Choosing a WordPress Theme

After you’ve installed WordPress on your site, the next thing you’ll want to do is fine a nice looking WordPress to install on it.

WordPress has literally hundreds of thousands of themes to choose from, which can change the look, feel and even functionality of your website. For example, some WordPress themes will turn your website into a sports blog or financial news website, while others will add ecommerce functionality, customer services and photo gallery pages.

Best Sites to Find WordPress Themes

Thankfully there are tons of places where you can find premium-looking WP themes that you can install on your site in a matter of minutes.


When looking for a nice WP theme you really have to look no further then Theme Forest, seriously. has the biggest and best selection of premium WP themes on the Internet. You can find literally 1,000s of themes in every category imaginable and view live demos to see what they look like. Each theme that you download has good customer support and should include a handbook on how to install the theme.

Price are very good too – only around $29-$49. This includes free customer support and help communities. You can also filter themes according to user ratings, prices and sales.

2.    Free WordPress Themes Directory

WP ThemesThe theme directory contains a wealth of more than 2,000 free WP themes, which have had almost 100,000 downloads.

Because these themes are free, they don’t have the same style, quality and features of premium themes such as above. Personally, I think you’re better off spending $30-$50 on a premium theme, since this is such an important part of your site.

3. is another really nice WP theme site that specializes in magazine/blog style and some corporate themes. In total I think they have 25-30 themes to choose from.

Most themes cost around $99.99, which is pricey, however they each contain unlimited support and theme tutorials, which is good for beginners.

How to Install a WP Theme

Installing a WordPress theme on your site is very easy and straightforward – it should only take a few seconds to do.

Once in your WordPress admin, go to Appearance > Themes and then click on Add New and Upload Theme. You can then select the zipped theme file saved on your desktop, press upload, then activate theme.

Installing a WP Theme

Installing a WP Theme through an FTP Client:

On rare occasions, the theme file will be too large to upload through the manual upload in WordPress (it will give you an error message saying it exceeded the memory limit). If this happens to you, you should upload the WP theme file to the WP-Content/Theme/ directory using your FTP client.

Installing WP Theme through FTP Client

Installing WP Theme through FTP Client

After you’ve installed a WP Theme, you might need another 10-30 minutes to adjust the theme settings (e.g. adding the right widgets, choosing your preferred layout, menu options and page design) but this is just personal preference and isn’t a requirement.

Choosing a Theme for Different Types of Websites

When browsing WP themes, you’ll find that they will be categorized into different categories. These are intended for different types of websites depending on your functional requirements and appearance.

  • Blog/Magazine – Themes under this category are suitable for news/media/blog websites. The homepage will usually include your latest posts and the whole website will be focused around your latest articles and news.
  • Corporate/Agency/B2B – Suitable for businesses and agencies that provide B2B services. The theme will be set up to market your professional services with a professional design to match. Useful features include the ability to add a portfolio of clients on your homepage, display recent projects, background videos, contact us page etc.
  • Retail/B2C – These are service themes designed for consumers. As such, they have more style and design catered to your specific industry. An example of a site using this type of themeould be a local hairdresser or gym.
  • eCommerce – eCommerce themes will have built-in ecommerce store functionality that enable users to browse items, add to a shopping cart and then enter payment details. One of the most well known eCommerce WP themes is BuddyPress.

How to Get a Custom Design WP Theme

If you can’t find what you’re looking for online, or you’d like your own custom designed theme with unique features then you’ll need to hire an agency or freelance designer to design and code a theme for you. You should expect to pay around £200-£500 for a custom WP theme design and elements (depending on how many pages you need designed and how complex it is), then another £500 – £1500 for coding the theme template to your site (again, depends on how complicated the theme is).

There are a number of places you can find high quality freelance WP theme designers including (specialises in WordPress themes) and Google.

Why are Social Media Pages Important?

So you’ve set up your website and already receives thousands of visitors per day. What’s next? In this lesson, we’re going to look at the importance of setting up your own social media pages and why they’re important.

Why are your Social Media Pages Important?

Right now you’re probably asking yourself “I already have a website, why do I need a social media page too?”

The answer is that your social media page can be used to generate additional traffic, brand engagement and loyalty. And it can help you to learn more about your consumers. Take a look below at some of the key reasons why brands use social media.

  1. Target your Customers, Promote Brand Awareness and Engagement

Everyone is already on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter noways. In fact, Facebook already has more than 1.2 billion users with 67% of people in the US active on the social network. Therefore setting up your own Facebook and Twitter page will help you find and connect with your existing fans.

Posting competitions, stories and pictures on your Facebook page is a great way to keep users engaged with your brand. Use the 70/30 rule to post a combination brand building and self-promotional posts. Posting daily Facebook updates and posts will help grown your brand, increase your audience reach and increase traffic and sales to your website.

Although a report by IBM showed that only 1% of total ecommerce sales during Black Friday had come from social media, according to Google, social media actually plays a much bigger role in the brand awareness phase. Take a look below to see how social media is a big part of the brand discovery and consideration phase.

 Importance of Social Media and eCommerce

  1. Increase Social Proof, Trust and Sales

Social proof is an incredibly powerful factor for conversions, especially for e-products. According to research by, 70% of Americans look at product reviews before making a purchase online and 63% of consumers say they are more likely to purchase from a site if it has product ratings and reviews.

