For me the toughest part of getting results from SEO is the outreach: Actually getting someone to listen to you, to take a look at the content that you have created and to then be so impressed that they drop what they are doing to promote your content, or at least bookmark it, for linking to later on.
Even if your content is amazing, people are busy and have a plan for their day, so you need to be thoughtful about the contact you make.
With a typical piece of outreach, we normally get between a 2% and 5% response rate and around 1% to 2% of target sites linking.
However, when we asked people for advice we got a 12% response rate and promises to link and also promote our content in both printed and email newsletters.
The content in this case is a wildlife observation game for kids, as our client sells wildlife cameras and observation tools.
We are still building the tool so we did genuinely need feedback, but it was through this process that I realised that it was actually the best way to have a number of sites on the ready to help us promote the content and to link to it as soon as we complete it.
This is the exact message that I sent to 100 bird watching and wildlife-related organisations:
I am working with a company called <Client Name> to create a bird watching game for children that will help them to develop and sustain an interest in bird watching and wildlife.
I am approaching bird experts in the hope that you can spare me 10 minutes on the phone so that I can understand a little more about what you feel would genuinely help to increase children’s interest in bird watching and wildlife observation in general?
What we would like to know from you:
1) We would like to get your feedback on the idea and hopefully some advice on what would be most appealing to the kids who are interested in birds.
2) What you would like to see in a game like this? How could we make it most fun for the kids?
2) How organisations such as yours are typically structured; how could we communicate the game to your members and their kids?
It would be very much appreciated if you could spare me 10 minutes on the phone to go over this, or even if you could just respond via email, it would help us greatly to get your expert opinion.
We received 12 responses, and I had 10 telephone calls, which were so much more effective in developing a relationship and getting buy-in for our project.
The process of giving feedback provides a degree of ownership to the contributor and makes them want to see the content be successful.
Giving feedback provides a degree of ownership to the potential link source. [tweet this]
I have kept in touch with these people throughout the project and will be leveraging their networks as soon as we go live.
I also found that these people are well connected in their specialist areas, which always brings new opportunities.
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