Content promotion is one of the biggest challenges in digital marketing.
Lately, securing links and social media shares is a struggle even for popular blogs.
For instance, look at the statistics of the posts published by Brian Dean in the last few months:
If the numbers look like this for someone who has a really engaged audience, you can only imagine what’s happening to smaller blogs.
So what can you do to promote your content more effectively?
I would strongly suggest checking out the pre-outreach strategy.
Here are just a few quick thoughts on the strategy to spark your interest:
- Pre-outreach is especially handy if you have established relationships with industry experts as well as have close partners you regularly team up with to promote content.
- I love using pre-outreach to link various fields like email marketing, SEO, influencer marketing, and social media marketing. In fact, this allows me to get a great traffic boost that doesn’t die down but only keeps bringing more users on a daily basis.
Are you intrigued?
Ready to learn the ins and outs of the pre-outreach strategy?
Then this post is for you!
After reading it, you will know how to take advantage of pre-outreach strategy and secure social shares and links even before your post goes live.
Note: I have to let you know that pre-outreach might not be the best option for companies that lack visibility. It makes more sense to invest in getting your brand a bit more visible across your industry and only then circle back to a pre-outreach content promotion plan.
Start by Checking Your Circles
I always start all my pre-outreach campaigns by pulling together a list of experts and partners I regularly collaborate with on a content promotion side.
It’s a quick and easy task if you use CRM systems like Nimble or Pitchbox or at least have a spreadsheet with their names and contact info.
(Hint: I highly recommend reviewing your current list of subscribers and social media followers. There’s a good chance that among them there are some people that might be interested in sharing your content. Some time ago I wrote a post where you can find more details about how you can do a link prospecting across those channels.)
After this, I separate all my contacts into two lists.
- I will ask the first list of people to give my piece some love and endorsement across their channels.
- The second list of people I will reach out to about the possibility of linking back.
In both cases, I never forget that I’m asking for a favor so I need to ensure that it’s going to be easy and beneficial for them to help me out. I always ask whether they want me to promote anything.
Some people think that the best way to get links is to email blast people you might not even know. I would not recommend going that route.
A recent study showed that cold outreach emails have an 8.5% open rate and my personal experience confirms that number. It took me about 40 cold emails to get one link.
My rule of thumb is to only ask people whether they could refer to my piece if I know them and have previously partnered with them on a link building side.
Thanks to Pitchbox, I can easily filter contacts that I’ve never built links with from my pre-outreach list.
Even though sometimes I use automated email outreach funnels when it comes to pre-outreach, I prefer to do it manually.
This allows me to double-check that I am sending it to the right person and add a bit of personalization to each email.
One more thing that is good to mention is that thanks to Digital Olympus conference, I have a good number of digital marketing influencers that are always willing to help me spread the word once my post goes live.
So it is a great idea to launch your own event or even podcast since it helps you build relationships with industry leaders.
One more example will be Jason Barnard’s podcasts that allow him to promote his content effectively by involving people he invited as guests to his show.
Finally, if you’re lucky enough to have close ties with companies that send out mass emails to their subscribers it could be your gold mine.
The logic is pretty simple, ask to be featured in their mass emails and in return to mention their post in your email marketing campaign.
As you can probably tell, the more people you have established a good working relationship with the better your chances to get links and social shares are.
Now let’s see what to do next after you have reached out to all your contacts.
Getting Beyond Your Circles to Secure Links
Reaching out to people beyond your circle of contacts is essential if you want to get a sufficient number of links. This is a great time to use pre-outreach to “warm people up” and build relationships with them.
The trick here is to provide contacts that you’re going to pre-outreach with value and benefits first so then they feel like they owe you.
However, it’s worth mentioning that if you aren’t really familiar with your industry experts it might become a time-consuming exercise.
Those are the steps you should take:
Find Experts That Regularly Publish Guest Posts Across Various Blogs
To put together a list of contributors, you could start from checking sites that accept guest post opportunities.
Optionally, you could go to BuzzSumo and run a report with the “Top authors” tool where you could search via any keyword related to your pre-outreach content.
For instance, here’s a list of top contributors for a search term “content marketing”:
Then, you need to look at the list of authors and find contributors that write across multiple blogs.
As you can see on the screenshot below, Ann Smarty writes on a good number of blogs and she’s 100% relevant to our search:
Craft a Powerful Value Proposition
Most of us are not as popular as Rand Fishkin or Dean, so it is important to craft a powerful value proposition.
In our case, the easiest ways are to ask them to:
- Add their quotes if they’re interested and have time for that.
- Share your final draft and see if they have a post they’d like to refer to in this piece
Both options provide them with value and help you establish a beneficial relationship.
Also, I highly recommend checking Sujan Patel’s post, which can help you increase dramatically your email outreach response rates.
Hint: Quite recently I was doing a roundup with tons of experts when I realized that my new post was going to be published shortly. So, I asked the contributors to consider linking back to my new article. I immediately got 10 links because they wanted to be helpful in return to continue our collaborative relationship.
The secret of working with people you don’t really know is to provide them with value first.
Cold mass emails might sound easier but investing your time and energy into building relationships with experts will absolutely pay off and you might even become link building partners in the future!
Go Get Them!
Congratulations, now you are a pro at the pre-outreach strategy.
The idea of it is simple, but in reality, it is quite complex.
Think long term. Try to find the best way to approach each person you are asking for a favor and see what you can help them with in return.
This will ensure not only links but a growing circle of connections, which is the key to success in digital marketing.
Featured Image: Created by author, September 2019
All screenshots taken by author, September 2019