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Influencer Marketing for SEO and Authority

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Influencer Marketing for SEO and Authority


The author’s views are entirely his or her own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.

Please welcome back guest host, Andy Crestodina, for an episode all about the connection between people, relationships, and SEO outcomes. Specifically, how influencer marketing can drive SEO and authority.

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Hey, Moz fans. This is Andy Crestodina from Orbit Media Studios here in Chicago, and I want to explain something that I love very much and that is kind of a familiar theme if you’ve been following the Moz content. It’s about the relationship between people, relationships, and SEO outcomes. Specifically I want to talk about how influencer marketing can drive SEO and authority. 

There’s a lot of approaches to building links and building authority. Cold outreach, can we please stop doing that? This is what my inbox looks like. It’s a mess. Yeah, okay, so let’s just pause that and try something different.

Link swaps? Interesting. It doesn’t feel like we’re adding a lot of value to the world, but okay, maybe.

Guest blogging, a lot of work for a little outcome. Depending on the audience, it could have lots of other benefits. So not necessarily a fan. I’m still a guest blogger, have been forever. 

But link attraction, how does that work? Is it possible to do something in marketing that will spontaneously lead to like new links from high authority sites on a regular basis? There is. It is possible. It happens all the time. It’s something that we do here. In fact, it’s our main approach to growing authority.

Link attraction

So I’m going to break it all down starting with the outcome. Starting with the lead, demand. This is the goal. That’s the point of digital marketing, right, is to build a bridge from a traffic source to your thank you page. That’s what we’re all doing here, right?

So to do that you need two things. What are they? Traffic and a conversion rate. Traffic times conversion rate equals demand. Conversion rate, that means having a web page that is persuasive, it’s compelling, it’s filled with social proof, it’s addressing objections, it’s answering questions. It has clear, specific calls to action. That times the number of qualified visitors to that page equals success.

So traffic, where does traffic come from? Well, there’s a lot of sources of traffic. I’m a digital marketer that uses more than just search. We’ll set those aside for now. But search traffic, how does that happen? That’s driven from ranking for relevant, commercial intent key phrases. What are those? That happens when you have two main things, two main search ranking factors, which are basically authority and relevance, as in links and keyword focused content. So now we’re going to set aside relevance.

I’m going ask one of the most important questions in all of digital marketing, which is, “Why do people link to things? Why does that happen? How do we make that happen organically on a regular basis all the time?” That’s what I want to address here, and I’m going to do it by combining two different things — influencers and content, relationships with people who create content and therefore create links and also link worthy content, content that’s worthy of that citation, content that ends up in their bibliography, content that is something that when people see it they say, “Wow, this is supporting something that I’m working on. Therefore, if I link to this, it will make the thing I’m making more credible.” Otherwise, without your content, what they’re making is just going to be kind of unsupported. So we want to make content and we want to combine that with influencers. Let’s break that down.

What attracts links? 

What kind of content attracts links? There’s play of research on this, much of it conducted by Moz, which comes down to two main things — original research and strong opinion. That’s basically it. When you put those together, you have the main ingredients for legit thought leadership. We hold high standards for that label.

But original research literally supports what they’re creating. Therefore, by making it, you are giving people ways to add evidence to the things that they’re creating. So new, original data points, kind of sound bites, kind of new statistics for the world. 

Fundamentally, there are two kinds of content programs — content programs that create new, original data and everybody else. If I was doing a content audit for a brand, I would probably look at that first and say, “Is there anything for which this website is the primary source?” Very different. It feels different. It feels different when you make it. It feels different when they read it. It feels different when they come across it later and they think they might publish it, something that references it.

Who creates links? 

So who are they? Who creates links? Who are the content marketers or who are the people on the internet? It’s sometimes called the 1% rule. Ninety-nine percent of people consume content. They’re sort of lurkers. They’re just consumers of content. The 1% of us actually make stuff. They press that Record button or they type and they hit the Publish button. They are bloggers, obviously, editors, clearly, journalists, researchers, podcasters, even event producers. All these people make stuff, therefore they’re adding new content, new URLs to the internet, and when they do, they often look for things to support their assertions, in other words original research. Or they’re responding to someone who planted a flag out there and adding their voice to some strong opinion that was put out.

