by Erin Everhart
Erin Everhart is the director of web and social media marketing at the digital marketing and web design company, 352 Media Group. Connect with her on Twitter @erinever.
There are two ways to conquer web marketing: good content and even better relationships. The problem is, any SEO pro has already identified this.
Try targeting blogs as link resources. Not only do people trust blogs, they’re one of the most effective ways to both build your brand awareness and get high-quality content links that point back to your website. On the other hand, blogs are often overrun with coverage and link requests from online marketers. If you have any chance of getting your content to the top of the pile, you’ll have to find unique ways to reach your bloggers — and LinkedIn is just the tool to help you do it.
Let’s say you’re working on an SEO strategy for a new restaurant in Atlanta. Part of your promotion is to encourage different local food bloggers to tour the restaurant, sample the menu and then write a review. The first term you’ll use to search is “food blogs in Atlanta.” After scrolling through a few of pages, you’ll have a decent stock of sites. Unfortunately, they’re the same sites your competitors have encountered too.
So instead of backing into content relationships, try using LinkedIn as a search tool. By manipulating its search filters, you can target specific keywords and narrow by location. A search for “food writer” in the greater Atlanta area produces more than 650 results. Taking into account that maybe 40% aren’t going to be relevant because they’ve changed companies or don’t provide an ideal content match, you’re still left with a suitable sample of people.
Sticking with our Atlanta restaurant example, there are other searches you can use to bring about results. Search with and without quotation marks to ensure you’re finding as many people as possible.
- “Food” filtered by location and/or writing and editing professions
- “Food blog” or “food blogger,” filtered by location
- “Food editor,” filtered by location
Maybe you have already pinpointed the company or website from which you’d like to gain coverage, but their staff page is on lockdown, and the only contact information you can glean is a generic email@example.com. Don’t waste time writing and sending an email that will likely never get returned — or even read for that matter. Find that company on LinkedIn and search for its employees. If those people have blogger, writer, blog owner, journalist or editor on their profile, it’s time to make connections.
While most say that email is the best way to reach them, it’s also the most overused form of communication. Instead, try something else. If you have a “2nd degree connection” with someone on LinkedIn, you can contact them directly. If not, most writers and bloggers who are on LinkedIn also operate a Twitter account. Search for “Name + Twitter,” follow that person and then tweet directly to her: “Hey Sarah. Erin here. Found your blog & love it! Great post on why turkey bacon rocks. Would love to chat about an idea. Can we email?” Your response rate will likely be higher if you A) actually know and read her blog, and B) figure out a way to set yourself apart by contacting them in an unorthodox way.
Furthermore, once you’ve established a connection and given that person a great angle for their content, they’re more likely to think about you and your business for future posts. Maintain that relationship, because without them, your link wouldn’t exist in the first place.
What are some other ways you can use LinkedIn to establish connections for your SEO campaign?