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"Study Finds:" How Data-Driven Content Marketing Builds Links and Earns Press Mentions

Posted by KristinTynski

In 2019, high-authority links remain highly correlated with rankings. However, acquiring great links is becoming increasingly difficult. Those of you who operate publications of any variety, especially those who enjoy high domain authority, have likely received several link building requests or offers like this each day:

“Please link to my suspect site that provides little or no value.”

“Please engage in my shady link exchange.”

“I can acquire 5 links of DA 50+ for $ 250 each.”

Or maybe slightly more effectively:

“This link is broken, perhaps you would like to link here instead.”

“You link to X resource, but my Y resource is actually better.”

This glut of SEOs who build links through these techniques above have been consistently eroding the efficacy of this style of little-to-no-value ad outreach link building. In the past, perhaps it was possible to convert 2% of outreach emails of this style to real links. Now, that number is more like 0.2 percent.

Link building outreach has become glorified email spam—increasingly ignored and decreasingly effective. And yet, high-authority links remain one of the single most important ranking factors.

So where do we go from here?

Let’s start with a few axioms.

The conclusion: Leveraging data journalism to tell newsworthy stories re-enables effective promotion of content via outreach/pitching. Doing so successfully results in the acquisition of high domain authority links that enjoy the potential for viral syndication. Overall data journalism and outreach represents one of the only remaining scaleable high-authority link building strategies.

How can I leverage data journalism techniques to earn coverage?

To answer this question, I conducted my own data journalism project about the state of data journalism-driven link building! (Meta, I know.)

The primary goal was to understand how major publications (the places worth pitching content) talk about data journalism findings from external sources. By understanding how data journalism is covered, we lay the groundwork for understanding what types of data journalism, themes, and strategies for outreach can be most effective for link building.

We pulled 8,400 articles containing the text “study finds.” This keyword was used as a heuristic for finding data-driven news stories created by outside sources (not done internally by the news publication themselves). We then supplemented these articles with additional data, including links built, social shares, and Google’s Machine Learning topic categorization.

The categories derived by Google’s classifier can have multiple tiers based on the keywords in the article titles, giving us four ways to show the results within each category: The main topic area (containing all relevant subcategories), just the first subcategory, just the second subcategory, and just the third subcategory.

Which outlets most frequently cover data-driven stories from external pitches?

Let’s begin by taking a look at which top-tier news outlets cover “study finds” (AKA, any project pitched by an outside source that ran a survey or study that had “findings”).

For companies conducting studies, they hope to win press coverage for, these top sites are prime targets, with editorial guidelines that clearly see outside pitches of study findings as attractive.

It’s not surprising to see science-based sites ranking at the top, as they’re inherently more likely to talk about studies than other publications. But sites like The Independent, Daily Mail, The Guardian, CNN, Washington Post, and NBC News all ranked highly as well, providing great insight into which established, trusted news sources are willing to publish external research.

Which topic areas do these publishers write about most?

Diving a little deeper, we can explore which topics are covered in these publications that are associated with these external studies, providing us insight into which verticals might be the best targets for this strategy.

There are many unique insights to be gleaned from the following charts depending on your niche/topical focus. This data can easily be used as a pitching guide, showing you which publishers are the most likely to pick up and cover your pitches for the findings of your study or survey.

Here is a view of the overall category and subcategory distribution for the top publishers.

As you can see, it’s…a lot. To get more actionable breakdowns, we can look at different views of the topical categories. The categories derived by Google’s classifier can have multiple tiers based on the keywords in the article titles, giving us several ways to show the results within each category.

You can explore the Tableau sheets to get into the nitty-gritty, but even with these views, a few more specialized publications, like InsideHigherEd.com and blogs.edweek.org, emerge.

Which topic areas drive the most links?

Press mentions are great, but syndication is where data journalism and content-based outreach strategy really shines. I also wanted to understand which topic areas drive link acquisition. As it turns out, some topics are significantly better at driving links than others.

Note that the color of the bar charts is associated with volume of sharing by topic—the darker the bar on the chart, the higher it was shared. With this additional sharing data, it’s plain to see that while links and social shares are highly correlated, there are some categories that are top link builders but do not perform as well on social and vice versa.

This next set of data visualizations again explore these topic areas in detail. In each batch, we see the median number of links built as an overall category aggregate and then by each category.

Which domains generate the most links when they pick up a data-driven story?

Another interesting question is which domains overall result in the largest number of links generated for “study finds” stories. Below is that ranking, colored by the median number of total shares for that domain.

Notice that while The Independent ranked supreme in the earlier graph about including the most “study finds” pieces, they don’t appear at all on this graph. Sites like The Guardian, CNN, The Washington Post, and NBC News, however, score highly on both, meaning they’re probably more likely to publish your research (relatively speaking, since all high-authority sites are tough to get coverage on), and if you’re successful, you’re probably more likely to get more syndicated links as a result.

