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Developing New
Campaigns in the Same
Ol’ Vertical
5 Deadly Link Campaign Ruts (and how to bust them)
@garrettfrench @citat...
You know you’re in a rut when:
@garrettfrench @citationlabs
1. “There are no more blogs in my market.”
2. “I’ve run out of...
Citation Labs Biases
@garrettfrench @citationlabs
Intro
We build 300-350 links per month.
We charge per link.
@garrettfrench @citationlabs
We seek repeatable tactics supported by
1000s - 10,000s of potential linkers.
@garrettfrench @citationlabs
We design tactics that don’t require
payment for links.
@garrettfrench @citationlabs
Busting Link Campaign Ruts
@garrettfrench @citationlabs
What’s
a rut?
What is a Link Rut?
● Assumptions
● Biases
● Fixed Opinions
● Blindnesses
...That Prevent Links.
@garrettfrench @citationl...
Where Do We Find Ruts?
1. We see ruts in our clients’ approach to link building.
2. We stumble into our own ruts by accide...
My Target SEO Keywords
Define My Market
RUT #1
@garrettfrench @citationlabs
Problem: Only Seeing Keyword Traffic
Numbers, Not the Big Content Picture
@garrettfrench @citationlabs
Rut #1: My Target SEO Keywords Define My Market
@garrettfrench @citationlabs
Sunglasses, for example:
Rut #1: My Target SEO Keywords Define My Market
@garrettfrench @citationlabs
To Find Utility Topics, Search Your SEO KWs l...
Learn how your keyword (“sunglasses”)
fits and intersects with related topics.
@garrettfrench @citationlabs
Learn how your keyword (“sunglasses”)
fits and intersects with related topics.
@garrettfrench @citationlabs
Rut #1: My Target SEO Keywords Define My Market
@garrettfrench @citationlabs
Now we can discover new audiences for promoti...
Link Building = Blogger Outreach
...Right?
RUT #2
@garrettfrench @citationlabs
Bloggers are great.
@garrettfrench @citationlabs
Rut #2: Link Building = Blogger Outreach
@garrettfrench @citationlabs
Bloggers are definitely great.
● lots of blogs out t...
Obviously, bloggers are great.
@garrettfrench @citationlabs
BUT
@garrettfrench @citationlabs
They’re not the only websites out there.
@garrettfrench @citationlabs
Rut #2: Link Building = Blogger Outreach
@mahannay :)
There are others!
Rut #2: Link Building = Blogger Outreach
@garrettfrench @citationlabs
Other Valuable Page Types:
● Curated Links
● Resourc...
Rut #2: Link Building = Blogger Outreach
@garrettfrench @citationlabs
Breaking out of SEO KWs makes these pages easier to ...
Link Building is All About
Relationships
RUT #3
@garrettfrench @citationlabs
Yes… 5-10 Links in Your Industry are
“All About Relationships”
@garrettfrench @citationlabs
BUT
@garrettfrench @citationlabs
Rut #3: Link Building is All About Relationships
@garrettfrench @citationlabs
We leave these elite links to BizDev and C-S...
Rut #3: Link Building is All About Relationships
@garrettfrench @citationlabs
Link Building is All About Serving Your Link...
Rut #3: Link Building is All About Relationships
@garrettfrench @citationlabs
Demonstrate How You Serve and Value The Link...
But linkers don’t want to be friends
with you.
@garrettfrench @citationlabs
They do want to serve their audiences.
Helping linkers do their job = links.
@garrettfrench @citationlabs
Relying on Email Outreach Only
RUT #4
@garrettfrench @citationlabs
We primarily email, but often WAIT to
email broadly until we’ve had several
phone calls.
@garrettfrench @citationlabs
Rut #4: Relying on Email Outreach Only
@garrettfrench @citationlabs
Phone calls with real, live content audiences
help us ...
Rut #4: Relying on Email Outreach Only
@garrettfrench @citationlabs
Phone calls help to temp-check your content concepts…
...
Rut #4: Relying on Email Outreach Only
@garrettfrench @citationlabs
Phone calls provide feedback to your Editorial Directo...
Rut #4: Relying on Email Outreach Only
@garrettfrench @citationlabs
Advice on positioning your outreach:
Write intro email...
Rut #4: Relying on Email Outreach Only
@garrettfrench @citationlabs
DO NOTE:
“If you want to hop on the phone please let m...
