Blogger Outreach — 11 SEO Experts Share Their Workflows

Should links be at the cost of your reputation?

At the start of a new site, blogger outreach can be used to kick-start traffic. Gabriella Sannino from Level343.com points this out. The reason is that people don’t know about you. Outreach comes before organic search. Getting in front of influencers is a good way to get initial traction.

Blogger outreach “is often for initial traffic leaps”
Gabriella Sannino

Eventually, what all the experts agreed with is links, links and more links. High quality links are the main aim in any link building strategy as they yield more “link juice”. Barry Connolly points at the importance of deep links: they help with a better user experience and click-through-rate, but are harder to obtain.

Deep link helps build the domain authority of a website.
Barry Connolly

And since we’re talking about reputation, I’d like to mention that doing outreach can actually put the brand at high risk.

Why is that?

The world is noisy, the online world is the noisiest. If you run a high-profile site, chances are that you get flooded with requests. People ask for backlinks, shares, mentions… When doing outreach, you must stand out from the crowd and at the same time, not appear too spammy, too needy or else people will piss off and put your email on a blacklist.

The next thing you know, this influencer’s network or the industry you’re in know that you’re spammy. That would not do good to the reputation of your brand or the website you try to promote.

From one of our participants:

Outreach should not be at the cost of your dignity or reputation.
Edward Leake

Best Practices

We asked the experts how to not screw up outreach. Here are some tips and strategies they use the have proved effective over time:

David Pask-Hughes from Strategy Plus’s workflow starts with researching existing content to find opportunities to produce something better. Then, he’ll seek out the people who are most likely share this content.

I’ll research the existing content in order to find opportunities to produce something better.
David Pask-Hughes

VirtualSurge’s Shannon McCraw don’t blog a lot which just proves that outreach works even when you do not do a lot of blogging yourself.

Evan Featherstone from FusionSEO also makes it to a point to get the approval first — if not you might waste valuable time producing content tailored for a specific site. Meaning, never write before you ask. Otherwise, you might get rejected and love time.

“Always get the go ahead first” on blogger outreach
Evan Featherstone

Meanwhile, Dan Leibson from Local SEO Guide said that it really depends on what you’re trying to do, but the basic level is: research -> list building -> message crafting -> outreach -> follow up -> post-mortem.” Notice that he includes a post mortem.

Do a post mortem.
Dan Leibson

Treat outreach the same way as if you were trying to befriend someone offline — because it’s that type of psychology at play here. Edward Leake from Midas Media pointed out.

You need to be friendly with influencers on social media. Share relevant things to them so you can have something to talk about. Commenting/sharing their articles on social media will also get their attention. And, only email them if you can add value to their platform and respect them if they said no.

Remember outreach is an ongoing process; an investment of your time. You should build relations well in advance of when you need them and not in mere weeks.

Treat outreach as if you were trying to befriend someone offline.
Edward Leake

How are they measuring success?

The ultimate KPI is the permission to carry on marketing to this new audience.
Marcus Miller

The most mentioned KPIs we’ve picked out from the answers:

  1. Social Engagement
  2. Page and Domain Authority
  3. Exposure
  4. Conversions (signups, phone calls)
  5. Sales/Revenues
  6. Clicks/Views
  7. Traffic
We track the conversion from social media and directory listings as well, all the way to filling out the contact form or making a tracked phone call.
Brandon Phipps

“Response rate” did not make the list but for Dan Leibson, you have to constantly improve the process along with the response rate so you can repeat it.

We have to iterate the response rate in our process.
Dan Leibson

KPIs are harder to track in a team. Ian Lurie mentioned that it may be harder if you have a team doing this since one person’s good response is another person’s okay response.

One person’s “good” response is another person’s “so-so” response.
Ian Lurie

And of course, not everything can be measured, especially the large part of outreach is building relationships. Or as David Pask-Hughes neatly put:

While you can itemize certain tasks you can’t necessarily itemize the effects of these tasks
David Pask-Hughes

When you’re doing outreach for clients, eventually they want to see increase in sales and revenues and not the “vanity metrics” that prove short-term spikes in graphs and rushes of adrenalines of the one who tries to optimize it everyday. In the end, what matters is a happy client as they are making more money.