Which topic areas are the most evergreen?

Now, let’s look at each category by BuzzSumo’s “evergreen score” to see what kind of content will get you the most bang for your buck.

The evergreen score was developed by BuzzSumo to measure the number of backlinks and social shares an article receives more than a month after it’s published.

When you’re considering doing a study and you want it to have lasting power, brainstorm whether any of these topics tie to your product or service offering, because it appears their impact lingers for longer than a month:

What this all means

Link building through data-driven content marketing and PR is a predictable and scalable way to massively impact domain authority, page authority, and organic visibility.

Always consider:

1. Which publishers make sense to pitch to?

  • Do they often cover external studies?
  • Do they cover topics that I write about?
  • Does their coverage lead to a high volume of syndicated links?

2. Does my topic have lasting power?

To really make the most of your content and outreach strategy, you’ll need to incorporate these tips and more into your content development and pitching.

In previous articles on Moz I’ve covered:

These ideas and methodologies are at the heart of the work we do at Fractl and have been instrumental in helping us develop best practices for ideation, content creation, and successful outreach to press. Pulling on each of these levers (and many others), testing, and accumulating data that can then be used to refine processes is what begins to make a real impact on success rates and allows you to break through the noise.

If you want to discuss the major takeaways for your industry, feel free to email me at kristin@frac.tl.

Did anything surprise you in the data? Share your thoughts below!

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Effective Landing Pages: 30 powerful headlines that improved marketing results

Get oodles of examples of effective headlines in this MarketingSherpa blog post to help spark ideas as you brainstorm your own headlines
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Tim Cameron-Kitchen: A One-Time Drummer Turns His Website Building Skills Into One Of The Largest Internet Marketing Agencies In The UK

[ Download MP3 | Transcript | iTunes | Soundcloud | Stitcher | Spotify | Raw RSS ] Tim Cameron-Kitchen grew up with a passion for music, in particular playing the drums. The highlight of Tim’s drumming career occurred in a most unexpected place — on stage in a cover-band singing competition reality TV show… in France. His […]

The post Tim Cameron-Kitchen: A One-Time Drummer Turns His Website Building Skills Into One Of The Largest Internet Marketing Agencies In The UK appeared first on Yaro.Blog.

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Create a Marketing Strategy That’s Not Annoying, Says Bombora VP

“It’s really about customer experience,” says Nirosha Methananda, VP of Marketing at Bombora. “I think that is something fundamental to marketing. I feel like we have gone down this path of almost over automating and having to constantly pounce on people without necessarily being conscious and mindful of what their experience is on the other end. From my experience, it’s leading to me switching off and ignoring messages. I’m sure I’m not the only one. That’s basically why I’m passionate about creating a marketing strategy that’s not annoying.”

Nirosha Methananda, Vice President of Marketing at Bombora, discusses the challenges of marketing without annoying your potential customers by bombarding them with marketing messages in an interview with Logan Lyles on the B2B Growth Podcast:

Marketing Is Really About the Customer Experience

As a B2B marketer, I get marketed to a lot. It’s something that I have increasingly noticed and I’m probably not the only one. That’s just becoming part of the experience in terms of being inundated with different messaging and different calls and this, that, and the other. Use this, do this, buy this, whatever it is. It’s really not a great experience. It doesn’t necessarily provide value. Marketers are so busy as it is, and I know that is applicable across the board with everyone we are marketing to. Being able to cut through the noise and having an understanding of all these different things is very challenging. 

Having on top of it being inundated with this constant flow of messaging like meet me, meet me, meet me, is not very helpful. That’s one of the things that I’m passionate about. It’s really about customer experience. I think that is something fundamental to marketing. I feel like we have gone down this path of almost over automating and having to constantly pounce on people without necessarily being conscious and mindful of what their experience is on the other end. From my experience, it’s leading to me switching off and ignoring messages. I’m sure I’m not the only one. 

Create a Marketing Strategy That’s Not Annoying

It also leads to this annoyance and irritation which leads to distrust of brands and that’s not great for this industry. From a customer perspective those bad experiences, unfortunately, more than good experiences, they stay with you for longer and you remember that. Another thing that we don’t necessarily think of is that it’s wasteful. It’s wasteful of time and it’s wasteful of money especially for marketing and sales where money is a precious resource. It’s not something to be wasted. That’s basically why I’m passionate about creating a marketing strategy that’s not annoying.

As an example, our Intent Event was our first flagship event that we did last year. It was a closed event so we did have limited numbers and we were limited as to what we could do with promotion. What we did was try to have mindfulness around what we were sending out and ensuring that it was helpful. Making sure that the recipients, the people that we invited, were given all the relevant information, but there was brevity in the communication as well as encouraging them to participate without forcing them to be there. 

