Last updated: September 24, 2013 by Loz James

Hi folks, I can hardly believe it but we’re already onto the 11th session of The Content Champion Podcast. This time round, I had a fascinating and entertaining chat with Richard Marriott, the creative SEO and online entrepreneur behind the great new blog

Richard Marriott creating viral content

Listen to the podcast

Richard talked to me for nearly an hour, and in that time he set out a very actionable blueprint for creating content that goes viral. The great thing about the methods he shares is that if you get this right – you can literally turn your blog or site around with just one piece of amazing content.

Creating Viral Content
Who can resist a shouting Totoro?

Our chat was wide ranging and highly informative – and packed with practical, usable strategies that we can all follow to create and promote content that gets floods of targeted traffic. This session includes:

  • How to do business in China!
  • How to really write successful expert round up posts
  • Why just one epic post can change the face of your online presence
  • Techniques for getting experts to be in your round up posts
  • Tips for getting those experts to share your content
  • Using Twitter and social media to effectively promote content
  • Proven strategies for link outreach and broken link building
  • Key tools to use in white hat link building
  • Using images and videos for link outreach
  • Mistakes to avoid when conducting link outreach
  • Why standing out is important for successful link building
  • Why the look and feel of your site is essential for creating viral content
  • The future of SEO and creating viral content

Plus! The PS Question! Richard shares a whole ‘toolbox of tips’ to give us a mini content marketing strategy in a box! It’s worth listening to the whole podcast just for access to this!

Items mentioned in this edition

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Content Champion Podcast

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Podcast Transcript

Loz James:      Hi folks, and welcome to session 11 of the Content Champion podcast.

This week, I’m thrilled to be talking about viral content with Richard Marriott of An engaging and inventive SEO and on-line entrepreneur, Richard tells us how he got nearly two and half thousand social shares to one of his very first round up post and details a blue print we can all use to emulate his success. So let’s get started. Thanks for coming on Richard.

Richard M:     Thanks for having me today.

Loz James:      Now we’re going to talk about viral blog post in this session, and you got a great example to share with us, but before we kick off, could you tell us where we can find you on-line and give us your back-story on how you got started?

Richard M:     You can find me on . Clambr means as in clambering up something. The name is without the ‘e’ like Tumblr or Flickr. I started the site because I thought there were not enough blogs with newbies giving experience of trying to climb up on Google.

Loz James:      Mm-hmm.

Richard M:     And I was very much an SEO newbie back in March this year. I wanted to just create something that would give people an experience with case studies and kind of an adventure and testing various things out to see what makes you get up on Google, which expert tutorials work, and find out what the experts are kind of doing to make their sites get popular. The main thing, it was supposed to be about is, to kind of guinea pig test techniques and see what you could do with SEO to get up in Google. The reason I decided to do Clambr was because I was working for a steel trading company in Beijing.

Loz James:      Right.

Richard M:     We were relying on Alibaba to get inquiries.

Loz James:      Mm-hmm.

Richard M:     And it was a really stupid process and Alibaba’s inquiries … They’re like rubbish really. So I thought, “Oh let’s make it like a website that’s really like optimized for Google, so we can get all our inquiries for free.” I pitched it to my boss, bought the website, and then locked myself in a flat for 2 months writing out the content and learning about SEO, teaching it from … There’s this book, The Art of SEO, you probably know it?

Loz James:      Yes, indeed.

Richard M:     I taught it all myself and then went back into the office 2 months later, probably 10 kilograms lighter, found a web developer, and we bashed the website up. Then, I got an SEO on board, and he was really pleased with the on-site optimization. Then, we just- We managed to get it up into an inquiry machine just 2 months later. It was getting 17 queries a month, which is very good for steel.

Loz James:      Yeah, it’s amazing.

Richard M:     Yeah, it got us a lot of business. A few other Chinese websites copied us. But it’s done great. Basically, that’s how I got really into SEO, and then thought “Hell, why don’t I make a blog about it?”

Loz James:      And you’ve done really well in the last 6 months. I mean your site’s really taken off hasn’t it?

Richard M:     Yes, it has, yeah. It’s had a huge change, but it’s only since I did an expert roundup post. Before that it wasn’t really going anywhere, so I needed to something a little bit crazy to get some serious traffic to it.

Loz James:      Okay, we’re going to come onto the viral post that you wrote that really sort of set a marker down for the standard of content that you were going to provide, in a moment. But I do have tell the listeners that you’re actually living and working in Beijing at the moment. Could you tell us a little bit about that and what’s it like for businesses over there?

Richard M:     Yeah, sure thing. It’s pretty crazy out here. I’ll share a few weird things. You can get McDonald’s delivered 24/7, which is wonderful because when you come home from a night out, you always got food coming to the door. I love the kind of like a quirkiness of constant-like “Chinglish” we call it.

Loz James:      Chinglish?

Richard M:     Yeah, it’s like typos on signs and funny ways of saying things.

Loz James:      Oh, yeah, yeah.