Is It Possible To Automate Outreach?

4 out of 11 responses we got are: No, it shouldn’t be automated.

Outreach is a people process. It involves buiding relationship based on human connection and understanding. Marcus Miller believes that if you want to establish a valuable relationship, you really have to spend the time.

To build valuable relationships, you really have to spend time.
Marcus Miller

And for Ian Lurie, it’s all “frontal lobe stuff”.

Others wish for a tool that can automate the seemingly-impossible-to-automate task of researching for influencers: who should they connect to? The success of outreach depends mostly on the people that are reached out to. And it’s super hard to find them!

The initial research phase of our outreach process would be the top candidate for automation.
Evan Featherstone
The most time-consuming task is identifying the appropriate people for outreach.
Geoff Hoesch

Tools Our Experts Use

For the automation believers, good news, besides the initial research phase, other steps in the process are possible to automate. We asked our participants to share their favourites tools for influencer outreach. Here goes the list:

  1. Moz
  2. Majestic
  3. FollowerWonk — A Moz app
  4. Buzzstream
  5. BuzzSumo
  6. Excel/ Google Sheets
  7. Google Analytics
  8. Twitter
  9. Ahrefs
  10. Raven
  11. Hubspot CRM
  12. SEM Rush
  13. Open Site Explorer — from Moz

Google Spreadsheets are still a good way. Evan Featherstone from FusionSEO can attest that Google Docs spreadsheets are great for sharing and organizing throughout the process.

Google Docs spreadsheets are great for sharing and organizing throughout the process.
Evan Featherstone

Shannon McCraw from VirtualSurge’s also a big fan of Majestic and Moz.

I’m a big fan of Majestic and Moz.
Shannon McCraw

In the end, still, probably one of the best tools to use in blogger outreach according to Edward Leake from Midas Media is your personality.

Below you’ll find all the answers in detail.

Complete Responses

Matt LaClear from mattlaclear.co

We’d like to share some of our best tips for blogger outreach efforts. Blogger outreach is also another word for influencer marketing. People and companies reach out to bloggers and authorities to tell the world about their products or services. The compensation depends on the company’s relationship with the influencer.

Finding the right influencer is another story altogether. First, you must learn about the writer. Do your research to find out what’s on the influencer’s radar. Review their blogs and you’ll come up with a theme. Then, you can contact the blogger directly through email. Or, contact an agency that represents the blogger.

We recommend the following tools.

1. Alltops provides a curated list of blogs for just about every industry. You can also source blogs you’re not already familiar with. Just submit your broad keyword and find blogs on your topic.

2. Follwerwonk, another Moz product, helps people search for influential people, as opposed to a particular blog topic.

The biggest takeaway is that blogging will increase traffic to your site. And more traffic typically leads to increased business and profits. Your business success is within your control. Blogging success takes time. You just have to keep plugging away even when reaching your goals.

Gabriella Sannino

Gabriella works at Level343.com and you can reach her on twitter via @SEOcopy.

1) What’s your goal when doing outreach and what are the KPIs/Analytics attached?

When we do outreach, it’s often for initial traffic leaps, links and connecting with influencers. Steady traffic is wonderful, but those that have never heard of you aren’t going to visit, right? They aren’t going to follow you in social media, connect with you on LinkedIn, or anything else — they don’t know you exist.

An outreach project, however, is a good way to bring in initial traffic, which introduces our business to that traffic as well as the type of content we provide. The goal then is to retain some of that traffic. You aren’t going to keep it all, but Rome wasn’t built in a day and 100K visitors a month aren’t either.

For this, we have two levels of KPIs.

The first level is traffic for the first week, links gained and influencer responses.
We want to see a leap in traffic, at least five gained links, and preferably 100% influencer feedback (generally it’s more like 70%, though).

