Stacey MacNaught

Question One

Do you have set outreach templates you use? If so, do you outright say you’d like to ‘purchase’ a link or do you try and scoot around that?

Answer:

So… I tend not to do as much with bloggers now as I did for 2 reasons. Diminishing response rates being the first and value per link versus other tactics being the second. But when we do, I’ve found the most efficient way to reach bloggers is being through Facebook groups rather than cold emails. So I created a few groups for bloggers who wanted to work with brands. 

And I’ll literally create a google form with details I need, post a link to it in these groups with info about what I want (sponsored post, product review etc etc) and then I go through and pick the strongest. 

When doing outreach to journalists, it’s never about purchase really. Mostly about editorial.

Getting in touch with bloggers by email though I’m a big fan of doing whatever takes the least time (my time is of the greatest value to me and my staff’s time is often a greater cost than what I’m quoted for links). So getting straight to the point in a transactional relationship is often the best tactic in my view

Question Two

What’s the TOP 3 discriminations or obstacles you experienced as a woman?

Answer:

So I’ve been pretty lucky I think. I can only recall a handful of occasions where I’ve experienced any out and out gender based discrimination. I know lots of other women who’ve probably had it a lot worse.

The first time I encountered an issue was in a meeting with a client when I worked for an agency in Manchester. I was in attendance (as the then Head of Search) with a sales guy who knew very little about seo and, if I’m being blunt, was bloody useless. But the client insisted upon directing every question at said sales guy and even when I answered would ask the sales guy to verify that I was right. :woman_facepalming: 

At the end of the meeting he said “forgive the questioning. It’s just I often find men more reliable when talking business.” 

The joy. 

Where I think gender really presents the issue is when you become a parent. I had a pretty torrid time of it with a former employer over maternity. And honestly, were it not for the fact that my husband was happy to leave work to handle childcare I probably would have had to walk away from my work altogether in 2015. 

Then there’s the odd sleazebag at a conference but you get that in all walks of life. Not saying it’s right… but it’s not an industry specific issue. 

I actually think this is a great industry to be in as a woman. There’s a conscious effort on the part of many an organiser to get gender balance speaking line ups and we are vocal about discrimination as an industry I think. 

So I wouldn’t say gender has ever been an issue for me of serious significance – but I accept that some of the issues women face with career progression after becoming parents are very real and I’ve just been fortunate enough to have a husband prepared to take much of the childcare responsibility

Question Three

What is your link building approach? Suppose you have a brand new client starting at 0, what would be your first focuses?

Answer:

For any site I work on, on day 1 I start working on assets that can generate links. Image for Creative Commons licensing and distribution (https://www.staceymacnaught.co.uk/image-link-building/). And also building things that rank for “statistics” queries and thus have the potential to rank over time and build links passively (things like https://www.microbizmag.co.uk/startup-statistics/

And then there’s the usual housekeeping pieces like the decent NAP citations in a handful of directories, getting the usual review profiles set up on trust pilot, feefo. 

And whenever possible (it isn’t always) some launch PR. If there’s a nice story behind the founder I’ll go to the local press in their town for example for relatively easy win links. 

Guest posting still works too I find as a quick means of getting links to a new site homepage but as I’ve previously said, I don’t like cold outreach as response rates are awful. So I use facebook groups to find those opps or just outsource

Question Four

when you send out “easy”/creative campaigns – like a quiz, brain game, infographic etc., what type of text or message do you send with it? 

Both in the email and in the original press release/blog post that might contain the material(the linkable asset).

Answer:

On the brainteasers we do it’s really straightforward and short on the email front. We usually use the subject of the nature of the puzzle (e.g “can you spot the x hiding amongst the x”). 

In the email we include:

 – what the puzzle is of (what are the users looking for) 

– who made it 

– why did they make it (make up a nice reason – not “cos we want quick links :rofl::rofl:”) 

– how long should it take? We say the record time at our HQ was however long 

-include a small version of the puzzle on the email and links to google drive of a higher resolution version and a version with the solution marked 

We keep it short and simple. 

Recent example – https://www.womansday.com/life/a34522193/witch-hat-cat-puzzle/ 

They’re intended to be low intensity activities. We want the lot turned around (image, idea, pitch email and emails sent) in no more than about 4 hours all in. And while the return on this sort of activity is getting lower for sure it still represents decent value to us to pick up a handful of decent links. 

With regards attachments in emails in general, with the exception of those puzzles (and even then we attach a v small version and link to higher quality ones) we generally don’t attached anything but always include links to a google drive file with additional high res images, expert quotes etc.

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