Create Content that Earns Links with Sam Hollingsworth @SearchMasterGen #VCBuzz

Create Content that Earns Links with Sam Hollingsworth @SearchMasterGen #VCBuzz

Link acquisition is something we can talk for ages, never finding a tactic that will work for everyone.

But there’s one big change you can embrace to improve your overall link building results: Create content with links in mind.

Let’s discuss just that: How to create content that earns links

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About @SearchMasterGen

Sam Hollingsworth @SearchMasterGen director of search @Elevation10k and former SEO manager @Acronym_Media.

As a former full-time reporter and page designer, and a devout lover of journalism, Sam frequently lends his voice to a variety of publications as a freelance writer, including Search Engine Journal.

Questions we discussed

Q1 How did you become a digital marketer? Please share your career story!

Like many SEOs I’ve met throughout my career, I landed in SEO and Content Marketing from the World of Journalism. I worked at a local newspaper in Saratoga Springs, NY, fresh out of college, but soon faced the reality many journalist faced: it’s a struggling industry.

So, I did what anyone would do. I packed my bags and moved to NYC.

I was lucky enough to land at Acronym Media, a fun, privately-owned digital agency in the Empire State Building. I was able to work along some of the brightest minds and mentors in marketing, network across the world, and really build my skill set as a marketer there.

When we had my son, I was focused on getting back Upstate where I was from. @Elevation10K found me, and it’s been a lot of fun ever since!

Q2 How to create content that earns links? Are there certain types?

All “types” of content can be valuable when they have a defined purpose and satisfy that purpose. Of course, there are many layers within that, including what kinds of content perform better for specific audiences, etc.

For us, as marketers, we need to know our audience and know what matters to them. Obviously, written words are critical in so many aspects of messaging, but there are so many other ways to communicate. We need to make sure we are using the best content types for that.

Sometimes, text-written content (blog post, etc.) is the best form of content to get a message across. But other times, a video is a better way to communicate a message, perhaps because it’s too complex or maybe it just relies heavily on the visual aspect.

Best piece of advice there is: know your audience. As a member of that audience, what would resonate with you? What matters most to you? What kind of content would help differentiate your brand?

Even better. Create your own data sets and talk to the experts yourself.

Q3 Should we expect links to come or should content creation be combined with outreach / social media?

The best content will get linked to naturally throughout time. But that doesn’t mean outreach isn’t helpful and useful!

Outreach will only hurt your brand if it’s invasive, annoying, and/or seemingly meaningless.

Any industry thought leader would be interested, at least to some extent, with insightful stats, studies, or outlooks on their industry. And they are usually more than willing to chime in! Outreach can have a HUGE impact on high-quality content and garnishing links.

Q4 How to organize link-focused content creation to turn it into a consistent strategy?

To echo @MLLNNLmotivator (somewhat), focus less on adding the links and focus more on serving your audience content that matters. Of course we want to add quality backlinks. But we also want to engage with industry thought leaders, compile useful data, etc.

But, like a lot of elements of SEO and digital marketing, it’s an ever-changing environment that’s consistently combatting spam, etc.

When you find tactics that work — specific content types, places to share your ideas, though leaders than engage with the community — you’re not going to stop there.

But, yes … one word that will never go away regarding this topic: CONSISTENCY.

Q5 What are your favorite content creation and link building tools?

A growing number of platforms like SEMRush, moz, and ahrefs offer helpful tools to help identify content gaps on your brand’s website, but also to find what if being talk about throughout your industry, what’s the hot/not hot topics, etc.

Can’t forget about @serpstat! Like I said, growing number of platforms.

Pitchbox was a tool I used early and often in my link-building trials and tribulations, but I have become more comfortable leading my own outreach charges. It just helps to be OCD and well-organized when keeping track of a lot of this info on your own in a spreadsheet.

Our previous link building chats:

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