Authority Building: Expanding Past Your Website

Dave Snyder

on

September 12, 2023 (Updated: October 19, 2023)

Yellow and white text on blue background, that reads "Authority Building: Expanding Past Your Website" by Dave Snyder at CopyPress.

In the previous guide, we discussed how to create authority from expertise, where I broke down:

  • The difficulty of turning expertise into content, including getting stakeholder buy-in.
  • Types of content to focus on when building your authority.
  • Examples of workflows to manage your authority-driven campaign, with a breakdown of interview management.
  • How to optimize your author bio pages for search using schema.

This week, we’re covering the use of websites beyond your own to increase your authority. You can use these concepts for a number of marketing channels and PR, reputation management, link building, and more can benefit from the activity of creating authority.

In case you missed it:

Authority Building: Demystifying Authorship and Authority

Authority Building: Creating Authority From Expertise

While SEO has traditionally been the primary beneficiary of authority-building efforts, it’s crucial to recognize that the advantages extend far beyond search engine rankings. Tactics commonly associated with link building and digital PR can offer a wealth of benefits across various marketing channels.

Rethinking the SEO-Only Perspective

The conventional approach to SEO often involves a linear strategy, focusing solely on the direct benefits of search rankings. However, citations and mentions across the web offer value that transcends SEO.

Activities typically labeled as link building or digital PR can also contribute to brand-building, influencer engagement, and online reputation management. It’s time to broaden your perspective and identify additional value streams that you can tap into through these activities. 

The Power of Linkless Attribution

While SEO professionals often prioritize link acquisition, there’s substantial value in securing quotes from your experts on external platforms — even without a backlink. Establishing a rapport with writers can pave the way for future linked citations.

Moreover, frequent quotes from your experts can integrate your brand into AI training data, offer immediate digital PR benefits, and serve as valuable content for your social media campaigns. 

Collaborating Across Channels

When you engage teams and adopt a multi-channel approach, there are several key steps to prioritize: 

1. Create a Target List

When planning your outreach strategy, consider involving your Digital PR and social media teams. They may already have valuable relationships with content creators that you can leverage immediately. Coordinate your efforts to avoid any overlap or conflicts.

2. Define KPIs for Each Channel

To secure buy-in from various departments, tailor your program to include KPIs that are relevant to their objectives. Whether it’s relationship-building for Digital PR or content creation for social media, align your strategy with their goals.

3. Integrate Calendars

Once you’ve established cross-channel partnerships, keep everyone in the loop by integrating them into your content calendars. This ensures seamless communication and timely content releases. 

Building Relationships Over Transactions

Prioritize relationships when doing outreach over the transaction you’re aiming for. Keep these points in mind: 

Personalize Your Outreach

In an era when inboxes are cluttered with generic pitches, personalized outreach is your ticket to standing out. Go beyond templated emails and engage with your targets on social media. Customized, genuine interactions can make a lasting impression. 

Offer Value First

Before asking for something, offer something of value. Whether it’s an interview opportunity on your platform or a guest post slot, providing value upfront can significantly improve your success rate in securing content shares.

Cut Through the Noise

Later, we’ll delve deeper into strategies for making your pitches resonate in an oversaturated market. Stay tuned for actionable insights on how to elevate your outreach game.

By adopting a multifaceted approach to pitching, you can unlock tons of opportunities that go beyond SEO to enrich your overall marketing strategy.

Strategies for Amplifying Authority: A Multi-Faceted Approach

Building authority extends far beyond your own platforms. It’s a multi-channel endeavor that you can amplify significantly through strategic external engagement. Here, we explore three key avenues for enhancing your authority, including interviews, data stories, and authored or co-authored content on relevant platforms: 

1. Leveraging Interview Opportunities

One effective way to amplify your authority is by identifying the right platforms for interviews. Specialized tools like CopyPress’s proprietary Prospect Plan software are invaluable at this stage and can help you find publishers that already feature interviews in your area of expertise.

If you prefer a hands-on approach, Google search operators like inurl and intitle can also yield useful results. But don’t just stop at finding the right platform. Go the extra mile and identify and pitch to the specific authors who have written pieces that align with your expertise.

A well-crafted, comprehensive pitch outlining potential topics for interviews can make all the difference, especially if you stay updated on trending issues in your industry.

Image of Prospect Plan by CopyPress

2. Crafting Data-Driven Narratives

Another avenue for building authority is through data-driven narratives. Tools like Prospect Plan can help you identify publishers who are already disseminating data-rich content, such as infographics, whitepapers, or research articles.

Work closely with your team to develop fully fleshed-out content ideas that align with the publisher’s existing themes. The outreach strategy for data stories should mirror that of interview opportunities, targeting both publishers and individual authors of existing data-rich content.

3. Going Beyond Guest Posting With Authored Content

When it comes to authored or co-authored content, remember that you’re not just another guest poster. You represent a specific expert within a brand, which adds a layer of credibility to your pitch. So, take the time to introduce your experts, their areas of expertise, and their previous work. Offer potential topics but also stay open to topics the publisher suggests.

The inherent value of your expert’s knowledge and the brand’s reputation is more likely to yield higher-quality opportunities compared to generic guest posting. Customizing your pitch for each publisher or writer increases your chances of cutting through the noise and making a lasting impression.

By employing these multifaceted strategies, you’re not just building links or generating content. You’re establishing a robust, multi-channel authority that benefits your brand far beyond search rankings.

Navigating the Noise: Crafting Effective Pitches in a Crowded Space

In a digital landscape saturated with pitches, standing out from the crowd is more crucial than ever. The key to breaking through this noise isn’t just about the volume or frequency of your outreach. It’s also about the quality and authenticity of your communication.