There was certainly some urgency around some of our communication but it wasn’t you need to attend this and this is why you must attend this. It was more about being a bit more subtle in presenting them the idea and the concept of what it was, why it would help them, and exactly the information that they needed. What that meant was not sending out multiple emails, being very controlled around it, really thinking about what the experience was before the event, to during the event, to after the event. We were really focused on the customer and making sure that all of the content and communication was educational and helpful.

Create a Marketing Strategy That’s Not Annoying, Says Bombora VP Nirosha Methananda

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New AI-Powered Email Capabilities Released Into Salesforce Marketing Cloud

“We’re making email marketing even smarter with a set of new AI capabilities getting released into Salesforce Marketing Cloud,” says Salesforce VP Armita Peymandoust. “One of them is Einstein Engagement Frequency. The other one is Einstein Send Time Optimization. We also have Einstein Content Tagging out and available today to our customers. Email is definitely not dead. Even the Millennials say that.”

Armita Peymandoust, VP Product Management, Analytics, and Einstein at Salesforce, discusses new AI-powered email features for Marketing Cloud announced by Salesforce at Connections 19:

AI-Powered Email Capabilities Released Into Salesforce Marketing Cloud

As we know email is still a really important channel. Over 64 percent of customers are still saying that they prefer email channels to all the others. What we’re doing is we’re making email marketing even smarter with a set of new AI capabilities getting released into Salesforce Marketing Cloud. One of them is Einstein Engagement Frequency. The other one is Einstein Send Time Optimization. We also have Einstein Content Tagging out and available today to our customers. Email is definitely not dead. Even the Millennials say that.

Einstein Engagement Frequency

With Einstein Engagement Frequency we’re trying to tell the marketer what’s the sweet range that they should keep on engaging with their customers. As marketers, we want to keep on engaging with our customers but we just don’t want to get to a point that we’re potentially annoying them. So we are telling them that this is the range that you should stay in.

Einstein Send Time Optimization

Now that the marketer knows what the frequency of engagement should be, with Einstein Send Time Optimization we’re also telling them what is the right time to send those messages. It’s really easy with a drag and drop of an activity into Journey Builder we make every message go out at the right time for the customers.

Einstein Content Tagging

Then with Einstein Content Tagging, we’re basically bringing image recognition the same set of AI capabilities that you’re familiar with for your customer based or consumer based products. This is where you upload photos and then they automatically get tagged. We are bringing that same technology to the hand of the marketer. Every image that’s getting uploaded into Content Builder gets automatically tagged so they can find it later and use it when they’re building their messages.

Transactional Messaging

We’re also releasing Transactional API’s for Emails and SMS. There are different types of emails out there. There’s the commercial one and there’s the transactional one. It allows the marketer to bring both of those two in an inter-marketing cloud and take advantage of Marketing Cloud to send those emails to have the same voice, the same brand voice, and also be able to see how those are performing all in one place.

Indiana Pacers Improved Customer Engagements By 20 Percent

These features are all relatively new. So we have pilot customers that have been taking advantage of them. We have one retailer that talked about Einstein Engagement Frequency. They had a hunch that they were over messaging customers but they couldn’t really put their finger on it. With Einstein Engagement Frequency we could show them visually exactly where they’re over engaging with their customers and let them take action on it. The platform automatically created lists so that they would not send messages to the ones that are getting too many email messages.

We’ve had a set of AI features in Marketing Cloud, specifically Einstein Engagement Scores, was one that the NBA’s Indiana Pacers is taking advantage of, to increase the engagement rate that they’re having with their fans. They got a 20 percent increase in engagements with their fans using that.

Customer Engagement Getting Even More Granular

We have a jam-packed roadmap for the next of the rest of the year as well. One of the things that I’m really excited about is Content Selection that’s coming out. Content Selection lets each of those messages that we’re creating be dynamically optimized for every customer that’s receiving them. Think of your email as a template that has different aspects or different selections in it that gets automatically replaced with what your customer cares about most and also what they have engaged with most and historically. It’s very engaging for every one of your customers.

The other one that I’m interested in (that is coming later) is bringing natural language processing to understanding your subject lines. What types of subject lines are resonating? Why is it that they’re resonating with your customers? It will give you an insight on them first and then also give you recommendations on how to improve your subject lines.

