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How to Build Links via Non-Traditional Email Outreach

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How to Build Links via Non-Traditional Email Outreach


Email outreach has quite a prominent presence today.

It seems that nearly every business has heard of this link building strategy before (even though the majority get it wrong about 100% of the time).

Don’t believe me?

Then open your mailbox spam folder and read through all these email outreach gems!

For instance, look at what I got only a few hours ago:

How to Build Links via Non-Traditional Email Outreach

Am I an expert in the finance niche? Absolutely not!

It’s no surprise that such emails mostly go straight to the spam folder, but it’s astonishing how many emails never get any recipient’s attention at all.

Recently, Brian Dean teamed up with Pitchbox to analyze 12 million outreach emails, and one of their discoveries was that the average email response rate is 8.5%.

Just think about it! Less than 10% of emails get a response with the vast majority of 90% remaining unanswered.

If you don’t want your emails to add up to that pile, it’s crucial to keep mastering your outreach techniques and explore new approaches.

In this post, I want to do exactly that: show you a non-traditional email outreach approach that can guarantee the highest response rate for each email you send.

What Is Non-Traditional Email Outreach?

Email outreach is one of those activities that has to be scalable, which is impossible without templates and automation.

However, to deserve your reader’s attention, your emails must also be 100% authentic and personalized – all the things that don’t work well with automation.

So, what’s the workaround?

For me, it’s the non-traditional email outreach. This approach relies on two main components:

  • 100% original templates.
  • Using a unique brand voice.

Simply put, non-traditional outreach means using original templates that are crafted in a unique way to represent your specific business.

Not only does it guarantee a higher response rate, but it also allows your emails to stand out and create a positive attitude towards your brand.

Here are a few examples to back up my words:

G2 Starbucks/Amazon Card

The guys from G2 placed a unique spin on their brand by offering a free $10 Starbucks card in exchange for leaving a review on their site.

Do you think this idea might work well for your business?

If so, use this strategy as inspiration and adjust it for your business needs accordingly.

G2 Crowd Email Outreach

Robbie Richards’ Round-Ups

When you hear Robbie’s name, the first thing that comes to mind is an expert round-up.

I had the honor of being invited to contribute to his most recent round-up, where I shared my favorite WordPress SEO plugins along with 49 other experts.

How did Robbie pull this off?

All through email outreach.

Let’s deconstruct his approach to see exactly how it works.

To start off, Robbie reached out to well-known experts that regularly contribute to their own and external blogs:

Robbie Richards Email Outreach

As a next step, when the post goes live, Robbie asks the experts once again if they are willing to link back to it.

This approach allows him to get links faster since the experts are automatically motivated to share content to which they contributed.

All this would be impossible if the G2 and Robbie Richards started their outreach emails with

“Hi , I’ve recently read your blog post and it was amazing! Link swap?”.

But besides avoiding standard templates overused by spammers and your competitors, there are a few other steps that will empower your next outreach campaign:

  • Spend enough time during the link prospecting stage to ensure that you’re pitching your content to the right people. This might sound obvious, but the majority of marketers neglect this step and don’t really bother to double-check that their pitches will be hitting the right mailbox.
  • Find ways to establish relationships with your link prospects. Do they love coffee? Send them a Starbucks gift card. Is your company a well-known brand? Reach out to them with an offer to contribute to your blog! They’ll be honored.

Use These 3 Hacks to Get There

I know for a fact that things are much more complicated in reality. This is especially so for companies that haven’t established any solid brand awareness within their niche yet.

A common question they have is where to start so that they don’t encounter the scenario where all their outreach attempts are rejected.

In my agency, we immerse solely in email outreach link building and this has resulted in the development of our own unique approach to this process.

Hence, I would like to share with you some tried and tested tactics that will help you acquire links in a few days and sometimes even hours.

1. Start with Pitching to People That Already Trust You

The most time-consuming part of the email outreach process is establishing trust.

But you’re past that point when you’re reaching out to people who already know you, who are aware of your business and have a positive attitude towards it.

You can find those people in the following groups:

  • Your clients and users that are subscribed to your newsletter.
  • Your partners and industry friends.
  • People who have already mentioned you in their content. There’s a high chance that they’re writing for other websites, too. To find all the websites to which an author contributes, you can use BuzzSumo and search by the author’s name.
  • Your current social media followers. For instance, Followerwonk can help you quickly download a list of your company’s Twitter account followers.

