Marketing February 24, 2015 Last updated February 23rd, 2015 2,522 Reads share

3 Tips on How To Improve Your Content Outreach Conversion Rate

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If we’re being honest with ourselves, it can sometimes be a little bit embarrassing to be working in the SEO industry. We regularly have to defend ourselves from countless articles declaring the death of SEO due to the fundamental shift towards high quality, relevant content.

The truth is that some of the SEO methods of yesteryear are no longer as beneficial as they once were, and many digital marketers are struggling to keep up with the expectations from Google about what best serves the most important person to them; the user. As content outreach and link building become more and more difficult, the importance of building relationships with link prospects before pitching an article is becoming vital to the success of a campaign.

In the Digital Marketing Institute we typically receive around 10 emails per week from people who wish to have their content published on our blog e.g.

The problem with this type of email is that we can quickly identify that it was sent from someone who hasn’t read any of our content. It’s likely that this person has used a backlink analysis tool like Open Site Explorer, Ahrefs or Majestic to identify the domain authority of our website and the subsequent link equity they would receive if we published their article.

Since we take pride in the quality of the content we publish, blog pitches like this are rejected outright and the potential relationship the contributor hoped to build is destroyed with a single email.

So how do you improve the conversion rate of your blogging outreach? We walk you through 3 quick ways that we feel will help you stand out from the crowd.

#1. Identify Popular Content

The most common mistake that many digital marketers (SEOs in particular!) make is that they create content before they have identified where they would like to publish it. The problem with this approach is that the writer doesn’t fully understand the tone of voice and types of content that are best suited to the audience of their outreach targets. When they reach out to promote their latest article, it’s quite clear that the least important person to them is unfortunately the most important person to the people they’re speaking to; the readers of the website.

So how do you increase the conversion rate of your outreach attempts? Simple. You need to identify what content is resonating with the audience of your outreach target before you create your content for them. If you haven’t tried out Buzzsumo yet, it’s an incredibly useful content analysis tool which allows you to find:

  • Content that has attracted a large volume of social shares
  • The types of content that are proving popular e.g. infographics, competitions, interviews or videos
  • Influential writers and content curators by topic and website

TweakYourBiz - Buzzsumo Analysis

After completing some analysis on the websites you’re targeting for content placement, you will begin to understand what is likely to peek their attention of the editorial team when you get in touch with them.

#2. Build Relationships

Once you’ve identified the types of content that may be of interest to your outreach targets, you need to build and nurture relationships with people that have invested interest in the website you wish to be published on.

One of the common problems we have with the content pitched to us at the Digital Marketing Institute is that we are unfamiliar with the person who submitted it. Generally what we’ve found is that the email is typically from a digital marketing agency that we have had no prior communication with, and in turn this leads us to rejecting the authors request to publish content on our blog. We’re quite picky about the quality of content we accept and even then, we will only acknowledge pitches from people we already have an existing relationship with.

If you have taken the time to craft a number of email templates to pitch your content, it’s time to go back to the drawing board. The best place to start is by building relationships with:

  • Editorial Staff – who are the people that actively manage the blog? They will have the final sign-off on whether or not your article is published.
  • Regular Contributors – sometimes the best way to get coverage on a large website is by befriending the people that are regular contributors. Find out what approach they took to getting their content published.
  • Readers – while this may be the least direct route to a successful pitch, nurturing relationships with the audience of an outreach target can help you understand what types of content they’re most likely to respond positively to.

#3. Craft the Perfect Pitch

At this stage, many digital marketers are guilty of putting little effort into the emails they send onto the editorial staff of websites they wish to get coverage on. You need to remember that these websites may receive 100’s of requests per week from people just like yourself who are desperate to get their content published. This makes it a lot more difficult to stand out from the crowd, but here are a few useful tips to get you started:

  • Personalise your email – take the time to find the correct name of the person you should be speaking to about the topic of your post.
  • Don’t lie – it’s very obvious when someone has taken the time to thoroughly research a website, compared to someone who pretends to have enjoyed a recent blog post.
  • Stop boasting – editorial staff are generally not interested in coverage you received on Forbes, The Huffintonpost or New York Times. If the article you’re pitching doesn’t reflect the editorial guidelines for their website, they won’t publish it.
  • Write a short description – One of the common problems with content pitches is that the author doesn’t provide a quick overview of what their article is about. Summarise your blog post in 2-3 sentences so that the recipient of your email can quickly determine whether or not your article is the perfect fit for their audience.
  • Create a snappy bio – Ensure that your bio is short, non-promotional and includes a relative link back to your website or social media accounts.

The most important thing to remember is that even if your pitch is particularly strong, you can still fail if you haven’t taken the time to create an article that is relevant and well researched for your target websites.

Images – Author’s Own


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Mark Scully

Mark Scully

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