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Getting Other People To Write Your Content: Lazy or Inspired?
In case you haven’t noticed, it’s the most wonderful time of the year; the time when would-be psychic octopus vulgaris pull out their plastic boxes filled with delicious morsels and have a stab at guessing what’s going to happen next year.
Oh, and it’s Christmas too. But you knew that already.
Anyway, I was going to bury deep into the recesses of my own mind and produce some of my own speculative claims about the future of SEO, social media and content marketing, but the clever folks at SEOBook have already done that and I’m led to believe that they’ve utilised actual knowledge rather than mysticism and fairy dust to come up with their predictions.
I’ve decided instead to cover a concept that is already quite big in the world of SEO already and will only get bigger in 2013; blogger outreach.
Not just blogger outreach, however. More specifically, getting bloggers to do my work for me.
We copywriters are a precious and proud bunch and are often insistent on producing absolutely every single piece of content that emerges from a project we’re working on. On our own, with no outside input. We’re artistes, you understand.
And this, believe it or not, presents us with a bit of an issue. A couple of months ago, I published a semi-whiney post on issues with guest posting, specifically the fact that bloggers were charging an absolute fortune for my masterpieces to appear on their specific blog. Yet it’s only recently that I’ve properly realised what one of the issues was; I was writing the content.
Much like copywriters, bloggers are a precious bunch and for many, ‘the blog’ is a sacred pantheon upon which only their work can be displayed. No other work, especially from a dirty SEO-minded sellout such as myself, shall besmirch their shrine to quality. Which obviously makes getting a post published, let alone a quality backlink, bloody hard.
But let’s not start feeling sorry for ourselves just yet. Let’s look at it from a different perspective. Rather than trying to force my content onto their blog, what if I inspired them to write about the same subject?
But how could one pull off such a feat? There are a few methods I’m planning to use next year as part of my blogger outreach efforts but for the most part they boil down to a single idea; building relationships.
A few weeks ago, I attended a very informative conference on content marketing. One of the speakers that day, David Harling of Razorfish, spoke at length about how his own company have provided bloggers with experiences – experiences that have inspired them to produce content. The result, hundreds of natural backlinks over the course of a couple of months. Which, really, is what we all want, isn’t it?
Unfortunately, most SEO companies don’t benefit from clients who stage major events or have free product to send out but that doesn’t necessarily limit what we can do. A few weeks ago, a good friend of mine received £100 from a marketing agency to go out and have a nice meal.
Okay, so it wasn’t quite as simple as that – they were promoting a Tripadvisor-esque app on behalf of a major beverage retailer – but it struck me as a great way of cutting out the middle man – me – and getting links and quality content free from the ‘shackles’ of SEO.
Of course, handing out ‘experiences’ willy-nilly isn’t economically viable so we need to supplement that with something cheap, simple and effective; a good ol’ debate.
Producing a piece of thought-provoking or controversial content is all well and good, but the two most important aspects are lost if that content isn’t getting to the right people. Thankfully, the likes of Twitter have given us a direct channel through which to contact these influential folks so push your content to the right people; who knows, you might even elicit a response.
If you are producing content on behalf of a client, then always keep their reputation in mind when producing something designed to provoke opinions – the last thing you want is to get a flurry of blog posts about the company, except with a flurry of hatred where cherished links were supposed to be. Keep things thought-provoking rather than antagonistic!
Brush those pizza crumbs off your t-shirt, wash your face and gargle some mouthwash to get rid of that coffee breath; we’re going off to make some friends. Although they will be on the internet. So maybe don’t worry about that first part.
Blogger outreach, as many SEO experts have been preaching over the past year or so, is all about making friends and influencing people rather than firing off an unsolicited email begging for backlinks. Get following influential people in your particular niche and instead of badgering them to publish your content, talk to them. You know, like you would with people in real life.
Eventually, your two-way relationship efforts may pay dividends when they decide to publicise your work via social sharing (good for traffic and ranking – plus Tweets technically count as someone writing your content for you) or, even better, publish some of your work on their highly-influential blog. It’s a long-term strategy but it’s worth it.
So in 2013, you’ll probably find me trying to make a lot of friends and – potentially – writing less. If you’re struggling to get your content published externally, I’d suggest you’d do the same. That’s me done for this year on the Fluid blog, so I hope you all have a lovely Christmas and New Year!