Richard M:     For example my old office … It was above a restaurant called the ‘Chafing Dish’. Yeah, constant things on menus like dishes called the ‘Peasant Exploded’. It’s great living in China. You can eat like a king every day. Motorbikes are really cheap. Chinese friends are pretty cool. I had one experience where I got into a fight one day. I had to hide in a garden outside for like 2 hours, whilst these people are hunting me down. I called my Chinese friend, and he picked me up at like 4 in the morning or something.

He had to come 2 hours away from the other side of Beijing. He drove me home, and it turned out that I lost my key. He actually helped kicked down my door to my flat, so I could just get in and go to sleep.

Loz James:      A friend’s only a true friend when they’ve helped you kick down your own door!!?

Richard M:     Exactly, yeah. Yeah, Chinese friends, they’re awesome, and I love China in that sense. In terms of business, it’s pretty crazy, and very different to the UK or the US, as I’m sure you know. Deals are usually won over drunken feasts.

Loz James:      Really?

Richard M:     Yeah, it’s always won over … It’s the massive feast, and they’ll have a lot Baijiu, which is a Chinese white wine. Some of this stuff, it can get up to like 60%. You just- You drink loads of it around the table, and you have to drink with every single person around a circle table. There’s this terrible train ticket website which was made obviously one over a meat like this, and I believe the government paid … I think it was something like a hundred million renminbis to make it or something.

Loz James:      Wow.

Richard M:     It’s about million quid and shocking. This website, literally, you can’t buy tickets, unless you use it on Internet Explorer.

Loz James:      10 million for a non-browser compatible website.

Richard M:     Yeah, it’s awful. And the train times are wrong, and you can only buy tickets using Internet Explorer. At the beginning, you can even use Apple computers.

Loz James:      Crazy isn’t it?

Richard M:     Yeah.

Loz James:      And how’s your Chinese? Are you fluent?

Richard M:     Yes I am, yeah.

Loz James:      Could you say welcome to the Content Champion Podcast in Chinese please?

Richard M:     That’s very on the spot Loz. [Chinese 06:34]

Loz James:      Brilliant, thank very much Richard.

Richard M:     Yeah, okay.

Loz James:      You went to China, didn’t you, on an exchange … as a student, and you loved it, and you just wanted to go back, is that right?

Richard M:     I went to as part of my university course, and loved it so much; therefore, I couldn’t leave. But yeah, it’s a brilliant country. I love it, but I’m actually taking a break from it. Next week, I’m flying back to the UK. I’m going to move to France for a bit, just to have better internet and try to make Clambr an authority site. I mean, what I want it to be. There is a big problem with the internet, Loz, like it slows me down like crazy.

Loz James:      [Well Touchwood, Touchwood 07:20] This is one of the best connections we’ve had, but I’ve got my fingers crossed for the rest of the podcast.

Richard M:     Okay.

Loz James:      Should we crack on with looking at our topic of today, which is how to make blog posts go viral? This is-

Richard M:     Yeah.

Loz James:      “55 SEO experts reveal three favorite link building tools” isn’t it? Could you give us the URL for this particular post and give a us a sense what sort of success it’s had to date in terms of social shares, traffic, inbound links it’s attracted, etcetera?

Richard M:     Well the URL is, So far to date, it has had 267 tweets, over 2000 Facebook likes, over a hundred or so g plus shares. Before this blog post went live, Clambr was getting absolutely no traffic whatsoever. It was like about 12 visits a day since March, and when this blog post went live on July the 24th, it literally did the entire kind of 4 months’ worth traffic before it, in just literally 2 days.

Loz James:      Right.

Richard M:     So all how many visits just in one go, bang. And it really did put the blog on the map. Since that blog went live, Clambr has had over about twelve thousand visits since then.

Loz James:      That’s amazing. So there’s lots of questions that come out of this that I’m sure everyone’s thinking, why, how, everything else like that, but I understand that you had a cunning plan. This is quite deliberate, to get the post to have a lot of interest before you even published, and this is what I really want to look at, as sort of meat of this whole podcast. You’ve got a post there that took the site from twelve visitors a day to tens of thousands, basically, So what was your thinking behind it before you set out to produce the content?

Richard M:     Basically, before I did it, Clambr was getting nowhere, and I thought, “Hell, I’ve got to do something that puts this blog on the map, otherwise it’s going to go along unnoticed.” I was trawling around for ideas, and I read a kind of guide by Neil Patel and Brian Dean. It talked about doing an expert roundup, and I thought, “Wait a minute, this is a great idea” because I have like no twitter followers whatsoever. I only had 200 at the time. I thought, well if I can get experts involved to make something viral, that will help share and then their followers will come, and I’ll be able to reach out to so many people I wouldn’t be able to reach out to before.

Loz James:      Mm.

Richard M:     So I decided to do a roundup. And then, it was a question of getting the question. And because I’m an SEO newbie, I’ve been so frustrated with trying to find answers about what tools I should use, so this idea was already in my head for that, Then I thought, “Wait a minute, I could ask a question, find out what tools the experts using and I know what want.” And I thought other people would relate to this. If you were in the same position as me.

