Ska Brewing shows that even mistakes can earn links

Most of us shy away from our mistakes, try to keep them hidden and hope nobody will notice. After all, good publicity and link building only come from positive stories, don't they? That’s not so, as Colorado Brewer, Ska Brewing demonstrate in a clever piece of marketing… The story appeared in this article, Ska Brewing Uses Humor to Turn a Bad Hops Contract Into a Beer. Journalist, Jonathan Shikes of Westword tells the story: The year was 2014. The sun was shining, the flowers were blooming, and Ska Brewing was getting ready to introduce a new year-round beer, Rudie  Session Ale …which Ska tagged with the line "Rudie can't fail," from a Clash song of the same name… …Fast-forward to 2017. “ Rudie is failing," says Ska co-founder Dave Thibodeau. … [Read more...]

10 Ordinary Businesses Crushing it With YouTube Video

How do real businesses use video to promote their products and services? Of course, video is a natural fit for consultants and trainers like myself who give advice for a living. But what do ordinary businesses do with video and what can you learn from them? Especially if you’re not a consultant and actually ‘get your hands dirty’ for a living! Those are questions I've been giving some thought to as I launch a new video course, How to Make Great Video on a Budget, made in partnership with video producer and advertising specialist, Tosh Lubek. … [Read more...]

Excitement helps your link pitch succeed (Video)

https://vimeo.com/97957101 Our words come alive when we have passion, energy and excitement, whether we’re writing or phoning or presenting - or pitching our content to a prospect in the hope of getting a great link. Just think of the people who have influenced you, whether with their writing or their voice - what did they do or say to make a positive impression on you? We’ve got to get ourselves into that positive mindset when we’re doing our PR or link building outreach. But that’s easy to say but how do you actually do it? Here’s the sort of preparation I do before making a pitch. 1. Like your clients and what they’re doing It’s easy to do work for people you like and respect but that doesn’t always come naturally. You’ve got to work at it so: Be curious - find out as much information about your clients as you can. Last week I went through a new client’s website and found that one of the senior staff was a best selling author on Amazon - scanning his author profile and his publications gave me a lot of insight Talk to your client - there’s a great old Roman quote, “We have two ears and one mouth and we should listen and talk in the same proportion”. And that’s just in formal meetings - I think it’s also important to listen in unguarded moments - people are endlessly fascinating and they love to talk. You’ll learn much if you really listen and respond. Once I got the basis of a story that eventually made the Financial Times - just from an off-hand remark a CEO made in the carpark. Look for stories you can build on - always scribble down notes as soon as you can and then review them later on. You’ll be amazed at how much important detail we forget if we don’t make notes. Being on top of that detail will not only give you ideas for content, it will also get you respect from the client if they see that you remember detail. Research the market - I always read the trade press or industry sites to see what the talking points in the industry are, what are the key trends, the innovations and the concerns. If I can relate a customer story to what’s happening now in the industry, I know I’m going to create compelling content. … [Read more...]