New AI-Powered Email Capabilities Released Into Salesforce Marketing Cloud

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Content Syndication: How to get wider distribution of your content marketing

Insights to help you bring more attention to your brand’s content and ultimately find the results you seek
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What’s Really Broken in the ‘Content Marketing Playbook’

Sometimes it bums me out that we’ve become a culture of contrarians. Whether it’s Black Panther, 3D printing, or strawberry…

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Stop Making These 7 Online Marketing Mistakes and You Will Crush It, Says Neil Patel

If you avoid these seven online marketing mistakes and you follow these tips you’re going to generate more sales, says popular digital marketing expert Neil Patel. A common theme of Neil’s tips is creating a brand. “Google doesn’t want to rank sites that aren’t brands,” he says. “There’s an issue out there called fake news and that’s why they’re pushing brands over anything else.” Patel says that if you follow these tips you’re going to crush it!”

Neil Patel, digital marketing expert and founder of Neil Patel Digital, discusses the seven online marketing mistakes in his latest video release:

Stop Making These 7 Online Marketing Mistakes

I’m going to break down seven online marketing mistakes that you need to stop. You’re probably wondering you’re doing all these things but why aren’t you seeing results? Even if you’re doing the right things, if you’re also doing the wrong things at the same time it’s going to hurt you and it’s going avoid you from getting the results that you deserve.

Mistake 1: Not Collecting Emails

The first mistake you are making is not collecting emails. It doesn’t matter how good you are with SEO or marketing only a very small percentage of your visitors are ever going to convert into customers. By collecting emails not only can you get people to come back to your site but you can convince them to convert over emails.

The moment someone gives you their email address think of that as a micro-commitment. They’re much more likely to convert into a customer because they committed, they already gave you something. That’s why you want to collect emails. You can do this through sliders or exit pop-ups. You can do this for free using tools like Hello Bar.

Mistake 2: Not Collecting Subscribers Through Push Notifications

The second mistake you’re making is you’re not collecting subscribers through push notifications. There are free tools like Subscribers.com that’ll make it easy. Just add in a JavaScript or a WordPress plug-in and then when people come to your website they will automatically subscribe through the browser. Then anytime you have new content or products or services that you want to sell then you can notify them through Subscribers.

Mistake 3: Not Building a Brand

The reason tip number one on collecting emails and tip number two on getting more push notifications subscribers are really important is because you need to build a brand. This gets you into the third mistake. Google doesn’t want to rank sites that aren’t brands. Why is this? There’s an issue out there called fake news and that’s why they’re pushing brands over anything else. It’s not just going to be Facebook and in Google. Eventually, it’s going to be Twitter and LinkedIn and all the sites out there.

When you get people back to your site seven times you’re much more likely to build a brand. It’s called the Rule of Seven in marketing. So with your site, you want to provide an amazing user experience. When you provide an amazing user experience, create a great product, create a great service, it’ll help you build a great brand over time.

Mistake 4: Not Interlinking

The fourth mistake you’re making is not interlinking. You may notice on Google I’m ranking for terms like online marketing on page one. You’re probably wondering how do I do this? A lot of it comes out to interlinking. In my sidebar, I link to my most popular pages of content. When I write blog posts related to online marketing I link back to the online marketing guide that talks about what online marketing is. By having all these links it helps me rank higher.

Mistake 5: Just Focusing On Text-Based Content

The fifth mistake I have for you is just focusing on text-based content. The future of digital marketing is moving to video. It doesn’t mean you should stop doing text but it means you should also be doing video. When you do video you’re going to get more traffic because everyone’s lacking it. LinkedIn wants it right now. YouTube wants more of it. Facebook wants it. Instagram even wants it.

Why is this? They want to crush the television networks. You look at things like the Oscars or traditional movie theaters and they’re not doing as well. You look at traditional TV and they’re going to get crushed. Why? It’s because of Facebook. It’s because of Google. It’s because of Netflix. If you’re there creating that video content you can be part of it and you’re going to get extra traffic. They want as much help as possible to crush these big old-school companies.

Mistake 6: Sticking To Just a Few Marketing Channels

The sixth mistake that you’re making is you’re really sticking to just a few marketing channels. Marketing is competitive. People raise venture capital hundreds of millions of dollars just so they can compete in marketing and sales. You need to do more than one or two or three marketing channels. The more you do the better off you’re going to be.

Mistake 7: Not Asking For the Sale

The seventh mistake I have for you is not asking for the sale. Whether it’s a lead or whether it’s getting people to buy your product, there’s nothing wrong with asking people to buy from you. If you don’t you’re not going to generate any sales. Everyone’s like I get all this traffic through my online marketing but no one’s converting. Why? Because you’re not asking for a sale.

Stop Making These 7 Online Marketing Mistakes and You Will Crush It, Says Neil Patel

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10 Content Marketing Goals Worth Pursuing

Ever wonder why content marketing works so well for some businesses — but doesn’t seem to do anything at all…

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Make your content better with social media and marketing automation

Content pollution is real. Are you part of the problem?



Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.


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