So I came up with this question, and I thought, ask for just 3 tools people used because then it would get people to serious think what they could live without and what they really need. I basically also realized that this question would also be able to be answered in one tweet as well.

Loz James:      Mm.

Richard M:     And which, really powerful stuff … So yes, I reached out to in total I think it was 115 people. I was quite aggressive with my e-mails, but generally people replied really well because the question was good. I was lucky because a lot of people did check out Clambr, and they saw … I mean nothing was going on, but they still replied which was great. If people didn’t reply, I jumped onto Twitter and tweeted them directly. And I found that everyone replied on Twitter, which was amazing. I tried direct messages at first, but I realized no one replies to those, so I just tweeted people directly. I worked out when they were all on-line and active and then tried to do it after they just done a tweet or whatever.

Loz James:      Mm.

Richard M:     Before the blog post went live, the way I got all the contributors excited about it, was about half an hour before I launched the blog post, I did a kind of teaser one saying about how the roundup had gone, and the post was going to go live in 30 minutes, and the results is really exciting. So I e-mailed all the contributors about half an hour before I was going to release a post to kind of tease them a little and get them excited. And I think it’s had a great effect because I got like 15 e-mails immediately back. People were excited.

Then, half an hour later, when the post went live, I then e-mailed again, and I asked them to help tweet it because I couldn’t get on-line because of the great firewall. They were really cool. As soon as I did that, everyone tweeted it, and I also told BuzzStream, who turned out to be everyone’s favorite link building tool, asked them to help promote it, and they did that as well. There was one really annoying thing that happened, which I actually submitted the post inbound, but shortly after, even after it got about 16 up-votes within a very short space of time, it mysteriously disappeared. Since then I learned that you should always have a friend add your post on inbound if you don’t already have a profile on their.

Luckily, someone else re-submitted it, and it did really well on inbound. It was pretty much at the top for a long time on there. The site got a lot of traffic. But yes, I think the reason why it got so much exposure on Twitter and Facebook, was because I won people and really made sure they were going to tweet it [inaudible 12:59]

Loz James:      So this is a whole strategy of outreach, really. It’s creative thinking. It’s looking at who are the influencers in your industry, thinking up a really sharp short question that’s valuable that you can ask them, that they’re going to give you a quick answer to, but it’s going to have value in it. And then really quite aggressively following up on that and then promoting it afterwards. It’s quite a lot of work, but it got great results.

Richard M:     Yes, and I’ll tell you what my cunning part of the plan was. Right from the very beginning I wanted to use Brian Dean and Neil Patel’s for one reason, really. I wanted to prove that it worked …

Loz James:      Okay.

Richard M:     I wanted to use an expert’s strategy who I knew had a lot of followers and a lot of exposure. I wanted to try one of their techniques and then prove that a newbie blogger could transform their blog into a kind of unknown invisible entity and then suddenly transform it into something … put it on the map overnight.

Loz James:      Fantastic, yeah, fantastic.

Richard M:     So I thought, let’s try Brian Dean’s strategy, but my ultimate goal was after a couple of weeks or so, to either get a guest post on Backlinko, or for [Ivan 14:14] Neil or Brian to write about it. Shortly after the post went live, and then after it had such success, I then e-mailed Brian, and I said, “Hey mate, you know I actually used your strategy to do this post, and I would love to write a guest post on Backlinko about it because I got some amazing results, and it’s transformed the blog overnight, I would say.” Brian, he was awesome, and he did a case study on it. Then I did a lot of link building and then he wrote this really cool case study showing how the results worked.

Then of course, I got a lot exposure from Backlinko. His followers came along and checked out Clambr-

Loz James:      Like many?

Richard M:     Yeah, really. To get exposure, and then from Backlinko after, it kind of … everything cooled down a little bit. So that was kind of a cunning plan, and it paid off. It got a lot of traffic and a lot of new followers and comments and everything.

Loz James:      The great thing about this is though that it’s not just links. It seems that this type content marketing outreach inbound link building, it really attracts engagements that’s valuable, doesn’t it? I mean these are like myself. This is how … What you described is exactly how I found you and your blog, so this stuff really gets real targeted interest in your site. It’s not like in the old days where you throw a few crappy links at your site and hope it will get rankings and then hope someone will click on your position in Google or whatever. We’re talking about connections aren’t we through link outreach?

Richard M:     Yeah, it’s a totally different ballgame now isn’t of course? I believe this is the way to go now. Just try and create some really crazy amazing content, get exposure from these kind of methods involved in spending ages building links. Once it’s out there, and you pushed it out there, people come to it, and they’ll link to it.

Loz James:      And you’ve got other strategies as well, haven’t you? You’ve used images … There’s a great post on the blog about the images that you used in link outreach, in particularly broken link building. How does that work?

Richard M:     I was having a little difficulty getting responses to some of my link outreach. I thought, “Hell, let’s try making it a bit more personal.” So I made some kind of funny image with each blogger’s name imprinted on an image of some [Totoros 16:29] shouting on the top of a hill. The bloggers’ name in exclamation marks, so it’s kind of funny. It’s from the movie My Neighbor Totoro, a Japanese film.