Social proof steps in by helping to build consumer trust in your product and brand.

  1. Use Twitter as a Platform for Customer Support

Many large brands and ecommerce sites now use Twitter as a customer support channel. The simplicity of Twitter means that users can contact your support team straight away with issues or complaints. Twitter is also a great channel for announcing new products, sales or new services to your followers.

Twitter is also a great tool for reaching out to journalists and engaging in PR.

  1. Drive Additional Website Traffic

Social media can be used to drive additional traffic to your website. Although Google has already confirmed that they don’t use social media signals as a ranking factor for your site, they do see it playing an increasingly important role in the future.

Don’t forget that with the evolution of Google Universal search (Google has started to incorporate Google Plus brand pages into the search results), Google+ will play an increasingly important role in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and traffic generation.

Check out the video of Matt Cutts on the important of social media as an SEO ranking signals below:

  1. Market Research and Insights

Social media can provide huge insights into your customers and demographics. For example, with Facebook Insights you can look analyze your audience behavior, age and sex. You can then use this information to better target your audience with more relevant ads.

You can then re-target fans of your Facebook page using cookies and Facebook’s Ad Exchange network to increase purchases from existing customers.

Finally, you can use your social media pages as a listening device and for additional market research. Listen to what your customers want and tailor your products or services around them. You can even conduct polls on your Facebook page (e.g. “What is your favourite colour t-shirt?) to launch new product ranges for your customers.

  1. Reward Customer Loyalty

Social media fan pages are perfect for rewarding your loyal fans with special promotions and deals. Publish special bonus codes on your page or use the “Deals” call-to-action on Facebook to post deals that fans can then “Claim”.

  1. Use Facebook Call-to-Action Buttons to Promote Events, Deals, Apps and more

Facebook’s Power Editor tool allows you to add call-to-action buttons in your posts to help promote events registration, products, apps and more. Therefore, having a social media page and advertising on Facebook gives you an easier way to directly promote your services to existing customers.

Choosing a Social Network to Target your Customers

Generally speaking, if you have a smaller budget you should focus all of your social media presence on 1-2 social networks. This prevents you spreading your resources too thinly. Most people choose Facebook and Twitter for their main social network, however if you promote videos as part of your business than you should definitely use Youtube too. Youtube allows you to earn subscribers to your channel and gain comments and shares across your videos.

Before you make a decision, you should find out which social networking site your customers are most active on.

Facebook: Facebook is great for targeting 20-30 year olds and it has the largest user base of any social network (67% of users are active on Facebook). It also has the  higher percentage of active users in the 30 to 49, 50 to 64, and over 65 age brackets than any other social networking site.

Twitter: 16% of users are active on Twitter. It’s great for its wide reach and broad audience. Twitter appeals mostly to the under 50 demographic, specifically 18-29 year olds.

Linkedin: LinkedIn is a social professional and networking – this is specifically useful for businesses in the B2B industry.

Google Plus: Google Plus has good results in the tech/webmaster niche


As you can see, social media pages provide a number of benefits that complement your existing website. The main advantage that they bring a platform for greater communication between your brand and your customers. Social media pages can to give your business a personal identity and improve engagement, trust and loyalty.

Social Media Page Design and Dimensions

Exciting and fresh social media page designs are one of the simplest ways to stand out from crowd and increase engagement on your social media fan page.

In this lesson, we’ll explain how to get your social media pages designed and the image dimensions required.

Social Fan Pages – The Importance of Visual Marketing

Your social fan page is where you can connect with your target audience and improve brand engagement and communications. As such, having a custom-designed social media fan page with your brand and logos can go along way towards helping you achieve success.

According to HubSpot, photos generate 53% more likes than regular posts, which shows how important visuals can be. You can also take a look at Rand Fishkin’s Whiteboard Friday video, which explains how visual assets are now at the forefront of online marketing.

It’s also important to be consistent and use the same colors, fonts and logos throughout your marketing material. Many large brands such as have their own color palette and fonts that they pass to designers when outsourcing any marketing material.

Alas, let’s get started and teach you the different dimensions for different social media networks.

Which Social Networks should I Focus on?

As covered in our previous lesson on the importance of social media pages, if you have a smaller budget than you’re better off focusing your efforts on one or two social media networks. This usually includes Facebook and Twitter.

However, if you’re promoting videos at all then you should definitely add Youtube to your mix. Although Youtube is technically a search engine, it also serves as a social network since you can earn subscribers, comments and likes to your channel (all integrated with Google Plus).

Design your Social Fan Page to Maximise Conversions

If you run a business that is selling a product or trying to get users to sign up to an email list than you can design your social channels to acheive this objective. For example, check out how (below) have designed their page to maximise conversions to their Nandos competition.

All you need to do is create some interesting copy, with a large arrow pointing towards the “Like”, “Subscribe” or “Follow” button on a social network.

Getting Started – Social Media Design Image Dimensions:

The bad news for marketers is that social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus tend to update their page designs every 12 months or so. This makes it a little tricky finding an update to date list of accurate image dimensions for every social network.

Take a look below for updated social media design dimensions at the time this article was published.


