Within my role at Marketing Signals, I often find that a number of people are shocked at the prices they now need to pay for quality content and search signals, as link building has moved away from the era of spam and has been geared towards a more “natural” path by Google.
Gone are the days of quick wins and directory submissions; these have been replaced by quality content, written by real people with a voice within their niche. This basically means that the whole game has changed when it comes to negotiating to obtain the links that you desperately want and need!
By day I am an SEO Account Manager. By night I am a blogger dabbling in fashion, beauty and lifestyle posts, meaning that I get to see the process of blogger outreach from both ends of the spectrum, at work and at home.
An SEO Executive’s Perspective
When negotiating link insertions or placements as part of my role within the office, common responses that can make the process more challenging include:
• People now prefer to create their own content, which tends to cost more than providing your own.
• Sites now have more rules on what they will and will not accept in regards to content or links when working with others.
• The costs of collaborating with bloggers and sites are increasing; many also have rate cards or media packs with set prices, leaving less room for negotiation.
• Scared by Matt Cutts, some sites will plaster a ‘sponsored post’ label on content, when clients don’t necessarily want this advertised so blatantly.
• More people now decline to collaborate on content – worried that they may be harming their site.
• Bloggers prefer to do a review or a product feature on their site, when that option may not always be available or within the budget of the client you are working with.
A Blogger’s Perspective
When the shoe is on the other foot, I can admit that I am just as hard to deal with when it comes to what I will and will not accept on my site or when working with others. Here are my personal rules of thumb when it comes to my blog:
• I prefer to write my own content, as I take pride in my site and I won’t just advertise anything and have any content on there just for money. Equally as much, as I don’t want to plaster ‘guest post’ on my site.
• In addition to this, I don’t think that asking to be reimbursed for a collaborative post is asking too much, due to the hard work and effort that I put into my site in my own free time.
• I will only work with brands that fit within the fashion, beauty or lifestyle niche and are brands or products that I would use myself.
• I would prefer to be sent products to review and to write my own honest opinion than be paid what to say or write a general article. My site is a lot about the photography and taking outfit shots and styling to provide honest content to my readers.
• Why would I post your infographic on my site for free when the topic is of no interest to me or my readers, just because you have randomly emailed me to tell me to do it?! – Via email communication I prefer to build a relationship with who I am working with and to be asked to do something, not told.
• When it comes to collaboration, I generally prefer to host a competition for my readers to win a product or voucher on behalf of the brand I am working with. Entry requirements include following my blog or social media channels as well as those of the brand. This means that as well as the brand obtaining a link and more social followers, I am also benefitting by increasing the exposure of my blog and in-turn gaining a few more followers of my own.
Working With Bloggers
Now that the online environment is changing and bloggers are being approached by brands more frequently, both big and small companies are finding they are able to work together, promote their products and also gain a little SEO benefit along the way. With so many exciting and fun avenues to explore via collaboration, if you aren’t working with bloggers yet then maybe you should be?
A great way to start an outreach campaign is by running a tailored data gathering task to obtain information on a set niche of sites that you could potentially collaborate with and to create a database for future work. For example, if you were a beauty brand with a new product, why not collect information and contact details for top beauty bloggers and put this into a database, which can then be used to contact them to see if they would be interested in receiving a sample? This could then be honestly reviewed on their blog with a link back to your site….you can’t get more natural than that!
The team here at Marketing Signals are experts in data collection and outsourced research, so why not get in touch here to see how we can help.
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