Loz James:      Yes, a great film. My kids love that film.

Richard M:     I thought, yeah, try and use images to get the bloggers’ attention. So I’ve experimented with that, and it got quite a few replies, but yes, I’ve been tweaking it recently. Now, I’m just using one image each time. In my first beta e-mail, I was using three images, but now I’m … Sometimes yeah, just use one image with the blogger’s name and a shorter thing under it, just say you got a broken link on your site, are you still updating, would you like me fix it for you or something? But before I was sending a lot of text underneath the image, but now I just literally just send the image and say underneath are you still updating, blah, blah, blah, dot com. I noticed a broken link, and then bang just like that.

Loz James:      Mm.

Richard M:     I found that’s quite effective. But before when I sent this image e-mail, I made the mistake of actually fixing the link in the first e-mail, which was really silly-

Loz James:      Right.

Richard M:     Because then people never replied that they actually fixed the links. Yeah so I figured it’s always very important not to give everything away in the first e-mail with broken link building like that.

Loz James:      So you were just being incredibly helpful for a few hours for everybody.

Richard M:     Yeah, yeah. I mean, honestly man, one blog, I actually fixed … I don’t know what was running through my mind at the time, but maybe it was a bit of OCD, but I fixed like a 115 links on one page.

Loz James:      Wow, they must’ve been pleased. They fired their web development team and you did it all for free and didn’t get one backlink.

Richard M:     Yeah, yeah, and he didn’t even reply to me as well, and I sent an e-mail like the day later saying, “Yeah, um you’re welcome mate.” [inaudible 08:14] tip me, eh?

Loz James:      The thing about it is though, is that it’s the creativity it seems to me. You’re obviously an expert in this. You’ve only been doing it for six month, and that’s because you’re really creative in the way you’re putting yourself out there. You’re sort of using these strategies with some lateral thinking. Sometimes they don’t work. Not every thing’s going to work, but when it does work, the response rates are really good aren’t they from this type of approach?

Richard M:     Yes indeed, yeah. I seriously believe now my new strategies for link building … Basically, I’m putting it on two very separate extremes. So I think you should never do it in between. Either the first extreme is keeping it very simple and just very quick and just saying you got a very good link, like that. The other extreme is going super-duper personal, but in personal I mean making video for the blogger. Making a personal video saying, “Hey mate,” and being very funny in it if you can and saying yeah, I’ve noticed this page, blah, blah, blah, or this is my story, have some funny. Maybe wear something silly in the video of whatever.

But I don’t believe in doing anything in between, as in writing a long e-mail where you kind of looked at the blog, you’ve found a question, you want to say about someone’s post of whatever, and then spending like 10 or 15 minutes over an e-mail because I find that no one responds to those e-mails.

But it’s on to videos. Now I keep these things very separate, so it’s two extremes, either very quick e-mail or an incredibly personalized video. I’ve always been in between kind of mish-mash, don’t bother with anyone.

Loz James:      For link outreach and for finding people in your nature or authorities for around that post and for finding broken links for broken link building, there are couple of great tools that you mentioned on Clambr. What exactly are those and how are you using them?

Richard M:     The tools I use every day are BuzzStream and Check My Links, just those two- Oh and Open Site Explorer as well.

Loz James:      Okay

Richard M:     Yeah, I love broken link building, and I think, well in the SEO niche, it’s pretty much the only way to go, and it has great results. So what I generally do is … all I ever use Open Site Explorer and get the top ten competitors and bundle them in there and then find who’s linking to them. Or I’ll just type in a few advanced Google Searches to find out who’s writing about this subject. And then I’ll trawl through all those pages after putting them into an Excel to check out which ones a broken links, and this Check My Links plugin, you literally just open up the page, click it, and it goes through and shows you for any links by highlighting them in red and puts little 404 next to them.

Loz James:      Mm.

Richard M:     And then what I’ll do is if I find broken links I’ll then put all of the contact details into an Excel which I separate into various fields that I can then upload to BuzzStream which is- It’s a kind of CRM for outreach which I use every day. So I’ll upload all these contacts into BuzzStream, and I’ll literally just fire off a template I’ve already got saved on BuzzStream which is very simple. It simply says like, “Hey, blogger name, are you still updating, blah, blah, blah, dot com. I’ve found a very good link I’d like to point out.” Just that. So then I can just very quickly go through each contact and then send off that e-mail in bulk.

I don’t do any fixing for them at that first stage. If they reply back, then I’ve got their broken link page already logged in my Excel, and then I can go back and then fix it later, if you know what I mean.

Loz James:      Yeah.

Richard M:     But I [inaudible 22:01] this process every day. I check who’s applying on BuzzStream. And also once you get the link, you can log it into BuzzStream, rather than putting into an Excel, you log it into BuzzStream, just note down who’s giving you a link, and then you can check later to see if that link’s gone or whatever.