Why a PR mention from The Guardian is so much better than one from the BBC

One of the first things I do when I get to my desk in the morning is to browse popular media sites for small business stories. I like to see what makes the news and understand the many different reasons why small businesses get media coverage. This morning, I came across this article on the BBC site, “Could tech reduce food waste and help feed the world?” - an interesting article about a food sharing app, Olio: A great article from Tom Jackson that I’m sure the co-founders of Olio (http://olioex.com/  ) were delighted with – but unfortunately there was no link to the app so that readers could explore it for themselves. I’m in the business of encouraging editorial links so I am a little bit biased but I believe that articles with live links are so much better than those without links. Here are 4 reasons why: An editorial link is better for the reader – because they can click through and explore the app (or the business) if it is of interest. An editorial link is better for the business – because in return for sharing the story, they'll get many more people clicking through and visiting their site. An editorial link is better the publication (in this case the BBC) – because the reader experience is so much better as they don't have the frustration of searching for the app. An editorial link is better for the cause of reducing food waste – which was of course the main focus of the article. Contrast the BBC article with the coverage the same app received from the Guardian newspaper, in this article, Future of Food:how we share it, written by Katie Forster and Rachel David: Anyone reading this article would have been able to click through to the app and see exactly what it was about; the app would have got more relevant traffic to the site and more users as a result; usefully, the article included editorial links to similar or competing apps which would have informed interested readers even more. I think from just a reader’s point of view, the experience provided by The Guardian is so much better. Now, of course, the BBC does on occasions link to businesses that are featured on the site - and on many occasions, the Guardian doesn't link to businesses it writes about. So if you are in a PR or SEO business, winning coverage is great but it’s even better when you get an editorial link. However just like you can’t guarantee PR coverage, you can’t guarantee getting an editorial link. But I do think the onus is on the business to create something that is worth linking to. I've given some more examples in this article on the Majestic blog - 4 Reasons Your Competitors Get Media Coverage (And You Don’t). I’ve also written about 10 Ways to Increase the Odds of Getting Editorial Links and 14 Things to Do When You Get Great PR but No Editorial Links. In the past, I have asked journalists in the Financial Times, CNNMoney and the Washington Post why sometimes they give a link and sometimes they don't. Their answers suggest that they often don’t know. Some media publications have a policy of not linking out to other sites, others seem to give editorial links on a whim - but increasingly they give links to businesses that create something that is ‘irresistible’ for a journalist to link to. Like in this example from the Washington Post, ‘Motivate young savers with a bit of time travel to old age’. The article links to an app FaceRetirement, created by the bank, Merrill Edge. The app uses the readers webcam to take a photo of themselves and then gives them a slider bar to show what you probably look like in 10 years, 20 years, 30 years or more. This photo was created from a young woman probably in her 20s. I find that pretty compelling - and irresistible to link to! Have you been successful in getting an editorial link? If so, please tell us about it in the comments below - or even better, drop me a line at ken[@]mcgaffin.com and I could interview you for a future post. New Link Building and Online PR Course Get Links Pro - our new updated course will soon be available. You can add your name to the waiting list here!   … [Read more...]

Why old press releases still attract links

https://youtu.be/-eh9Khu05gA Press releases are time specific and one of the first things you see in any release is the date. So it’s easy to think that after a day or so they’ve served their purpose, and are no longer that useful. But press releases can still bring substantial coverage and links long after they’ve been issued. Here’s an example of a release from a consultancy company, Technomic.com whose release got coverage and a very nice editorial link on the BBC, a full five months after it was released! Let’s look at the article (published on June 9, 2016)  - Something to chew on – the rising popularity of meal kits: And here’s the release - (issued on January 6, 2016) Technomic study reveals global opportunities within meal kit market: The BBC article by Zoe Thomas explored the rising popularity of meal kits - and more specifically niche meal kits. As you probably know, meal kits are delivered to homes and contain all the ingredients, a recipe and instructions to cook a complete meal in your own kitchen. This piece was very much an overview article – summarizing the market and then featuring a number of competing companies that the journalist found interesting. The press release is dated January 6, 2016 - and the BBC article is dated June 9, 2016 – over 5 months later. Detail from the release is quoted early in the BBC article,  “...the industry – which has its roots in Sweden – had $1 billion in global sales in 2015. And this is expected to increase to $5 billion..." In writing such articles, journalists like to quote figures. Reliable figures give their article an air of authority, especially if they don’t have in-depth knowledge in the topic they’re writing about. And that’s a common problem for journalists whose job means having to write well about many different topics, often at short notice. They'll regularly turn to Google to research the background for their piece and this is probably how the journalist came across the press release from Technomic. If you can imagine what a journalist might search for, and then you make sure your press release is optimized for those phrases, you stand a good chance of your old press release being discovered. And that can lead to more coverage for your company or client. Now, we don't know exactly what the journalist in this case searched for - but we can make a good guess. For example, phrases like: market study meal kits study on meal kit market research on meal kit market. So let's have a look at the Google results in an incognito window (I took these screenshots the day after the article appeared). First, ‘study on meal kit market’ where Technomic came top: Second, ‘market study meal kits’ where Technomic came second: And finally, ‘research on meal kit market’ where Technomic appeared fourth in the organic results: As you can see, the company scored well across all searches. A really good piece of work by Technomic and they got their reward with some great links. Using the Majestic link tools, I can see that 18 external domains linked to the specific press release page: 5 Ways to optimize your press releases for future discovery It goes without saying that your release should be newsworthy, but have you: Looked for ‘evergreen content’ in your story that you can optimize for? Thought about how your press release could be used - a breaking news story, but also a feature article, an opinion piece, an expert interview and so on... Thought about the searches that a journalist might do if they’re writing about your industry Made sure your contact details are up always to date so that if a journalist does find an old press release, they can still get in touch with you Prepared to respond query to any queries you get from journalists - remember they’re likely to be under time pressure and the more you can help them, the more they’ll be likely to write about you. What about you - have you got coverage from an old press release? If so please share your experiences in the comments below. New Link Building and Online PR Course Get Links Pro - our new updated course will soon be available. You can add your name to the waiting list here! … [Read more...]

