Since the internet became a staple in modern civilization, businesses have been trying to find ways to make it work for them. It’s no easy task; with millions of businesses selling similar products and services, standing out in the crowd can be near impossible.
Enter outreach strategies, a way to bolster content to improve traffic and Google rankings. There are various outreach strategies that businesses employ to improve their standings. Here’s what you need to know about outreach to create an effective strategy.
What is Outreach?
Outreach, as the name implies, is an active form of marketing that entails reaching out to other businesses to create a single-purpose partnership to boost traffic or to leads to generate interest. This ultimately leads to improved SEO and multiple channels driving people toward your content and content is, after all, the king of digital marketing.
However, it’s not as simple as reaching out to complementary businesses and your target customers with an unsolicited request. For outreach to be effective, businesses must invest time in research and strategizing before making contact. Fortunately, there is plenty of information online to help create an effective strategy for individual business needs.
There are various outreach strategies that can be used in unison to improve content reach and SEO. The majority of outreach strategies tie back into a central theme: link building. Having backlinks-- links to your website on another website-- from high-quality websites improves website authority, causing the Googlebot to register your site as an expert in a given subject. The more high-quality sites that link back to your content, the more relevant your content becomes.
The most common outreach strategies include social media and influencer outreach, and blogger outreach.
# Social Media Outreach
Social media outreach comprises of two main components: sharing content and influencer outreach.
Social media has become an incredible tool for reaching customers and building brand awareness. In fact, many modern consumers don’t trust businesses that lack a social media presence. Social media is a medium by which a business can share custom content, such as images and gifs with no attached links to generate a buzz. This can be balanced with curated or created, linked content to drive traffic to a core website. Having a strong social media strategy is essential to optimize reach and audience engagement.
In addition to the passive outreach related to sharing content, an active approach can be taken via social media to engage the audience further. Some methods for social media outreach include:
- Working with complementary businesses to cross promote.
- Partaking in like/comment pods.
- Actively seeking out, commenting on, and sharing followers’ content to enhance the connection.
- Partaking in conversations.
- Privately reaching out to followers to thank them for their participation.
- Privately reaching out to followers inviting them to visit your website or share content.
The more active a business is on social media, the more effective this aspect of their digital marketing will be. Being active goes beyond posting regularly, and includes outreach to create an engaged audience and customer base.
# Influencer Outreach
Influencer outreach often overlaps between social media and blogger outreach efforts. More businesses are using social media influencers rather than opting for traditional advertising strategies, as influencers’ audiences are often more engaged and have a strong emotional connection in place. While skepticism toward influencers is starting to increase as this method of outreach becomes more commonplace, it’s still far more effective than an unsolicited advertisement.
Influencer outreach often consists of having a social media influencer try a product or service and recommend it through their channels in return for a percentage of the sales or a flat rate. Hotels, gyms, and restaurants will often exchange free services in lieu of payment for an honest review.
# Blogger Outreach
While blogger outreach can work in a similar fashion to influencer outreach, it’s within this spectrum that link building shines. Like most outreach strategies, this method of outreach will be most effective by taking time to build a rapport over cold pitching. The main methods of blogger outreach comprise of:
- Guest posting
- Continuous content creation
- Link inclusion requests
For the best possible results, these methods are often used in conjunction to improve SEO and benefit both parties.
Guest posting generally refers to a one-off offer of quality content in exchange for a backlink. Bloggers will often trade these services, cross-posting on each others’ sites to improve traffic for each.
Unfortunately, guest posting is often abused, creating skepticism when a blogger receives an unsolicited guest posting email. For those looking to engage in this outreach strategy, it’s important to start building a rapport so that the host not only recognizes your name but is also happy to hear from you. Pitched content should be relevant to your core strategy.
Continuous Content Creation
One of the main challengers bloggers face when trying to create consistent content that helps them maintain their Google rankings is continuous output. As such, many bloggers will hire freelance writers to pick up the slack and ensure that quality content is published on a regular basis.
By working with a freelance writer or offering content management services, both businesses and agencies are able to incorporate links into the content, creating a win-win situation for all parties involved.
Backlink requests are often submitted through email campaigns. Again, for this strategy to be effective, it’s integral that those submitting inquiries do research and showcase that they’ve taken the time to look at the site they’re pitching. This request could be a general approach, conveying a connection in subject matter. Alternatively, reaching out regarding a specific published article and suggesting a relevant link to include is more direct and actionable.
# Taking a Multifaceted Approach
For best possible results, taking a multifaceted approach to employing these strategies is key. However, for beginners, it’s important to start by building a foundation for success. In other words, it’s better to learn to do one thing well than to try to tackle too many channels and do them all poorly.
Start by choosing a strategy from social media outreach and blogger outreach. Do research to compile a list of potential leads that relate to your business, either directly or as a complementary industry. For example, a fitness equipment business could reach out to specified fitness blogs and gyms, as well as general health sites and nutrition-centric service sites.
Once the list is compiled, start reaching out and starting conversations via social media to start building trust with the organization. Then, reach out with a well-worded email to explain who you are and what you have to offer. Remember to keep the focus on what you’re bringing your target, rather than focusing on how they can help you in return. That should be an afterthought.
# Implement, Evaluate, and Adjust
Once you’ve implemented your strategy, track your progress in relation to your metrics to identify what’s working and what needs further attention. Consider working with an outreach agency to create and enact an effective outreach strategy that will drive traffic to your business.