In this blog, we’re going to put everything we’ve learned into action and I’ll show you what a link-building campaign might look like from a workflow standpoint. So naturally, we’ll revisit some concepts and techniques that I taught in previous modules and I’ll also give you an over-the-shoulder view of how the system works in reality.
A lot of link-building teams I’ve seen typically work with a linear model. The prospector does the prospecting, then the vetter does the vetting, and then the outreach manager sends the emails once everything is ready. Now, logo design experts used this method for many years and it does work.
Work More Efficiently
But what I’ve found to work more efficiently is a triangular model, especially when you’re using the techniques I’ve taught throughout this course. So here’s what it looks like at a high level. The prospector starts by looking for prospects based on a linkable point.
They’ll segment these prospects and pass over their research to the outreach manager who will begin drafting email templates for each segment. These are all things we’ve discussed throughout the course. The prospector will create a master Google sheet and clean up the list, then generate the blitz list and then they’ll pass over the campaign sheet to the vetter.
Pick Up Another Campaign
The prospector is out of this campaign so they’ll actually pick up another campaign to work on while the rest of the team does their part. Let’s continue with the vetter’s role. The vetter will review blitz list prospects in batches starting with valid emails found in the blitz list because it’s the fastest way to kick off a campaign and validate whether your outreach angle will work.
Again, all of these concepts were covered in previous blogs. After they’re done vetting this batch, they’ll contact the outreach manager and they’ll send off the first batch of emails. Now, while the vetting and outreach were happening, the prospector likely finished their work on the second campaign. They would have assigned more email templates to the outreach manager and the vetter would also start working on this campaign too.
Brainstorms More Opportunities
The cycle will continue where the prospector picks up the next campaign or brainstorms more opportunities and the system will continue to operate like a well-oiled machine. Now, by this point, none of these campaigns has been completed. They’re all just being validated with blitz lists. But once a campaign has been validated from a blitz list, the vetter will start manually reviewing the remainder of the URLs in that campaign.
Each day before they log off, they’ll ping the outreach manager to let them know that a batch of prospects is ready for them. Now, if you’re used to the linear model, then this might have been slightly difficult to envision. So let me give you an over-the-shoulder view of what this looks like in action. Alright, so let’s assume that our link-building team consists of one prospector, one vetter, and one outreach manager.
We’ll Call Them Sam, George, AndJosh
Sam, the prospector starts off by having a meeting with the content lead. They come up with a few different pages that need links. One on content marketing stats, another on blogging statistics, and one for their link-building post. Now, in this meeting, they establish rough pitch angles for each post and any assets that’ll be needed for the content to make the pitches work.
A card is created for each campaign in their project management tool, target URLs are added, and some rough notes for general guidance are added in the description. Alright, so we’re done brainstorming a small batch of campaigns, so as the prospector, I’ll drag one of them into the prospecting stage and start putting my research into a sheet.
Same As We Did For TheSEO Stats Campaign
As you can see, the note that I made is “same as we did for the SEO stats campaign.” In short, we checked link profiles of competing pages, analyzed anchors to create our segments, and then exported our prospects by segment. I won’t go deeper into this because we have a 3-part case study on how we did it for the SEO stats post, plus, I’ve taught the methodology in our prospecting module.
Let’s fast forward around 30 minutes, we end up with a spreadsheet-like this, where we’ve noted the linkable points which are the segments, the size of each segment, and some more detailed information for reference. And because our SOP says to add our sheet as a file to our card, I’ll do that. Now I’ll rename it to something like “Segments/Initial research.”
Time To Loop In Our Outreach Manager
All good! Time to loop in our outreach manager so they can start drafting email templates for each segment. Done. Alright, it’s time to actually create our campaign spreadsheet now. So for this campaign, we’d need to export all segments from Ahrefs Site Explorer. And all I would have to do is go to the backlink profile of a competing page, search for our segment’s footprint within the anchor and surrounding text, and then export the report.
All of this research was done in the previous stage. Now, for this particular campaign, I downloaded 14 reports in Ahrefs Site Explorer, one report per segment, and created a merged version of our master sheet with each URL labeled with their segment. And in total, we have 5,538 rows in this sheet. So I’ll add our “sheet link” in the custom field in the Notion Card because the SOP says to do it, and we’re ready to move on.
Filter The Results
The next thing I’d do is filter the results. And I’d start by removing obvious spam and irrelevant pages. So that might be URLs from Blogspot or URLs on .ru and .pw domains. I’d also remove URLs that contain certain footprints like /job/, /forum/ and a bunch of others that should be outlined in the SOP.
