DistilledLive Seattle | Creating a Content Marketing Strategy for Outreach

We got technical for the last edition of DistilledLive London as Dave Sottimano and Tom Anthony gave their thoughts on hreflang. But with the DistilledLive Seattle Meet Up just around the corner, we thought we'd take a look at current hot topic, Content Marketing with the people who know it best; the Outreach team, Adria SaracinoRob Toledo and Alyssa Ennis.

For the full transcription of the video, see below.

Creating "Top of the Funnel Content"

A lot of brands look at Outreach teams as an opportunity to build a lot of link but what that really misses out on is the opportunity to get in front of new markets. So, how can an outreach team still build those links as well as getting you out there into those different communities and industrie to bring new business in?

We talk you through how to work out how your audience is and what's influencing their buying decisions. The team also, work to show you those brands doing this well [kudos to REI for their awesome 1440 project].

Get involved

As always if you want to talk more about any of the things we've mentioned in this video, get involved in the debate over at the Distilled blog or send a tweet along to us over on Twitter.

And don't forget, if you'd like to learn more on how content can be used by all business types, come along and join Adria and the team at The TechStar offices in Seattle next Tuesday 4th March.

DistilledLive Seattle | Creating a Content Marketing Strategy for Outreach Transcription

Adria: Hello. We are half of Distilled Outreach Team here. My name is Adria.

Rob: I'm Rob.

Alyssa: I'm Alyssa.

Adria: And today we're going to be talking about why having a content strategy is so important to the outreach process.

Rob: I think a lot of you who have been doing outreach for a while. You probably remember some of the little techniques that you might be more familiar with that have kind of disappeared recently. For example, if you were a leather sofa company and you were doing some outreach, you might just go to any blog and ask for generic links in the footer. You might ask for to get linked in an old post that had already been written, add some anchor text that you were going after. Any number of old techniques. And as this process has evolved, bloggers and news sites and site owners have become pretty aware of what's going on. They've started to look negatively on this whole process. With that, outreach has needed to evolve quite a bit.

Alyssa: Just to kind of jump off of that too, another big problem that we're facing is a lot of clients tend to be e-commerce sites. So what happens there is we have these clients that come to us and want all these links back to their product pages or a conversion page. When we take that information to the blogger, it doesn't always necessarily align with what they're looking for. For example, let's take guest hosting. Let's say we have a guest post that we're taking to a blogger about arranging your space. So, if we have that, and somewhere in the middle we through in a link to a leather sofa, to a product page, it doesn't necessarily make sense with the content of the article, and the blogger will usually end up rejecting it. They'll end up asking us to pay for it. And that's really not what we're going for, so it's really important to develop that strategy to make sure that we're giving the content to the bloggers that they want, but still getting the results for the client that we need.

Adria: Exactly. And some marketers in our industry are starving to get the hang of this, realizing that the response rates of their outreach team, and what not, is lower than maybe it should be, and so what they do is they try to make content that the blogger might want to share more. It's more generic information and what not. What ends up happening if that type of content isn't integrated throughout the whole brand, you end up having a leather sofa company, for example, that is making vampire infographics. As these bloggers are getting smarter and they're really trying to develop their blog, like their own brand, they look at the websites of these brands that we're pitching and they're like, "Who are these brands that I'd be working with?" And they see that, say we're pitching a vampire infographic, and then they go to this letter site and it's just, there's nothing cool about it. There's no cool vampire brand message integration.  So it just makes us look less credible, both us and our client, when we're pitching content that doesn't align with what they see when they go to the site. So what we want to really talk about, and the message that we really want to hit home, is that making content that integrates with your brand and is integrated across the site is super important to outreach, and really affects the response rates that we get at the end of the day.

Adria: I think one of the big problems with the misalignment between client expectations and these site owners, is the fact that a lot of brands look at outreach teams as an opportunity to build a lot of links. And they're hoping that those links will really affect the organic rankings down the road, so that when new business comes in their key words are ranking better. But what they're really missing out on is the opportunity to get in front of new markets. So what we really want to talk about is how to leverage the outreach team to do that, to still get links, but to get in front of those new markets, and bring new business in. One of the concepts that we use a lot in marketing is this term called the funnel.  Basically what that is, is the path that a lot of consumers take to make a purchasing decision. For example, say you need to buy furniture. What you do is usually go online and decide, 'Well, what kind of furniture do I need? I need a couch. OK. I'm going to start searching. Fabric? Leather?' I decide, after reading some content, I'm going to go with leather. I start narrowing down those brands and then I decide I'm going to go with this brand. I purchase it and then after that I experience and having my couch in my home, I decide whether or not I'm going to stay with that brand, or [??] , then never work with them again. So one of the big things in knowing that funnel is understanding where people are at when they're reading blogs. When the outreach team is pitching to a blogger to put something in front of their audience. Nobody is reading a blog and thinking about your brand or your product. Nobody is deciding that they need a couch then and there. So you really need to concentrate on that top of the funnel content to not alienate people, because nobody is thinking about buying anything at that point in time.

Alyssa: So the purpose is not build links for the sake of getting them. What you really want to do is work on your brand awareness and make content that will naturally get those links. Another thing you want to do is when you're thinking about the funnel, you want to make sure you're not focusing on the lower end. So you don't want to be focusing on the conversion pages or the product pages. You really want to work your way to the top of the funnel and figure out who your audience is, what's influencing their buying decisions, and build content that, like I said, is going to naturally get those links. It's not just building links for the sake of getting links.

Rob: For example, we had an enterprise software client who offered a service that wouldn't necessarily be relevant across all industry tech blogs. So what we did instead is we kind of hyper-focused a content strategy for them that would ultimately put their product in front of really a hyper-relevant eyeballs, and people who would be really interested in what they're offering. What that ultimately did was it limited, maybe, their total audience, but it also made things very specific and targeted for them, which was ultimately beneficial in the long run, because it offered up what ended up being, I think, pretty close to a $500,000 lead, based off of one piece of content that we created.

Adria: So, we've been spending a lot of time speaking about this 'top of the funnel' content idea, but what does that really look like? What we did is we found some examples of companies out on the web that were doing this really well, maybe, using content to get in front of the right audience and hopefully getting links at the same time.

Alyssa: One company that did a really good job of showing this, is REI. They sell outdoor equipment. It's a really awesome company. One thing they did was they created a piece of content called the 14-40 Project. Basically they invited everyone to upload their photographs and then, for each minute of the day, there's a different picture featuring the outdoors. So that's great, because they didn't focus so much on their brand, but it's still relevant to their audience. It's really cool. It's getting a lot of shares, and it's naturally building in those links for them.

Rob: Another good example of this is the web hosting company [Medicedia]. What they did is they created a really valuable site speed tester right on their home page. What that did is it put something that would be really relevant to someone who's looking for this web hosting type service, to enable them to test their current provider and see if there were better solutions out there. One great thing about this is that since you've created this tool right on the home page, what it allows the visitor to do is use the tool, and then ultimately decide, "I need to look for a new service. Mine isn't cutting it." Then they are right there at that home page, where they have the option to look at your service.

Adria: So, what does this all mean? Basically make 'top of funnel' content that your outreach team can pitch and also get you in front of new audiences, because it's going to be a way that you can get links, but also just get in front of people that, at the end of the day, will purchase your products.

We're the Outreach Team and we're from Distilled.

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