  • Large Cover Image – 851 x 315px
  • Profile Photo – 180 x 180 (displays as 160x 160)


Twitter has recently undergone a total makeover changing their profile dimensions to the following:

  • Header Image – 1500 x 500
  • Profile Image – 400×400

Youtube: (Find All Dimensions from Google Here)

  • Channel Art Cover Image: 1546 x 423
  • Profile Image in Top-Left Corner: 100x 100
  • Make sure you leave room for social icons in bottom right of channel art cover image

Google Plus:

  • Cover Photo Size: 2120 x 1192 (16:9 ratio)

Hiring a Social Media Page Designer:

You should be able to hire any graphic or web designer to create your social media fan pages. You can find a range of freelance graphic designers at sites such as and However, you can also use services such as where you can get a Facebook, Youtube, Twitter or Google Plus page designed from £99.

The price of getting a custom design will vary from designer to designer; it also depends on how complex your design is. Overall, I’d set a budget of around $500 to get a custom design across all of your channels.

 99Designs Fan Page Design Form

How to Track Results and Mentions from PR

Investing the time to write and promote your press release is great. But what happens afterwards? In this lesson, we’ll teach you how to track the results of your press release and earn some extra links to your site.

Which metrics can you track from PR?

Most PR agencies and webmasters will track all kinds of mentions and results deriving from a press release/outreach campaign. However in some cases you might only be interested in certain factors (e.g. backlinks generated).

In order to cover everything, we’ve outlined a list of different that you may or may not use to track the results from your recent PR. It’s important that you give enough time after your initial press release (e.g. 2-3 weeks) before you start totalling all of these up.

  • External Backlinks to your Site
  • Non-Linked Brand Citations (non-linked mentions of your brand across the web)
  • Mentions of your site in Google News
  • Mentions of your site in social media
  • Social shares across Facebook, Twitter and G+
  • Traffic analytics and user engagement
  • Sales and conversions

How to Track and Monitor Results from PR:

The following tools and ideas will help you track the results of your PR campaign and earn additional links in the process.

  1. – Track your Brand Mentions Across the Web (free) is by far the best tool for tracking PR results and brand mentions.

All you need to do is add your keywords/brand name, filter what type of results to track and Mention will automatically send you alerts when your keywords appear on the web. is able to track mentions across news sites, forums, blogs and even social networks such as Twitter and Facebook.

Unlike Google Alerts, goes much further for tracking keywords across the Internet. It also provides a much more sophisticated platform that allows you to monitor mentions, filter the types of results and assign response tasks to other team members. You can even perform actions such as replying to Tweets and emails from within the tool.

The price of is free for one custom alert per month (good for up to 100 mentions) and then £9.99 – £29.99/month for the premium versions. Obviously the free version is great for tracking one-off PR campaigns.

The downside to this tool is that it doesn’t track offline press clippings from newspapers and magazines.

  1. Google News – Track Mentions on News Sites

A quick and easy way to track PR mentions of your site (without having to sign up to any software) is to perform a quick search on Google News. Simply search for your brand name (e.g. “” or “WikiWeb”) and click on the news results. This should track any pickups on major news sites from the last 2-3 weeks.

The only problem with this strategy is that it only picks up your brand/keywords on Google News listed sites. It won’t pick up mentions on other sites, unlike the next strategy…

  1. Google Organic Search – Last 30 Days

With this strategy, we simply search Google for your brand/keywords and then edit the parameters to only show the last 7 days, 2 weeks or 30 days. This helps narrow down the results for our last PR campaign.

The small disadvantage of this strategy is that it can show a lot of weird, unfiltered content (e.g. scraped content and PR syndication websites) that you’ll need to weed through.

  1. Just Discovered Links – Track New Backlinks to your Site

OpenSiteExplorer’s “Just Discovered” tool is best for tracking new backlinks to your site. This tool can track new backlinks to your site within one hour of being published, thanks to their partnership with Bitly Click Tracking Data. In order to use this tool, simply enter your website name or URL and click on the “Just Discovered” tab.

In addition to OSE, I also recommend using, which shows fresh backlinks to your site within a couple of days.

  1. – Social Media Analytics is a social media analytics tool that allows you to track social shares for individual pages or URLs on your site (as well as competitors sites). Essentially, it provides a service already covered by

  1. Analytics – Track Traffic from PR

Google Analytics is a form of analytics software that allows you to analyze and monitor traffic on your site. In order to view traffic from a press release, simply analyze your traffic log and the edit the dates from the moment your press release was sent out.

Studying your traffic analytics is also one of the best ways for assessing the impact of a press release service or agency. This is because the more targeted journalist your press release was sent to, the more initial traffic you should receive.

  1. Press Cuttings – Track Offline Mentions in Newspapers

The limitations to PR tracking mainly come when tracking offline press cuttings. This is because no free software is currently available to track offline mentions of your brand in newspapers and magazines.

If you require this service, you’ll need to search for press clipping companies such as You’ll usually find press clipping services quite expensive – at least £300 per month. Even professional PR tools such as VOCUS and Cision, which cost £5k+ per year, don’t include press clippings in their standard pricing.

8. Reverse Image Search – Tracking Infographics and Images

If your press release included the use of infographics, charts or images than you can also use Google’s reverse image search to find uncredited uses of your images. In order to do this, simply drag and drop your image/graphic in the Google Images search bar. It’ll then display a list of all sites that have published or used your image. You can then contact these sites and ask for a link mention if they haven’t attributed it to you already.