Influencer marketing

So basically these are the two key ingredients. That’s really all you need. This is how it really happens. Original research combined with relationships with people who create content and links on the internet. So let’s go a little deeper on that and I want to talk about specifically how to make that happen and what it looks like.

Step 1: Network, connect

Step 1, network, connect. Start a conversation. That’s why I don’t like cold outreach. I keep drawing X’s here. Cold outreach fails to just take that first step and warm it up a little bit. You didn’t have to do that to my inbox. Why don’t we start a conversation? Why don’t you like, comment, share, interact, engage, ask, thank, connect? So that’s Step 1. It’s a networking thing. It really benefits people that value relationships and are playing the long game.

Step 2: Polite request

Then the polite request. “Hey, I’m making something. Would you like to be part of this thing that I’m making?” 

Step 3: Include them

Then actually include that person in the thing that you are making. I’ve got a little example over here, look. Their face, that person that I one day hope to build a relationship with, I’m giving them the thing that I hope to get from them one day, by literally their face, their name, a link to them. Their quote, their insights, their added value is in my piece.

I do this all the time. In fact, I would never publish a piece of content without putting contributors in it. Journalists don’t write articles without including a source. Why do content marketers keep creating content without adding contributor quotes? It’s a missed opportunity. Your content is, in fact, one of your best networking tools.

So literally I’m linking to the people that I’m hoping to one day get a link from. I’m learning while I’m creating my own content. This happened to me yesterday. I was working on an article, reached out to some experts, they gave me their insights, and I have new ideas based on their input. I learn by creating my own blog. That’s kind of magical, right, and very cool.

Step 4: Stay in touch

Then, obviously, really the long game, like I said, we’re going to keep in touch. We’re going to follow up. We’re going to offer to help them if they’re making something. We’re going to keep that conversation going because we care. Really, the ultimate form of influencer marketing is called friendship, real, legit relationships, to the extent you get to the point where if you really need a link to something, you could actually just send them a quick text message and they’ll probably help you out right away, the way I do for people that I’m trying to help. We all do this all the time. In other words, empathy in your relationships and quality in the stuff you create when combined lead to link attraction, and as we saw that’s going to connect every dot down to demand.

Hope this was helpful. Really fun to make. Thank you, thank you, Moz, for the opportunity to create another Whiteboard Friday video. We hope this is helpful. If you find someone who keeps like spamming you, maybe just send them this. Maybe they’ll leave you alone. Maybe you can just reach out and start a conversation and make a friend.

Again, Andy from Orbit and we’ll see you next time.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com



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The Ultimate Guide to Product Marketing in 2023

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The Ultimate Guide to Product Marketing in 2023

Product marketing is essential, even if you only sell one or two products at your organization.

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3 email marketing shifts to make in 2023

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3 email marketing shifts to make in 2023

Whew! We made it to 2023! As we closed in on the end of the year in December, the finish line seemed awfully far away. Many marketers told me they were busier than ever. 

I myself was fielding calls for strategy help, working on business deals and managing the chaos all the way to the eve of Christmas Eve, something that rarely happens in my 20-plus-year career. 

Look back and celebrate, then move on

The first business for 2023 will be to step back, clear your head and take stock of all the great things you accomplished in 2022 despite the odds (i.e., coming out of COVID, going into a rebound and COVID round 2, moving into supply-chain shortages and other hiccups, facing down a potential recession) and how they affected the work you did to succeed.

And now it’s 2023. I hope you got your budget request approved and you’re ready to move ahead with a clean slate and new KPIs to hit. You’re probably wondering, “What can I do now to grow my program?

3 directional changes to grow your email program

Naturally, every marketer’s goals will be unique. We have different audiences, challenges, resources and goals. But I’m focusing on three major directional changes with my clients this year. Which of these could help you succeed this year?