Loz James:      In terms of the exact process, you’ve just written a post about blue widgets, and it’s fantastic high quality content etcetera, etcetera. You go into Google and find the top ranking sites with authority about that particular topic you’ve written about. You’ve back-engineered their links through like Majestic SEO or Open Site Explorer, and then you go to all those sites. You’ve linked into similar content, and you’ve find broken links on the page and then go through the process you’re describing. Is that roughly it?

Richard M:     Yeah, that’s it. That’s roughly it. But then if they don’t have any broken links on their pages, usually, if it’s got no PR, then I’ll just delete it and won’t bother, but if there was some pages which are pretty cool, it’s got like PR3 or above or whatever, then I’ll highlight those, bundle them in a separate excel and then I’ll make them a funny video.

Loz James:      Right.

Richard M:     But this is something I’ve only just started trying Loz, and I’m going to report on it, possibly in two weeks’ time and after I get back to the UK. I find with ones that I still really want to link, but I’ve got no other way in, no foot in the door, I think the best way is to make something utterly personal and hilarious. Because I mean who’s seriously is going to want to like fire up their blogs back in and go in and like hunt around for that page, which maybe was written back in 2007 and going and helps some guy out to add a link for him if you literally given nothing in return. I think that writing a nice compliment in their blog and everything, in certain industries like SEO and all this, you have to do something a little bit out of the box.

So I do think that if you really want to land a link on a page like that, you’ve got either have the most epic piece of content that kind of stands or go that one step further and make something really personal for them. If someone said to me, “Yeah, like, can you add a link on your page.” No, mate. You can’t just e-mail me and it’s not cool. You’ve got to kind of make me really want to go and add that link.

Loz James:      So what did you do if they’re not that technical because after all not every site owner will know exactly how to fix a broken link perhaps?

Richard M:     I usually will make a very, very detailed e-mail telling them not just the name of the broken link or which one it is. I’ll usually provide very detailed screen-shots with sometimes arrows or notes showing them where the link is on the page. Sometimes, for example, a lot people they write lists, like a hundred best resources, and sometimes you’ll find 4 broken links on that page. Now it’s very helpful to go in and tell them there’s 4 broken links and say would you mind replacing them with my piece of content. That means the blogger still has to find 3 other alternatives for the other 3 broken links and that’s going to take time, and they might not necessarily get around to it or forget about because they got to then go and search for other pieces of content.

So the best thing to do is if you find a page you really want to link on that also got other broken links, is to find useful replacements for them as well and say to the blogger like, “Yeah I found 3 great resources, one’s from maybe search engine land or from Moz. How about you replace the other one with the link I’ve done on my website, and as I’ve helped you.” And that that gets a really good response.

Loz James:      This is amazing. This is actually a Google changing an algorithm that’s made humans behave in a way that is sort of … they’re reciprocating help for each other on their own websites, so we’re actually making their websites better as well as producing great content and helping them to produce great content as well and fix things on their sites, so it’s kind of a win-win all around isn’t it this?

Richard M:     Yeah, it is yeah, definitely.

Speaker 1:      You’re listening to the Content Champion Podcast, showcasing high quality content across the web.

Loz James:      We’re back with Richard Richard M from . You said you wanted to prove if Brian Dean’s and Neil Patel’s strategies worked, and they obviously did. You were 6 months to a site- Well 2 months in at that point to a new site. Really anyone can do the strategies that you’re talking about, can’t they?

Richard M:     Yes, indeed. I’ll tell you now Loz, actually, in a couple of weeks when I move to France, I’m going to be building a new authority site with my brother. It’s in an industry which has a lot of experts and a lot people following those experts. I’m going to do expert roundups to start off, exactly the same thing because I think it’s a really great foot in the door, and it’s a good way to get traffic and immediately put your blog on the map. I think anyone can copy this strategy, and there’s always going to be experts in any industry.

For example, if you wanted to do like a recipe site, hit a up a load of chefs. There’s load of chefs on the internet and ask them a question like, “If you could only eat one dessert for the rest of your life, what would it be and how would you make it?” And then you would get like maybe 50 expert chefs, all give you their best every recipes, right? And that kind of stuff is really viral. Or like a fitness site, you could ask a load of body building experts just to tell you their favorite recipe for like a protein shake, so like what do you blend, do you put some almonds in it, or some spinach or whatever and get loads of recipes form like body builders or whatever. This strategy, you can copy it to anything.

Loz James:      Mm.

Richard M:     It’s really- It’s very powerful.

Loz James:      I can see why you’re good at this. If you’re in the those niches that Richard’s just mentioned, like go and do those two roundup posts right now and get ahead of whoever else is listening because they’re two really good ideas. Now look, we’re really saying then that given all these Google changes and all the various penalties, we all know about these now, the right content production strategy going forward is to produce a mind-blowing piece of content, even if you just do one a month, that’s absolutely fantastic, and then use all these strategies to really promote the hell out of them to get some traction and get some actual eyeballs on your site.

Richard M:     Yes, definitely. I serious think the internet has enough of all these how to guides and regurgitated things of other people’s content. I think it’s just same old crap again and again. Instead of focusing on, “Oh, crap, I’ve got to write a blog post this week” or I’ve got to write 2 a week because you’ve got to keep blogging, that’s what everyone says, but the problem is if you’re only spending a couple of days on something or one day, then it’s not going to be epic, unless you literally hit gold or whatever.