 Reverse Image Search Tracking


In conclusion, you can see there are a number of different tools you can use to track results from PR. If you’re using a premium press release syndication service such as or, you’ll also receive a personalize report of clicks and media views 1 week after your initial PR is sent out.

5 of the Best Manual Outreach Tools for PR

In our previous lesson, we explained how to write an outreach email, with various case studies and examples. In this lesson, we’ll take a look at some of the best PR tools for doing manual outreach for link building.

Quick Recap: What is Manual or Blogger Outreach?

Manual outreach is the process of building relationships and promoting your article, product or business to other bloggers, journalists and businesses. This helps achieve brand awareness, backlinks and brand citations.

What are the Best Tools for Manual PR Outreach?

1. (from $29.99/month) is a PR and link building tool that helps simplify, improve and manage the entire outreach process from start to finish. It is used in-house by literally thousands of SEO and content outreach agencies.

Once you’ve purchased, you’ll be able to search for relevant outreach targets in your niche or import a list of URLs (from a backlink tool) in CSV format. You can also pin websites to your Buzzstream account whilst browsing the web.

Buzzstream will automatically find the contact details for that website and display important features such as the Page Rank, inbound links and MozRank of the site (based on data from


You can contact all websites via email or Twitter from within the system itself (a huge time saver), which also reports on the status of your communications. You can also use preset emails for your outreach, which can save you a great deal of time.

 Send Emails from within the BuzzStream System

2. (from $99/month) is another outreach tool that allows you to target individual journalists and bloggers in your industry. Unlike, it focuses on finding individual bloggers and journalists as opposed to websites. Thus, it’s more useful for media PR as opposed to contacting websites for guest posts.

The tool helps find individual contacts by searching websites/Twitter streams and showing authors who have written on your chosen topic.

Once you select a journalist or blogger, you’ll be able to see author bio information about them and contact them through Twitter or email (if they have this option enabled).

The large downside to is the high price and the limited number of database contacts in certain industries. For example, if you work in igaming there are very few contacts in their database. Secondly, the search functionality of the tool can be a little off. For example, if an author mentions a specific word just once in their article then it will come up in the author search. This of course doesn’t mean they write extensively on that subject.

3. is a free tool that helps you to find key influencers in a topic or industry.

In order to use the tool, simply click on “Influencers” above the search box and then enter your topic or industry. displays useful information about the key influences including their URL, page rank, number of followers, retweet ratio, reply ratio and more. You can also sort the results using any of the Above.

This tool is useful because it allows you to add influencers to your own list or Tweet them without leaving the website.

4. HARO and

HARO (Help a Reporter Out) and are similar tools that allow you to receive email pitches for interviews, spokespeople or experts in a certain industry.

 Example of HARO Query

The advantage of HARO is that it’s free to sign up using a single email account and you can narrow the types of queries you receive based on industry or keyword. The downside is that it’s only US-focused. is a more expensive option (£300+ per year for each industry) however it contains far more daily email queries and is great for the UK businesses. It regularly features email enquiries from the BBC, Huffington Post, The Mirror, OK magazine and many others.

5. ($4/month) is a relatively useful tool that helps organize your emails and set reminders for outreach.

Every time you send an outreach email, simply cc the email to and it will send you a reminder based on the timeline that you required (e.g. 30 mins, 1 week, 1 month).

There’s nothing exceptional about this tool but if you’re sending hundreds of emails at once than it helps to keep on top of them all.

How to Conduct Interviews to Build Links

In this lesson, we’re going to learn how to conduct interviews on your site and promote them in order to generate backlinks and PR.

Who is this Strategy Useful for?

This strategy is great for webmasters with news, blog and agency websites who want to add some more evergreen content and linkbait to their site. It also works for ecommerce owners if you have a blog section too.

This strategy doesn’t work so well for local businesses or individuals. Ideally you need a large enough industry where you can publish numerous interviews with experts on the same page and find enough bloggers to link to the interview. A great example of a website that uses this strategy is

What Interview Format Works Best?

You can use three different methods for recording and publishing interviews on your site:

  1. Written Text Interview
  2. Podcast Interview (Audio Only)
  3. Full Video Screen Interview

In most cases, you’ll find that a written text interview works best because it is the easiest to conduct. There’s no need to schedule a specific interview time because the interview questions can be answered over email or Skype. This makes it far more convenient for the interviewer. It also enables you to publish multiple interviews on the same page.

Podcast and video interviews also work well; however with videos you need to spend time editing the video and surroundings in order to make it look professional. From personal experience, video interviews via webcam or Google Hangout can look very amateurish and boring.

The easiest way to record a video interview on a Mac (without having to download any software) is to open QuickTime player and click on New Screen Recording:

If you do decide to conduct a video interview, make sure you publish the full video transcript on the same page. This allows users to scan the interview content quickly and also helps to rank the video in SEO. You can get this done very cheaply and quickly from from just $1 per minute of video/audio.

How to Find Interview Targets in your Industry:

Finding targets to interview on your blog is a similar process to doing guest blogging outreach. The following tools and ideas will help you with your interview outreach.

  1. – Submit Requests to Interview Spokespersons is a tool that helps journalists and bloggers get in touch with spokespersons and visa versa. It is by far the best tool for conducting interviews and outreach. It’s 100% free to send interview pitches too.