59 lists you really must have to build quality links

(with Garrett French of CitationLabs.com) Compiling lists of all kinds is integral to the work of a link builder. Not only do lists make the job easier, they save a lot of time and make sure you don’t miss easy opportunities. Both Garrett and I almost build our working lives around lists. In the draft outline of this article, we envisaged around 17-20 lists would be good to share. But when we put our heads together, we came up with over 50 lists. Which just goes to show another benefit of creating lists - the process of writing a list encourages you to think of stuff you ‘never knew you knew’, if you get what I mean. Garrett and I take different approaches to link building. Garrett does a fantastically meticulous job of step-by-step approaches to many individual targets: I prefer to work on ‘spectaculars’ - great pieces of content that can be promoted to many targets at the same time and can get a ton of links without asking. Yet while our approaches are different, we both make great use of lists in our daily work. So we thought we’d share some of our thinking and create a ‘master list of lists’ that we think every link builder should have. As well as being useful, we hope this will also give you a good idea of what we’ll be covering in our new webinar and video course, ‘Get Links Pro' that will be launching shortly. Within our lists there are at least three types: lists that can be used right away to generate links. For example, draw up a list of ‘magic middle’ blogs in your industry and start approaching them. lists that will make you think a bit deeper and incorporate business objectives into your thinking. For example, draw up a lists of sites that already link to you and ask the question, “how can I build on the relationship I’ve already got with this site?” lists that might puzzle you a bit and think that they’re not really about link building at all. For example, a list of at least 10 debates or controversies in your industry. These may not lead directly to links but they’ll strengthen the impact of your writing and that in itself will make your posts more linkworthy. Anyway, we’re more than happy to share our lists with you. But one thing is for sure, we’ve left some important ones out. So if you don’t see your favorite list, please share it with us all in the comments below! Your industry To be effective as a link builder, you’ve got to know your industry inside out. Compile these lists and you’ll know more than most of your competitors. Top 20-50 bloggers in your industry - they’ll be hard to get links from at the start, but it’s something to aim for. ‘Magic middle’ bloggers in your industry - magic middle bloggers are those that are not in the top list, but are also very good blogs - it’s often easier to get links from them because they’re not inundated Offline and online trade publications - look for the names of editors, journalists and contributors, and keep an eye out for any industry lists or resources they publish. Journalists who tweet about your industry - follow them, retweet their good stuff, and try to build a relationship with them - but don’t push too hard. Industry associations - especially any web based ones that give links to members Resource lists about your industry - (yes, even directories!) - the owners of such lists want to be as comprehensive as possible so they’re usually easy to persuade. Forums and discussion groups relevant to your industry - it’s where people have been congregating for years - you should be part of their discussion. Niche social media sites - ditto to above National, regional and local trade shows with dates - good to attend (and even report on the event) but if you can’t get there perhaps you can piggyback on increased awareness they generate. Twitter users in your industry - they don’t have to be top influencers, anybody who tweets good stuff can be courted. Colleges that teach courses that feed into your industry - and would just love to have a real person come and talk about their real experiences Professors and researchers who write about your industry - and could include you in research studies or reports. Authors who’ve written books about your industry - they’ll have great authority and are surprisingly easy to approach (all it takes is a bit of flattery) Experts who speak at trade shows, run webinars or publish slideshows - how could you help them? Holidays and observances relevant to your industry - these holidays and observances raise media interest and give you a hook on which to pitch your story - you’ll find a great list of them at http://www.brownielocks.com/ - just go through them and pick out the ones that are relevant to you. Sectors that your industry serves - you’d be surprised at how many sectors your industry serves. Here’s an example of the sectors SurveyMonkey.com get links from: Your customers Knowledge of your customers will feed your content planning and make … [Read more...]

