Welcome to the fourth blog post in our link building series! Getting great backlinks to your site is an essential part of SEO, the trouble is, unlike the other 2 essential parts, a great SEO backend and great content, backlinks are kind of out of your control. So the goal of this series is to give you strategies and tools for creatively getting quality backlinks.
If you’re just catching up, we’ll fill you in on the beauty of link building for SEO. A backlink happens anytime someone links to your site from theirs. The best kinds to get are from reputable sources, and ones that are relevant to what you’re writing. Of course, what makes this piece of SEO tricky is that you can’t control what other people do. However, you can set yourself up for success with lots of link-worthy content and reaching out to people who can give you those coveted backlinks, which brings us to today’s post!
Getting link building opportunities sent straight to your inbox
Lately we’ve been using a special tool to help drive traffic, exposure, and best of all for SEO, strong backlinks, to our clients’ sites. How do we get all this magic to happen in one’s inbox? With our new favorite tool, Help A Reporter Out (HARO). You may have heard of this tool or even used it before, but have you thought about the potential it brings for SEO?
Here’s how it works:
Journalists and reporters are constantly looking for sources for their stories, and have to find them fast to meet their deadlines. They can’t possibly take the time to contact all the people they need individually, so HARO came about as a matching service for reporters and those wanting to be featured. Reporters put their need into one of the three daily emails, and then they wait for the sources to come through the door.
It’s great for those of us who want to be featured online because it’s F-R-E-E, and with some attentiveness and clever email writing, you’re likely to get some amazing features!
So, there has to be a catch, right?
There is, but it’s small: you often don’t know what media outlet you’re responding to.
It’s possible that you’re getting a feature in a local print newspaper, or it could be possible that you’re getting featured in an outlet like Forbes, which is what happened for one of our clients just 2 weeks ago!
This tool can be overwhelming (three emails a day is a LOT to sift through!), so we’ve compiled our best tips for maximizing your time and potential of getting featured.
Here’s how to make the most of HARO:
1. Set up filters
- Those three daily emails crowd your inbox very quickly, plus take time to read through. So how about you let your inbox scan them for you? Set up a filter so that only words with certain keywords get through.
- You’ll still have to scan for relevance, but this simple trick will save you hours of wasted time.
2. Make it easy on the journalist
- If they ask for a quote, give them a quote. If they ask for a high-res photo, by all means, give them that. Remember college applications where one pragmatic error would mean your app was immediately rejected? This is that. Provide the answers in the exact format the reporter asks for, and you’re much more likely to be selected.
- Include your relevant links, such as website and social media
- Provide your one-liner bio. (PS–don’t have one you’re proud of? We can help!)
3. Brag about yourself (in a good way)
- Show off why you matter. If you’ve been featured in other places, won awards, or landed some other brag worthy piece, say it!
- Show the reporter that you’re reputable because this outlet is basically the Craigslist of PR–it’s often anonymous on one end at first, and you have to prove yourself to stand out from all the spammers.
4. Be Patient
- Getting from email to featured can take weeks, or it can take days. It just all depends on where the reporter is in their process, and occasionally they might even drop a story if it’s not compelling enough.
- This is a shotgun approach–you have to be selective about who you contact, because you can’t spend all your time doing this, but you still likely have to email loads of people before you get the perfect fit.
How to Craft the Perfect Pitch:
Once you’ve found a query that you’d be just perfect for, you have to jump in there and write the perfect pitch to be selected. Here’s how to do it.
PRO TIP: Have a draft email saved with most of the information you’d need to send, then customize for that particular inquiry. Include all your contact info, social media outlets, who you are and why your business is awesome, a one-line bio. You can delete what’s superfluous, and add what you need, but you’ll save so much time with this trick.
1. Be QUICK
- This is a ticking time game. If more than a day has passed, only email if it’s absolutely a perfect fit, and you’re one of few that could be the right source.
- Email back ASAP (see the pro tip, above).
2. Answer the question directly
- Keep it short and sweet
- Remember that journalists are likely to copy and paste what you write directly into their article, so write your pitch with that in mind.
3. Be clear that you’re available for more discussion
- You may not be right for this story, but you never know if a journalist has another one coming up that you would be just right for.
4. Remember that these journalists are people too
- You really have nothing to lose with doing this, and there’s no reason to be intimidated by reaching out. It feels vulnerable to offer your expertise only to be rejected or ignored, but it’s certainly nothing personal.
- A little kindness can go a long way, especially for a frenzied journalist on a deadline. So remember your manners.
We’re cheering you on friends!! Let us know how this goes for you, because we know you have so many wonderful gems to share with the world!
Clapping Dog Media Team