In order to use the site, simply click on “Send Request” under the Journalists header. You can then fill in the details for who you’re looking for. If you’re looking to conduct interviews then choose the “Spokesperson” dropdown option.

Once you send your interview pitch, you’ll usually be contacted by PR agencies (who represent the spokesperson or brand) within 7-10 days. Occasionally you’ll receive responses directly from the spokesperson. You’ll then be able to communicate and plan your interview with your target accordingly.

  1. HARO – Send Requests to Interview Spokespersons

HARO (Help a Reporter Out) is another useful outreach tool similar to Like before, simply click on “Submit Query” and fill in the information for who you’re looking for along with your contact details.

Note that HARO is mainly for the US therefore you’re less likely to find suitable pitches from Europe or other countries. You also can’t use HARO for guest post enquiries.

  1. – Find Authorities in your Niche to Interview is an outreach tool that allows you to search and contact influential figures in your niche. The reason you want to contact influential figures is because they’ll provide a more interesting interview that will gain more attention.

In order to get started, simply search for your topic or keyword in Then click on Influencers at the top of the screen to see the most important influencers in your niche.

In addition to showing the top influencers, also shows you the contact details, URL and likeliness of that person to reply to your Tweet if you reach out to them.

  1. Search Google for keyword + “interview with”

Finally, you can try searching Google for interview targets. Simply search your topic/keyword and the keyword “interview with” to display the results (the reason I use the nomenclature “interview with” is to avoid job interview query results). You can then try re-interviewing previous interview candidates. Note, you can also try a similar tactic using

How to Promote the Finished Interview:

Once you’ve published the interview on your site, it’s time to get promoting.

First and foremost you want to send it to your interview target so that he can that check all is OK. You should also encourage him to share the interview or ask him if he can link to it from his site.

Now there’s a few ways to promote the interview…

  1. Submit a Press Release:

Press releases are an age old tactic that still works well especially if you have an interesting subject title such as “Professor Reveals 5 Reasons why Facebook will Fail.”

Sign up to a service such as or to submit the press release. Make sure you link to your interview in the body of the press release so that journalists can find it. You can also read our lesson on writing a Press Release here.

  1. Find Previously Published Interviews of your Target

Once you’ve found previous interviews that your subject has done (e.g. by searching name+”interview” in Google), you can crawl the URLs and find out who shared them using You can then reach out to these same people (via email or Twitter), who will be likely to link or share your interview to their users.


Similarly, you can do a backlink analysis of former interviews and reach out to websites and journalists who linked to the previous interview. If you want to save time doing this method, you can also export the CSV backlinks file and then import it into your account. This step will automatically provide contact information for those URLs and simplify the outreach process.

  1. Reach Out to Industry News Sites and Bloggers

Finally, you can do a bit of manual outreach to promote your interview. This strategy is a lot easier depending on the authority and credence of your interview target as well as the interest level of your interview.

In order to do this method, simply search Google for major news sites in your industry that might be interested in your interview. Make sure your tailor a personalized email to them as seen in our lesson. You can also offer to provide a personalized write up for the interview (similar to a guest post).

How to Create Successful Outreach Emails

By now, you should be familiar with ways of finding bloggers, influencers and journalists in your niche, along with the tools and channels to start facilitating engagement. Email is the most common way of alerting targets to your brand’s presence and content. This lesson will explain how to craft successful outreach emails in order to increase your response rate.

Social Before Email

Journalists receive hundreds of ‘cold’ emails a day from firms desperate for PR coverage. They usually block out an hour before and after work to sift through pitches, which means they aren’t checking their inboxes around the clock and your email might get lost in the avalanche. Journalists and editors are, however, constantly active on Twitter.

Therefore it makes sense to engage with them here first in order to build up rapport. Retweet their articles or compliment their work before tweeting them from your personal (not brand!) account. Provide a teaser for your content, and ask them permission to send them an email. They will appreciate the courtesy.

Topsy is a great way of monitoring your targets’ social media activity, and for a one-off purchase of £179, BuzzBundle, pictured below, allows you to participate in conversations across multiple social media channels on a single interface.

Note: It is only really important to use social media before pitching journalists.


Email Outreach for Guest Blogging

We have discussed guest blogging as a method for link building and increasing referral traffic. Outreach has been scaled, automated and abused by SEO agencies, so editors and webmasters tend to be very sceptical about ulterior motives when reading pitches.

Sam Miranda, content strategist at, delivered a presentation where he outlines his tactics for guest blogging around the gambling niche. His approach has seen him secure guest posts on authority sites such Moz, Gamasutra and The Bleacher Report. Here is an example of one of his successful outreach emails:


What we Learned…

From here, we can establish 10 best practice guidelines:

1)     Pitch as a writer, journalist or a fellow editor, not as a link builder, outreach executive or anyone on behalf of an SEO agency.

2)     Establish your credibility by positioning yourself as an authority. Do this by describing your previous experience and linking to published examples of your work.

3)     Be specific about the content you’re pitching, and provide a brief synopsis.

4)     Explain why your content is timely, and relevant to the website’s readership.

5)     Where possible, personalise your pitch. Try and find the name of the editor, and comment on some of his/her previous work.

6)     Provide a reason for offering your content (you want to broaden your portfolio, help consumers get to grips with a new product etc)

7)     Ideally, write the content and include it as an attachment. This shows your commitment.

