With content marketing becoming the norm for SEO success, it's important to make sure your content is dynamite. Great content can take a lot of time and resources, so naturally you want people to share it and help drive traffic back to the site. Choosing the right influencers and journalists for your outreach efforts can really make or break your campaign.

Prospecting Philosophy

Finding the appropriate writers and influencers for your content can be tricky; it not only matters if they write about a certain topic, but you have to catch them at the right time as well. For this we use a couple of different tools. Buzzsumo can help gauge the pulse of a certain story and see how much people are talking about it at any given time. Muckrack and Pressrush are great for finding contact info and previous stories of writers and influencers at popular publications that might be interested in sharing your content with the world. Google News also is a great option for seeing trending topics. None of these tools cover everything so it's nice to get fresh opportunities from each when working on a campaign.

BuzzSumo

BuzzSumo has a few great features, but the ability to get an idea of the pulse of a topic on social media channels is very useful. You can search in the "Most Shared" tab to find writers who are talking about a topic, then you can reach out to them and see if it's something they'd like to cover as a followup or branch off of the main story.

buzzs The amplification tab is also a good place to find influencers who are interested in a given topic. It searches Twitter bios to see what people are interested in. This can sometimes take a little digging but can be well worth it.

MuckRack & PressRush

I put these two tools together because they are pretty similar; Muckrack has many more features including more client facing options, but at the heart, they both are an amazing resource for finding recent articles and contact information for journalists all over the world.

muckrack

They both have a lot of great filtering capabilities as well. Having all of this information can make the search for the best fit a lot easier, and it can often spark inspiration for new prospecting niches.

pressrush  

Google News

Google does a great job putting the freshest news online addressing just about any topic worth talking about, and then you can use Muckrack or Pressrush to get more in depth info about a writer if his or her contact info isn't readily available.

Ultimate Goals

The goal with any of these tools is to find people who either talk about your topic all the time or are in a broader niche and your topic would be a great companion to their articles. Just do your homework, and if you do there is a better chance that you'll get a response and a great placement. You are trying to build relationships that can grow and be beneficial for both parties.

Quality Over Quantity

When you’ve got a great piece of content, whether it is a white paper or infographic or interactive, the goal is to share it and have it go viral, garnering you lots of social shares and links and traffic and ultimately conversions/sales/etc. and profit for your business. In the old days it didn’t matter where you got your links, but the web has changed to a quality over quantity model. Getting one placement on a high profile site can lead to tons of traffic to your site and buzz about your products. Sites like Business Insider, Huffington Post and Buzzfeed, are great examples. They have a huge base of readers who will visit and share your content with their followers and so on and so forth. We all know these sites are great, but what about when these top tier targets run out or your content isn’t a perfect fit for them?

Site Metrics That Make A Great First Impression

A first impression is very important, and when you visit a potential site that you think your content is a great fit for, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Social engagement:

This is key; you’re never going to have a piece go viral if no one talks about it. If you get your content shared on a site that has a lot of followers your chances are going to be much better.

Constant updates:

A site should have new posts every few days, if not every day. If you see a site that hasn’t had a post in weeks or months odds are the social following doesn’t exist, and having your content on a dead site may look weird to real humans and also search engine spiders.

Clean design and fast load times:

A fast, responsive, well-designed site is important. Search engines like it and so do real people. Clicking on a link and then having to wait for your graphic to load for 30 seconds will probably not make them yearn to visit your site after they’ve read your stuff.

In depth article topics:

It’s OK to have a few “10 best” type articles, but you want to find sites that have a wide variety of topics that answer questions to beginners and experts alike. Industry publications will probably be your go to for this type of site.

Site Metrics That Leave A Bad Taste In Your Mouth

There are good neighborhoods on the web and also bad ones that you shouldn’t be messing around in. Here are some examples of things to watch out for when you’re prospecting.

Old site design:

Most of us can remember back in the late '90s when a site was full of colorful gifs and clip art. They were great at the time, but if you find one now, it’s probably not going to be very high quality.

Filled with ads and popups:

Some big news sites do have some ads and popups, but if you find yourself unable to read any content because there are so many distractions, it will probably happen to other people as well.

New site with low DA:

In the past few years people have created sites and tried to fill them up with content to get them to rank well so they could turn around and sell them. It is generally sites that offer “Write for us” in the headers of their site and ones where almost all of their content is pretty generic. These sites tend to have low DA (moz domain authority). I’m not saying all “write for us” type sites are bad, but few pass the test of the good first impression metrics and should be avoided.

Questionable content:

If you see content or ads for payday loans or viagra or online gambling then it is safe to say you are in a bad neighborhood and should throw this prospect in the trash pile.

As long as you know what to look for, you can keep your prospect list on the straight and narrow and create meaningful relationships with powerful influencers and publications that want to share your content because they think it’s great and deserves to be shared. Once you visit enough sites it becomes easier to tell if the site was made for humans or for search engine spiders. It’s OK to have high standards; you should believe that your content is great and deserves to be on those top tier publications and industry blogs.