I love lists. It's pretty obvious, this post is even a list.
Lists organize your thoughts, priorities, and objectives. Lists give you a clear understanding of what to do, and if you can't do it, you can easily hand it off to someone else to do. No matter what, lists create a process. You want your processes to be as efficient as possible, and then be able to live beyond you.
"Action expresses priorities" – Ghandi
I'm not sure how much he knew about link-building, but this is some damn good sage advice to keep in mind.
There are many different types of lists; people, customers, tasks, or even target goals. Businesses make lists of all sorts of things, for all sorts of reasons. Seldom, however, do I see businesses making effective lists for their content marketing efforts. They don't need to be complicated, they can be very simple, but they should be extremely functional and serve a very targeted purpose.
Here are 3 lists that every business should make to scale their content marketing efforts that much faster:
The term "influencer" gets thrown around a lot, and a lot of people hate it.
I won't lie, I have my qualms with it, and I've even been thrown on multiple "influencer" lists.
If it helps, don't think of them as "influencers" think of them as people with either a large audience, big connections, or simply high-leverage targets.
You want these kind of people on your side, you want to connect with them, you want to engage with them, you want to seek feedback from them, you want them to replicate what you say, you want their audience. It's as simple as that.
"Influencers" are basically like the modern-day gatekeepers, people who have built an audience and can simply open a door for you to a world of opportunities.
Specifically, they should have an audience that is in your niche or has a crowd that is highly-targeted at your business goals. What I mean by this is that a person who has 10,000 followers that are highly interested in what you do is far more important to you than someone with 20,000 followers that couldn't be bothered with what you do.
Find the people whose audience would really connect to your message, it shouldn't be hard for you, and make a list.
The reasons you want an influencer list are pretty straight-forward:
Here's an 8 step process to setting up an influencer list:
Calling your influencer list "ballers" is awesome, but also not mandatory
You can follow my 8 steps above or read Alex's more in-depth post from the link above – either way, set up an influencer list and use it to make your content go the extra mile and get the lift that it so needs.
You can call this list a dream-list, a PR list, or whatever you want.
I call it a "hit-list" because I think it's more accurate, and though it might seem to have a bad, mobbish vibe, let's be real about it – you're trying to make some serious moves with this list.
Let's call it what it is, this is your hit list of targets.
As you build out your influencer list the two may overlap, that's a good thing.
If while you're building out your influencer list you come across sites that you'd love to have links from, your effort forming a relationship with those people will serve two purposes at once.
As you reach out to influencers that overlap with site you want backlinks from, be sure to be as forthright as possible in giving as much value as possible so that those influencers feel compelled to either mention you on their site, let you contribute to their blog, or feel more inclined to set up a strategic partnership (mutual client perks, integrations, things of that nature) that could turn into links to your site and further your business goals.
Basically because these are the sites that you want links from.
They are high-authority, or at least highly-targeted to your site. Links from these sites will not only refer multiple customers your way, they will make you seem more authoritative, they will help you rank higher in Google for all queries that might relate to that link, and they serve as a bridge to more opportunities.
Here's a 5 step process to create your backlink hit-list:
This one is wildly under-utilized, and it really shows for a lot of startups where their content just doesn't get off the ground.
You need a checklist to amplify every piece of content you have.
The amplification should come before your post is even published, which makes it that much more important to have the checklist.
Once you've hit publish and then you say "okay, now to promote it" it's too late.
An amplification checklist is mainly efficient as serving as a reminder and framework.
You're about to hit publish but you stop because you've made the mistake of not hitting a couple things on the checklist before, and remember that it hurt you not to.
You check the checklist and start rattling down through it. By the time you're done your article has the best chance to get a bunch of shares and views, and you can call it a day.
If it's well laid out enough, it's easy to hand off to someone and that person could make each post get a large % more shares, more traffic, and give you more opportunities for subscribers, customers, social followers, the works.
It's really easy to set up, just make it a spreadsheet or Google Doc, or some other task list, but include all of these things:
Then for the really successful posts you should have another list for future amplification:
Here's an example of what JotForm's looks like specifically if someone posts an article about JotForm (a bit different than if they post the article themselves):
Simple, straight-forward, and effective.
If you want to go even more in depth however, do as Crew does with their amplification methods (broken down into types of content, and where it's posted) that feature a 3 pronged attack, whereby if a content piece reaches a certain point of success it has earned a "second push" then at another level it reaches a "third push" this way they aren't wasting time on posts that aren't connecting, and they are giving more life to posts that have connected very well.
“We call it a “1,2,3 Push” system; three rounds of pushes for each type of content we make. Content has to earn the right to get all 3 pushes.
— Mikael Cho, Founder of Crew
Here's how they break it down for a blog post:
Here's the process for a tool like Unsplash:
Building out these three lists (and being thorough) will help your content marketing be far more successful and easier than it otherwise would be.