Last week, I was in Los Angeles speaking and doing some workshops.
(I also saw Harry Hamlin at the airport, just hanging out in the Admiral’s Club. Celebrity sighting: Unlocked.)
I told the story of how, in 2010, I was mad enough about an internationally-known keynote speaker coming out on stage in blue jeans, that I wrote a blog post about it.
I’ve since softened my stance on the issue, but I still find it disrespectful to have a keynote speaker look like they just rolled out of bed.
When I wrote that, the entire world came out of the woodwork to comment on it.
Even Mitch Joel, who I had yet to meet, commented on it.
I remember saying to a friend, “MITCH JOEL COMMENTED ON SPIN SUCKS!!”
Even though it took up a lot of my time—and almost everyone disagreed with me—it anchored the Spin Sucks name in the industry.
It was one of the first times we had published anything with a contrarian view and it had happened accidentally.
The Contrarian View Works
As it turns out, though, publishing a contrarian view about something is exactly how content marketing works.
Sure, you also need to fill in with statistics and data, visual content, how-tos, and educational content, but that contrarian view every once in a while?
It’s not all rainbows and unicorns when you do publish a counter-opinion, though.
I remember vividly being in the Hertz parking lot at the Denver airport when Beware the Google+ Experts published.
A friend of Chris Brogan’s—who also happened to run one of the largest conferences at the time—came out with his guns a blazin’.
I never mentioned Chris by name (though people in the comments did)—I believe in debating the idea, not the person—this friend of Chris’s was not happy with me.
So much so, in fact, that he uninvited me to speak at his conference, and I was never again invited.
That didn’t feel very good, not to mention I was traveling while having to deal with the blowback on that.
But it also worked.
My friends and the Spin Sucks community, which was in its infancy, rallied around me and the blog continued to shine.
Earn Links and Build SEO
I use these stories to illustrate the importance of having a contrarian view when you create content.
It doesn’t have to be argumentative or rude, but it should show a unique perspective about something in your industry.
When we started blogging, we thought we had to show both sides of an issue and let our readers decide where they fell in the debate.
But it didn’t work.
It didn’t show how we think, prove we have brains, or provide any context that anyone else wasn’t already writing.
The contrarian view, however, works because it also earns links.
People link to content that creates conflict so you kill many birds with one stone.
Most content needs three types of links to have SEO success—links from high domain authority sites, links from other sites in your industry, and links to specific pages with strategic anchor text.
With the exception of the last one, communicators have the expertise to earn those links and help significantly with SEO.
Links from High Domain Authority Sites
The creme de la creme of high domain authority sites is the New York Times.
They have a score of 100, which makes them the most sought after link builder.
(Also one of the most difficult to get.)
But using our media relations skills, there are several ways we can earn links from high domain authority sites.
- Interviews, features, or comments. The easiest way, of course, is to work with a publication to interview your expert. In the published piece, make sure there is a link to your website. It should be to a specific page, not to your home page. Link to a page you want the publication’s readers to view immediately. You can work deeper into anchor text and specifically-created pages, but for this example, just work on getting a link. Once that publication links to you, you’ve begun to build your SEO.
- Column feature. While the New York Times doesn’t take contributed content (see number four below), they do do specific features, such as The Corner Office. Find examples like that in your targeted high domain authority sites and pitch your expert. Make sure the published piece has a link to your website—preferably not the home page.
- OpEd. If other international newspapers are your target, an OpEd is another way to create your voice, perhaps provide a contrarian view, and earn a link to your website.
- Contributed content. This is my favorite way to earn a link to your website because you control the message. Sure, the editor of the publication that will run your contributed content has final say. But unless it’s a blatant ad for your organization (or poorly written), it will run as is. You have a huge opportunity in contributed content to link to something very specific on your website.
Best Suited for This Work
It’s a funny world we live in where non-communicators are using these campaigns to build SEO.
But, as it turns out, communicators are the only ones who know how to effectively pitch media.
Media relations has always been the backbone of our industry so we have a serious advantage.
Use those skills to create content and earn links from high domain authority, and in turn, build your organization’s SEO.
Don’t leave this to someone else—we are the experts when it comes to this.
Use your expertise and show your executives (or clients) how you can not only get publicity, but you can build search rankings and domain authority.