Outreach. Do it right,or you’re not doing it.

There’s no such thing as bad outreach. If you’re not doing it right, you’re not reaching out at all; in fact you’re putting people off your brand and alienating potential audiences, shooting yourself in the foot before anyone saw your gun, in a spectacular anti-Matrix feat of self-undermining glory. There are no rewards in Google’s ever-sophisticated algorithms for blockbuster comedy fails, so to do outreach, you need to do it right.

Constructing self-perpetuating networks on the basis of fascinating and beautifully executed content is like engaging someone in conversation at a party, only to attract a small following away from the canapés, all because people notice you’re being listened to and that what you’re saying is respected.

Of course, there’s no point whispering Einstein-like gems into a vacuum: that’s where the technical genius of webmaster and SEO comes in – that’s how you get noticed. But failure to realise the first premise of outreach online: that if you do it wrong you’re the bore at the party, can be fatal.

It used to be the case that you could score a D- in outreach by locating enough high ranking domains and flooding them in spam with inhuman observations or sloppily copy-written half-truths. Nowadays, even if you get lucky and don’t turn off ever-savvy audiences in pursuit of content to your brand, Google’s algorithms are more than happy to score your flawed networking attempts a big fat red F.

If outreach is all or nothing, the silver lining is that straight A scores are hardly elusive, with the right expertise, as long as you stay true to the mantra that content is king and always bring your strategies back to this straightforward, key question: is this activity reaching out, or not?

Inviting ever-increasing numbers of users to enjoy your website is a lost cause if your content is driven by the need to fulfil a numbers game strategy, if you’re writing for rankings. Avoid writing for search engine indexes at all costs. Write for users.

Of course, in order to write for your audiences, you’ll need to identify who those users are. This first step is relatively straightforward. The purpose of outreach, however, is to push further and faster into new networks of related content searches. So, brainstorm related searches to your brand, investigate and research sites with fascinating, relevant content and quality copywriting. These are your target sites, with which you’ll want to engage: linking to and inviting links, but only where the content of the two different sites is interrelated, inextricably weaving segues into useful extensions of topics for the benefit of users.

Users are human. This would be a platitude in the context of a party, but it’s too easily forgotten in online outreach. Remember we humans appreciate information, but we also want to be reassured that we’re relaying credible sources. Being that person at the party that everyone wants to listen to means developing an authoritative presence. So, focus on media sites, sites with invitations for guest posts or article submissions, and high profile sites with the rankings to galvanise users’ opinions – so long as they are content-kings, and haven’t slipped through the algorithm (they won’t pull this off for long).

This will broaden coverage of your brand. A link from a recognised thought-leading site will cement your reputation; a scenario only really likely if your content is as compelling as discussed above. Your traffic will rise as more and more users link to you – because that initial media site did so.

In tandem with this kind of editorial linking approach, integrate press releases into your strategy. Users will reference these for their state-of-the-art updates on the latest developments in your market sector. Linking back to this type of content from other sites will be appreciated for refreshing general principles and themes by bringing them up to date with the latest information.

If you’re reaching out right, by definition you have reach. A brand with reach is one that is well-referenced by credible sources, linking back to itself in a way that’s self-referential – but deservedly so, because the people at the party can’t help but get drawn in to the heart of the matter.