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Building a Brand (PR) - FirstPrinciples

The Advanced Guide Link Building For

SaaS

~ 5 Min read

Building a Brand (PR)

CHAPTER 1

Link Building

In simple words, link prospecting is the process of discovering relevant backlink opportunities for your website you want to get a link on. From using Google’s advanced search results to sneaking up on your competitors, there are several places where you can search for new link sources:

  • SERP Research – Google
  • Your competitors
  • Quora and other Q&A forums
  • Industry directories, etc.

There are some advanced Link prospecting tools as well, like Ahrefs, Citation labs link prospector, etc.

Before jumping into how you can search for new backlink opportunities or how you can use the aforementioned tools, it’s vital that you’ve already identified your Target keywords.

SERP Research

The right backlink opportunities are just a search away, all you’ve to do is type in the magic keywords and voila, you have got a list of relevant websites. But is it that simple to find these links? No.

While Google is, undoubtedly your best resource for almost everything, you need to input a little more effort in order to get the desired results. The most common advanced search operators for prospecting are:

Intext

Returns web documents or pages in which the body text contains the keyword following the colon, e.g., intext:license plates.

This search query returns all the pages with the keyword “license plates” in their body text, regardless of whether it’s a home page or a blog post or otherwise. You can use the same format for intext operator as you used for intitle operator.

Inurl

Returns web documents or pages in which the URL contains the keyword following the colon, e.g., intitle:license plates.

This search query returns all the pages with the keyword “license plates” in their URL, regardless of whether it’s a home page or a blog post or otherwise. You can use the same format for inurl operator as you used for intitle operator.

Site

This operator is used to search within a specific website, e.g., site:ahrefs.com or sites with a specific extension with the keyword mentioned in the query, e.g., site:.au “keyword” This operator can be used with a combination of other operators as well, like:

  • site:abc.com/folder
  • site:subdomain.abc.com
  • site:abc.com “keyword”
  • site:abc.uk “industry” “blog”
  • site:.edu “keyword” – this will only return results that have a .edu extension with the keyword.

The “site” operator is perfect to spy on your competitor or your potential guest blogger. With the right keywords, you can also check what topics your guest blogger hasn’t covered yet on their blog or site, and then approach them with the same making your pitch more customized to their audience.

For effective Google results, you need to concatenate your target keywords with the right operators and phrases. You can generate these phrases here.

Competitor’s Backlink Profile

As already mentioned above, you can also use the “site” operator to spy on your competitors, all you need to do is use the phrase below:

Competitor’s Name -site:competitorwebsite.com
Or
Site:Competitorwebsite.com

Once you’ve got the top 30 -40 results, add the links on a spreadsheet. The next to do will be checking those links on Backlink Checker tools – Monitor Backlinks is one such tool that helps you do that.

Here your goal is to check which of your competitor pages have the most high-quality links. This can also give you an idea of the type of content which works for companies in your target industry and which sites are linking to that content.

Using Link Prospecting Tools - Ahrefs

While there are other link prospecting tools as well such as Citation Labs link prospector, we will be using Ahrefs for now. You can also get the same results using Ahrefs reverse engineering. Once you’ve entered your competitors’ URL, click on “Backlink Profile” and you can check the type of links they’re acquiring and what type of industries they have backlinks on. You can also filter the links by clicking on the “Link Type” option.

Another amazing feature of Ahrefs backlink profile is the “Broken Link Report”. This report gives you an opportunity to contact them and offers one of your links as a replacement.

Qualifying Link Prospects

Now that you’ve curated a list of link prospects, you need to check whether it’s a good or a bad potential link.

Metrics to Track

Here are a few metrics that you should check out whether or not it’s worth approaching the websites for backlinks. You can check this entire data on Ahrefs as well:

Keyword Density

Determine whether the link is relevant to your product or industry at all. Check for your target keywords or relevant keywords in the various elements of the page, like the URL of the page, Title tag, and <h1>.
The occurrence of your target keywords in one or more of these elements is your green signal.

Domain Rating (DR)

Ahrefs assigns DR upon considering the strength of the website’s overall backlink profile. The higher the Domain rating of a website, the better the chances of it ranking.

URL Rating (UR)

It shows the strength of the target pages’ link profile. The higher the URL rating of a page, the better the chances of it ranking in the search results.

Referring Domain

It is the no. of unique domains that are linking to your target website. The higher the referring domains, the more authoritative the URL is. You can also check other metrics like Organic Traffic, Social Shares, the average number of comments per post (engagements), etc.

CHAPTER 2

Outreach

Backlinks are a digital form of “Word of mouth” that gives credibility to your website and products and thus contribute to your overall website strength. The more True Backlinks you have, the better traffic your website will drive which will eventually result in more conversions.

Rand Fishkin has broadly categorized link building efforts into three segments – Outreach, Broadcast, and Paid amplification.”

Outreach involves one-on-one personalized communication that aims at building relationships with individuals, organizations, and influencers who are relevant to your industry. This eventually helps in increasing the awareness and visibility of your brand. You can connect with them either with a professional email, a phone call, a comment on their blog post, or a LinkedIn connection request.