8)     Ensure that your signature contains all your contact details (email, telephone, Skype).

9)     Do not mention the word ‘link’.

10)  Do not mention the words ‘guest post’.

Email Outreach to Journalists

Pitching your company story or product to journalists is the most difficult pitch of all. Journalists are busy, often under-paid and pretty judgemental. A study by iAcquire and BuzzStream puts industry average content placement rates at 4.8% for males, and 4.5% for emails. That means, on average, you’ll have to send out a minimum of 20 tailored pitches in order to receive a single bit of media coverage.

Paul Sawers from The Next Web has produced a great guide, entitled ‘A Startup’s Guide to Getting Coverage’. In it, he includes the perfect email pitch template:

From here, we can establish 10 best practice guidelines:

1)     Approach the journalist through social media first, asking for their permission to send an email.

2)     Keep the subject line under 55 characters, and make sure it references the story. You don’t want to be misleading.

3)     Be short and concise. The email body shouldn’t really be more than 200 words.

4)     Explain why your content is mutually beneficial. Is it news? Is shocking, inspiring or educational?

5)     Avoid buzzwords such as ‘unique’ and ‘revolutionary’. Journalists don’t want sales patter.

6)     Don’t overload your email with attachments such as press releases. If the journalist wants to know more, they will be in touch.

7)     Create an emotional hook to induce a response; this should come in the form of offering first refusal. It creates urgency, and journalists love an exclusive.

8)     If you’re using a product such as BuzzStream, you can create multiple email templates, and track the performance of each.

9)     Always leave your full contact details at the end of the email.

10)  Try and forge a relationship with the journalist through HARO, Response Source or MuckRack.

The Softly-Softly Approach

In the email template above, you’re essentially selling your brand’s product or content.

You can enjoy similar success, however, by selling your personal expertise to a journalist. This can translate into brand references and links further down the line. This approach doesn’t require inspirational content or a ground-breaking product, simply your willingness to pick the phone or go and meet them in person. Here’s a fantastic email template developed by Matt Ackerson at Petovera.

This template is clever because it starts by praising the journalist’s recent work (ego-baiting), before positioning yourself as an authority and a potential source for a future article. When suggesting a tip, make sure you reference something interesting or divisive. The email ends with a confident call to action, without sounding too pushy or desperate.

Being Ignored? Try These 5 Steps

Outreach requires patience and perseverance – you will have to send out a significant volume of personalised emails to receive a content placement. Don’t be disheartened if you don’t receive a response; instead follow these steps:

1) Always send at least one follow-up email, ideally a week later

2) Add your target on LinkedIn. In fact, you should do this before you send your email.

3) Get on the phone! It’s more effective than email for building rapport.

4) Offer to meet a journalist face to face. It’s worth it if they are from the BBC, Forbes etc.

5) Try snail mail or ‘creating a mystery’ – techniques outlined by Distilled’s Rob Toledo.

How to Find Link Prospects for Outreach

As part of our PR and manual outreach module, this lesson focuses on how to find link prospects by targeting relevant niche websites and getting their contact details.

Unlike our lessons on guest blogging and influencer outreach, this lesson focuses solely on finding niche websites/blogs to target as opposed to individual authors and guest blogging opportunities.

What can Link Prospecting be used for?

Topic-based link prospecting can be used for a number of PR outreach and link building strategies such as:

  • Infographic Outreach
  • Gaining coverage for new tools or features on your site
  • Promoting survey results or industry research/white papers
  • Providing write-ups for a new service or report
  • Promoting exclusive deals and offers
  • eCommerce competitions and giveaways
  • Relationship building

6 Strategies for Finding Link Prospect for Outreach:

We’ll now teach you 6 strategies for finding link prospects for manual outreach.

We’ve referenced a number of outreach tools that you might also find useful. For more information on tools, we recommend reading our article on the best PR and manual outreach tools.

  1. Using to Find and Collect Contact Details

The first thing you should be doing is setting up an account at This PR tool allows you to easily save all of your target websites and helps manage the outreach process for you.

The advantage of is that you can easily “pin” all target websites to your dashboard with the click of the button. This then automatically pulls out the contact details for you. You can also then use to send out email s(using your personalized templates), filter websites by priority, and keep track of all communications.


 Send Emails from within the BuzzStream System

  1. Use Advanced Search Queries in Google to Find Relevant Sites

Google Search still remains one of the best and easiest ways to find relevant sites for your article topic, niche or industry. In fact, according to, 87% of SEOs use search to find bloggers for outreach.

Simply use the advanced search queries below to find websites that have published similar articles/infographics/promotions/stories to the one you’re doing outreach for.

  • “Keyword Topic” – searches for all articles with your specific keywords or phrase
  • Allintitle: keyword – this query searches for all articles with your specific keywords in the page title. This helps find more targeted results around your topic.
  • Allinanchor: keyword – this query searches for all posts that include this keyword as an anchor text in their backlinks,
  • Allinurl: keyword keyword2 – this query searches for all posts that include your keyword(s) in the URL parameter. e.g.

 List of Google Search Query Commands

Bear in mind that this process works better for more niche topics. For example, if you’ve done an infographic on the History of HFT Trading then you can search for keywords such as “HFT Trading”, “HFT risks”, “HFT history”, “allintitle: HFT trading” etc.

