UPDATED MAY 4, 2018
The other week, I became inspired!
About 75% through the interview, RJ dropped a little golden nugget!
He's using the Ahrefs ‘web mentions' feature to keep track of new keywords when they appear across the web.
Without revealing his niche, RJ gave the example of “best dog shoes” or something to that effect.
That got me thinking.
That's an intriguing way of catching some low hanging fruit. Inevitably, you'll see other affiliate sites that are targeting the same keywords as you but that can't be a bad thing to track right?
Although this strategy is simple, a plan is necessary to see it through.
What You'll Learn Today
The Upside of Using Mentions
1) Surprise The Webmaster
What this means is you can adapt your outreach script to say something like “I'm a big fan of your site and noticed you published this new article on… would you be open to including this resource in there?”
It's a little bit of ego stroking mixed with content promotion.
2) Recently Published Content is Still Top-of-Mind
Depending on the keywords your tracking and the type of content (commercial or info), you have the chance to create a new relationship with a fellow blogger.
If your content is better than what they're linking to, then you could potentially replace it.
If your content is relevant, you can be added into the article as an additional resource.
3) Accelerated Link Growth
Even though RJ talks about tracking commercial keywords, using this tactic with informational articles is actually more effective.
If you take a look at our guide for building your first 50 backlinks, we already talk about reverse engineering great pieces of content in your niche and then taking the skyscraper approach. This is similar in concept, but instead of going through old backlinks – you're finding and making new ones.
The combination of the skyscraper back strategy and the mentions strategy will accelerate link growth compared to your competitors.
Organize Your Keyword Groups By Topic
In most content marketing, you always get in touch with all the people you mention in your article and let them know you've linked to their content.
Using the mentions strategy goes beyond just promoting to the sites linking to your skyscraper content – it allows you to expand your outreach prospects.
Rather than reaching out to people that only linked to content already, snag links from everyone that mentions your keywords – anytime.
Here's an example of how to organize your content into keyword groups.
Gather up all your commercial and info content and organize them by topics. Depending on how organized your site is, you can use the WordPress categories to start with.
Start by adding the main keywords for each article. Then the secondary keywords and LSI terms related to your main keywords. You can use LSIgraph.com that.
Next, track down the volume for each keyword. The reason you want search volume is because from what I've seen, there's a positive correlation with the number of mentions you receive and the volume of each keyword.
How Can I Track Mentions?
I've been using Awario completely for last few months and I'd have to say I'm very impressed. The interface is easy to use, the price is decent, and now they've added Reddit into the mix.
Here's a look at their simple setup to create new alerts:
As you can tell by their URL, this is their specialty. Although I would say it's quite expensive compared to the other options. I don't know how far their crawlers reach, but I think it's a good guess that it's far. Especially since this is their main product.
This lowest plan for Ahrefs matches Mention.com‘s same feature of 5 alerts – however, if you go up to the second tier – which is the standard plan. You get 15, plus the rest of Ahrefs tools.
If you decide to use this tool, make sure to use quotations around your keyword so it is an exact match search.
This is a free tool that Google created. Since it's a free tool, Google doesn't have any particular reason to keep it updated – but it's a great place to start.
For your settings, make sure to have your ‘source' set to ‘blog', the ‘how many' settings set to ‘all results', and quotations around your keyword for exact match.
Sorting The Mentions Reports
Depending on the frequency of when you're getting the mentions reports – you can automatically have your Gmail sort and tag the incoming mail so it doesn't fill up your inbox.
To accomplish this:
- Head over to the Gmail settings (it's a gear/cog on the right hand side)
- Goto the ‘filter and blocked addresses' tab
- Scroll down to ‘create a new filter'
- Replicate the image below, but using your keywords in quotation marks
- Click create filter with this search
- Check off ‘apply label as' and then create a new label for the topic your content is on
- Click ‘create filter'
You do this by going into your filter settings and applying labels to anything from a specific email address and corresponding keyword phrase (in the email subject.)
