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Scalable Content Marketing: Lessons from Generating 10,000+ Links/Year


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Scalable Content Marketing: Lessons from Generating 10,000+ Links/Year

  1. 1. Scalable Content Marketing: Ross Hudgens, Founder, Siege Media @RossHudgens | Lessons From Building 10,000+ Links/Year
  2. 2. Siege Media is a team of 75 people, creating and promoting content for clients since 2012.
  3. 3. Each year, we generate more than 10,000+ unique links for our clients.
  4. 4. These aren’t spammy links, either. They’re high quality, editorially driven, with no paid incentive.
  5. 5. There are certain things that enable us to do this without compromising on quality that anyone can implement. @RossHudgens | #LearnInbound
  6. 6. Valuing Design 1
  7. 7. Siege has more than 30 designers on staff. Half of our team are content creators. 7,000 designers follow our team on Dribbble.
  8. 8. Since day one, we made design a critical component of our DNA and our content’s DNA.
  9. 9. We implement a process where every asset is designed by a talented designer, then is reviewed by an Art Director for quality control.
  10. 10. We encourage our designers to post snippets of their work on Dribbble. This attracts other great designers who may want to work at Siege.
  11. 11. We post on Dribbble’s job board, and this compounding presence/profile has allowed us to attract amazing remote designers.
  12. 12. Your organization might not be able to do exactly this, but you can value design the same way. @RossHudgens | #LearnInbound
  13. 13. You can highlight your organization’s design work on Dribbble. You can find designers through Dribbble. And you can push for the importance of design internally.
  14. 14. Optimizing for Organic Links 2
  15. 15. What are organic links? They’re the links you acquire without manually asking for a link. Also known as passive links.
  16. 16. Some people say “don’t build links, earn links”. Optimizing for organic links is meeting in the middle. Build Links Earn Links Optimize for Organic Links
  17. 17. Optimize for earned links by doing two things: 1 Building a great site experience 2 Ranking for high link- to-view ratio topics
  18. 18. Many sites come to us wanting link building, but have a site that looks like this.
  19. 19. Manual link building for a site like this is like putting lipstick on a cow. It won’t work, especially if you’re up against AirBnB. @RossHudgens | #LearnInbound
  20. 20. Given that, we suggest to any site that comes to us looking like this that they get a redesign first.
  21. 21. Other clients come to us with a decent looking site, but a terrible looking blog, hosted on a subdomain.
  22. 22. Your blog should be on a subfolder. And it should look good. It should look something like this.
  23. 23. And this.
  24. 24. These best practices will improve your CPL dramatically, often by 50% or better as compared to if the same work had been hosted on that original blog. @RossHudgens | #LearnInbound
  25. 25. These same changes naturally improve organic link attraction due to a more attractive site/better engagement metrics, and etc.
  26. 26. Next, we do research on high link-to-view ratio topics that exist for each client. These topics generally have the following characteristics:
  27. 27. They’re rarely commercial and for that reason, not competitive. 1
  28. 28. They’re rarely commercial and for that reason, not competitive. 1 2 They’re generally someone looking for something to cite.
  29. 29. They’re generally someone looking for something to cite. 2 They have 2-4 results with 50+ links. 3 They’re rarely commercial and for that reason, not competitive. 1
  30. 30. Even though they have 50+ links, these are often not “competitive” because the results aren’t heavily optimized for the keyword given the nature of the topic.
  31. 31. Next, we create a “10x” asset here to stand out/build a moat that is hard to duplicate. @RossHudgens | #LearnInbound
  32. 32. This, and other assets like it, inevitably start ranking and help lift rankings for much of the rest of the site, if it’s executed correctly. Asset went live here
  33. 33. In addition to this, we don’t frequently build “linkbait”. We build assets that drive top-funnel awareness. Linkbait drives links once.
  34. 34. Other top-funnel assets drive brand awareness, brand value, and can passively acquire links over time, even if not to the same degree linkbait does.
  35. 35. Mapping Buyer Personas to Linkable Audiences 3
  36. 36. Unfortunately, audience doesn’t always 1:1 map to a link market. Audience Link Market
  37. 37. That said, almost every buyer persona DOES have an existing link market or set of link markets you can create content for.
  38. 38. Early on in the client identification process, we map the clients buyer to linkable audiences we know exist online, and then the appropriate content type. Buyer Persona Linkable Audiences Recommendation to Client
  39. 39. What are the five most common, lightweight “linkable” content types?
  40. 40. Top or middle- funnel keyword- driven content that generates passive links 1
  41. 41. In-depth guides for (most) serious industries 2
  42. 42. Blog posts with shareable assets aimed at other bloggers 3
  43. 43. Surveys/data studies with sharable images targeted at national news 4
  44. 44. Data studies w/ shareable images targeted at local news 5
  45. 45. There are many linkable audiences, but several core patterns exist.