2. Reach out to Those Who Have Something in Common With You

There are several ways to find and engage with people with particular interests. The system that I often use looks like this:

  • I find people through Facebook groups.
  • Research their interests on social media.
  • Engage with them through comments.

Here’s how it works in a more elaborate way.

There are plenty of closed groups on Facebook to accommodate to any interests whatsoever.

A big benefit of those groups is that they allow you to see the list of users that are members of that group even when you’re not friends with them. So, just search for groups within your niche and join them.

After this, scan for users that are part of those groups and reach out to those who are also running blogs for their company.

Use comments as an ice-breaker. Find posts that have already gained a lot of attention (in terms of engagement) and leave a comment there.

After this, you can write to users that were also leaving comments under this post and let them know that you have interacted with them before.

Finally, find out what they were sharing on their blogs or social media that you’re also a big fan of.

Cats and dogs? Horses? Or maybe burgers and craft beer?

This phase is truly time-consuming, but the results are really worth it.

3. Make Your Email a Bit Awkward

Excuse me, what?

That was my reaction when I first found out that awkward emails are super effective.

But this idea is reinforced by psychologists who confirm that awkward or clumsy behavior is a well-known conceptual move that helps them gain people’s trust much quicker.

However, email outreach doesn’t involve face-to-face communication where you can drop a pen or spill a coffee. So, how exactly can you do that?

You can do this by telling your recipient a short story of your professional failings, or purposely spell their name wrong and then fix it in the second sentence. Here’s how I did it one time:

awkward or clumsy behavior

Basically, anything that makes them feel that a real human being is reaching out works.

Another quick trick is to use custom-made GIFs about your life or even yourself. Once I used a GIF of my horse to pitch content:

GIF

Final Thoughts

Non-traditional email outreach involves putting a distinctive spin on the marketing of your business.

By using the three hacks mentioned above, which are:

  • Reaching out to people who are already familiar with your business.
  • Approaching people with common interests.
  • Making your emails slightly awkward.

…you appeal to their human side which makes getting a response much more likely.

So get out there and craft your next big outreach email!

Summary

Timeframe: Ongoing

Results detected: 4-12 months

Average emails sent per month: 40

Tools:

  • Buzzstream
  • Yesware
  • Boomerang for Gmail
  • Muckrack

Benefits of email outreach:

  • Email outreach creates a rare opportunity for you to develop a personal connection with an influencer or brand to sustain and grow a long-term relationship.
  • Email outreach can increase your network not from only a linking perspective, but social media as well.

Image Credits

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita
All screenshots taken by author, May 2019





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WordPress’ Parent Company Acquires Tumblr for Shockingly Low Sum

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WordPress’ Parent Company Acquires Tumblr for Shockingly Low Sum


Automattic Inc., owner of WordPress.com, has acquired Tumblr for what is reported to be very low sum.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Tumblr was acquired for an “undisclosed sum,” however, it was soon revealed the sum was “well below” $10 million.

Dan Primack, business editor at Axios, broke the news about the acquisition price. He tweeted an update after publishing the story, saying the sum is actually below $3 million.

To put this in perspective, Yahoo acquired Tumblr for $1.1 billion in 2013. Yahoo later wrote down Tumblr’s value by $230 million in 2016 after it failed to generate significant revenue.

In 2017, Verizon gained ownership of Tumblr through its acquisition of Yahoo. Now, Verizon is reportedly selling Tumblr for a fraction of what it was valued at 5 years ago.

Despite what is considered to be a low sum, the acquisition of Tumblr is largest ever for Automattic in terms of price and head count.

As part of the acquisition, Automattic will take on Tumblr’s 200 staffers, so no one will be losing their job.

Another thing that will stay in place is Tumblr’s controversial porn ban. Matt Mullenweg, chief executive of Automattic, tells WSJ: “We’re not going to change any of that.”

Going forward, Mullenweg says that executives will look for ways to share services and functionality between WordPress.com and Tumblr.

In the meantime it sounds as though there will be no immediate changes to either service.



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101 Easy (& Cheap) Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Website

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101 Easy (& Cheap) Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Website


In the modern-day landscape of saturated online content, it’s no longer enough to just build your site and wait for people to visit it.

You must be proactive at promoting your site and your brand online.

Admittedly, this is much easier said than done, especially because not everyone has the financial capability to throw into paid ad campaigns and corporate sponsorships.

The good news?

There are several things you can do to promote and drive traffic to your website, all without having to spend hundreds of dollars.