For example, you can set a filter whereby anything that has the words “dog collar” in the text and is from the Ahrefs email to be automatically labelled under “dog collar”.
This makes it so much easier for you to go through the notifications at the end of the week, or whenever you're ready.
What Makes A Good Outreach Candidate?
1) Topical Relevance
Any of the mentions you get in the reports will likely be relevant, so this isn't particularly a big problem. But receiving a link from a site that's in your niche is a big bonus.
2) Not a PBN
A fair number of the results I've seen are from PBN's. Of course, getting a link from one of these sites wouldn't be terrible but it's not likely. Without getting too deep into the white hat vs black hat – it's best to avoid reaching out to these altogether. It isn't worth the effort.
You can tell a (poor) PBN from a regular site because:
- They're weird and everything looks out a place.
- The low-quality ones cover subjects all over the place. For example, you might get dog collars in one post and the next one is about humidifiers.
- There are homepage links that lead externally to other random sites. For example, you could see one link that goes out to a casino and the next link leading to a dog walking service. Usually, a website won't have any links on its homepage, except for internal links.
A good PBN is one where you can't tell whether it's a PBN or not. It just looks like a normal site and would pass the manual inspection from Google's human site checkers.
3) Not a Review Site
You're definitely going to see your competitors in these reports.
If you happen to catch a new site that's doing extremely well, they might offer some low hanging fruit for you to jump on as well. Look through their organic performance and backlinks to investigate further.
Another review site has almost 0% chance of linking to you.
But there is an exception…
4) Neighbouring Niches
A neighbouring niche is one where you are related, but aren't competing directly. For example:
- Dogs vs. Cats
- Camping vs. RV'ing
- Hair Removal vs. Hair Loss
Let's say you happen to come across a review site in the cat niche. They mentioned “best dog collar” in passing but left the text un-linked.
Reach out to all neighbouring niche sites because guest posting opportunities are easier to get. Of course, every niche is different but give it a shot. For the example of a dog site reaching out to a cat site, you could pitch a guest post on “how to get your dogs and cats to get along”.
Gather and Collect Emails
Just like you've done before, start collecting the email contacts for all of the prospects you'd like to start a conversation with. If the site has an lead magnet up, create another Gmail account and start opting in to get a contact email.
Keeping track of your competitors email addresses is also a good way to see what is working for them. If you notice everyone promoting a specific product, perhaps you should pay closer attention to that and figure out why.
If you can't find an email, be sure to mark down the contact form.
Time To Start Reaching Out
At this point, your mention reports should be divided and organized so that you know which piece of content you're going to promote and to whom.
As I mentioned previously, if you're promoting a piece of information content like a big guide – you're going to get a lot more positive results.
Most site owners, content managers, managing editors, or webmaster's are going to realize that linking to other site's commercial content isn't good for them. So it's best to promote info content over commercial content, unless you're promoting it to a neighbouring niche.
Introduce yourself as the site owner, brand manager, community manager – whatever you'd like, and…
Ask if they'd include your content as an additional resource to their post.
Remember to add in a bit of ego-stroking as well. Tell them you're a big fan of their site, content, and design. Maneuver your words to convince them to take action.
This is another reason why copywriting is so important to everything you do online. How else can you have a chance at persuading others when you don't see them in person. Even great videos have great copywriting.
Following Up With A Proposal
For the prospects that respond to your outreach, try to reach out again in a month and try the guest-o-graphic proposal.
This is the concept of adding an infographic to your epic content pieces and reaching out to these prospects and asking them if they'd welcome a guest post + infographic from you…
Making the post extra special.
Don't think that you have to to follow up with a guest-o-graphic proposal.
Bryon has written extensively about his own outreach tactics for HPD. First, employing a diverse set of strategies to give value. Next, meeting people in person at conferences.
Over To You Now
I hope you found this breakdown useful and implement the ideas soon before the tactic get's overused. Although, it's not overly complicated, this strategy has shown us the importance of maximizing the tools we have already (free or paid.)