The second level is after the first week: Does traffic stay elevated? Even a slight elevation is good, as long as it’s steady.
Does bounce rate stay the same? i.e. the visitor numbers, although elevated, are still as interested as before

2) About your workflow for outreach (for guest blogging / PR): what are the steps and who is involved?

Influencers, influencers, influencers — Outreach programs should always, in my estimation, involve the experts of the field. Sure, some of them are your competitors, but no company can handle ALL the clients.

In one case, we wrote an eBook about social media — back in the days of Squidoo and wikis- and asked some of our peers to review it. Not only did we get some great quotes about the book, but many of our peers asked us to weigh in on posts, round-ups and so on afterwards because they got a chance to see what our stand was on social media. That kind of exposure is hard to get and well worth its weight in gold.

So, steps….

  1. Brainstorm the content
  2. Review influencers for who to contact — if it’s a collaborated blog post, infographic, etc., this is especially important. You have to pick the right influencers.
  3. Contact influencers to get initial feedback on the content
  4. Develop content
  5. Update influencers that content is finished
  6. Track

3) If you could automate one thing in the process, what would it be? (Or just give the most time-consuming task).

Finding the best influencer for the topic. You can’t really automate that much, but it is definitely a time-consuming task!

Bonus question: what are the tools you use in the process?

Social media, of course! What’s being talked about in my field and who’s doing the talking?

David Pask-Hughes, @StrategyPlusWeb

David Pask-Hughes is an Inbound Marketer from Strategy Plus, an Online Marketing Agency.

1. What’s your goal when doing outreach and what are the KPIs/analytics attached?

I work for an agency so there is really only ever one goal: are our clients getting more leads from online channels and, ultimately, are these generating greater sales? Any other goals are all subsidiary to this.

As I tend to view inbound marketing holistically, specifying KPIs can be problematic. While you can itemise the time spent on certain tasks you can’t necessarily itemise the effects of these tasks. Ultimately, I’m happy — and the client is happy — if they can see concrete gains in terms of sales.

This doesn’t mean I don’t keep an eye on analytics though. In terms of outreach, I’ll monitor email deliveries, email openings, whether we’ve managed to increase inbound links, increased engagement and so on. Depending upon the results, we might shift our time elsewhere. For example, if guest blogging doesn’t seem to be increasing traffic while LinkedIn is, I’ll shift my attention to the latter. But I completely agree with Rand Fishkin (of Moz) when he talks about ‘serendipitous’ marketing and outcomes https://moz.com/blog/investing-in-serendipitous-marketing-whiteboard-friday . Some marketing outcomes are difficult (if not impossible) to plan in advance and equally difficult to measure.

2. About your workflow for outreach (for guest blogging / PR): What are the steps and who is involved?

Again, it’s difficult to have a one-size-fits-all strategy. For example, the processes and workflow involved with reaching out to universities because you’ve produced a really great careers resource are very different to affiliating with successful bloggers. Research is key though. Firstly, I’ll research the existing content that is out there in order to find opportunities for producing something better. Then I’ll seek out the people who are most likely share this content. Finally, I’ll attempt to develop a relationship with them. Usually, this throws up future opportunities that it wouldn’t have been possible to predict at the outset.

3. If you could automate one thing in the process, what would it be? (Or just give the most time-consuming task)

I’m not a huge fan of automation. This is particularly the case for outreach because outreach, after all, is about developing relationships. It’s not possible to automate relationship-building — although maybe that’s one for the future! What’s more, relationship-building is the most time-consuming task — there’s a reason that PR agencies greatest asset is their list of contacts. While it’s easy to generate a list of prospects using tools, actually building relationships with these contacts is a different matter

Bonus question: what are the tools you use in the process?

I’m a huge fan of the Moz suite of tools; Followerwonk for researching influencers and Open Site Explorer for tracking inbound links. Properly tagged URLs and well thought out filters/segments for Google Analytics are also crucial for measuring the outcomes of all online marketing activities.

Marcus Miller, SEO Consultant @marcusbowlerhat

Marcus Miller is a SEO Consultant specialising in technical SEO at Bowler Hat in Birmingham, UK..