Tactic Failure in Vertical X =
Tactic Doesn’t Work
RUT #5
@garrettfrench @citationlabs
The converse is common in best
practice articles about link building...
@garrettfrench @citationlabs
@garrettfrench @citationlabs
Failure is an opportunity IF you are
accountable to your team and boss.
@garrettfrench @citationlabs
Rut #5: Tactic Failure in Vertical X = Tactic Doesn’t Work
@garrettfrench @citationlabs
Think out probable points of failu...
Now make some changes and send
more emails.
@garrettfrench @citationlabs
Rut #5: Tactic Failure in Vertical X = Tactic Doesn’t Work
@garrettfrench @citationlabs
We found that weekly client calls ...
Over-Trusting Big Data,
Best Practices and Metrics
RUT #6
@garrettfrench @citationlabs
Don’t IGNORE them…
@garrettfrench @citationlabs
BUT
@garrettfrench @citationlabs
Don’t let them bias you against
TESTING.
@garrettfrench @citationlabs
photo courtesy of
cayusa on flickr
Rut #6: Over-Trusting Big Data, Best Practices and Metrics
@garrettfrench @citationlabs
Best Day of Week to Outreach
...va...
Rut #6: Over-Trusting Big Data, Best Practices and Metrics
@garrettfrench @citationlabs
Female vs. Male Personas in Outrea...
Rut #6: Over-Trusting Big Data, Best Practices and Metrics
@garrettfrench @citationlabs
DA 30+ Only
...means you will pass...
Rut #6: Over-Trusting Big Data, Best Practices and Metrics
@garrettfrench @citationlabs
Anything over DA 90 don’t bother
....
Rut #6: Over-Trusting Big Data, Best Practices and Metrics
@garrettfrench @citationlabs
Best Keywords to Use in Article Ti...
When a tactic fails...
@garrettfrench @citationlabs
When a tactic works...
@garrettfrench @citationlabs
“Try & See” something or
somewhere else.
@garrettfrench @citationlabs
When a tactic works...
@garrettfrench @citationlabs
When a tactic works...
@garrettfrench @citationlabs
“Try & See” if it’s a just a good tactic
or if it’s a best practice.
@garrettfrench @citationlabs
EVERY SUCCESS WE’VE EVER HAD
OCCURRED THANKS TO AN
EXPERIMENT.
@garrettfrench @citationlabs
● The product research/adventurous toddler approach
“Best Practices” aren’t magic; they’re just
experiments that didn’t fa...
Questions?
@garrettfrench @citationlabs
@garrettfrench @citationlabs
photo courtesy of
avardwoolaver on flickr
Garrett French of Citation Labs: Developing New Campaigns in the Same Ol' Vertical | Ungagged 2015
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Garrett French of Citation Labs: Developing New Campaigns in the Same Ol' Vertical | Ungagged 2015

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Learn your way out of link building ruts with Citation Labs agency outreach and content brainstorming tactics. Originally presented by Garrett French, founder of Citation Labs, during the Ungagged 2015 conference.

Published in: Marketing
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Garrett French of Citation Labs: Developing New Campaigns in the Same Ol' Vertical | Ungagged 2015

  1. 1. Developing New Campaigns in the Same Ol’ Vertical 5 Deadly Link Campaign Ruts (and how to bust them) @garrettfrench @citationlabs
  2. 2. You know you’re in a rut when: @garrettfrench @citationlabs 1. “There are no more blogs in my market.” 2. “I’ve run out of internet.” 3. “The only relevant websites out there are my competitors.” 4. “No one answers my emails anymore.” 5. “SEOphobes are suspicious of link builders.” 6. “They keep asking for money.” (and the prices are going up!)
  3. 3. Citation Labs Biases @garrettfrench @citationlabs Intro
  4. 4. We build 300-350 links per month. We charge per link. @garrettfrench @citationlabs
  5. 5. We seek repeatable tactics supported by 1000s - 10,000s of potential linkers. @garrettfrench @citationlabs
  6. 6. We design tactics that don’t require payment for links. @garrettfrench @citationlabs
  7. 7. Busting Link Campaign Ruts @garrettfrench @citationlabs What’s a rut?
  8. 8. What is a Link Rut? ● Assumptions ● Biases ● Fixed Opinions ● Blindnesses ...That Prevent Links. @garrettfrench @citationlabs Feeling a little stuck...