  1. Google Alerts/

Google Alerts and are free tools that allow you to track mentions of your brand or specific keywords across the Internet. Once you’ve found a website mentioning a topic or your brand, you can reach out to them through email or pin them to your dashboard.

For example, if you’re written a report or conducted an interview with an expert on problem gambling amongst teenagers, you can use keywords such as “problem gambling”, “gambling teenagers”, “problem gambling young people” to find targeted outreach opportunities.

  1. Backlink Analysis

Is there a similar infographic or contest similar to yours that has been promoted in the past? Why not go through their backlinks using or to steal their backlinks. Read more in this lesson on stealing your competitors backlinks.

Once you’ve got a list of your competitors backlinks in OSE or, you can export these to a CSV file and then re-import them back into This will then automatically find the contact details and log them into your outreach campaign on your behalf.

  1. Search to Find Relevant Authors with Websites

Although this technically falls under our lesson “finding influential authors”, we can also use this tactic to find bloggers on Twitter who have their own sites.

For example, on you can search for Twitter bios in your industry (make sure you apply the URL filter to only show results from users who have a blog). You can then export these results and import them into, just like the previous method.

You can see a video demonstration of this strategy courtesy of Matt Barby here:

  1. Reverse image Search

As covered in a previous lesson on promoting infographics, you can also use this tool to find unaccredited link opportunities for your graphics or visual charts. Simply email any blog owners who have used your graphics and kindly ask them for a link credit.

 Reverse Image Search Tracking

  1. Utilize Existing Relationships and Twitter Followers with Blogs

Do you have existing relationships with bloggers or journalists? Why not contact them with your new PR story or feature to try to get the balls rolling.

You can also research your brand/personal followers on Twitter, export a list of your followers, filter out those without blogs, and then import their URL into just like step 5.

Film critics and bloggers are amongst the most social media savvy. I managed to get a film review gig at Cine Vue, talking about financial broker dishonesty in the Big Short, by speaking to their editor over Twitter.

  1. Use Guest Blogging Outreach Networks (I Don’t Recommend Them Personally)

Personally, I’m not a fan of using guest blogging outreach networks since the types of blogs in the network are very questionable and most end up getting penalized eventually anyway. For example, take a look at how (which many marketers promoted) was penalized in March 2014.

Nevertheless, here’s a list of some guest blog networks in case you’re interested in seeing them:

  • GuestBlogIt
  • GuestBlogGenius
  • Guestr
  • BlogDash

How to Find Bloggers Contact Details:

If you’ve found a blog owner you’d like to contact but can’t find a contact address, there’s a few strategies you can use to get around this.

First of all, you should search for their contact details in the database. This displays the contact details for 90% of websites (unless they have a private address such as

If you have, you can pin the website to your account using the BuzzMarker tool. This automatically finds the contact details (including Twitter profile) if available.

Finally, you can try searching for the author’s name in the articles and search for their Linkedin profile or other social network profiles (I’ve used this method successfully on a number of occasions).


In conclusion, we’ve provided you a number of strategies you can use for finding link prospects for outreach. For more link building strategies, we recommend reading our main link building guide. In order to improve your outreach success, you should also read our lesson on writing an outreach email.

How to Use PR to Build Links

PR (Public Relations) has become one of the newest and most successful methods for link building over the last 12 months. In this lesson, we’ll explain what PR is, how to use PR to build links, and the advantages/disadvantages of doing so.

What is PR?

PR is the process of promoting your website, product or service to the public and managing relationships. This may include promoting your service directly to customers, journalists, bloggers or other businesses in your industry.

The sort of things that fall under the umbrella of PR and SEO includes:

  • Building relationships with other people (including businesses, bloggers and journalists)
  • Interviews and spokesperson for the media
  • Press releases, news and industry reports
  • Infographics

Why is PR Important for SEO?

Because of the increased competitiveness of SEO and the devaluation of guest blogging, PR has become an increasingly important facet in the link building process.

One of the main reasons why PR has become important is because the future of SEO is about getting links from stronger, more authority sites. This is in contrast to buying links from low quality sites or engaging in mass guest posting. It’s simply not possible to scale a guest posting strategy while maintaining quality; where as in PR it’s very easy to scale your approach.

In order to do PR properly, you need to invest in building strong personal relationships with other businesses, bloggers and media contacts. You also need to regularly publish high quality content, new products or features on your site that are worth doing PR for.

For example, if you’re releasing a new survey or report on your site than you may wish to combine this with an engaging infographic and press releas. You can then publish this on your site and do outreach as a way of building links and relationships.

Non-Linked Citations across the Web Likely Help with SEO

According to a recent poll at, 40% of experts in the SEO industry believe that even non-links brand citations can help with your search engine rankings.

Non-linked citations and seo

For example, if someone mentions the URL “” in an article then this could be a very important ranking signal to Google. After all, it’s still a vote or reference to that site, which is why Google relied so heavily on backlinks in their Page Rank algorithm in the first place. Therefore, even if you don’t earn links from the PR process you can still earn non-linked citations from news articles and comments.

What are the Downsides to using PR for SEO?

The biggest downside to PR is that many of the methods are time consuming, resource intensive and a little hit-and-miss.