1) What’s your goal when doing outreach and what are the KPIs/Analytics attached?

The goal is simple — you wish to promote something of value to an interested audience. KPIs and Analytics will depend but ideally you are going to want to measure specific metrics and objectives. Clicks, sales, soft conversions, leads — the specifics always depend on situation and often good outreach is all about introducing new people to your service via third parties audience. This may not generate a sale but rather some initial conversion to social channels or a mailing list. Ultimately, permission to carry on marketing to this new audience and convincing them that your amazing product or service is something that they simply can’t live without. Oh, and it’s nice if you can get a small SEO kickback from such activities and move the dial on your organic traffic.

2) About your workflow for outreach (for guest blogging / PR): what are the steps and who is involved?

We really have to understand the overall goals and what we are trying to achieve here. If we are trying to promote something which nine times out of ten we are then we have to understand what and why. Most importantly of all we have to understand who. Who is this for? Why would they care about this? How can we get them to read and engage? As an example we are just working on an awareness campaign for a product that takes care of the physical optimisation, security and maintenance of WordPress sites called wArmour (WordPress Armour). wArmour is a mixture of software to monitor security, uptime, availability for search engines, performance etc but it also has a human element involved. The product comes in at around $100 PM so it is not something every small blogger or business owner would want. But, it is essential for big traffic blogs and business sites. So, we have identified our target audience and now we can identify the kind of sites these people read.

Then, it is all about identifying what content will likely work on the target site or what I like to call the ‘what is in it for them’ and writing a really great outreach email. Often, much like you did with me, we may try to build a relationship on social media before the email is sent. Warm things up a little.

3) If you could automate one thing in the process, what would it be? (Or just give the most time-consuming task).

It’s always the relationship building. Doing this well takes time. Automating it may work at a given quality level but when you are looking to build really valuable relationships the time has to be spent. Be different and don’t automate.

Shannon McCraw, Founder @virtualsurge

Shannon McCraw is the founder of Virtual Surge. She also holds Google certifications for Adwords, Analytics, and Video Advertising.

1) What’s your goal when doing outreach and what are the KPIs/Analytics attached?

When doing outreach, I typically look for high authority sites. I use the Moz toolbar which shows me the domain authority of every site I visit. The site cannot have a lot of spammy links attached to it and must have a high trust authority rating.

2) About your workflow for outreach (for guest blogging / PR): what are the steps and who is involved?

I do not do a lot of blogging. I spend more time finding social sites and citations to complete in order to get high authority links. If there is a blog I am interested in writing for, it is a blog that I stumbled upon and felt that I had something valuable to share with the blog owners readers. I would reach out to the blog owner to request the guest blog post and ask for a back-link to my site.

3) If you could automate one thing in the process, what would it be? (Or just give the most time-consuming task).

Since I do not spend a lot of time on blogging to rank my sites, there is no automation process that I use. The most time consuming task that I do in my line of work is content writing.

Bonus question: what are the tools you use in the process?

I am a big fan of Majestic and Moz.

Evan Featherstone, CEO/Founder @FusionSEO20

Evan Featherstone is the CEO and Founder at Fusion SEO. He has over 10 years of experience in web development and search engine marketing.

1) What’s your goal when doing outreach and what are the KPIs/Analytics attached?

While doing outreach, our aim is to get high quality, relevant traffic from authority domains of the same niche that our clients are operating in. For KPIs, it really boils down to unique visits, page views, engagement through comments & social sharing. We also of course look at the standard metrics — Domain Authority (DA), Page Authority (PA), etc…We also use tools like Majestic SEO to look at the linking profile of the prospective site to check linking profile quality.

2) About your workflow for outreach (for guest blogging / PR): what are the steps and who is involved?

Firstly, we search for a list of sites in the same niche to target and contact the person who is responsible for handling content-management. We can figure this out relatively quickly going through About Us/Contact Us/Team/Write for us pages.