So I seriously think the best strategy these days, especially with how’s Google changing, is to spend 2 weeks or even a month on creating based content. Think of it like you’re writing a university dissertation, and you’ve got your professor breathing down your neck. Think it’s the most important piece of content in your life each time, and it’s going to get graded and critiqued. That way, I think it’s much more powerful. You’re also more likely to rank for the keywords you’re going after. Rather than one thousand words, go for eight thousand words, or ten thousand words. Just go for it. I think this is definitely the way forward now.

Also, if you spend more time over crafting that piece of content, it also allows you more time to think of the strategy on how you’re going to market it. You can already schedule e-mail for people you’re going to immediately tell about the content after it’s released. You can build a huge list. For example, if it’s taking a month to put it together, over that month you can also build a list of people to reach out to, build a list of blogs that have got broken links you can immediately hit up. Also you can schedule e-mails for link building roundups and everything. And then when you know you’ve released that amazing piece of content, not only is it going to like blow everything else out of the water, but also you’ve got a strong strategy for people who’s seeing it to getting exposure and links to it.

That’s just going to have so much more of a powerful effect than if for example, you just did a standard blog post and released it to your e-mail subscription list. Yeah, [inaudible 30:57] but if you want to do things cool, I think definitely taking the time over it is more important these days.

Loz James:      So really we’re all becoming content marketers. Each blog post that you do, the process you’ve described, is a sort of mini content marketing cycle of research, content production, outreach … And so the promotion in a neat little cycle that if you complete say only 12 times once a month on your blog and really take time over it, you’re going to have tons and tons of traffic aren’t’ you?

Richard M:     Yes, definitely. But one thing I must say though is that links, despite doing an amazing content strategy and reaching out and telling everyone about it, I still have to say that links are definitely very, very important. I’ve actually been doing a little bit of a test on my recent roundup. I did one local SEO around the world, and yes, I hit it hard with a content marketing, and I got it on many weekly roundups including Search Engine Land. And then I just stopped everything. For two weeks I haven’t built a single link. I haven’t done anything. I’ve been keeping track of its position on Google. It kind of went up. It peaked on page 2 of Google.

On the smaller ones like or Australia and New Zealand, it got on to the first pages and then gradually, gradually has been dropping.

Loz James:      Okay.

Richard M:     And I seriously think now, and I’ve just started building links, literally a couple days ago, I’m going to try Loz, to kind of prove a point that you still need links. I mean I don’t know whether it’s going to work out or not, but now I’m building links after that kind of the heat cooled off. And I’m going to see if you still do need links and everything and if that will push it up on to the first page of Google. But this is kind of a test like in progress, and I’ll report on that. But I still think definitely links are important, especially broken link building or whatever, and hopefully we’ll see if that works, and then I’ll tell you guys about it in 2 weeks or so.

Loz James:      Fantastic, that’s an exclusive that we’ve got on the Content Champion Podcast. So really we’re looking at the perfect strategy, probably your findings will probably bear out that the perfect strategies are purposed content, marketing, outreach strategy combined with some good old fashioned by very high quality link building using reverse engineering tactics and broken link building and stuff like that. You probably don’t have to get many links. I shouldn’t imagine to a piece of content that’s got as much initial buzz as your 55 SEO experts post. You’re probably only going to have to get …

Brian Dean in the last podcast was talking about ten, twenty, really high quality niche specific high authority links to a post like that, and it should stick around in the search for ages.

Richard M:     Yeah, I think you’re right Loz. That’s definitely the … Just get the high quality links on some good PR, PR3, or whatever pages PR3 and above. The people I’m reaching out to, they’ve all written about local SEO for this one, and we’ll see what happens with that. I’m not one of those guys who does just loads of blog comments or social bookmarking or whatever. I do believe the most important thing is get a few high quality links, and it should pay off. So we’ll see what happens.

Loz James:      Now, moving sideways to look at Clambr’s design. It’s a very quick, light, easy to navigate site. I think it’s running on Thesis, and was this important to you when you started your blog to sort of present you content in the right way on fast loading pages that had a sort of really clean look? Was that something you looked at from the outset?

Richard M:     Yes it was, yeah. I didn’t know how I bumped into Thesis, but I think it was a post someone wrote about how they changed a Thesis. And then I realized the importance of page load speed, and also the fact that you can go behind and make it optimized for SEO by setting the meta tags as you want them and the title tags. So yes, I chose Thesis for this point.

I’m actually still rocking the old version which is the 1 … I think it’s 1.85 . Thesis has since upgraded to 2.0 or whatever, but I couldn’t get to grips with that. It was confusing, but actually it was a bit frustrating to be honest Loz because just as I built the blog on Thesis, I suddenly realized that everyone had stopped loving Thesis, and they had all been talking about Genesis.

Loz James:      Content Champion runs on Genesis, but I was thinking of changing it to Thesis.