For example, you can easily spend £300 on a press release from and get no pickup. This might be because of a busy news day or a lack of interest in your niche. If you’re unlucky, someone else might have recently published a similar press release to the same group of journalists that over shadowed your own.

On the opposite end, it might take only one major news publication (such as the Mail Online) to pick up your story and it suddenly gets rewritten across dozens of other news sites.

How to Use PR to Build Links:

There are a number of ideas, methods and software you can use to run a PR campaign.

With regards to ideas for PR, you can use any of the following…

  1. Develop great tools and useful features to solve an industry problem
  2. Publish controversial surveys and news on your site
  3. Run webinars and publish presentations on your site
  4. Do interviews with the media
  5. Conduct interviews or podcasts on your own site
  6. Run competitions for customers
  7. Publish a white paper report
  8. Publish viral or educational infographics

We may write additional articles to cover each one in full, but in the mean time you can take a look at the solutions below.

  1. Interviews and Spokesperson

You can use tools such as HARO (free) and (around £300 per industry category) to receive journalist enquiries to your inbox. Journalists will typically be looking for a spokesperson or product to feature in their magazine competition, special event or TV show.

In return for sending your products out, doing interviews or providing expert spokesperson quotes for their articles, you’ll normally receive a free link and citation back to your site. is particularly useful for ecommerce business owners.

  1. Press Releases and Newswire Services

Press releases can be used when you launch a new product, website feature or industry report. For example, if you’ve released the results of a controversial industry survey then you can use a press release to send this out to interested journalists, bloggers and reporters. You can learn more about writing a press release here.

The best press release services include, which costs around $400 and is global only, and

You can also use cheaper PR services that reach fewer journalists such as ($40) and you can even contact a PR/SEO agency to do the outreach for you such as and

  1. Manual Outreach

Unlike press releases, manual outreach involves writing personalized emails or sending to Tweets to various journalists or bloggers. This can be far more time consuming but generally receives much better results.

Useful tools for manual outreach includes (for managing communications and contacts), (for finding authorities in your niche) and (for finding key influences and sharers in any topic).

Send Emails from within the BuzzStream System

  1. Infographics

Use websites such as (£500 per infographic), or to find designers to publish infographics for your brand. You can then do manual outreach for these as covered in our other lesson. Learn more about using infographics for link building here.

      5. Interview Experts and Spokespersons on your Site

Use tools such as to send free requests to interview experts and spokespersons in your niche. You can also ask the people you interview to help promote and share the article. This includes them linking back to it from their own site or blog.Remember, people love a good ego boost promoting interviews of themselves on other sites.

6. Publish Slideshare presentations and webinars on your site allows you to post presentations on your own website using HMTL sourcecode. You can similarly record and publish any webinars or Google+ Hangouts you do on your site to help build backlinks.

Submitting your Site to Local Directories

In this short lesson, we’ll explain how to submit your site to niche directories to help your SEO. We’ll also teach you the risks, Google’s stance on this strategy and how to avoid low-quality directories.

What are Website Directories?

Many websites provide directories that you can submit your business or site to. Two of the most well known directories include Best of the Web ( and Yahoo Directory.

How to Find High Quality, Relevant Directories to Submit your Site

The advantage of submitting your site to authority, relevant directories are to build natural backlinks that helps with the SEO process. Submitting your site on niche directories can also generate traffic and help Google understand the topical nature of your site.

Three of the biggest directory sites you should submit your site to include (free),  ($160) and the Yahoo! Directory ($299). In order to submit your site, simply look for the “Submit Site” link and follow the onscreen instructions.

BOTW Directory Submission

Whether or not you decide to submit your site to Yahoo! Is up to you. According to a Poll from, only 25% of SEOs believe it is still worth submitting to.

In order to help you find additional niche directories in your industry, try using the following advanced search queries in Google:

  • “keyword” directory – This command will search for directories that include your business keywords
  • intitle: keyword directory – This command will search for pages that includes “keyword directory” in the actual page title. This helps to filter the results for pages with specific directories on them.
  • intitle:keyword resources and intitle: keyword useful sites – Theses command will find pages that include useful resources and lists based around your keyword(s). You can then email these sites and ask if they can add yours to it.

For example, if you run a kosher butchers shop then you can search for kosher butcher directories and link opportunities using “intitle: kosher butcher directory”.

The Importance of Local City Directories for SEO

Local directory submissions and citations are extremely important for local SEO, as covered in our lesson on the subject.

If you run a local business or service then you should aim to submit your site to as many high quality, relevant directories as possible. Good examples include local council sites, and

How Google Handles Paid Directories

Over time, a number of low-quality directories have been created with the sole purpose of selling links for SEO. Obviously, this violates Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and you should avoid submitting your site to such directories to prevent getting an SEO penalty.

Google’s stance against submitting your site to low-quality directories can be seen in their Google Link Guidelines below:

Google’s Webmaster Guideline Link Schemes Violations

Furthermore, according to Matt Cutts (Google’s Head of Search Quality), you should avoid submitting your site to low quality directories with little user value or editorial control. When deciding to submit your site to a directory check that it’s a legitimate directory built for users and not just for selling links.

He also clearly states however that it is perfectly fine to submit your site to editorial paid directories, referencing Yahoo! Directory as an example. Whatever you do, avoid getting conned into using automated software that promises to automatically submit your site to “100s of high quality directories”. No such thing exists.