Humanizing Your Pitch

First and foremost, it’s essential to approach pitching as a relationship-building exercise rather than a mere conversion tactic. The days of sending out mass, templated emails with minor personalization are long gone. Such approaches are easily spotted and often ignored or deleted.

Instead, focus on establishing a genuine relationship with your target. Offer something of value before asking for anything in return. For instance, instead of merely praising an article they’ve written, offer them an opportunity to take part in an interview on a subject they’re passionate about. 

The Power of Personalization

While automation tools have their place in modern marketing, they shouldn’t be the cornerstone of your pitching strategy. Relying solely on automation often results in lower-quality engagements with publishers and experts.

If you’re aiming for high-value targets, you’ll need to invest time and effort into crafting personalized messages. A personal and individualized pitch is far more likely to capture attention and foster meaningful connections. 

Pre-Engagement on Social Media

Before you send out that first email, consider laying the groundwork through professional social media engagement. This doesn’t mean aimlessly liking or sharing posts — it means engaging in a meaningful way.

Share experts’ content with insightful commentary, add value to the conversation when you respond to posts, and interact as you would in a professional setting. This not only helps in relationship building but also sets the stage for a more receptive audience when you do reach out with your pitch.

By adopting these strategies, you’re not just another voice in the cacophony of pitches. You become a notable presence offering value, authenticity, and relevance.

And this is how you navigate through the noise to create impactful, lasting relationships that benefit your authority-building efforts.

Building Authority Through Collaboration: The Hipmunk Case Study

In 2014, CopyPress embarked on an ambitious authority-building campaign for Hipmunk.com, a travel website that would later be acquired by SAP Concur. The campaign serves as an instructive case study on how to build authority through strategic partnerships and content creation:

Crafting the Campaign

The primary objectives of the campaign were twofold:

  1. Populate Hipmunk’s website with expert insights on hotels and flights.
  2. Enhance the site’s search and brand visibility through increased backlinks.

To achieve these goals, we devised a strategy to collaborate with travel bloggers who had specialized knowledge of particular cities. These bloggers would create content for both Hipmunk.com and their own blogs, introducing their readers to the Hipmunk brand.

It was crucial for us to label this content transparently as “sponsored” to maintain credibility. We also implemented a system to monitor the creation of new URLs and the performance of external content. This allowed us to assess the effectiveness of individual contributors and the campaign as a whole. 

Building and Managing Relationships

The first step in our outreach was to compile a list of potential travel blogger partners. We vetted these candidates meticulously, eliminating those who were openly selling links on their websites. After an internal review by Hipmunk’s PR team, we initiated contact and negotiations with the selected bloggers.

Once we established these partnerships, we focused on operational details, such as payment arrangements and training the bloggers to write in Hipmunk’s brand voice.

To manage the campaign effectively, we developed a reporting system that tracked key metrics like open and click-through rates. We also established a help desk to promptly address any questions or concerns from our blogger partners.

Navigating Brand Guidelines

One of the most challenging aspects of the campaign was aligning the unique voices of individual travel bloggers with Hipmunk’s brand guidelines. Instead of imposing rigid constraints, we opted for a more flexible approach and set up “guardrails” that allowed the bloggers’ authoritative voices to complement Hipmunk’s brand tone.

The key to this approach’s success was treating the bloggers as partners rather than just contractors, listening to their concerns, and collaboratively resolving any content creation issues. 

Measurable Success

The campaign was a resounding success by any metric. We engaged over 100 travel writers who contributed content to Hipmunk.com and their own platforms.

The campaign also led to the creation of 15,000 new pages on Hipmunk’s website and a significant increase in organic search traffic, which grew from 87,000 monthly visitors in 2014 to a peak of 1.2 million monthly visitors in 2017.

Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Going

Let’s take a moment to reflect on the ground we’ve covered.

We began by looking at the foundation of Google’s interest in authorship, where it stands today, and the value of optimizing authorship for Google.

Then, we examined the challenges of transforming expertise into content, focusing on the types of content that can elevate your authority. We delved into the intricacies of stakeholder buy-in, content workflows, and the importance of optimizing author bio pages for search engines.

This week, we shifted our focus to the broader applications of authority building and explored how digital PR, reputation management, and link building can all benefit from creating authority. We emphasized the need to think beyond SEO and consider other valuable outcomes like brand building and influencer engagement.

Our deep dive into the tactical side of authority building showcases strategies for pitching content and creating relationships rather than transactions. We also highlighted the importance of personalized communication and the role of social media in establishing meaningful connections.

Coming Next: The Authority Building Machine

In our final installment, we’ll bring all of these elements together to show you how to create an “Authority Building Machine.”

We’ll cover:

  • How to get buy-in and build the campaign so you can secure stakeholder approval and set your campaign in motion.
  • How to organize your outreach and content creation efforts with a well-structured calendar.
  • How you can master the art of conducting interviews using structures that provide valuable insights for your content creation efforts.
  • How to understand the review process to ensure your content meets quality standards.
  • How to start your outreach and manage timelines with publishers with tips on initiating outreach and keeping your campaign on schedule.
  • How to monitor and review Google’s use of schema so you can keep track of how Google interprets and displays your content.
  • How to get the most out of your content by repurposing it and reusing assets across different platforms.
  • How authority building can boost your sales metrics directly and indirectly.

We’ll conclude this series by tying it all together into a cohesive strategy, so you can build a sustainable authority-building machine that drives results across multiple channels.

Sign up for the CopyPress newsletter if you haven’t yet and stay tuned for the final guide in this Authority Building series.

Author Image - Dave Snyder
Dave Snyder

CopyPress writer

More from the author:

Read More About Content Marketing