To help you do just that, here’s a list of 101 tactics you can try, grouped by strategy.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) & Link Building

1. Find the core keywords that match your website’s goals, your industry, and offering.

2. Optimize your website and all of your on-page content for search engines.

3. Focus on Google, but add peripheral search engines like Bing, Yahoo, and DuckDuckGo, to your list.

4. Claim your Google My Business listing.

Google My Business

5. Submit your site to online directories like Yelp, Annie’s List, and TripAdvisor, among others

6. Scour Q&A sites like Quora and look for relevant questions you can create content about.

7. Optimize content with relevant keywords, particularly long-tail keywords signaling intent

8. Get news websites to cover your business and link to your site.

9. Invest time in blogger outreach to see which influencers and industry thought leaders you can reach out and link to your site.

10. Join relevant online discussions on sites like Quora and Reddit.

11. Monitor Google Trends for keyword ideas and trending topics you can write about.

12. Write killer headlines that grab people’s attention and encourage them to click on your article links.

13. Link internally so other pages in your site get attention and a bump in traffic.

14. Make sure your website is optimized for mobile to increase your mobile search rankings.

15. Optimize your site for local search, that means including your city or state in your target keywords.

16. Consider using remarketing on Google Ads for brief periods to drive traffic and sales on your site.

17. Use HARO to look for opportunities to appear on roundups, similar to the one below.

Roundup Link Building

18. Optimize images on your website with alt tags to improve their discoverability on Google Images.

19. Optimize your meta descriptions and title tags so they’re easy to read and aren’t truncated in the search engine results pages.

20. Add your local address to the footer of every page on your site to make sure local searchers find you.

21. Improve your website’s page speeds by following Google’s guidelines and recommendations.

22. Use rich snippets to make your entry on the search engine results pages more clickable.

Content Marketing

23. Start a blog if you haven’t already.

24. Create content that’s useful, valuable, and shareable.

25. Create free and paid resources such as case studies, reports, survey findings, etc.

26. Look for guest posting opportunities to get high-authority blogs to link to your site.

27. Create infographics that feature a roundup of industry statistics to increase their likelihood of going viral.

28. Start a regular content series, such as “Did You Know?” or a “Tip of the Day” that your audience can look forward to.

29. Update your blog regularly to get a boost in rankings and traffic.

30. Interview industry leaders and feature the conversation on your blog or YouTube channel.

31. Host a webinar or podcast about topics you’re passionate about and align with your business.

32. Create e-brochures that your audience can share, with links to your site and blog.

33. Invest in video content and upload your videos to YouTube.

The State of Video Marketing in 2019 [New Data]

34. Write an online/offline column for your local paper, magazine, or community website.

35. Create a press kit you can share with influencers, bloggers, and even other businesses.

36. Comment on other blogs relevant to your industry.

37. Launch a free ebook to generate interest in your brand. Offer it as a free download for users who sign up for your newsletter.

38. Start a blog on Tumblr. This is a great content platform, especially if you have a young audience.

39. Have a healthy mix of evergreen content and trending content to increase your website’s discoverability, particularly on search engines.

Social Media

40. Promote your content on social media channels.

41. Obviously, you want to go big on Facebook. Create a page there if you haven’t already.

42. Join discussions on Facebook Groups to generate visibility.

43. Leverage social media contests on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to drive traffic to your website.

44. If it’s relevant to your audience, create an online presence on Snapchat and Pinterest.

45. Use Pinterest to upload high-quality images of your products.

46. Use relevant trending hashtags on Twitter to drive users to your site.

47. Try promoted tweets to fast-track traffic to your site.

48. Start an Instagram account and make sure your bio is filled features your website URL.

49. Use Facebook and Instagram Stories to engage your audience and raise brand awareness.

50. Let your employees control your Stories for a day. This will encourage them to share your social media account (and website) with their personal network.

51. Start an official YouTube channel. Use it to share videos of your brand, your products, and services.

52. Use Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram ads at short bursts to boost traffic to your site.

53. Leave comments on other social media pages.

54. Link your official social media channels with one another. Make sure all pages/profiles have a URL to your website.

55. Take advantage of Facebook and Instagram’s live streaming platforms. This will give you a chance to show your brand’s personality and encourage website visits.

56. If you serve a B2B market, double down on LinkedIn. According to a report, 63% of marketers rated LinkedIn as the most effective B2B social media platform.

Top B2B Social Media Platforms

57. Use SlideShare to create your own high-quality slideshows. Optimize your slideshow for keywords and add your website URL to the final or beginning slide.