1. Stop sending so many emails

Yeah, I know. That sounds strange coming from somebody who believes wholeheartedly in email and its power to build your business. But even I have my limits!

Email during this last holiday shopping season was insane. In my 20+ years in the email industry, I cannot remember a time, even during the lockdown days of COVID-19, when my inbox was so full. 

I’m not the only one who noticed. Your customers also perceived that their inboxes were getting blasted to the North Pole. And they complained about it, as the Washington Post reported (“Retailers fire off more emails than ever trying to get you to shop“).

I didn’t run any numbers to measure volume, isolate cadences or track frequency curves. But every time I turned around, I saw emails pouring into my inbox. 

My advice for everyone on frequency: If you throttled up during the holiday, now it’s time to throttle back.

This should be a regularly scheduled move. But it’s important to make sure your executives understand that higher email frequency, volume and cadence aren’t the new email norm. 

If you commit to this heavier schedule, you’ll drive yourself crazy and push your audience away, to other brands or social media.

If you did increase cadence, what did it do for you? You might have hit your numbers, but consider the long-term costs: 

  • More unsubscribes.
  • More spam complaints.
  • Deliverability problems.
  • Lower revenue per email. 

Take what you learned from your holiday cadence as an opportunity to discover whether it’s a workable strategy or only as a “break glass in case of emergency” move.

My advice? Slow down. Return to your regular volume, frequency and cadence. Think of your customers and their reactions to being inundated with emails over 60 days.

2. Stop spamming

In that Washington Post article I mentioned earlier, I was encouraged that it cited one of my email gripes — visiting websites and then getting emails without granting permission first. 

I could have given the Post a salty quote about my experiences with SafeOpt and predatory email experiences (“Business stress is no excuse to spam“) for visitors to its clients’ websites. 

Successful email marketers believe in the sanctity of permission. That permission-based practice is what you want to be involved in. Buying a list means you don’t hire a company to sell you one, whether it’s a data broker or a tech provider like SafeOpt. 

Spamming people doesn’t work in the long term. Sure, I’ve heard stories from people who say they use purchased lists or companies like SafeOpt and it makes them money. But that’s a singular view of the impact. 

Email is the only marketing channel where you can do it wrong but still make money. But does that make it right? 

The problem with the “it made us money” argument is that there’s nowhere to go after that. Are you measuring how many customers you lost because you spammed them or the hits your sender reputation took? 

You might hit a short-term goal but lose the long-term battle. When you become known as an unreliable sender, you risk losing access to your customers’ inboxes.

Aside from the permission violation, emailing visitors after they leave your site is a wasted effort for three reasons:

  • A visit is not the same as intent. You don’t know why they landed on your site. Maybe they typed your URL as a mistake or discovered immediately that your brand wasn’t what they wanted. Chasing them with emails won’t bring them back.
  • You aren’t measuring interest. Did they visit multiple pages or check out your “About” or FAQ pages? As with intent, just landing on a page doesn’t signal interest.
  • They didn’t give you their email address. If they had interest or intent, they would want to connect with your brand. No email address, no permission.

Good email practice holds that email performs best when it’s permission-based. Most ESPs and ISPs operate on that principle, as do many email laws and regulations.

But even in the U.S., where opt-out email is still legal, that doesn’t mean you should send an email without permission just because somebody landed on your website.

3. Do one new thing

Many email marketers will start the year with a list of 15 things they want to do over the next two months. I try to temper those exuberant visions by focusing on achievable goals with this question: 

“What one thing could you do this year that could make a great difference in your email program’s success?”

When I started a job as head of strategy for Acxiom, I wanted to come up with a long list of goals to impress my new boss. I showed it to my mentor, the great David Baker and he said, “Can you guarantee that you can do all of these things and not just do them but hit them out of the park?”

Hmmmm…

“That’s why you don’t put down that many goals,” he said. “Go in with just one. When that one is done, come up with the next one. Then do another. If you propose five projects, your boss will assume you will do five projects. If you don’t, it just means you didn’t get it done.”

That was some of the best advice I’ve ever received and I pass it on to you. 

