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Pitching third parties: diversifying your backlink strategy

Third party backlink strategy

Maximising your website’s organic search potential is a multi-pillared discipline.

While a targeted original content output is the most important pillar (we would say that), there are a number of supporting strategies that can help your website climb the search engine results pages (SERPs).

One of these is placing links back to your site in third party publications, like blogs, online publications and influencer content channels.

And, as someone who has not only worked in both PR and SEO content for a number of years, but started out as that junior news desk hack, bombarded with press releases and pitches on an hourly basis (I’ve worn a few hats), I feel like I can offer some insight into this.

So here are a few tricks of the trade to get your backlink strategy started.

Identify realistic backlink strategy targets

Guess what: The Mail Online is a big scalp. As such, hundreds of people are after it every day.

If you have a story of national and international significance, then by all means get in contact.

But until then, look for more industry and geography specific media outlets and social media accounts. Look for the publications that most closely mirror your target audience.

As a first step, type the name of your biggest competitor into Google and click the ‘News’ tab. Who is writing about them and why? Use this as a starting point and look for individual influencer targets.

Build relationships

Once you have your targets in mind, contact them with a content idea and show what value you can offer.

If your first stab at pitching them a story isn’t right, ask for feedback. What blockers are they seeing? Which assets are you missing? How could you adapt the story so that it makes the grade?

Listen to feedback, adapt and come back to them with something more appropriate.

Great third party content is collaborative. Journalists and influencers are busy at the best of times, so the more of a role you can take in creating suitable content for them will be greatly appreciated.

If you prove your ability to generate really good content, journos themselves may even start proactively approaching you for comment or stories.

That’s the dream, but not an impossible one.

Realise that they don’t owe you anything

I can’t stress how important this is.

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been called by an enraged public relations assistant, demanding to know why I don’t think their story/content fit the editorial direction of the day. 

All because they’ve already promised their client that we’d cover their story. More fool them.

It will shock few of you to learn that this approach does not endear you to journalists or editors. You’ll probably be met with short shrift the next time you need their help and want to act like nothing happened. 

While these examples are extreme, they could have been avoided much earlier in the process.

All writers and editors want is to publish content that engages their audience. Exactly the same as you. If your proposed content doesn’t obviously do that, or you can’t pitch it to them in a way that convinces them that it can, you’ll hit a dead end.

Just make sure you do your homework. 

Not just on the publication, but also on the individual influencer, journalist or blogger. Look at their output and tailor your story or proposal to their key themes to give yourself the best chance of making the cut. Reference similar stories they have published when you pitch to them. 

It shows you’ve thought about their audience, which counts for a lot.

Like I said: diversify

It’s tempting sometimes to put yourself in a really specific box. 

But alongside your ongoing inflo.Ai blog and social media output, the variety in your backlink strategy counts for a huge amount when building your organic search presence. Google likes it when you are getting plenty of attention.

Say, for example, you’re a fitness brand looking to place a piece on easy workplace exercises that can improve professional wellbeing, reduce stress etc.

You may be tempted to stick to fitness press and bloggers, as that’s your wheelhouse. However, this content is just as relevant to HR managers, C-suite executives and startup staff. 

All of these demographics have their own trade publications, all of whom have active, engaged web publishing platforms. Trust us, many of them are our clients.

Pitching each of these target areas and securing coverage from all of them will only support your overall organic search and backlink strategy. It won’t just maximise the number of eyes on your business, it will also help you climb the page rankings.

Don’t get greedy

As mentioned, don’t pitch something that isn’t a story. Wait until you have something interesting, current and insightful to talk about. However, make sure you give your stories time to breathe as nobody likes repeat content (that’s why we built inflo.Ai).

Slide into an editor’s DMs on a daily basis and they will get very tired of you very quickly. They are also much less likely to mention the same brand regularly as it can come across as too much like marketing and less like journalism.

So just be sensible. Pick your moments and deliver targeted, robust content at regular intervals throughout your backlink strategy. 

Make sure they credit you

There’s no such thing as a free lunch. This is also true for influencers.

You won’t see any value from creating and seeding third party content if you don’t receive a written credit and a proper link to your website in the post copy. That’s the whole point.

Remind them (politely, of course) to include a website link in your press release and subsequent conversations. Then be sure to check their content as soon as it goes live.

If anything is missing from their posted content, contact them and ask them to correct it. The vast majority of publishers should be happy to oblige. After all, you’ve done the legwork for them. It’s in their interests to keep you happy and keen to offer them more content in the future.

If they don’t, switch your attention to other targets. There are plenty more fish in the sea.

 

If you would like to learn more about backlink strategy or have any questions about this blog, email our team at info@inflo.ai

For a good example of backlink strategy, check out this link: https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/feeding-your-dog-mince-pies-13755456 

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