Offline Marketing

58. Participate in events and talk about the event experience in your blog.

59. Collaborate with local academic institutions to get your brand’s name out in the world of academia.

60. Look for public speaking engagements in your industry.

61. Add QR codes to your print collateral (e.g., posters, post cards, flyers) to drive people to your site.

62. Design beautiful business cards and add a QR code directing people to your site, lead form, or social platforms.

63. Support local organizations to ensure your community knows your brand and site.

64. Place stickers and/or decals on your personal or company cars to promote your website.

65. If you have the budget, pay for local ad placements in your newspaper, benches, sporting events.

66. Organize events such as concerts, poetry nights, garage sales, flea markets, and workshops.

67. Make sure your website URL is visible on company merchandise.

68. Send direct mail and place your URL on letters.

69. Include your website URL on company uniforms

70. Look for free press release opportunities on magazines and newspapers

71. Add your website URL to office signs.

72. Join networking events in your city or out of state.

73. Take advantage of classified ads in your local paper.

74. Support a local charity by sponsoring a fun run or donating part of your proceeds to a cause.

75. Contact your local news station to submit yourself as an expert in your field or industry resource.

76. Join your local Chamber of Commerce or other business groups.

77. Appear on a local radio program as a resource guest, which will let you promote your site as well.

Sales Promotions

78. Entice customers with an exclusive deal that can be redeemed on your store. According to one study, 57% of shoppers are motivated by coupons to make first-time purchases.

79. Offer free gifts to in-store customers and add material to promote your site.

80. Start a loyalty program requiring users to fill out a form on your website.

81. Offer freebies that can be redeemed on your site after shoppers make in-store purchases.

82. Start a referral network and encourage users to refer your website to their friends in exchange for discounts/deals.

83. Send thank you cards or emails to your in-store customers, placing a URL to your site.

84. Take advantage of seasonal offers (e.g., Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween) to increase your likelihood of being found during these occasions.

General Marketing

85. Remember to market your website across all online channels you own — social media, newsletter, blog.

86. Create an official email signature with your website in it (and most recent blog post if applicable).

87. Don’t neglect email marketing. Start a newsletter and incentivize signups with offers and discounts.

88. Encourage customers to leave reviews on your social media pages and website.

89. Take advantage of user-generated content through contests or competitions. Have users submit entries to your website.

90. If your website has been around for a while, consider a redesign to drum up interest when relaunching it.

91. Add social buttons to your blog content and landing pages to make sharing easy.

92. When looking for influencers, look for those who are relevant to your brand and have an engaged audience. The number of followers isn’t a reliable metric for an influencer’s influence.

93. Educate your audience instead of selling to them.

94. Talk and listen to your customers about what they want from your brand. Use this information to improve products and/or create content.

95. Sell yourself and your site wherever you go. You are your greatest ambassador.

96. Use strong calls-to-action in your social media posts and blog content to drive audiences to your website.

97. Look for opportunities to appear on other people’s podcasts or webinars.

98. Make sure your website looks great on all devices to maximize its discoverability.

99. Make sure your internal stakeholders are encouraged to spread the word about your brand and website.

100. Pay attention to what your competitors are doing on their website and do something they aren’t so you stand out.

101. Want visits? Ask for them online and offline from the people you meet every day.

Over to You

This list of tactics only scratches the surface of what you can do to promote your website.

Nevertheless, these tricks should get you off to a good start.

More Resources:


Image Credits

Screenshots taken by author, August 2019
In-post Image #1: HubSpot
In-post Image #2: Content Marketing Institute



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10 Best Readability Tools to Check Your SEO Content

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10 Best Readability Tools to Check Your SEO Content


Content strategy is a science and every detail matters.

Those details include:

  • The reading level of the content.
  • Word count (especially in relation to top-ranking content).
  • Format and correct use of subheaders.
  • Keyword distribution.
  • Use of phrases related to the keyword.
  • Grammar.
  • Sentence structure.

In fact, details like these can mean the difference between a No. 1 ranking (or answer box!) vs. content that doesn’t even make it on Page 1 of the search results.

Competitive content writers will use every tool at their disposal as they create content.

That’s why we’ve rounded up the 10 best content writing tools for SEO that specifically help you improve readability.