Secondly, we reach out to inquire asking if they are currently open to new contributors. We follow this process as at times, some bloggers have stopped accepting contributions temporarily or permanently but failed to mention this on their site. We always get the go ahead first — as otherwise we might waste valuable time producing content tailored for a specific site only to find out they are not accepting new content contributions at that time. One more thing I’d like to add here is that we really try to personalize our pitch, and this seems to greatly help the response ratio. You want to evidence that you are familiar with their blog and their audience!

Next, once we obtain the approval for a contribution, we send the moderator topic ideas for approval. Getting ideas approved highly reduces the chance of final post being rejected.

Once they give the final nod for the idea, our content team works on creating content. As soon as they finish with the post, we send it to blogger and keep communicating with them until our post hopefully gets published.

Generally, the roles/duties involved are niche/blog researcher, outreach specialist, content writer and content editor — these are the lynchpins of our outreach process.

3) If you could automate one thing in the process, what would it be? (Or just give the most time-consuming task).

Searching out authoritative platforms/blogs within the same niche as our client’s brand is the most time-consuming part of the job. Though we do have many research tools available but they provide us with a list of sites which must be refined and culled to derive a list of real prospects. So I’d have to say that the initial research phase of our outreach process would be the top candidate for automation through an appropriate tool if one was available.

Bonus question: what are the tools you use in the process?

Our team uses Moz bar, SEM Rush, and Majestic SEO for various analytical metrics. We have also used BuzzStream for outreach in few of our projects. Google Docs spreadsheets are great for sharing and organizing throughout the process — be it posts, website lists and/or work status.

Geoff Hoesch, @dragonflyseo

Geoff Hoesch is Principal at Dragonfly SEO a Baltimore SEO company, founded in 2006, providing search engine optimization services.

1) What’s your goal when doing outreach and what are the KPIs/Analytics attached?

1) From an SEO perspective, the goal of outreach is to earn high quality links (following the rule: “If search engines didn’t exist, would I still want this link?); from a PR standpoint the objective is to build brand recognition. Ultimately, the greatest KPI for any digital marketing effort is increased revenue from digital sources, which can be tracked using analytics.

2) About your workflow for outreach (for guest blogging / PR): what are the steps and who is involved?

2) There are 2 people generally involved in this process: Our content manager and an SEO specialist. For content outreach, we track all contact attempts for documents in Excel. While there are programs for this, we find this to be the most reliable and cost efficient method. The SEO specialist tracks outreach using Raven, and that ensures that we don’t double up on emails to a single individual.

3) If you could automate one thing in the process, what would it be? (Or just give the most time-consuming task).

3) The most time-consuming task is identifying the appropriate people for outreach. Determining the best person to contact, or the most appropriate site for a particular piece of content, can take time, and this time can be difficult to bill for.

Bonus question: what are the tools you use in the process?

We use a handful of tools for our outreach process, including Ahrefs, Raven, and BuzzSumo.

Dan Leibson, Director of Local at Local SEO Guide @danleibson

Dan Leibson is a data driven marketer and the head of local search at Local SEO Guide.

1) What’s your goal when doing outreach and what are the KPIs attached?

Getting links usually, sometimes getting local business data cleaned up. We measure both terminal success (did we get what we wanted) as well as response rate so we can iterate on our process.

2) About your workflow for outreach: what are the steps and who is involved?

This is really dependent on what we are trying to do, but at a basic level its:

research -> list building -> message crafting -> outreach -> follow up -> post-mortem.

3) If you could automate one thing in the process, what would it be? (Or just give the most time-consuming task).

Actually responding to email. It requires someone who is familiar with what is going on and is not something we are comfortable with outsourcing. If you can get us some Watson time to handle it for us, I would love to try that

Ian Lurie, CEO/Founder @portentint

Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent Inc.He’s recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Forbes.com and TechCrunch.

Disclaimer: Everyone does this differently. These are my thoughts and methods for link building. It’s not industry standard, just my best practice.

1) What’s your goal when doing outreach and what are the KPIs attached?

Links are good.

In all seriousness, our main goal is clearly to get a link. But a relationship is fine, too. For my part, I use CRM software and keep track of responses, noting who I might want to talk to again later, and who might have stuff I want to link to.

