The author’s views are entirely his or her own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.
Please welcome back guest host, Andy Crestodina, for an episode all about the connection between people, relationships, and SEO outcomes. Specifically, how influencer marketing can drive SEO and authority.
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Hey, Moz fans. This is Andy Crestodina from Orbit Media Studios here in Chicago, and I want to explain something that I love very much and that is kind of a familiar theme if you’ve been following the Moz content. It’s about the relationship between people, relationships, and SEO outcomes. Specifically I want to talk about how influencer marketing can drive SEO and authority.
There’s a lot of approaches to building links and building authority. Cold outreach, can we please stop doing that? This is what my inbox looks like. It’s a mess. Yeah, okay, so let’s just pause that and try something different.
Link swaps? Interesting. It doesn’t feel like we’re adding a lot of value to the world, but okay, maybe.
Guest blogging, a lot of work for a little outcome. Depending on the audience, it could have lots of other benefits. So not necessarily a fan. I’m still a guest blogger, have been forever.
But link attraction, how does that work? Is it possible to do something in marketing that will spontaneously lead to like new links from high authority sites on a regular basis? There is. It is possible. It happens all the time. It’s something that we do here. In fact, it’s our main approach to growing authority.
So I’m going to break it all down starting with the outcome. Starting with the lead, demand. This is the goal. That’s the point of digital marketing, right, is to build a bridge from a traffic source to your thank you page. That’s what we’re all doing here, right?
So to do that you need two things. What are they? Traffic and a conversion rate. Traffic times conversion rate equals demand. Conversion rate, that means having a web page that is persuasive, it’s compelling, it’s filled with social proof, it’s addressing objections, it’s answering questions. It has clear, specific calls to action. That times the number of qualified visitors to that page equals success.
So traffic, where does traffic come from? Well, there’s a lot of sources of traffic. I’m a digital marketer that uses more than just search. We’ll set those aside for now. But search traffic, how does that happen? That’s driven from ranking for relevant, commercial intent key phrases. What are those? That happens when you have two main things, two main search ranking factors, which are basically authority and relevance, as in links and keyword focused content. So now we’re going to set aside relevance.
I’m going ask one of the most important questions in all of digital marketing, which is, “Why do people link to things? Why does that happen? How do we make that happen organically on a regular basis all the time?” That’s what I want to address here, and I’m going to do it by combining two different things — influencers and content, relationships with people who create content and therefore create links and also link worthy content, content that’s worthy of that citation, content that ends up in their bibliography, content that is something that when people see it they say, “Wow, this is supporting something that I’m working on. Therefore, if I link to this, it will make the thing I’m making more credible.” Otherwise, without your content, what they’re making is just going to be kind of unsupported. So we want to make content and we want to combine that with influencers. Let’s break that down.
What attracts links?
What kind of content attracts links? There’s play of research on this, much of it conducted by Moz, which comes down to two main things — original research and strong opinion. That’s basically it. When you put those together, you have the main ingredients for legit thought leadership. We hold high standards for that label.
But original research literally supports what they’re creating. Therefore, by making it, you are giving people ways to add evidence to the things that they’re creating. So new, original data points, kind of sound bites, kind of new statistics for the world.
Fundamentally, there are two kinds of content programs — content programs that create new, original data and everybody else. If I was doing a content audit for a brand, I would probably look at that first and say, “Is there anything for which this website is the primary source?” Very different. It feels different. It feels different when you make it. It feels different when they read it. It feels different when they come across it later and they think they might publish it, something that references it.
Who creates links?
So who are they? Who creates links? Who are the content marketers or who are the people on the internet? It’s sometimes called the 1% rule. Ninety-nine percent of people consume content. They’re sort of lurkers. They’re just consumers of content. The 1% of us actually make stuff. They press that Record button or they type and they hit the Publish button. They are bloggers, obviously, editors, clearly, journalists, researchers, podcasters, even event producers. All these people make stuff, therefore they’re adding new content, new URLs to the internet, and when they do, they often look for things to support their assertions, in other words original research. Or they’re responding to someone who planted a flag out there and adding their voice to some strong opinion that was put out.
So basically these are the two key ingredients. That’s really all you need. This is how it really happens. Original research combined with relationships with people who create content and links on the internet. So let’s go a little deeper on that and I want to talk about specifically how to make that happen and what it looks like.
Step 1: Network, connect
Step 1, network, connect. Start a conversation. That’s why I don’t like cold outreach. I keep drawing X’s here. Cold outreach fails to just take that first step and warm it up a little bit. You didn’t have to do that to my inbox. Why don’t we start a conversation? Why don’t you like, comment, share, interact, engage, ask, thank, connect? So that’s Step 1. It’s a networking thing. It really benefits people that value relationships and are playing the long game.
Step 2: Polite request
Then the polite request. “Hey, I’m making something. Would you like to be part of this thing that I’m making?”
Step 3: Include them
Then actually include that person in the thing that you are making. I’ve got a little example over here, look. Their face, that person that I one day hope to build a relationship with, I’m giving them the thing that I hope to get from them one day, by literally their face, their name, a link to them. Their quote, their insights, their added value is in my piece.
I do this all the time. In fact, I would never publish a piece of content without putting contributors in it. Journalists don’t write articles without including a source. Why do content marketers keep creating content without adding contributor quotes? It’s a missed opportunity. Your content is, in fact, one of your best networking tools.
So literally I’m linking to the people that I’m hoping to one day get a link from. I’m learning while I’m creating my own content. This happened to me yesterday. I was working on an article, reached out to some experts, they gave me their insights, and I have new ideas based on their input. I learn by creating my own blog. That’s kind of magical, right, and very cool.
Step 4: Stay in touch
Then, obviously, really the long game, like I said, we’re going to keep in touch. We’re going to follow up. We’re going to offer to help them if they’re making something. We’re going to keep that conversation going because we care. Really, the ultimate form of influencer marketing is called friendship, real, legit relationships, to the extent you get to the point where if you really need a link to something, you could actually just send them a quick text message and they’ll probably help you out right away, the way I do for people that I’m trying to help. We all do this all the time. In other words, empathy in your relationships and quality in the stuff you create when combined lead to link attraction, and as we saw that’s going to connect every dot down to demand.
Hope this was helpful. Really fun to make. Thank you, thank you, Moz, for the opportunity to create another Whiteboard Friday video. We hope this is helpful. If you find someone who keeps like spamming you, maybe just send them this. Maybe they’ll leave you alone. Maybe you can just reach out and start a conversation and make a friend.
Again, Andy from Orbit and we’ll see you next time.