Add your keyword phrase (and related keywords if you like), and the SEO Writing Assistant will give you an aggregate score based on factors including:

  • Readability
  • Number of hard-to-read sentences
  • Long words
  • Word count and reading time (compared to top-ranking content)
  • Tone of voice

Notably, with the SEO Writing Assistant is the one tool on this list where you can set the preferred readability level you’d like your content to have.

You can customize the tone of voice you’d like your content to have, ranging from casual to formal, and check whether any content in the document is plagiarized.

It will also show related questions you should consider posing/answering within the content.

Personally, my favorite aspect of the SEO Writing Assistant is the recommended keywords – the tool will automatically show about 20 phrases that are present in the top-ranking comment.

Yoast is a free WordPress plugin that many digital marketers use to check the basic SEO of their content, but it can also give you a content readability score.

Within the content readability score, you’ll find a report that breaks down:

  • Flesch reading ease
  • Use of passive voice vs. active voice
  • Subheading distribution
  • Variety of sentence structure
  • Paragraph length
  • Sentence length
  • Use of transition words

Like most of the tools on this list, the Content Experience provides scores pertaining to your content’s word count, sentence structure, keyword coverage, phrase repetition, etc. based on your keyword target.

This is one of the more robust content marketing tools on this list, and provides insights into user intent, keyword selection, and even the best time of year to publish a piece of content.

As the name suggests, the Readability Tool focuses primarily on the readability of your content.

You can input content you’re working on directly into the tool, or you can use a URL for content that already exits (yours or your competitors).

The report will give not one but six readability scores, including:

  • Flesch reading ease.
  • Flesch-Kincaid grade level.
  • Gunning Fog Score.
  • SMOG Index.
  • Coleman-Liau Index score.
  • The Automated Readability Index score.

It will also show you:

  • The number of sentences
  • Number of words
  • Number of complex words
  • Percent of complex words
  • Average words per sentence
  • Average syllables per word

With the Text Optimizer, you can pop in a webpage and this content readability tool will check the health of your content.

If you’re new to SEO or content strategy, this is a good tool to start with, given that no technical knowledge is required to wield this tool and create great content.

In addition to assessing your content’s word count, sentence length and verb use, this tool will give you suggestions of words to add to your content and words to remove from your content to increase your potential to rank.

According to Text Optimizer, 70% of their users achieve better SEO rankings within five weeks after using the tool.

This content readability tool focuses solely on reading level and gives your content a readability score based on

Not only will it give your entire content a score, but it will also score your content’s individual content.

If writing is not your strong suit, Grammarly is a game-changer.

This tool focuses on the mechanics of writing rather than the science of SEO content – nonetheless, it’s incredibly valuable and belongs on this list.

Poorly written content equates to poor user experience (and high-quality content should be written with the search engines and the user in mind).

Grammarly will address issues in grammar and spelling, but also in tone and structure.

It will flag overly complex sentences and keep an eye out for clarity and conciseness.

You can also set a goal for the content your writing so Grammarly can tailor its recommendations to your project.

Goals are aligned by the type of your content.

You can choose from academic, business, technical, creative, and casual. For most web content, you’ll probably want to choose business.

When working on a piece of business content, Grammarly will flag any use of the passive voice and misuse of pronouns, but allow for some use of informality.

Not only can you use Grammarly for blog posts, site content, and articles, but you can also use it for emails, messages, and social media posts.

Similarly, the free Hemingway app helps you improve the mechanics of your writing.

Copy your content into Hemingway’s desktop app and it will show:

  • The readability of your content by grade level
  • Opportunities to use more concise language
  • Overuse of adverbs
  • Use of passive voice
  • Sentences that are hard to read
  • Places where a simpler phrase could be used
  • Word count and character count
  • The average length of time to read the content

Sometimes content readability isn’t an issue of keyword distribution or poor grammar.

Sometimes, you just may have wild, out-of-hand formatting that needs to be dealt with.

As the name suggests, Bulk SEO Tools will help you take care of formatting issues (that impact readability) in bulk.

Let’s say, for example, your entire text or large portions of your text are in all uppercase.

You can input that text into Bulk SEO Tool’s case converter and switch the case to sentence case, capitalized case, lower case, title case, etc.

Bulk SEO Tools also has text tools to quickly remove any duplicate lines, add or remove line breaks, and even add prefixes or suffixes if you’re working with a list.

You know what else can hurt readability (at least from a user perspective)?

Clichés.

No one likes a cliché – they’ll make your writing seem contrived and contrite.

This free tool will highlight any clichés in your text in red so you can swap that out for a sentence that’s more meaningful.

More Resources:



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