  9. 9. Where Do We Find Ruts? 1. We see ruts in our clients’ approach to link building. 2. We stumble into our own ruts by accident (and then we grow). @garrettfrench @citationlabs
  10. 10. My Target SEO Keywords Define My Market RUT #1 @garrettfrench @citationlabs
  11. 11. Problem: Only Seeing Keyword Traffic Numbers, Not the Big Content Picture @garrettfrench @citationlabs
  12. 12. Rut #1: My Target SEO Keywords Define My Market @garrettfrench @citationlabs Sunglasses, for example:
  13. 13. Rut #1: My Target SEO Keywords Define My Market @garrettfrench @citationlabs To Find Utility Topics, Search Your SEO KWs like this: ● sunglasses site:.gov ● sunglasses health ● sunglasses safety
  14. 14. Learn how your keyword (“sunglasses”) fits and intersects with related topics. @garrettfrench @citationlabs
  15. 15. Learn how your keyword (“sunglasses”) fits and intersects with related topics. @garrettfrench @citationlabs
  16. 16. Rut #1: My Target SEO Keywords Define My Market @garrettfrench @citationlabs Now we can discover new audiences for promotion… ● intitle:"macular degeneration" site:.org (can we donate sunglasses?) ● intitle:"cataracts" inurl:blog ● intitle:"Astigmatism" inurl:resources
  17. 17. Link Building = Blogger Outreach ...Right? RUT #2 @garrettfrench @citationlabs
  18. 18. Bloggers are great. @garrettfrench @citationlabs
  19. 19. Rut #2: Link Building = Blogger Outreach @garrettfrench @citationlabs Bloggers are definitely great. ● lots of blogs out there ● they accept content pitches ● yes, you can still actively guest post (with quality content)
  20. 20. Obviously, bloggers are great. @garrettfrench @citationlabs
  21. 21. BUT @garrettfrench @citationlabs
  22. 22. They’re not the only websites out there. @garrettfrench @citationlabs
  23. 23. Rut #2: Link Building = Blogger Outreach @mahannay :) There are others!
  24. 24. Rut #2: Link Building = Blogger Outreach @garrettfrench @citationlabs Other Valuable Page Types: ● Curated Links ● Resource Pages ● Curated Lists
  25. 25. Rut #2: Link Building = Blogger Outreach @garrettfrench @citationlabs Breaking out of SEO KWs makes these pages easier to find ● intitle:"sunglasses" inurl:resources now becomes ● intitle:"macular degeneration" inurl:resources BONUS: New Topical KWs Help You Find New Blogs ● intitle:"macular degeneration" inurl:blog
  26. 26. Link Building is All About Relationships RUT #3 @garrettfrench @citationlabs
  27. 27. Yes… 5-10 Links in Your Industry are “All About Relationships” @garrettfrench @citationlabs
  28. 28. BUT @garrettfrench @citationlabs
  29. 29. Rut #3: Link Building is All About Relationships @garrettfrench @citationlabs We leave these elite links to BizDev and C-Suite. Most potential linkers don’t want a new relationship with you or your brand. They want good content that serves their audience.
  30. 30. Rut #3: Link Building is All About Relationships @garrettfrench @citationlabs Link Building is All About Serving Your Linkers’ Audience ● Who do your target linkers care about? ● How is this audience in need of help? ● How can your content help this audience? photo courtesy of
  31. 31. Rut #3: Link Building is All About Relationships @garrettfrench @citationlabs Demonstrate How You Serve and Value The Linker’s Audience “We surveyed 150 Seniors with Macular Degenerative Disease and found...” “We turned this survey into an infographic/guest publication/public service announcement...” “We started a new scholarship/lesson plan collection for future ophthalmologists”
  32. 32. But linkers don’t want to be friends with you. @garrettfrench @citationlabs
  33. 33. They do want to serve their audiences. Helping linkers do their job = links. @garrettfrench @citationlabs
  34. 34. Relying on Email Outreach Only RUT #4 @garrettfrench @citationlabs
  35. 35. We primarily email, but often WAIT to email broadly until we’ve had several phone calls. @garrettfrench @citationlabs
  36. 36. Rut #4: Relying on Email Outreach Only @garrettfrench @citationlabs Phone calls with real, live content audiences help us discover soapbox issues in a given vertical… “Here’s our idea of what’s important - what are we missing?”
