SEO Content Marketing Strategy [The Most Effective]

SEO Content Marketing Strategy [The Most Effective]

Systemizing HARO

The key to successfully systemizing HARO for link building (which incidentally is the same for successful email outreach in general) is to strike the perfect balance between automation and personalization.

What follows is a system I’ve developed that’s given me the best possible results for as little time and energy invested as possible.

Step 1 – Cut Out the Noise

When I first started using HARO to build links to my agency, I diligently signed up for an account, subscribed to the ‘Business & Finance’ and ‘High tech’ query emails, then awaited my first opportunity.

That very evening, just as the HARO website promised, I received my first couple of emails summarizing the day’s topic-relevant queries.

I trawled the emails excitedly, but alas there were no listings related to my area of expertise. The next morning, another couple of emails, and still nothing to sink my teeth into. That evening two more emails. Still nothing.

Even when the first legitimate opportunity did arise, the constant barrage of HARO emails flooding my inbox had triggered negative association with the whole process, and severely impinged my enthusiasm to respond.

The answer? Why, email filters of course!

I should add that although HARO is free to use, you can directly filter opportunities by keyword with a paid account.

However, at $20 per month you can only search for one measly keyword. For $50 per month, only 3.

And for what we really need – which is an unlimited number of keywords – you’ll be stung for an eye-watering $150 per month. Ouch!

See; this tutorial has already saved you $1,800 per year!

Just set your email filters to automatically delete any emails from HARO which don’t contain your industry description. In my case, only emails which had the exact phrases ‘SEO’ or ‘search engine optimization’ would get through.

On the occasion I now receive a HARO pitch roundup email, I know it’s almost certain there’s a query in there which I can engage with.

Special Tip

For the best chance of getting a link, you’ll need to use your company hosted email for legitimacy. For example, johndoe@doeconstruction.com.

However, filtering with host emails isn’t always the easiest thing to do.

To combat this I use something called Google Suite (gsuite.google.com), which is Google allowing you to use Gmail but with a personalized domain email address.

It’s very cheap, and amongst other benefits, will allow you to filter emails easily.

Step 2 – Be Selective

Remember the ‘RAP’ rule when it comes to links?

Relevance. Authority. Placement.

Well, it’s time to judge the RAP of the prospective HARO link to determine whether it will be worth getting. If I’m going to invest my precious time into generating a response to a HARO query, it better be worth it.

The ‘Placement’ part of RAP should intrinsically be sorted with a link via HARO, because nearly all writers will place your soundbite within the body of content.

But is the link relevant? What about authoritative? Look no further than Majestic.com to find out.

Using Majestic for RAP Link Assessment

1. Visit the website where the article will be housed.

2. Find a comparable page you suspect your link might end up on. For example, if it’s on the housingtimes.com blog, we can select a fairly recent blog post.

Note that if it’s too recent though, the Majestic robots might not have scanned it yet and therefore it will return no data.

3. Put that URL into the Majestic.com explorer.

4. Look at the first couple of Topical Trust Flow categories. Are they in similar niches to the keywords we’re targeting?

5. Look at the Trust Flow. Is it higher than 10?

If the answer to either (4) or (5) is ‘No’, then you should consider giving this one a miss. The link quality just isn’t good enough to warrant your time creating the content to secure the link.

Step 3 – Template as Much as You Can

The first two steps in my HARO for SEO systemization process should disqualify a huge percentage of queries already, leaving the cream of the crop for our attention and time investment.

We’re now ready to write some responses.

But even at this stage, we still want to reduce as much of the work as possible to make building links through HARO scalable.

So, any content that will likely be repeated on numerous HARO submissions needs to be templated.

All reporters and article writers will usually want to prequalify you as an industry source. This means they want to do their due diligence to make sure you’re not just a 15-year old in your bedroom (no offence to my nephew).

Of course if you actually are a 15 year old in a bedroom, try to omit your age and location from the template!

Many writers will ask for links to your social media profiles, and perhaps request a short bio of yourself. This means we should save an email template ‘bookended’ by pre-populated sections.

That way, you’ll be ready to pounce on any HARO email you want to follow up.

For example, here is a template email you can copy and paste (replace the name and other things necessary) for every HARO submission:

Hi {NAME},

By way of introduction, my name is Sanusi Ajibola, and I am one of the co-founders of Apex Digital; a successful search engine optimization agency based in Central London, UK.

Our company has been operating in the SEO space over the past 7 years, consistently innovating and achieving our clients (mostly SMEs) exceptional 1st page results in Google.

Anyway, I saw your question about {ENTER INFLUENCER’S QUERY} on HARO and thought I could definitely add some value to your readership by sharing my thoughts and experience.

