangelists as an example – http://t.co/ZQHhonq9. For content targeting, usually a content asset is interesting to multiple types of sites.
Create personas for each segment, build outreach templates for each, 3) personalize based on interests/relationship.
Example I use…suppose you’re asset is a guide for designing/installing a sprinkler system. Looking at backlink profiles for ranking sites, you see many site types: DIY blogs, green blogs, gardening blogs, etc. Budget/time/need might prevent outreach to all, but the opportunity is there.
For each segment, you think through (or write) personas. Nothing fancy…just enough to put yourself in their shoes. You want to speak their language and have a good answer for the “why they should link to you” question. “Why they should link” is the key. Nobody cares that you want a link…reach out based on their wants.
Good explanation of personas and template development via @justinrbriggs http://t.co/jqcqhtCS.
When building lists, don’t just capture contact info and URLs. Make note of something relevant about the site. This will be key when you get going on your outreach. And keep this info in a searchable database. Having a DB of relevance/relationship info for sites is a valuable asset.
When you conduct outreach, have info about sites in one view, email template in the other…personalize n send. The difference b/t “this may be of interest to you” and “I saw this on your site and thought this may be of interest” is huge! Be systematic and get a rhythm going…and, as cheesy as it sounds, be empathetic…people buy from people they like. Mindset is key.
@kmullett: Can use Google Social Data Hub info now in GA’s social tab to see who is acting on content. See if they have a blog.
@ashbuckles: On content targeting, you mean for guest posting or embedding of content for sites?
@paulmay: More for things like linkbait, infographics, ebooks, etc. All of the principals are the same…across sw dev, sales, and marketing.
@kmullett: Do you ever use google operators or niche’ search tools for discovery?
@paulmay: Both…very good list from @garrettfrench of the types of prospecting tools. I’ll look for it.
What are your favorite tools for link building?
Uh…well, I hear BuzzStream is pretty cool Some free tools that I like (broken down by steps in the link building process) – http://t.co/SVQC2ksk. Lots of great tools for prospecting. I like the simplicity of @citationlabs, but lots worth looking at. Our focus @buzzstream is link building management, CRM and outreach.
Really like the idea behind @linkdetective…still a new tool, but lots of promise. And, of course OSE and majestic are really useful for competitive analysis.
@kmullett: I think blekko is a wildly under used tool for link building. Don’t forget majesticseo and whitespark.
How do you make yourself more attractive to influencers?
I’ll skip the ever-popular “write amazing content” answer. For starters, know your niche cold. Map the inlfuencer landscape…takes time, but it’s essential.
Carve out a part of every day to build relationships. Comment on their posts, RT, like, etc. If someone writes something you love, let them know! Email them or pick up the phone and call them. Think about relationships. when you’re dealing w/infuencers..not targets. It’s not complicated…but it’s not easy either.
Best advice I ever got was from my PR agency at a previous company. Give a lot before you ask for anything. PR people are great at this… “give 5 times before you ask for 1″. We have a lot of that already in BuzzStream…want to hear the specifics.
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