My approach does not scale. It’s done person by person. So KPIs will be things like e-mail responses and links obtained — those are things you can note and track if it’s just you. If you have a team doing this, it may get a lot harder, because one person’s “good” response is another person’s “so-so” response.

2) About your workflow for outreach: what are the steps and who is involved?

To me, only one person can be involved. You can’t hand off outreach. Here’s what I do:

  1. Use Google, BuzzSumo and Twitter to find writers of related content.
  2. Look at what they tweet and when.
  3. Watch what they write.
  4. Over the course of a few weeks, watch for stuff I find interesting.
  5. Contact them to let them know I really liked it. Leave a comment. Retweet their stuff.
  6. If I have a different point of view, engage them in a conversation about it (civilized, not trolling).
  7. If I agree, explore a few additional points.
  8. If this is about products, geek with them out a little.
  9. Point them to material on my site — material might be a blog post, a product, whatever — that supports the discussion.
  10. Leave them be.

3) If you could automate one thing in the process, what would it be? (Or just give the most time-consuming task).

The data mining. If I could find a real, reliable tool to find me the people I genuinely want to talk to, I’d love it.

Of course, that’d be pretty good in life overall.

I’m being a bit of a smartass, but it points up the fact that we will never be able to automate this. This is all frontal lobe stuff. Computers can’t fake it yet. When they can, we’ll just have them all negotiating for links, and we won’t have to worry about it.

Bonus question: what are the tools you use in the process?

  • BuzzSumo
  • Google
  • Twitter
  • FollowerWonk
  • HubSpot CRM
  • Excel/Google Sheets

Edward Leake, Founder @Midas_UK

Edward Leake is the founder of Midas Media; a respected leader who lives, breathes and dreams Digital Marketing.

1.What’s your goal when doing outreach and what are the KPIs attached?

Our number one goal is to not piss people off — seriously!

Yes outreach is great for acquiring links, building relations and getting cited on like-minded industry websites, but not at the cost of your dignity of reputation.

When it comes to actual KPIs then outreach must satisfy cost vs value. In other words, are we getting the right and sufficient value for resources spent?

Value is measured less often as direct conversions or sales, and typically more along the lines of exposure, links, social engagement, PR and dare I say it — a bit of notoriety.

2.About your workflow for outreach: what are the steps and who is involved?

Firstly: Document your goal. Why are you doing this?

Identify appropriate contacts and websites that you can add value to, and in turn will likely reciprocate to support your goal.

Build a list of contacts, I personally start with 50–100, but that number is highly dependent on your goals and resources.

101 of outreach school: you must build relations before asking anything of them.

Treat outreach the same way as if you were trying to befriend someone offline — because it’s that type of psychology at play here. Not everyone will like or acknowledge your advances and you need to be aware of that.

Talk to these people on social media. Be affable. Be constructive.

Share useful ‘stuff’ that is appropriate to them, to what they talk about and to the questions they ask.

Comment on their articles across the web. Share their articles on your social platforms making sure you mention them.

Only email them if you can add value, quickly and without pestering. Don’t ask for anything.

Remember outreach is an ongoing process; an investment of your time. You should be building relations well in advance of when you need them — not mere weeks.

3.If you could automate one thing in the process, what would it be? (Or just give the most time-consuming task).

Building your list of contacts is still the most time consuming task, but done right it’s also the most rewarding!

I still believe automation is the weakest link in outreach, I still believe anyone with a shred of humanity can tell a personalised, handcrafted email from an automated one.

If you’re automating for pure volume then I understand, but don’t expect the results to be of the same level of quality.

Don’t expect to build personal relationships with individuals if you don’t make your correspondence as individual as they are.

Bonus question: what are the tools you use in the process?

Your personality is your best tool.

Knowing who you’re targeting and why is key. Using the arsenal of freely available social and web content is critical. It doesn’t cost a penny to converse with someone on Twitter.

Yes its leg work, yes there are tools that do a lot of the digging for you, but ultimately if you want results there has to be a human element to outreach.