{ADD CONTENT}

Hopefully, the above has provided some useful insight surrounding {TOPIC/QUESTION}, and if you’d like some clarification on any of the points above, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Kind Regards,

Lawal

P.S Please feel free to check out my personal website: http://www.samplewebsite.com/ for more content.

Step 4 – Re-appropriate Existing Content

Have you noticed all these steps are trying to make sure we expend as little energy as possible? This is because if we’re going to scale anything well, we need to take the ‘grind’ out of the equation.

Anything worth doing (especially in SEO) requires a certain amount of effort, but minimizing the pain of bespoke work is essential.

As a business, if you’re not creating good content on a regular basis, then you should be. Doing so, coupled with effective outreach, is one of the best ways to build links (and traffic!) to your site.

When you start to accumulate a healthy number of content assets, you’ll find that you can repurpose a hell of a lot of that content for other activities.

For instance, I regularly receive HARO queries regarding SEO Tools. It’s weird; it seems when people run out of ideas about what to write about, they’re compelled to write about SEO tools.

Ironically, I already have a great little post on my favorite SEO tools, so whenever I see a HARO query on the topic, I head straight for that.

I’ll copy and paste the relevant sections into the template email discussed above, throw in a few extra bits bespoke to the specific question, and I’m done.

If appropriate, take existing content you’ve created elsewhere and use it as the bulk of the HARO response. There’s no point duplicating your work.

The only exception to all of this is if the reporter is writing for a powerhouse link website such as BusinessInsider.com or Forbes.com. If you’re going to win big, you’ll need to really think about your reply here.

Step 5 – Stand Out

Take a few minutes to consider what the influencer is really asking within their query, and see if you can think of a unique angle to take.

Remember, if it’s a desirable link to acquire, there will likely be hundreds of people putting in submissions too. If you can be unique and offer true value, then you absolutely should.

Also, try to ‘think’ like the journalist, and be very quotable in the reply. After all, that’s all they’re really after – a quote or soundbite. So don’t make your response overly long.

The influencer is going to have to sift through submissions and formulate an article based on them. Any response that doesn’t get to the point quickly, and specifically answer the question posed, will likely be discarded.

Make sure you read the question and answer it as concisely as possible. Once you’ve put all that effort into writing a response, don’t forget to save it in a Word document where you can reference it later.

If you’re proud of the content, you should have it on hand in the future to use it again when yet another person asks you for same kind of insight.

To help illustrate everything we’ve talked about, I’ve created a HARO video tutorial for you. Just subscribe to my mailing list and you can watch it.

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10 thoughts on “SEO Content Marketing Strategy [The Most Effective]”

  1. This is all really great advice and I will be practicing it myself when I start to blog, it’s hard to put yourself on the other end of the spectrum sometimes.  

    I do have a question though, if you have picked a topic to blog about and you feel as though you’ve covered all there is to cover should you move on or keep trying to find that angle no one has addressed yet?

    I really enjoyed this article and I will be bookmarking it to refer back to, thank you.

    • Hi Amanda,

      Thank you for your question. You can do either. It depends on which you find easier.

      If you find easier to get content you can use to update your current discussion from another angle, then simply do that.

      Thank you for visiting my blog Amanda.

  2. Hi Lawal,

    It’s amazing the long list of items that constitute digital content. One would have been tempted to limit content to blogs and posts on websites. True: if the content quality on a site is not interesting, useful or something people would share, the effort of writing is a wasted one. And those 5 questions are a real guideline to writing quality content. Thanks for this post! 

    • You’re welcome Juliet. Thank you for your comment.

  3. I’d like to share this one… that user experience and the quality of the content bring things up to a higher level. Just this morning, I copied the URL of one of my blogs and tested it in the Scam Advisers’ websites. It shocked me the site ranked high in being credible just because it loaded fast and the quality of the posts are really good.

    • That’s good to hear Gomer. Thank you for adding your experience of quality content on my blog. I appreciate it.

  4. Good day, This Site is a fantastic example of what many,many bloggers are trying to create. What a great way to start my day. Absolutely no negatives from me, all good. I spent 20 minutes on it this morning, and I didn’t want to quit. Thanks for the inspiration.

    Mark S

    • You’re welcome Mark. Please come back again soon for more awesome content on SEO.

  5. I was super excited.  I went to the buzzsumo site you linked to in this article, and I put in a Wealthy Affiliate search term, and there was my website!  I popped right up as the second entry, how cool is that?  Ha ha.  I know it’s silly, but whenever I pop up in any search results, I can’t help but think that I’m doing something right.  How do you use the buzzsumo?  Does it help you to decide which keyword terms you’re going to focus on?

    • Hi Babsie,

      Buzzsumo is a tool for research and monitoring. Just pop in a website and it tells you the latest shares and posts about it.

      Thank you.

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