Building relationships for effective outreach

30 September 2015

Building relationships for effective outreach

Relationship building is a vital aspect of modern-day SEO and social media marketing best practice. Reaching out to bloggers, journalists, thought leaders and industry specialists can result in backlinks, media coverage and social shares, which are all valuable for PR and visibility, as well as search engine optimisation and an improved social profile.

However, many brands are still treating outreach as an afterthought, rather than the crucial aspect of strategy that it needs to be.

The focus of many marketers used to be on link building, but that has now shifted to link earning, where brands create content, services or products that are so great that they attract backlinks and shares naturally. There is no place in SEO now for aiming for hundreds of backlinks on poor-quality sites; instead, a few links from high-quality, relevant sites are far more valuable.

And to achieve this? You guessed it: you need to build decent relationships.

So, who are the people brands need to reach out to?


Bloggers are the darlings of many a PR strategy, as their websites are highly specialised, they often have a committed, loyal following, and they are trusted by their readers to be independent.

A backlink or review from a popular blogger in your brand’s niche could generate considerable traffic and leads (on top of the SEO benefits), but if a person’s blog is already popular, you may be competing with other big brands for their attention.

Don’t just email a blogger out of the blue and expect them to cover your products. Share their content on social media and build a relationship over time. Consider wooing up-and-coming bloggers as well as those already at the top of their game. And check out our four rules for a successful blogger outreach campaign, too.

The media

Gaining media coverage has a range of enviable results for brands, including improved brand recognition and publicity, and backlinks from high-profile media websites.

However, journalists and publications receive dozens of press releases a day – at the very least – and many are poorly written, not newsworthy or not relevant to their specialism.

Instead of sending a cold press release to a list of hundreds of people, build positive relationships with a select few journalists and publications that are truly relevant to your industry. When you send them a great press release, they’ll be much more likely to pay attention and act on it if they already know who you are and respect your work.

Industry leaders

Do you know the professional bodies related to your industry? Which trade publications report on your area of business? Which businesses work in related areas that complement your own?

By networking with people who are influential in your industry, whether online or (gasp) face to face at networking events and conferences, you will already have a head start when you have excellent content that you want to encourage people to share.

Social media influencers

Social media is a highly effective way to locate and liaise with people who are influential with your target audience. The different social networks available attract different kinds of users, so it is worth looking out for different influencers on each network, so that any coverage you inspire can be shared on Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter at the very least.

There are tools available to make it easier to find influencers, such as these for Twitter, but often brands will already be aware of the most prominent people in their niche.