It doesn’t take the most astute of recipients to sniff a mass sent mail-merge!

Barry Connolly, Online Marketing Consultant @searchscientist

Barry started off in web design but found his calling in SEO way back in 2009, quickly establishing himself as one of the top SEO’s in Belfast.

1) What’s your goal when doing outreach and what are the KPIs attached?

The goal is generally to get a link pointing back to the website, preferably a deep link to help build the domain authority of the website that I’m working on. In terms of KPI’s this can be measured by the growth of page authority, domain authority and referring traffic.

2) About your workflow for outreach: what are the steps and who is involved?

This will vary from project to project. First you have to research your client and identify why people would link to them in the first place. Once identified they will be contacted by email.

3) If you could automate one thing in the process, what would it be? (Or just give the most time-consuming task).

I guess the initial research is the hard part but it’s different for each client+the more work put in at this stage the greater the reward.

Bonus question: what are the tools you use in the process?

With outreach I tend carry out research manually.

Brandon Phipps, Owner, Second Star Technologies, @secondstartech

Brandon Phipps is the owner of Second Star Technologies a Managed Service Provider, IT Support, and Computer Repair company focused on strategic IT Management services and planning for Small & Medium Businesses.

1) What’s your goal when doing outreach and what are the KPIs attached?

The goal with any digital marketing outreach is to address problems / questions for client customer questions / issues in a direct and succinct fashion.

We use a fairly standard marketing funnel for KPI for all offsite content and social sharing. Views, clicks, signups / conversions.

Most of our clients consider full conversion at the point where their internal sales process takes over, i.e. filling out a form for a proposal request / contacting the customer via phone.

We track the conversion from social media and directory listings as well, all the way to filling out the contact form or making a tracked phone call.

2) About your workflow for outreach: what are the steps and who is involved?

The workflow always starts with a full review of the client business, client customer ideal demographic / target market focus — proceeds to research for high-volume keyword searches within the demographic, followed by market research from a content marketing expert, design and SEO analyst, and the clients assigned marketing representative.

The content marketer and dedicated marketing manager perform further research on client competitors online presence, success, and failures, as well as demographic research to tune content to specific client customer needs.

Once that is completed, a plan is formulated and approved by the client, or sent back to the drawing board.

Once the plan is approved, a publishing and social sharing / syndication calendar is established and communicated to the client.

The content is created, reviewed by an editor (Article, PR, Video, Infographic, etc.), the content is then reviewed for originality (i.e. CopyScape, etc.), as well as additional QA processes. Once that is completed, it is posted, shared to client and syndicated social media on an optimized time frame determined from the initial client social media follower assessment and then analyzed from impression to conversion and reported on monthly.

The client receives monthly reports, but has online access to all updates daily through our web portal.

All decision makers are involved with the process on the client side, including externally employed web designers / local website hosting providers, any marketing or sales rep’s, etc. This engagement is continuous and training is provided for less experienced client cold-calling, sales or marketing reps to identify the point of origin for prospective customer contacts to the client.

3) If you could automate one thing in the process, what would it be? (Or just give the most time-consuming task).

This is where Second Star Technologies has an advantage over traditional SEO agencies; we are a Managed IT Service provider and extremely experienced with outsourcing, white-labeling, and automation processes for complex network systems.

Client digital marketing services / outreach / SEO is no different for us, from our perspective.

Bonus question: what are the tools you use in the process?

We use standardized tools: Buffer

Social Quant

We are testing Co-promotion tools: CoPromote.com

We white label and resell all of our SEO / Digital Marketing / Social Sharing and Syndication: HubShout.com

The reporting, white-label social sharing and syndication is automated by HubShout.

Our sole task is to identify quality candidates for these services.

Our advantage over traditional SEO / Digital Marketing Agencies is our ability to integrate these services to in demand Managed IT Services on a monthly recurring basis.

Pictures credits:

The Legend of Zelda — Spirit Tracks by Ricardo Saramago
Cirque du Connect Web Summit 2014 Dublin, Ireland by kris krüg
moz-robot by Yoel Ben-Avraham