It’s great to have your brand mentioned.
But the question is: Did the publisher link back to you?
When the answer is no, you might be disappointed about missing out on that link equity (a.k.a., SEO value).
But you still have a shot at getting a direct link to your content added to the coverage.
That is exactly what a link conversion is: making online coverage you have earned more valuable by having a direct link to your content added to the page.
The way you can achieve link conversions is rather simple because it’s done via email and is most likely similar to your normal outreach methods.
However, it requires effort, patience (haha what? I want my link now!), and a well-organized backlink report that will help you know which pieces of coverage have potential to have a follow link added.
Here’s how you can have the best chance at converting these mentions into links.
How Do You Execute A Link Conversion Strategy?
The way to get publishers and editors to add a link to a piece that has already been published is by asking them.
One of the primary differences between link conversions and most other content-based link building strategies is that we’re trying to alter existing coverage rather than trying to earn new coverage.
And the best place to start so that you have a full understanding of your link conversion opportunities is to have a sound link report.
1. Building a Backlink Report
This initial step hinges on your ability to find as much coverage of your content as possible.
Because we’re really going to be focused on the coverage that does not include a link, you’ll need to try multiple Google searches regarding your content.
For example, you can:
- Search the title of your webpage.
- Search for mentions of your brand or domain names.
- Image search using your visual assets.
It can also help to have your searches include pieces of text or the most standout quotes or stats.
Doing this will certainly help you find the text-only attributions that could have great potential to be converted into followed links.
I also think backlink tools like BuzzSumo are essential for finding the coverage that does link to your content. And those links don’t need to be converted.
However, they still can be useful in your search for the coverage that does not link.
You can apply more Google searches using the headlines of the linking articles, keeping an eye out for articles you haven’t discovered.
But, you can also take it a step further and compile a list of the backlinks to those linking articles (i.e., links to the coverage you’ve earned and identified).
These co-citation links will require a slightly different type of outreach that we will look at when we get further along in the process.
2. Identifying Opportunities
After you’ve built your link report, the next step is to identify link conversion opportunities.
I recommend identifying uses of co-citation links and well as cases when your brand is mentioned but not linked (we call this text attribution).
You’ll need to check each instance and determine the best person to contact, and then you’ll need to find their email addresses.
It isn’t always possible to find a usable email address, but the best and probably most obvious place to start is the writer of the article you want to have a link added to.
If you get no response from the writer, you’ll have to look elsewhere.
I want to emphasize that when it comes to link conversions, you shouldn’t be discouraged by not being able to find a writer’s or editor’s email address.
Since 2018, my team at Fractl has recorded nearly 700 successful link conversions, and 47% of them were achieved by alternative email addresses like the ones mentioned above.
3. Using Templates
The next step in the link conversion process is to create an email template that will help you efficiently send a high volume of conversion emails.
This template should be different from your initial promotional outreach emails (which demand more personalization).
It’s important to be straightforward with what you want – a link. This means short and to the point, while still aiming to be pleasant.
To get your templated started, begin with a subject line.
We aren’t trying to entice a writer to open an email with a catchy phrase or salacious stat.
Ideally, we want the subject line to say, in not so many words and not in all caps, “THIS IS AN IMPORTANT EMAIL ABOUT AN ARTICLE YOU JUST PUBLISHED.”
One of the best ways to do this is to include the article title. Here’s an example:
Attribution Request: “[Article Title]”
Now it’s time to compose the email. Remember, we’re going for no fluff. Say who you are (or who you’re representing) and the article you’re referencing.
I’m reaching out on behalf of [Clent/Brand/Domain] regarding this article on [Publisher Site], “Article Title/Link.”
For the rest of the email, you want to be concise but deliberate.
Most importantly, don’t forget to include the link you want the publisher to use.
Your article clearly mentions an original report produced by my team. However, it does not link to the full report, as per our fair use policy. It would be really helpful for your audience to see the research in its entirety — not to mention, my team worked very hard to produce it, so they would really appreciate this.
We ask that you please add a link to the full report via this URL:
[HYPERLINK] so your audience can enjoy our original findings in full.
This approach has a “firm but friendly” feel and it conveys the seriousness in your request.
Earlier, I mentioned that you’ll need a different type of email when attempting to convert co-citation links. The variation you will need only applies to the body of the email.
We’re happy to see that you picked up the [Source/Link] coverage of our study. However, your article does not afford your readers the opportunity to view our original work in its entirety. We’d like to kindly request that your article properly links to the full study, as per our fair use policy on that page.
Here is the URL:
Again, we are aiming for “firm but friendly.”
The primary difference here is that instead of asking for the publisher to include one link, we’re instead asking for them to substitute a link – replacing the current (co-citation) coverage with our content URL.
Link conversions are not much different than other digital PR strategies. They involve prospecting links for opportunities, finding email addresses, sending emails, etc.
This process does require a bit of effort and thoroughness, though.
Understanding the types of links your content is earning is important. And being able to see where there is more potential is just as necessary.