Broadcast Sending out messages in bulk to a particular audience and hoping that someone will pick it up and accept your request for backlinking. Email blasts, subscription to a newsletter, or a blog post.

Paid amplification Running social ads, native ads, retargeting, or a combination of all.

Among all these practices, Outreach is by far the best one. Before getting started with the outreach process, here are a few things you should know beforehand:

  • None of this matters if you don’t have good quality content
  • Request links only when your content is relevant to the blog readers
  • Gather all the proper details beforehand – their Email ID, Website, Name, etc
  • Prepare an email template for every situation, e.g., asking them for a backlink in exchange for a backlink, if you’ve something exclusive to offer, etc

Once you’ve everything in place, here’s what outreach will look like:

Finding Relevant Bloggers

Using the techniques discussed in Chapter 2, you can find bloggers who can write about your niche. They can be some experts or influencers in the same niche, who have lots of followers(these followers can be your future customers).

Using Google

As usual, Google always comes to our rescue when others fail. All you need is to use the right keywords to find them.

For example, you can type in something like:

  • write for us <your niche>
  • guest post <insert niche here>
  • product review <insert niche here>
Using Blog Directories

Did you know that the internet has separate directories for bloggers? Yes. These blogger directories are basically resourced pages or listings where bloggers add their sites and help fellow bloggers and people.

Some of the blog directories include:

  • www.ontoplist.com
  • www.blogs.botw.org
  • www.bloglovin.com

You can also find blog directories using the techniques discussed in Chapter 2.

By Checking Your Competitors

Keeping an eye on your competitors can provide you some useful insights, and getting bloggers is one of them.

A tool called SpyFu can be used for this. It will give you a peek at your competitors, and you can get information regarding their backlinks as well.

Identifying the Influencers

Once you know who is relevant to your product, you need to check who should you reach out to.

Journalists and Tech Writers

Journalists and Tech Writers

Since your aim is to get a review from them or mention, you’re looking for do-follow links that will effectively contribute to your web authority. As far as “mention” is concerned, you might get a no-follow link. In this case, you can write an email to the writer, requesting them for a do-follow link.

Content Marketers and Bloggers

Content Marketers and Bloggers

In this case, you can pitch for a guest blogger slot on their blog where you can write about a topic their blog is about.

Industry analysts

Industry analysts

For Industry bloggers who are writing for your website, you can ask them to check out your product or service and then If the influencer writes about products or services from our niche, we ask them to check to add their review to the existing product.

Podcasters

Podcasters

Influencers can, at times, mention your product or service in their podcasts as well. Our suggestion will be to go for influencers in the same niche.

Rapport Building

Now that you know who you will be approaching, you need to establish a personal connection with them by researching about them and what are their hobbies, likes and then using that to connect with them on a personal level. For this, you can connect with them on different social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.

  1. Engage with them on their blog.
  2. Connect with them via a personal account.
  3. Share their content on our social network profile
  4. Engage with them on their blog.
  5. Engage with them on their blog.
  6. Engage with them on their blog.
  7. Engage with them on their blog.

The Email

Now that you know them, write a highly personalized email. You don’t need to personalize the complete email, you can personalize the first couple of lines about them or their organization and then discuss your company and the product and your purpose behind writing the email.

There are 2 types of links on a webpage:

Do-Follow and No-follow links

Do-Follow links are the ones that pass link equity and are guaranteed to help you rank
better. If a link is followed and that too from a top relevant website, then that particular link is the best one for you. By default, links are followed on the internet unless specified. Do-Follow links tells google spiders that the site is vouching for the domain the link is pointing to..

Nofollow links are ones that are tagged and do not pass link equity. These types of links may not be editorially controlled by the site administrators. When a google spider encounters a no-follow link,it does not follow it to crawl the domain associated with it hence the link juice is not passed. All link profiles have a no-follow link it. Sites such as Quora, Slideshare have no follow links by default.

Analyze Your Results

You also need to keep a check on the results of your efforts, right?
The sole purpose of blogger outreach is backlinking.

Keeping a track of your backlinks will help you analyze what you are doing right and what all you need to improve. For this, you can use Google Analytics and create an Advanced Segment. Create a single segment for all the domains you’ve guest posted for.

Then use Google Analytics to see what the data is from your backlink building efforts. This will tell you if your efforts were fruitful or not and will include the amount of traffic and conversions you’ve got.

CHAPTER 3

Building a Brand (PR)

As SaaS startups are becoming increasingly popular these days (73% companies are expected to be entirely run on SaaS by 2021), this makes it important for SaaS companies to work on their PR to make their stand out in the market. For building a PR, your main focus will be on journalists and influencers. To build a strong brand presence for your company or website, you need to do the following:

Know and highlight your USPs

Knowing and utilizing your USPs is crucial for your business as this is what steps you apart from your competitors. Study your competitors well and chalk out what are your strengths and what sets you apart from them.

Also, focus on the benefits of your product, and check if you are indeed addressing your customer’s problems and providing them apt and quick solutions.