Richard M:     Oh really? I don’t know what to do to be honest. At the moment, it sounds like the new Thesis is really good actually, so I’m still stuck. The question is how to change it on to the new Thesis or onto Genesis. But yeah, I chose Thesis for the fact of it being fast and everything, but I’m going to look at Genesis and perhaps change it over the next few months when I can afford to pay a quota to meet the change.

Loz James:      Well let’s just take a step back then and look at some long view questions, some future trends if you like, because obviously you’ve already become somewhat of a SEO expert. What do you see happening in the content marketing and SEO space over the next year or so? Is it just going to get harder and harder?

Richard M:     Yes, I think it’s going to get a lot more competitive, and gradually people are going to realize that they need to make longer blog posts, and they’re going to have to pay more attention to quality in terms of that, so at the moment I think it’s quite easy to rank for competitive key words just from going at that extra mile rather than doing what every other blog is doing and still thinking that 800 words is enough. But also SEO, yes, it’s getting a lot harder, and I think that Google are going to prefer tweets and g pluses and everything definitely over links for sure.

I think links are going to get less valued, and social is going to get more important. For the link building tools post actually, I only physically built less than a dozen links to that, and it’s at the number one spot on Google. I guess it’s because there was no common content competing with it, but also just shows the amount of social shares everything, how even a blog with no PR, which Clambr has no PR still and no authority, is still at the top of Google for that keyword, when there’s quite a bit of competition, and that shows that social really has put it up there.

Loz James:      But you got a dozen high quality links and then I guess social shares and everything, when it gets to a certain volume, the attention that it gets that that flags up with the algorithm, really says, “Okay, this is authority. Trust this.” And the links kick in as well, and the whole recipe is one for high ranking.

Richard M:     Yes, exactly. So I definitely don’t believe that you’d be able to get to the top of Google if you haven’t got at least a hundred social shares. Even just thirty or whatever, I don’t think it’s going to cut it. If you want to really rank, if ranking is important to your blog, then for sure you’ve got to focus on making the content a lot better. And then that’s the right recipe, make the content amazing, make it sociably sharable, and then just a few powerful links will bump it up on Google for sure.

To be honest, I think SEO’s pretty easy, generally. It’s still the same formula, but you just got to focus on making everything you do just so much better than the competition, and it should do all right. You have a hundred percent got to promote and got to build links. I mean it’s stupid to think that you’re just going to rank or links will come naturally. It’s not going to work like unless you’re an authority.

One thing as well, I would be very interested to know if Google has this as one of their algorithms. I’m not sure if you would agree with this Loz. I wondering as well whether for example, you have an e-mail subscription list right?

Loz James:      Mm.

Richard M:     And every time you release a piece of content, you’ve the same people tweeting it and g plusing it, right?

Loz James:      Mm.

Richard M:     I mean because I [inaudible 39:24] subscriber list. But I’m wondering if Google has an algorithm that notices that it’s the same people promoting it and saying it’s good, whereas sometimes it will also notice whether there are many more fresh people, different to old people.

Loz James:      I think you’re right. I think they do have.

Richard M:     Yeah-

Loz James:      Or they’re working on it, because surely as well it would tie into the authority of the person tweeting.

Richard M:     Yes it’s great to post every week so you know your followers going to tweet out your stuff and everything, but Google may not be noticing that unless your stuff is so amazing that it goes extended beyond your own following, and fresh people are tweeting it, and then fresher people with loads more followers are tweeting. So I’m sure that something, that’s playing a part in all this. And why people shouldn’t be relying on their subscription lists and just churning the same old regurgitated stuff every week because they know it would get tweeted.

And I really hope that Google’s doing that. I think it’s good news for us guys who want to produce sick-ass content or whatever.

Loz James:      So this actually dovetails quite neatly into my next question from link building to list building. You mentioned you know obviously, sending e-mails about your content to the same pool of people and do they tweet it or whatever, has your own list on Clambr been beneficial to creating community and getting return visits. How’s it working?

Richard M:     Yes, it has been pretty beneficial. I must admit my list is very small, but it has been very beneficial in one aspect. It’s driven me to know what I should be blogging about because at the beginning I thought people were most interested in my kind of case studies, but actually they’re more interested in the interviews. So at the beginning when I did Clambr I thought I would try out some new methods, maybe I’ll do someone’s strategy of how to get more Twitter followers or whatever. But now I’ve realized that my subscribers, they really want more interviews, so I’ve going to change Clambr into just one big roundup every month, and then a bit about link building and case studies on the side.

It’s basically … It’s helped a lot in guiding me. They’ve also been … My followers have also been tweeting a lot and they’ve been awesome at jumping on the comments, and I love that. I think that lists are very important in that sense, and 22 percent of my blog visitors.

The one thing that’s really grinding my gears, is I really want to be able to put my e-mail sign up, my AWeber sign up, at the bottom of every blog post, but I still haven’t worked out how to code that in myself because I’m missing out seriously. At the moment my subscription box is only in the side bar, but I don’t know how to hard code it into the bottom of every blog post, so I know I’m missing on a serious amount of subscribers from that. One of the first things I’m going to do when I get back to the UK is find someone to hopefully help me hard code that in because it’s powerful stuff, right?