Are video interviews the ultimate link magnet? (with Andrew Warner of Mixergy.com)

Video interviews with experts are a terrific way to create outstanding content that attracts a lot of links. The technology required is simple–what is important is a process that ensures the end-product is interesting for people to watch and want to share. We’re all under pressure to create compelling content that is good enough to attract links. It can be time-consuming and expensive. Yet Mixergy.com - a site that helps people learn from proven entrepreneurs - are able to create popular interviews at minimum cost – and are never at a loss to find great people to interview. For this article, I interviewed Mixergy founder, Andrew Warner and asked him to explain how his site works and the process that he uses to create a regular stream of top-notch content. 1. First, let's look at the links such interviews attract Interviews with experts bring links in five major ways: (i) Links from the entrepreneurs interviewed Because the interviews are of good quality and the site has a large audience, each entrepreneur who is featured on the show wants to tell people about it – and naturally link to it from their own site. Like this link from David Ciccarelli of Voices.com to his interview on Mixergy: (ii) Links from the interviewee's tribe Experts have their own large following or tribe - and members of that tribe will write about and link to content about their heroes. Like this one from Ruby Inside that links to an interview with their hero, David Heinemeier Hansson, creator of the popular Ruby on Rails web development framework. (iii) Links from journalists writing about an entrepreneur Journalists have to work quickly under pressure and they desperately want to include quotes from the people they’re writing about. But it’s not always possible to track entrepreneurs down at the right time. So journalists will often do a search to find interviews that have already been published. It’s common for news sources to quote from interviews that Warner has conducted - like this article on Entrepreneur.com writing about Steven Boal of Coupons.com (iv) Links from resource sites Mixergy often turns up on lists of great resources for entrepreneurs – whether for the site itself or for one of the courses or interviews published. Like this one on 75 copywriting resources on Kissmetrics.com: (v) Links from many different niche sites Any business has links from a wdie variety of niches. Link analysis is one way to uncover these niches - like this one from the Walker Corporate Law Group: These examples took me about 30 minutes to compile using Majestic.com's link intelligence tools. In this screenshot, we can see the numerous niches that Mixergy gets links from: 2. How the Mixergy process works Warner and his team actively seek out established and emerging entrepreneurs. He likes to find at least 10 new prospects every week and aims to move them through a funnel: The process starts simply with suggestions from his team, his audience, other entrepreneurs or wherever. It’s then a on-going operation to move people through the 10 steps: • Suggested guest • Approved guest • Found email • Invited guest • Reminded to book pre-interview • Pre-interview booked • Did pre-interview • Reminder to book interview proper • Booked interview • Done. Following this strict process, Warner is able to complete 3-4 full interviews per week – usually of one hour each. 3. Andrew Warner's Top Tips (i) Keep the technology simple Skype video is a terrific way of doing interviews and it’s easy to record the session for later editing. For example, Call Recorder for Mac is inexpensive software that gives great results – similar software is available for other operating systems. The recording can then be edited using either Camtasia or Screenflow. (ii) Don’t be afraid of being imperfect This is one of the most important lessons that Warner has learned. “I used to think I had to be perfect and so I could never get things finished. Then I found out that being perfect is not required.” “Today I’ve just noticed a lot of pingbacks to my interview with Matt Mullenweg, the founder of Wordpress and Chris Pearson who creates Wordpress themes. “It was the first interview I’d done with two guests and I couldn’t get the video to work. So I ended up using two static photographs for the whole interview.” “And that interview was conducted back in 2010 and it’s still bringing me traffic and links.” (iii) Keep editing to a minimum and concentrate on getting your stuff live Warner advises not to edit mistakes out – or even be worried about them. “Any interview you see in TV looks perfect, but behind the scenes it’s never like that. They just edit all the mistakes out.” “But all that editing soaks up time so Warner just doesn’t do it. He lets all the imperfections go out. “Now, throughout my interviews I come back to being open and honest about what I know and what I don’t know. By … [Read more...]