Come up with one goal, project or change that will drive your program forward. Take it to your boss and say, “Here’s what I’m going to do this year.”

To find that one project, look at your martech and then review MarTech’s six most popular articles from 2022 for expert advice.

You’ll find plenty of ideas and tips to help you nail down your one big idea to drive growth and bring success. But be realistic. You don’t know what events could affect your operations. 

Drive your email program forward in 2023

The new year has barely begun, but I had a little trouble getting motivated to take on what’s shaping up to be a beast of a year. You, too?

I enjoyed my time off over the holidays. Got in some golf with my dad and his buddies, ate great food and took time to step back and appreciate the phenomenal people I work with and our amazing industry. 

What gets me going at last? Reaching out to my team, friends and you. Much of my motivation comes from fellow marketers — what you need, what you worry about and what I can do to help you succeed. 

If you’re on the struggle bus with me, borrow some motivation from your coworkers and teammates, so we can gather together 12 months from now and toast each other for making it through another year. 

It’s time to strap on your marketer helmet and hit the starter. Here’s to another great year together. Let’s get the job done!


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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.


Om författaren

Ryan Phelan

As the co-founder of RPEOrigin.com, Ryan Phelan’s two decades of global marketing leadership has resulted in innovative strategies for high-growth SaaS and Fortune 250 companies. His experience and history in digital marketing have shaped his perspective on creating innovative orchestrations of data, technology and customer activation for Adestra, Acxiom, Responsys, Sears & Kmart, BlueHornet and infoUSA. Working with peers to advance digital marketing and mentoring young marketers and entrepreneurs are two of Ryan’s passions. Ryan is the Chairman Emeritus of the Email Experience Council Advisory Board and a member of numerous business community groups. He is also an in-demand keynote speaker and thought leader on digital marketing.

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Promote | DigitalMarketer

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Promote | DigitalMarketer

Up until now, any “promotion” your customers have done has been passive. But in the promotion stage, your customers actively spread the word about your brands, products, and services. They tell stories, make recommendations, and share your offers because they truly believe in them.

Active promotion may be an affiliate or commission relationship—or just a free offer for sending some new customers your way. The point is, it’s a win-win for both of you.

One thing worth mentioning before we dive in; Happy customers don’t promote, SUCCESSFUL customers do. 

Our biggest question in the Promote stage is: How are you going to turn your BEST customers into your marketing partners? 

If you don’t have a referral program, an affiliate program, or a valued reseller program … who is willing to drive your message to the organization you need to build out these programs? This is word of mouth marketing, and it is very important so start thinking about how you want to build this. 

Look to your most successful customers, they’re going to be the people who actively promote for you. But then, let’s think about our customers who already have our prospects but are offering a different product or service. 

At DigitalMarketer we are a training and certification company, we are not a services based company. What that means is we don’t compete with agencies or consultants. This also means that there is an opportunity for us to work with agencies and consultants. 

When we realized this we decided to launch our Certified Partner Program, which you can learn more about at DigitalMarketer.Com/Partner. This program lets us work with the largest segments of our customer base, who have customers that we want but they’re providing a solution that we’re not providing. 

When we train our customers, they are able to use our company frameworks to work with their clients. If their clients want to learn to do their marketing themselves? We’re the first education company they see.

So who is that for you? Remember, it’s not the happy clients that refer, it’s the successful clients. If you want to create more promoters, make sure that you’re doing everything that you can as a marketer to ensure that you’re marketing great products so you can see great results. 

How can our example companies accomplish this?

For Hazel & Hems, they can add an ambassador program to grow their instagram following and increase credibility with viral posts. 

Ambassadors can earn affiliate commissions, additional boutique reward points, and get the chance to build a greater following by leveraging the Hazel & Hems brand.

For Cyrus & Clark, they can offer discounted rates to their existing clients if those clients are willing to refer them to their strategic partners. 

For construction companies, this could be a home builder recommending Cyrus & Clark services to the landscapers, real estate developers, and interior designers that they work with to serve their customers.



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