  46. 46. Is it a market aimed at older markets and/ or serious topics? There’s a good chance it maps to resource pages. 1
  47. 47. Most “serious” industries belong to communities around which there is a high level of academic, medical or government interest. • Teachers • Caregivers • Parents • Senior citizens • Veterans • Health conditions sufferers • Job Seekers • The Unemployed • Workers in the Non-Profit sector 
 (people curing societal ills such as 
 homelessness, poverty, abuse) • Members of any underserved communities 
 (immigrants, people with disabilities, etc.) • Local community • Students • Families of Substance Abusers Some of these highly linkable audiences include:
  48. 48. “New” serious industries do not have as many 
 of these, such as cybersecurity, 
 so there 
 are exceptions.
  49. 49. These industries love guides 
 because they are authoritative feeling/that’s a requirement of serious topics.
  50. 50. Serious industries frequently 
 also map to 
 high-end news. 2 There are not “senior citizen” bloggers. There are only link pages, and reporters who cover topics around seniors. So, for our clients we keep both of these outlets as potentials we can map content 
 to in the ideation process. “ ”
  51. 51. 3 Is it a lifestyle industry? 
 It probably warrants 
 blog posts 
 with shareable assets. In lifestyle/”fun” 
 resource guides 
 rarely make sense. The Complete Guide to Strawberries
  52. 52. For similar reasons, the brand 
 voice of the client 
 rarely makes 
 sense for big 
 linkbait/high-end data studies.
  53. 53. That said, 
 top-funnel makes sense, and this 
 often maps to bloggers 
 because it’s not 
 breaking news.
  54. 54. Often, the average DA spread is slightly lower here. But, it’s qualified traffic.
  55. 55. And, you generate actual rankings 
 and organic links over time as the 
 market progresses. Asset went live here
  56. 56. 4 In personal 
 finance, you have to avoid blog posts with shareable assets.
  57. 57. Personal finance bloggers always ask for money, so you have to find tangential connections instead for sustained success. Personal Finance Business | Tech | News | Wellness +
  58. 58. For this reason, the “seriousness” of personal finance maps nicely to high-end news.
  59. 59. Additionally, many personal finance sites rely on data studies targeted at local news, if the brand has local credibility/pages.
  60. 60. You can also sprinkle in resource guides for older markets, if applicable.
  61. 61. 5 Business is the one “serious” market with a treasure trove of mid-tier bloggers.
  62. 62. We have a lot of success pitching business blogs with blog posts containing shareable assets.
  63. 63. This is a beautiful intersection — as many are high DA without being news, so often the barrier to a quality link is a lot lower. Most Business Blogs Are 
 DA 40+
  64. 64. 6 If your business has city pages, there’s a good chance you should be doing city studies.
  65. 65. These are often overdone, but can still work if executed correctly. They offer local relevancy and the ability to generate links to those pages.
  66. 66. If your brand has these pages, there’s a good chance you have unique credibility/data to offer that makes doing these worthwhile.
  67. 67. If your business doesn’t have these pages, it’s often an awkward fit, but can be still be possible to mix these in as part of your idea mix.
  68. 68. The Almost Complete 
 List of Linkable Audiences by Content Type
  69. 69. 1 In-depth 
 Guides A. Veterans
 B. Seniors
 C. Disabilities
 D. Caregivers E. Pets F. audiences-for-link-builders/
  70. 70. 2 Blog Posts with Shareable Assets A. General Business
 B. HR
 C. Literature
 D. Eco-Friendly E. Hosting/etiquette blogs
 F. Lifestyle/craft/DIY
 G. Teachers/nannies
 H. Health/mental wellness I. Wedding
 J. Pop Culture
 K. Pets L. Productivity
 M. Mommy Bloggers
  71. 71. 3 Surveys/Data Studies Aimed at National News A. Body image
 B. Hygiene/Sanitation/cleanliness
 C. Student loan debt
 D. The 1% vs 99% Wealth Disparity E. Racism
 F. Sexism/gender inequality
 G. Lying/cheating in relationships/life
 H. Donald Trump I. Healthcare prices
 J. Climate change
 K. Immigration L. Gun control
 M. Privacy
  72. 72. 4 Data Studies Aimed at 
 Local News A. Cities <100 Most Popular More Likely to Cover
 B. Tie-in Blog Markets 
 for Extra Benefit
 C. Most Successful Campaigns are Egobait Driven 
 (“Best Cities to Raise Children”)
  73. 73. Success is about identifying what of the above markets also fits into your customer’s buyer persona. Buyer Persona Linkable Audiences Recommendation to Client
  74. 74. In addition, scale is about mixing up markets. For example, we often pitch four ideas in one month -- each with a different outreach market, in order to not exhaust targets. HR Idea Small Business Idea National News Idea Local News Idea
  75. 75. From our list of clients, we mix up the markets and content types we create and promote based on the above variables.
  76. 76. We create great content, fueled by design. And then we promote it with email outreach. Design 
 + Promotion = Rankings
  77. 77. The rankings of many of those assets allows scale to occur, in addition to links/value that Google will want to reward… forever.
  78. 78. Questions? San Diego, CA | Austin, TX | | 858.609.9118 Ross Hudgens - Founder/CEO | Twitter @RossHudgens |