  37. 37. Rut #4: Relying on Email Outreach Only @garrettfrench @citationlabs Phone calls help to temp-check your content concepts… “If we create X would you share that with your site visitors?”
  38. 38. Rut #4: Relying on Email Outreach Only @garrettfrench @citationlabs Phone calls provide feedback to your Editorial Director “It looks like ‘7 sunglass styles your mom wore better than you’ does not appeal to our target linkers…” photo courtesy of thecameragirls on flickr
  39. 39. Rut #4: Relying on Email Outreach Only @garrettfrench @citationlabs Advice on positioning your outreach: Write intro emails from a research perspective. You’re working to make a difference for an audience they care about!
  40. 40. Rut #4: Relying on Email Outreach Only @garrettfrench @citationlabs DO NOTE: “If you want to hop on the phone please let me know!” ...can really help to humanize your outreach and get you real insights.
  41. 41. Tactic Failure in Vertical X = Tactic Doesn’t Work RUT #5 @garrettfrench @citationlabs
  42. 42. The converse is common in best practice articles about link building... @garrettfrench @citationlabs
  43. 43. @garrettfrench @citationlabs
  44. 44. Failure is an opportunity IF you are accountable to your team and boss. @garrettfrench @citationlabs
  45. 45. Rut #5: Tactic Failure in Vertical X = Tactic Doesn’t Work @garrettfrench @citationlabs Think out probable points of failure: ● Is our content lined up properly with linkers’ audiences? ● Are our potential linkers tech-savvy enough to update their pages? ● Did ANYONE respond at all? What did they say? ● Are we having deliverability issues? ● Is our pitch off-putting somehow?
  46. 46. Now make some changes and send more emails. @garrettfrench @citationlabs
  47. 47. Rut #5: Tactic Failure in Vertical X = Tactic Doesn’t Work @garrettfrench @citationlabs We found that weekly client calls (AKA “accountability”) helped to: ● Get our whole team in-the-know about what’s working and not working. ● Help our disparate parts (outreach, templates, content, etc) see the big picture. ● Show our clients that we are working hard, and creatively, even if links aren’t coming in quickly.
  48. 48. Over-Trusting Big Data, Best Practices and Metrics RUT #6 @garrettfrench @citationlabs
  49. 49. Don’t IGNORE them… @garrettfrench @citationlabs
  50. 50. BUT @garrettfrench @citationlabs
  51. 51. Don’t let them bias you against TESTING. @garrettfrench @citationlabs photo courtesy of cayusa on flickr
  52. 52. Rut #6: Over-Trusting Big Data, Best Practices and Metrics @garrettfrench @citationlabs Best Day of Week to Outreach ...varies based on vertical and location.
  53. 53. Rut #6: Over-Trusting Big Data, Best Practices and Metrics @garrettfrench @citationlabs Female vs. Male Personas in Outreach ...varies based on vertical and location.
  54. 54. Rut #6: Over-Trusting Big Data, Best Practices and Metrics @garrettfrench @citationlabs DA 30+ Only ...means you will pass up 1000s of relevant, topical opportunities.
  55. 55. Rut #6: Over-Trusting Big Data, Best Practices and Metrics @garrettfrench @citationlabs Anything over DA 90 don’t bother ...means you will pass up “long shot” outreach.
  56. 56. Rut #6: Over-Trusting Big Data, Best Practices and Metrics @garrettfrench @citationlabs Best Keywords to Use in Article Titles ...are usually biased based on sample set.
  57. 57. When a tactic fails... @garrettfrench @citationlabs
  58. 58. When a tactic works... @garrettfrench @citationlabs
  59. 59. “Try & See” something or somewhere else. @garrettfrench @citationlabs
  60. 60. When a tactic works... @garrettfrench @citationlabs
  61. 61. When a tactic works... @garrettfrench @citationlabs
  62. 62. “Try & See” if it’s a just a good tactic or if it’s a best practice. @garrettfrench @citationlabs
  63. 63. EVERY SUCCESS WE’VE EVER HAD OCCURRED THANKS TO AN EXPERIMENT. @garrettfrench @citationlabs
  64. 64. ● The product research/adventurous toddler approach “Best Practices” aren’t magic; they’re just experiments that didn’t fail. Get Into the “Try & See” Mindset @garrettfrench @citationlabs
  65. 65. Questions? @garrettfrench @citationlabs
  66. 66. @garrettfrench @citationlabs photo courtesy of avardwoolaver on flickr

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