Finally, I’d deduplicate URLs by root domain, since we won’t want to contact people from the same website multiple times on the same campaign. And Google Sheets has a feature to do this. Just select your sheet, click on “Data”, hover over “Data cleanup”, and hit “Remove duplicates.” Our data has headers so I’ll check that, and then I’ll choose just the root domain column. Finally, hit “Remove duplicates,” and we’re done.
Sheet Shrunk From Over 5,500 URLs.
But as you can see, we’ve already done this and our sheet shrunk from over 5,500 URLs to just over 3,300. Now, this list is still quite large and there are probably a lot of URLs in here that we wouldn’t want to get links from. So this is when I’d start filtering by metrics. As a hypothetical example, I’m going to filter for pages that have less than 200 visits to their domain from organic search.
Then I’ll delete all of these rows. And if we remove the filter, you’ll see that we’re left with
1,360 prospects. From a quick scan, most of these pages look fine from a relevance standpoint. So the last thing I’m going to do is run our blitz list to find as many valid emails as we can fast.
I’ve already covered how to do this in blog 3.3, so feel free to watch that for more information. Anyway, here’s what our sheet looks like now. As the prospector, I’m officially done with this campaign, so I’ll hand it off to the vetter by assigning him to the project management system and letting him know where I left off.
Then I’ll go and pick up my next project and rinse and repeat. Alright, let’s move on to the vetter. Now, because we’ve already found some valid email addresses in our blitz list, that’s where the vetter is going to start. So we’ll filter for just “valid” email addresses and we were able to attain this information by using never bounce API.
Visit Each Of Pages
Now, George is going to visit each of these pages and go through our vetting checklist. And for each URL that matches all criteria, he’ll mark the status down as “Ready.” And for pages that don’t match the criteria, he’ll mark them as “Disqualified.” Now, after he’s finished going through the valid blitz list prospects, he’s going to tag the outreach manager to let them know that the blitz list has been vetted. And we’ll get to the outreach manager a bit.
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As for the vetter, they’ll likely work on the next campaign that the prospector has sent because the point of the blitz list is to quickly validate how successful your campaign might be without putting in all the manual work of finding contacts and vetting URLs. But for illustration purposes, let’s say we got a 9.5% conversion rate from blitz list prospects.
Campaign Is Validated
Assuming that was good in our books, then the campaign is validated. So the vetter would simply go through all the other URLs that don’t have a valid status and find email addresses for the ones that are qualified. Alright, let’s move on to the outreach manager.
We need to rewind a bit here because the outreach manager’s work is dependent on the prospector’s and vetter’s deliverables. So again, before the prospector merged and cleaned the prospects list, the outreach manager was given a sheet-like this where the linkable points, or segments, were outlined along with additional details. So while the prospector and vetter are doing their work, the outreach manager will be busy writing email drafts for each segment and templating them, just as I had shown you in blog 4.3. in the outreach module.
Once You Have Done This
They’d need to set up the campaign in their outreach tool. And this will vary based on the tool you use. Now, once the vetter pings the outreach manager to let them know that the blitz list has been vetted, the outreach manager would go to the sheet and export contacts in the “Ready” status. And in this case, we’ve built a custom formula to automatically populate this list.
To avoid accidentally sending the same person a duplicate email, they’re going to update the sheet and change any status that’s in the “Ready” state to the “Sent” State. Then they’d upload the export file to their outreach tool, and go through the outreach process.
Workflows Guided By The Sops
These workflows are guided by the SOPs and the system makes it possible to work collaboratively in an organized fashion. But something to note is that people work at different paces and with different levels of experience. So you’re going to have to monitor and optimize your systems and workflows accordingly.
Now, from an efficiency standpoint, with a team of 3, you can potentially send hundreds or maybe even thousands of personalized emails in a week depending on how strict you are with vetting and the number of prospects you have. Now, while scaling can be exciting, you shouldn’t be using these systems and workflows to spam people because you’ll just be doing an overly complicated link-building strategy without results to show for your effort.
Nothing I’ve taught in this course is a magic formula and it does take some creativity to execute successfully. Take the extra time to vet your prospects, go the extra mile with personalization even if your output suffers a bit, and I’m confident that you’ll find the link-building process more effective, efficient, and enjoyable. And that’s a wrap. Thanks so much for joining me in this link-building course.