Yes, you guessed it. The phone. Picking up the phone to have a conversation is nothing new. People have been doing it for quite some time and, turns out, it still works! Email and social media platforms are great, but hearing someone's voice adds character to a conversation. I have had a lot of success using the phone to build relationships and build links. In this post, I will share some guidelines and pro tips for using the phone to build links, along with a recent example of success.
Where the magic happens.
How to Find Link Reclamation Opportunities
Set up Google alerts for your company or your client’s company. You can set it up so that once a day, you will receive a message in your inbox that lets you know where the company of interest has been mentioned. When you open the article, check for a link, and ask yourself if a link would be useful for the reader in any way. If the answer is yes, you have yourself an opportunity. Congrats.
Pro Tip for Agency Folks: Always reach out to a client before picking up the phone to see if the PR team has relationships with the journalist/editor. This will save you time, effort and your reputation. Respect the relationships other folks have worked hard to build.
No Phone Number on the Contact Page? Go To About Us.
Often times, publications will have email addresses for editors on the “Contact Us” page, but no telephone number. “About Us” is your second go-to. Do not fear a generic phone number. Many publications have their editorial managed by a third party. When that is the case, whoever answers the phone will ask you which publication you are calling for. Just tell them and they will transfer you. #mindblown
Stop: Before you reach out for a link, do your research and decide which page you want the editors to link to, and which anchor text you want them to use. Don't think keyword-rich here. Think user experience. Choose a page of your website that is going to be helpful for readers and use text that tells readers exactly where that link is going to lead them. If you do this, you will increase your chances of getting your link by a lot. No editor wants to mislead their users . If you do not have a page on your site that will be useful for readers, either don’t reach out for a link, or create a new page or asset.
The Magic Words: “I am looking to have a change made to an existing article + Please"
When you get transferred to the publication, you will likely get a voice mail or someone who is going to take a message and pass it along to the appropriate person. Your message should be something like: “I am looking to have a change made to an existing article.” The person will likely call you back because they assume a name or statistic is wrong. When you tell them you are just looking to insert a link, it might even be a relief.
Pro Tip: Be respectful of the publication's editorial linking policies. Take a look at other articles to see if they typically link out. If they don't, proceed with caution. Either way, take the extra step of prefacing your request for a link by saying something like, “I apologize if this is against your editorial policy, but it would be really helpful for us if you could…”
While You’re on the Phone, Have a Conversation
Whodda thunk it? Once you have an executive editor on the phone that writes about your company, start a conversation with them. Ask them what they are working on. Let them know what you're working on. Is your company building a cool asset? Do you have an expert on the line that is willing to do an exclusive interview?
Of course, not everyone you call is going to have the time or the will to chat. Use your best judgment and take a hint if they sound busy or just plain over it.
The Fun Part: What Success Looks Like
The other day, I received this email after getting off of the phone with an editor of a highly regarded online magazine.
Stats of the site:
So, pick up the phone. Just try. It works.
Got other pro-phone tips? Success of your own? I'd love to hear it, please leave a comment.
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