Outbound Marketing and SEO: A Practical Guide for Bloggers
So you’ve just written that killer blog post. It’s insightful, well-written, and full of useful content. You’ve shared it on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. You’ve sent out an email to your subscriber list to promote it.
But it all amounts to nothing. You get hardly any new traffic to your website. No one shares or retweets your article. The blog post that you worked so hard on disappears amidst the ocean of content that is produced every day - some 2 million blog posts every day, according to some estimates.
It’s enough to make even the most seasoned marketer give up their day job. But don’t despair! There is something you can do to increase the chances of your blog being read, and drive new prospects and customers to your brand. That something is outbound marketing. Read on for some insights from Cognism, the B2B outbound marketing experts, on how to stand out in a crowded and competitive online marketplace.
What is outbound marketing?
Put simply, outbound marketing is the practice of contacting well-known or influential blogs and publications, for the purpose of getting them to share or promote your content. The goal is to create and expand your brand awareness, by leveraging the authority and built-in audiences that these publications have.
Through the sharing of content and the creation of backlinks, your website’s domain authority (DA) score should rise. DA is a metric for measuring how well websites rank on search engine results pages (SERPs). The DA score ranges from one to 100, one being a low DA score, 100 being the highest. The trick to getting a high DA score is to make sure your website has a large number of verified, quality links. Keeping your DA score as high as possible is one tool in the marketer’s toolkit for maintaining good SEO.
Writing a good blog post on its own will not do much for you, considering the volume of other blogs, vlogs, and pods that are released every minute of every day. But you’ll find that using a good blog post in tandem with an effective outbound marketing strategy will help in the following all-important ways:
It serves to drive relevant, targeted traffic to your website. Choosing the right publications to share your content with is key - if the blogger or business is well-known in your industry, then they can help spark interest in and awareness of your brand.
It promotes your brand as credible and authoritative. Having your blog post shared by a successful or distinguished publication shows that you are sincere, trustworthy and must be taken seriously. Outbound marketing is a great way to build trust with your target audience.
It creates valuable relationships with industry partners and associates. Content can be shared between yourself and a like-minded person or organization; links to blogs or in emails can improve your company’s visibility online and raise your website’s ranking on Google and other search engines.
The final point - using outreach to improve SEO results - is a crucial factor to consider. Get it right, and you could see plenty of new prospects flock to your brand. In the next section, we’ll explore the importance of SEO techniques to good outbound marketing.
Outbound marketing and SEO: What you need to know
When it comes to SEO, the main goal of outbound marketing is to create backlinks from other websites to your website. These links boost your website’s position on search engines; this, in turn, increases the number of people clicking on, and potentially reading through, your content. One thing to keep in mind is that backlinks are one of the top ranking factors for Google’s algorithm, out of a list of over 200 components. For outbound marketing and SEO, backlinks are an essential tool for enhancing the awareness and credibility of your brand.
Here are two tips for best SEO practice when outbound marketing:
Make sure the content you are providing is creative and high-quality. Ever since the "Panda" update in 2011, the Google algorithm has the power to detect and ignore content that it deems to be shallow or low-quality (meaning that poor quality websites are excluded from Google’s top search results). Avoid being penalized by ensuring your blog posts are relevant, well-researched and beneficial to the reader.
Contact only relevant blogs or publications to share and promote your work. If your industry is IT, for example, it’s no good reaching out to recruitment companies. Part of the trick in effective outbound marketing is in identifying people or organisations who are strategically useful. Remember that who you ask to share your content is just as important as the content itself.
Blogs and publications: How to find the right ones for you
Following point #2 above, the next question must be: who do I outreach to? Experienced, insightful people exist in every sector of business. But how do you go about finding the right people for you?
This is where buyer personas can come in handy. Typically, businesses use buyer personas to keep on record a fictional representation of their ideal customer or customers, for the purpose of knowing exactly who they’re selling their products to. However, buyer personas can be used for a plethora of reasons beyond sales. One such reason is sourcing bloggers to connect with.
These elements will help you construct a persona of the ideal individual to outreach to (remember, you can always create more than one persona, depending on your need):
INDUSTRY - Think about where your ideal blogger will work. Normally, they will be employed in the same or similar industry to yourself.
GENDER: Is your content geared towards a specifically male or female audience? Sometimes, you may find it useful to create content tailored to one or other gender. Adjust your persona accordingly.
AGE: Is your content aimed at a particular demographic or age range? This could determine the sorts of businesses you’ll want to outreach to.
LOCATION: If your brand is based in a certain region (e.g., if it’s London only), then your persona should take this into account. Target influencers who operate in the same area as you.
Initiating outbound marketing for guest blogging using buyer personas can have several benefits. By focusing on the people who would be most responsive to your message, they can help to increase engagement rates and make it more likely that your content will be shared. This creates more backlinks and more qualified leads visiting your website, meaning your SEO ranking will improve as well.
At Cognism, we use buyer personas to locate ideal blogging partners and industry thought leaders, such as Woorank, to share relevant content. By following the methodology outlined in this blog, we have joined with several well-informed partners already, with many more in the pipeline!
Our advice to all companies looking to improve their SEO is to adopt and perfect the steps we’ve highlighted in this article. After all, as the marketing guru Neil Patel once wrote, "search engine optimization isn’t a topping that you can just pour on top of your site. It’s a base ingredient." Good luck!