Digital MarketingProject Management

Building Online Relationships: An Integral Part of Higher Education Internet Marketing

By April 2, 2013 No Comments

Establishing and maintaining relationships online is crucial for Internet marketers. These relationships are the backbone to link building and advertising techniques, as well as determine your social media presence in the online community. The marketer’s website must be talked about, shared, and linked to in order to gain the necessary strength to rank in search engines. Marketers of higher education build online relationships for many purposes, including guest blogging, reaching out to experts and bloggers in their niche, and advertising opportunities.
Who Should I Reach Out To?
When faced with the challenge of reaching out virally, many may be overwhelmed with who to target and how to find them. To reach out to webmasters who manage strong blogs in your niche, use top search engines and their advanced searching tools. Using the advanced search tool, you can filter through unrelated blogs and find an accurate list of websites ready to be contacted. These webmasters may be able to offer link building and guest blogging opportunities, advertising space, or may be willing to write about a specific aspect of your university program, which can be shared across social media channels.
How to Contact a Webmaster
It is important to remember that many webmasters do not solely manage websites for a living; they also have full-time jobs and busy lives. Keeping this in mind, it is important to do some research before sending off a generic email. Without careful preparation of a personalized email, a marketer may lose a potential relationship with a webmaster or their email may be disregarded as blatant advertising.
While a template email is important for large-scale outreach, it is equally important to personalize each message to show webmasters you have a genuine interest in their site. In regards to guest blogging outreach, showing the webmaster that you enjoy their website and have read articles they have published can go a long way in establishing a beneficial relationship. The following are a few more techniques when designing a personalized email for guest blogging purposes.

  • Avoid formatting your subject line to look like spam or a part of a generic, large-scale outreach. Certain keywords can automatically trigger spam filters and should be avoided at all costs. Try using niche-specific and creative subject lines to avoid being read as spam.
  • Consider the salutation you use, as this is the second thing a webmaster will see and could be a deal breaker. If possible, locate the name of the individual you are reaching out to. It is also important in this step to not sound too general, such as “Dear Webmaster.”
  • Begin with a personalized comment about their website or a specific blog post you enjoyed. This is where your research comes in handy and where you can show the webmaster that you are a unique individual who is interested in writing for their blog.
  • Briefly explain what program you are working with and why you feel this website is appropriate. It is best not to present yourself as a marketer, but more so a writer who is interested in contributing to this particular blog.
  • Offer a previous niche-specific article you have had published. This article should be recent, well written, and posted on a strong blog that is not overrun with advertisements.
  • Proofread your email. If a webmaster finds a spelling or grammar error in your message they may lose faith in you as a writer.

Social Media and Outreach
Marketers may use social media outreach in place of email, or better yet, can use social media to supplement email outreach. A developed Google+ account can immediately allow a webmaster to research your name and view your online presence. Along with this, a professional looking Facebook account and Twitter can be used for outreach also. Marketers may use the direct message option of Facebook and Twitter to express interest in an individual’s website or the expertise of an industry leader. LinkedIn can also be used along side or in place of email to develop online relationships with others.
Social media outlets should be used to reach out to individuals through the Internet, as well as to develop trust and familiarity by sharing content. If you wish to publish an article on a respected blog, it would be a good idea to follow that blog on Twitter as well as share a few articles you like through Facebook. A webmaster can review this information and see you as a trustworthy individual, not just a marketer merely looking to link build.
Here are a few things to watch out for when reaching out via email or social media channels:

  • Do not create longwinded emails with a lot of text. Webmasters are generally busy, so get to the point.
  • Do not expect every webmaster to want to publish your content, if they do not respond, it is advisable to send a single follow up, but then move on.
  • Do not rush emails and lose trust with spelling/grammar mistakes. This is the ultimate mistake when positioning yourself as a writer.
  • Do not offer articles that have already been written or are not relevant to the website. Research well to avoid this problem.
  • Do not act like a marketer who has no desire to produce engaging content for the readers of the website. Show genuine interest in order see positive results.

When reaching out to others online, it is important to do so effectively to avoid losing potential relationships with prominent webmasters. There are a few techniques that marketers can take advantage of to ensure they are not presenting themselves in a negative light. Being unique and creative through email personalization and original article topics ideas for guest blogging can spark the interest of a variety of webmasters, creating mutually beneficial, long-term online relationships.

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