Loz James:      Yeah, actually I can help with that. You should have a look at Hybrid Connect from Shane Melaugh, who I interviewed a while back on the podcast …

Richard M:     Okay.

Loz James:      It’s a fantastic resource for list building a plug-in. You could put all your option boxes wherever you like, so I’ll put a link to that underneath this podcast. Okay so list building, a good thing in the overall strategy because Brian Dean again was saying that it doesn’t necessarily work in all niches, but I guess in the industries we’re in, it does.

Richard M:     Yeah, it seems to, definitely.

Loz James:      So heading towards wrapping things up, I would have to say to everyone that obviously we’ve had a fantastic chat about everything to do with how to make blog posts go viral, looking at different types of broken link building, link outreach, some tools that we could use to do that and some of your strategies behind, so I thank you for all your fantastic information and for your time today Richard.

Could you remind us where we can find you on-line? You’ve got the best about us page I’ve ever read by the way, on Clambr. It’s fantastic. I feel I know you and your brother and all your history, and it’s funny and engaging, so there’s another lesson there about the importance of a about us page on your blog, but can you tell us where you are and where we can find you and perhaps what you got coming up in the future.

Richard M:     Great. Well basically, I’m moving back to the UK very soon, in a week. And then I’m going to be moving to the Alps in France just for the fact of getting into the middle of nowhere, no distractions, so I can really knuckle down. I’m going to be usually hanging out on Twitter. My handle’s @Clambr. When I get back to the UK, hopefully I’ll also be able to get on other social networks. At the moment I’m not very active on g plus or Facebook simply from the fact that I can’t access them, but I’ll definitely be a lot more social when back with better internet connection.

In the future you’ll definitely see some posts on Clambr about the new authority sites I’m going to be building just before the Christmas period. I’m going to be bashing out a site in about 2 months and try to make that profitable. If that’s not a massive success, and I’m not milking it on-line by then, I’ll be looking for jobs in London I guess, to work for, hopefully and SEO agency. If anyone’s interested in employing a link builder or a blogger then yes, please do hit me up. And yes, that’s generally what I’ll be doing Loz, I think.

Loz James:      Your blog is Clambr, that’s C, L, A, M, B, R, dot, com. So it’s clamber without the “e” in it.

Richard M:     Yes, that’s right, no “E.”

Loz James:      Fantastic, go check it out folks.

Speaker 1:      Wait for it listeners, here comes the PS question.

Loz James:      This is the part of the podcast that I call the PS question. Richard, could you please share with us an advanced back-linking or content marketing strategy?

Richard M:     So first, when you’re launching a big blog post, make sure you got a huge list of people who already write about the subject to e-mail immediately afterwards. If you’re doing a new subject each time, it doesn’t matter if they’re people you haven’t connect to it before, just give them a very short e-mail saying this is kick-ass and they would love to see it. It would look awesome on their blog or whatever. It’s not spam. Just one e-mail, once in a blue moon doesn’t matter.

And then make sure you always notify if you’re doing an expert roundup, to notify your contributors 30 minutes the post with a teaser, before it goes on-line. And then also, hit up every single link roundup you could possible get hands on after you released your post within a couple of hours to make sure it’s on their map. Hit them up on Twitter, e-mail, both ways.

Also if you’re doing an expert roundup which I specialize in, and I recommend, make sure you list all of your contributors peak tweeting times, so make sure you now when they’re most active. And also, note down who their friends, so put that in an excel because then you can craft tweets to mention a friend as well and say, “Oh recently I did a roundup with blah, blah, blah…” Or you’d say like Frank and Dom share their amazing insights in this epic roundup and blah, blah, blah because then people would be more likely to re-tweet if it’s when they’re active and also if their friends are involved because buddies like to share other buddies’ … what they’re doing on-line and with their followers.

I mentioned before, but I would love to recap on it. When you’re doing outreach for link building, either keep it short and sweet to not waste time because you time is very important. Broken link building is great for cut time management. It’s fast, it’s simple, and I believe it’s the most powerful. Otherwise, if you want to be personal, don’t waste your time writing e-mails, instead make a video. Make maybe 5 videos a day. You can use the same e-mail script for each one. It’s very easy to do.

Another thing, if you really want to get old school, that I seriously recommend doing, is phoning people up as well. Phoning people is awesome because it’s the best way of selling, and it’s personal. These days the web is getting way too way too unpersonal. I mean yes, we socialize, we go on social networks, but sometimes you’ve got to get back into the old ways of doing things. So if you’re struggling to build links, then try to make a personal connection by actually calling someone up because that’s power stuff, and believe me, it works. I’ll be sharing all this in a future blog post. Those are my kind of main tips for content marketing and link building.

Loz James:      Well folks, I challenge anyone to find a more valuable 2 minutes about content marketing and link building on any podcast anywhere. Richard, thank you very much indeed for all your time and for talking to us today. It’s been fantastic.

Richard M:     No problem Loz and thanks so much for having me. It’s been epic.


How to make content go viral