Getting featured on a popular website is a great way to get your content in front of more people.
You’ll also pick up some useful backlinks using this strategy.
Cold email outreach to journalists and bloggers is the usual strategy for this, but it takes up a lot of your time and energy.
Of all the many emails you send out, only a few will elicit a response.
In a recent Whiteboard Friday video at Moz, Rand Fishkin offers some helpful tips for reaching out, without directly asking them for a backlink.
Why not ask directly? People usually do, and it can definitely work.
But widely read bloggers and journalists have their inboxes flooded with backlink and guest post requests on a daily basis.
After a while, they get tired of it.
It takes some creativity to stand out and actually get their attention.
Even more importantly, if you want a response, you need to make sure there’s something in it for them.
That’s the approach Rand recommends — instead of asking for a link, frame your outreach in a way that emphasizes how you can help the publisher.
Here are his five proven tactics for getting press.
5 Tactics to earn links
1. The “I made this thing you’ll probably use”
The first one is the tactic — I’m going to use very conversational naming conventions for these — the “I made this thing you will probably use.”
So this is, in effect, saying not, “Hey, I made this thing. Will you link to it?”
But rather, “I made this thing and I can have some confidence that you and people like you, others like you, will probably want to link to it because it fulfills a specific need.”
So there’s some existing content that you find on the web, you locate the author of that content or the publisher of that content, and you form a connection, usually through social, through email, or through a direct comment on that content.
You have an additional resource of some kind that is likely to be included, either in that particular element or in a future element.
This works very well with bloggers. It works well with journalists.
It works well with folks who cover data and studies. It works well with folks who are including visuals or tools in their content.
It tends not to work very well with commercial content. So that is a drawback to the tactic.
2. The “You list things like X, I have or I am an X.”
So this is rather than saying, “I would like a link,” it’s a very indirect or a relatively indirect ploy for the same thing.
You find resources that list Xs, and there’s usually either an author or some process for submission, but you don’t have to beg for links.
You can instead just say, “I fit your criteria.”
So this could be, “Hey, are there websites in the educational world that are ADA-compliant and accessible for folks?”
You might say, “Well, guess what? I’m that. Therefore, all of these places that list resources like that, that are ADA-compliant, will fit in here.”
3. The “Let me help you with that.”
This can be very broad, but, basically, if you can identify sources and start to follow those sources wherever they publish and however they publish.
Whether that’s social or via content or broadcast or other ways, if you find those publications, those authors expressing a need or an interest or that they are in the process of completing something, by offering to assist you will almost always get a link for your credit.
4. The “I’d be happy to provide an endorsement.”
This is sort of a modified version of “I made this thing you’ll probably like.”
But instead of saying, “Here’s the thing that you will probably like and maybe include,” you’re saying, “I noticed that you have a product, a piece of content, a tool, a new piece of hardware, some physical product, whatever it is, and I like it and I use it and I happen to fit into the correct demographic that you are trying to reach.
Therefore, I am happy to contribute an endorsement or a testimonial.”
5. The “Guest contribution.”
The one you’re probably most familiar with, and it was probably the first one that came to mind when you thought about the “How do I get links without asking for them?”
And that is through guest contributions, so guest blogging and guest editorials and authorship of all kinds.
You can find more great PR and SEO outreach tips in the full video and transcription over at Moz.