Share stories

People love listening to stories, especially the ones they can relate to. Don’t just brag about your successes, try to make your story more realistic. Tell them the good and bad, the ups and downs you had to face when starting off. It’s when people know you, believe you, or can relate to you, that they tend to trust you enough for the services you provide. For this try to have interviews with company CEOs or their podcasts.

Your employee stories are as important as your own. Sharing employee stories and channeling their opinions and ideas is a great way to showcase the personality of your business. It doesn’t have to be relevant to technology or your product all the time, you can use their thoughts to showcase your commitment to social responsibility.

Position your product

For this, you need to have a clear understanding of how you want to position your company in the market. Once you understand that, it’ll be easier for you to come up with a story for your business. Having a story that your target audience will relate to, might be beneficial for your brand.

Reach out to influencers

You can also approach various influencers and bloggers to enhance your brand presence. (This is already discussed in the link building and blogger outreach section).

Building good relationships with influencers and bloggers can take you a long way. Although, as stated earlier, the links from most publications now are nofollowed, they can send a good amount of referral traffic.

Press release

To get started, find an angle that the journalist might find worth covering. Find something newsworthy about your company.

You might also like to use statistics and solid facts presented in an engaging way, some kind of data that can back up the story being shared in the press release. Make sure you spread the word about your SaaS brand via all possible channels. Ensure that you focus on both traditional PR and digital PR.

Podcasts and Webinars

Podcasts are an untapped marketing channel for SaaS companies and can single handedly prove a great lead generator (free signup or trial registrations) if done right and also help you get a solid backlink.

Use Social Media

The most valuable tool for software companies is most probably, Social media as it acts as an additional channel to drive traffic to your website from an audience that you might not have been able to reach otherwise.

Share as much information as you can on your social media accounts from your business name to bio to your mission, etc.

Also, ensure that you keep on posting quality content related to company announcements, blog posts, webinars, podcasts, etc, and try to have a regular posting schedule. Social Media Automation Tools like Hootsuite, HubSpot can come in handy when scheduling your posts in advance.

Social media can also benefit you in building good relations with your target community. You can create discussion groups where you can address the queries of your audience in no time. Also, make sure all your posts are helpful and have a purpose.

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Building a Brand (PR)
Building a Brand (PR)

Building a Brand (PR)

As SaaS startups are becoming increasingly popular these days (73% companies are expected to be entirely run on SaaS by 2021), this makes it important for SaaS companies to work on their PR to make their stand out in the market. For building a PR, your main focus will be on journalists and influencers. To build a strong brand presence for your company or website, you need to do the following:

Know and highlight your USPs

Know and highlight your USPs

Knowing and utilizing your USPs is crucial for your business as this is what steps you apart from your competitors. Study your competitors well and chalk out what are your strengths and what sets you apart from them.

Also, focus on the benefits of your product, and check if you are indeed addressing your customer’s problems and providing them apt and quick solutions.

Share stories

Share stories

People love listening to stories, especially the ones they can relate to. Don’t just brag about your successes, try to make your story more realistic. Tell them the good and bad, the ups and downs you had to face when starting off. It’s when people know you, believe you, or can relate to you, that they tend to trust you enough for the services you provide. For this try to have interviews with company CEOs or their podcasts.

Your employee stories are as important as your own. Sharing employee stories and channeling their opinions and ideas is a great way to showcase the personality of your business. It doesn’t have to be relevant to technology or your product all the time, you can use their thoughts to showcase your commitment to social responsibility.

Position your product

Position your product

For this, you need to have a clear understanding of how you want to position your company in the market. Once you understand that, it’ll be easier for you to come up with a story for your business. Having a story that your target audience will relate to, might be beneficial for your brand.

Reach out to influencers

Reach out to influencers

You can also approach various influencers and bloggers to enhance your brand presence. (This is already discussed in the link building and blogger outreach section).

Building good relationships with influencers and bloggers can take you a long way. Although, as stated earlier, the links from most publications now are nofollowed, they can send a good amount of referral traffic.

Press release

Press release

To get started, find an angle that the journalist might find worth covering. Find something newsworthy about your company.

You might also like to use statistics and solid facts presented in an engaging way, some kind of data that can back up the story being shared in the press release. Make sure you spread the word about your SaaS brand via all possible channels. Ensure that you focus on both traditional PR and digital PR.

Podcasts and Webinars

Podcasts and Webinars

Podcasts are an untapped marketing channel for SaaS companies and can single handedly prove a great lead generator (free signup or trial registrations) if done right and also help you get a solid backlink.

Use Social Media

Use Social Media

The most valuable tool for software companies is most probably, Social media as it acts as an additional channel to drive traffic to your website from an audience that you might not have been able to reach otherwise.

Share as much information as you can on your social media accounts from your business name to bio to your mission, etc.

Also, ensure that you keep on posting quality content related to company announcements, blog posts, webinars, podcasts, etc, and try to have a regular posting schedule. Social Media Automation Tools like Hootsuite, HubSpot can come in handy when scheduling your posts in advance.

Social media can also benefit you in building good relations with your target community. You can create discussion groups where you can address the queries of your audience in no time. Also, make sure all your posts are helpful and have a purpose.

CHAPTER 2

Outreach

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