FREE 12-part Link Building Course!

To be really effective at link building, you’ve got to have a reliable link analysis tool. Not only should the tool provide you with an endless supply of link prospects, it should be able to tell your the quality of those prospects: it should be able to show you what strategies your competitors use to get links, how success they’ve been and tell you what you need to know to beat them. My link analysis tool of choice comes from Majestic.com (formerly known as Majestic SEO) so I was delighted when Dixon Jones, Marketing Director at Majestic, asked me to create a free and comprehensive link building course for Majestic users and non-users alike. We’ve worked hard to produce a link building course that should appeal to all and you can sign up for free at http://majestic.kajabi.com/sp/34080-get-up-to-speed-with-majestic. Here’s what we cover: Module 1: Exploring your niche Module 2: How Majestic gives you a detailed view of your market Module 3: A simple link building process Module 4: How to analyse your own site Module 5: How to analyse your competitors (part 1) Module 6: How to analyse your competitors (part 2) Module 7: What can you learn from a link? Module 8: What type of content works best in your market? Module 9: How to fully explore your market Module 10: Understanding Citation Flow and Trust Flow Module 11: Understanding Topical Trust Flow (Part 1) Module 12: Understanding Topical Trust Flow (Part 2 This is all provided free by Majestic and you can sign up for free at http://majestic.kajabi.com/sp/34080-get-up-to-speed-with-majestic. Enjoy and let me know how you get on. … [Read more...]

Video: How Online PR adds a new dimension to your link building

Here's some great examples of editorial links from online PR. All the examples were gathered in just 30 minutes on a single day - November 5th. In the video, I explain 6 archetypal stories that journalists use time and again - use them in your own PR and the chances of getting coverage will increase! https://vimeo.com/112104269 You can get more detail in my guest post on CitationLabs.com at http://citationlabs.com/online-pr-powerful-link-building-tool … [Read more...]

8 Lessons for SEOs from Muck Rack’s “Today’s Journalist” Survey

(This article was originally published in my regular column on SearchEngineWatch.com) One of the things that SEO and PR have in common is that many practitioners in both industries are self-taught. People in them tend to learn by doing -- just jump in and learn from experience and by sharing with colleagues. Media coverage can boost search rankings through brand mentions, authoritative editorial links and a cascade effect as stories spread -- see 10 Reasons Why Public Relations is a Must-do for SEO in 2013. To help understand what journalists want from a pitch, Muck Rack recently conducted a survey of journalists on its database, "Meet today's journalist." Muck Rack is a database of journalists and bloggers on social media. According to Greg Galant, CEO of Muck Rack, "As Google constantly updates their algorithm, it's clear that one of the best surefire way to improve SEO is very old fashioned: to get editorial mentions from major media outlets and blogs. Because of that, it's extra important to know how to find the right journalists and bloggers and pitch and build relationships with them in a helpful way." Here are eight lessons that SEOs can draw from the report's findings. … [Read more...]

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