I was picking the brain of Kristi Labrum this morning. I’m going to write down everything she told me (not verbatim, but close) and hopefully this will be a good guide to doing competitive link building using pr outreach tactics.
1. First, make a contact list. How? For this example, I found that one of my client’s biggest competitors was getting loads of links from cnn, bankrate, mint.com, and other high profile media outlets. I found this out by using opensiteexplorer.org, a free tool for doing competitive link analysis. I recorded where my client’s competitor was getting all their links from, and who the editor/journalists were who wrote the piece. I noticed that this competitor was getting links mainly by being quoted in each article, with a link back to their site. This helped me a lot in my own outreach strategy, in #3. So now you’ve got a list of editors/journalists with their media outlet information.
2. Find contact info. How? I use cision, a media list service that covers 95% of the USA’s journalists and bloggers. Vocus has a similar service, but it’s more pricey.
3. Outreach strategy. This has 2 parts: A)How do you reach out to the media contact, and B)What do you say?
A. To reach out to a journalist/editor, you have to figure out their preferred method of contact. They all have very busy lives, and lots of times schedule articles and features months in advance. They will throw away your pitch if you don’t contact them via their preferred method of contact. Fax, email, phone are the most popular, but make sure you figure it out. Cision tells this to you already, very handy. Also, before you do any reaching out, make sure you have some ammo to make your outreach message pack some punch,
B. You have to research what other kinds of articles this person has published before, and use that in your pitch email. So you do something like:
Subject: Story Idea for [Media person's name] – [Story idea]
Hi [Media person],
I’ve read your articles x,y and z. I loved what you wrote there. I would like to offer you an exclusive interview with xyz that would make a perfect addition to one of your next articles.
The story idea part is actually the hardest part of all this, because what’s so special about my client anyway? Well, by putting in the word ‘exclusive’, and making the interview something that fits in with what they’ve already written about, you’ve got a pretty good shot at something like a quote at least, and a full blown interview at best.
Hopefully this makes sense, and I’ll write a follow up to how successful I myself am in trying this. I’ve got an intern on the research as I’m writing this. Oh yeah, I have 5 interns working for me right now. Want to know how?