Finding a topic that hasn’t been overdone can be tough.
We’ve all been there: the more content you create, the harder it can feel to come up with a unique idea in a crowded market. And when you are trying to build links to your content, there is nothing more important than a unique idea.
Sometimes, even with a fresh idea in a tough or crowded market, building links is a struggle.
So, what then? You could try to pivot your content into different industries once it’s published. But then you run the risk of forcing a connection, something that bloggers, journalists, and any other link building prospects hate.
One of the best strategies you can use to combat an oversaturated industry — and get more links overall — is creating content with more than one outreach market from the start.
For this to work well, you need to create content like a chef adds ingredients to a dish. You need to be aware of the proper balance so that one flavor doesn’t overtake the rest. Some ingredients might not belong, regardless of your culinary skills.
When creating content with outreach markets in mind, you need to strike a balance so that your piece is relevant and your brand is credible for the audience you are reaching.
There are three main steps to creating a piece that achieves this: identifying outreach markets that work for you, choosing your main content topic and identifying tangential markets that you can cross over into. Put your aprons on and let’s get cooking.
What is a Linkable Audience or Outreach Market?
To use this strategy effectively, you must first understand what makes a linkable audience or outreach market.
The idea of linkable audiences is not new, nor incredibly difficult to grasp. If you’ve done any amount of link building, you’ll know that certain industries are more receptive to outreach than others. Some types of industries have a lot more resource pages where they list links, giving you more opportunities to secure links. Others really enjoy visual content pitches. To go back to the cooking analogy, there are just certain dishes that people like. So, you use them as a base before you start fusing them with other dishes.
This post from Citation Labs that has been around for a bit provides a solid list of “linkable” audiences or outreach markets. These are industries that typically have more opportunities for providing links back to your asset. Some of the industries from the post include:
- Senior citizens
- Job seekers
Typically, you’ll find these industries feature a lot of resource pages for people looking for guides or information about a specific topic. There are a few other industries out there that I’ve found are receptive to outreach for visuals. These industries include:
- Small business/entrepreneur
Understanding where the best opportunities lie will help you determine how this technique applies to your niche and offerings.
Identify Your Core Linkable Outreach Markets
The first step in this strategy is identifying your core market and topic. One of the easiest ways to start is to identify what works best in your industry. To begin, look at your competition.
Take a competitor’s blog and, using a tool like Ahrefs, look at their “Best by Links.” Sort by “Referring Domains” and you’ll have a good idea of their most linkable assets. The titles of the assets should give you a solid idea of the piece’s topic and the outreach market related to it.
Next, look at the backlinks to those top pieces. This will help you determine the outreach market related to these pieces. For example, if you see a lot of backlinks from military sites, you can assume that active military members or veterans are the main topic of the content and so are the target outreach market.
(You should also take this time to determine if the backlinks are spammy or duplicative. If spam links make up most of the backlinks, try to find another piece for reference.)
Once you identify the main audiences and topics your competitors are using, you can work backwards to create a topic that works for you, improving on your competitor’s existing content.
Choosing a Topic That Fits
The second step is mapping content to fit your target audience.
The biggest reason for this is simply that your audience won’t think you are a credible source. You’re not going to serve Korean BBQ chicken if you are an Italian brick oven pizza joint. Just because a linkable market exists doesn’t mean it will work for you. If there is a disconnect between your content and your site, it will be harder to build links to that topic; you won’t be seen as a credible source in that industry.
Another key reason not to create content that isn’t related to your industry? Links that aren’t related to your industry are less valuable than links from industry-specific sites, and in extreme cases may even hurt your site.
So, if you run a dog food blog, you shouldn’t be trying to create “A Child’s Guide to Online Safety” or “A Veteran’s Guide to Getting a Job Out of the Military.”
Your topic should be clearly related to both your site and your identified outreach audience. Then, to really extend the reach and potential value of this piece, start thinking about topics you can cross over into.
Tangential Outreach Markets
After you’ve identified your main linkable audience for your piece and decided on the topic, step three is to start thinking about tangential markets. Again, just like in the previous step, you’ll need to consider the credibility factor here. Just because you know these other markets exist doesn’t mean you can map your piece to all of them.
A chef will choose ingredients that blend well together. Since I’m a terrible cook, I think about this like an equation: you take your topic and linkable outreach market, and then add a third market.
In my last article, I used an example of a fictional coffee blog and how they could find content keyword ideas that had link intent, so let’s keep that example going here. Let’s say that looking at backlinks and your competition, you’ve seen that some other coffee blogs were successful writing about how coffee can make you more productive. So, the equation would look like this:
Coffee+Productivity = X Ways Coffee Will Make You More Productive
Let’s try to add a third angle:
Coffee+Productivity+Entrepreneurs = Coffee-Drinking Habits of Famous CEOs
Coffee+Productivity+Teachers = Does Coffee Help Studying?
Quick Note on Pitching Your Ideas
I could write an entire piece about how to properly pitch emails for link building, but there’s one main point you should know if you’re building links for these types of pieces with crossover markets: always adjust your strategy based on the audience. If you are pitching your content to publishers or bloggers to get links, be sure to change the focus of your pitch so that it directly fits that market.
When This Doesn’t Work
At the end of the day, this isn’t rocket science, but this strategy definitely takes some finesse. Shifting your mindset to focus on creating content with outreach markets in mind can be hard to get used to at first, but the trickiest part is making sure the balance is all there so that you remain credible.
As I mentioned, getting too far away from your main industry will not only make you seem less credible, making the content harder to build links to, it will also end up cultivating backlinks from sites that don’t make sense for your industry. The clearest signal that an idea doesn’t work is when you have to force a connection. What ingredients don’t belong? You can usually tell if you are being honest with yourself, but if you need a few checks along the way, some signals to look for include:
- Your backlinks are becoming too one-sided.
- If you weren’t building links to the content, it wouldn’t fit on your blog.
- Your content tastes terrible.
It is also probably worth mentioning that this technique is best applied as part of a larger link building strategy. This is great for figuring out ways to outdo your competition in crowded markets, but don’t rely on it alone to earn links. If everything has already been covered, this will help you figure out a new angle to approach an overdone topic.
Once you have this down, it is a powerful strategy that will help spread your content into various markets, extending your audience and backlink profile.