Really Targeted Outreach: How To Create A Constantly Updated List of URLs Your Core Audience Cares About
On July 17th, 2013 Richard Baxter (CEO and founder of SEOgadget, a digital marketing agency based in London and San Francisco) blogged about tools for tracking the activity of key Twitter users and in particular about tools for finding sites that a target audience may be sharing on Twitter.
Richard Baxter's July 17th post was based on a Mozcon talk he had delivered a week before (on July 8th, 2013) about gathering data that shows where key thought leaders are themselves going online - a key piece of data for targeted outreach.
Say you've made a film about snowboarders and you want to get it written about on sites that really matter to snowboarders.
Where do you start?
Maybe you know a couple of influential pro snowboarders who are on Twitter.
But you want to know where most of the thought leaders (the key people in the niche - or a large group of them anyway) are going online.
You're not even sure who the thought leaders are in your niche (besides the couple of snowboarders you already know).
Where do you start?
The first step is to identify your core audience and the next step is to create a list of key people who are admired and followed by that core audience.
How does a filmmaker begin building such a list of thought leaders to watch?
First you need to identify the core audience for your film.
If your film is a snowboarding film, you'll probably want to market to snowboarders.
Think about the keywords that this audience might use in their Google searches.
You can use Google's AdWords Planner or other free tools (like SEOBook's Keyword Tool or Wordtracker's Keyword Tool) to come up with a list of keywords that matter to your core audience or niche.
Next generate a list of keywords that will identify potential leaders in that niche (e.g., "pro snowboarder" rather than just "snowboarder").
OK, now that you've got a list of keywords (again, you can test them using Google's AdWords Planner or other free tools like SEOBook's Keyword Tool or Wordtracker's Keyword Tool) that might identify leaders in the niche, how do you use those words to find influential people online?
In other words, how do you go about compiling a list of Twitter users who might be thought leaders in your niche?
Richard Baxter recommends followerwonk.
For example, here is a link to a list of "pro snowboarders" generated by followerwonk.
Try using followerwonk with your thought leader keywords.
Make a list of the Twitter names of key people - those with large followings and credibility in your niche.
Now that you have a list of Twitter handles, how do you use that information to gather data about the URLs these people are tweeting about?
You can search a particular user's Twitter account to see only the Tweets they have sent that contain a shared URL...
The query looks like this:
If @richardbaxter is an important figure in the niche that you've identified (say he is an influential pro snowboarder), it might be very helpful to know what sites @richardbaxter is tweeting about.
And you can easily add more usernames to your Advanced Search with a simple OR operator, like this:
Filter:links from:@richardbaxter OR from:@wilreynolds OR from:@randfish
(Simply put the search term, e.g., "links from:@richardbaxter OR from:@wilreynolds OR from:@randfish" in the first line of the Advanced Search window.)
Here's a link to the result you'd get for such a search.
So now you have tools for gathering 1) keywords that might matter to your niche 2) Twitter accounts of key people in your niche and 3) a list of sites that those key people are talking about on Twitter.
In a few steps, you've created data about URLs that might be great places to have your film marketed, whether discussed for free (PR) or advertised (paid ads)...
What do you do with this data?
How do you make your list of URLs actionable?
The first step might be to put your data into a spreadsheet - ideally one that is constantly updated, as the hot websites may change as news and events merit - that you can easily read.
For the chore of creating such a spreadsheet, Richard Baxter recommends a tool (created by Martin Hawksey) known as the Twitter Archiving Google Spreadsheet or TAGS. The TAGS tool collects your Twitter Advanced Search data and conveniently stores it in a spreadsheet.
Here's a video about setting up TAGS from Martin Hawksey himself:
So, with the TAGS tool, you can archive Tweets from people you're interested in - paying special attention to the URLs in their tweets.
You can even set TAGS to automatically run every hour.
If you've gone through the various steps suggested in this post, you've got a spreadsheet that identifies -in real time - websites that are important to your niche.
Yes. You still need to decide how to use your list of hot URLs...
Maybe you have money to spend on advertising on these sites... or maybe you just want to reach out and try to become a filmmaker whose work gets discussed on these sites...
But I hope you can see how the tools for gathering information about key URLs for a targeted campaign are within your reach.
Just a few hours of work (maybe less if you're handy with Excel) and you've created a spreadsheet that continuously updates with data from people you're interested in on Twitter.
If you're a filmmaker (or really anyone with something you hope to market via Twitter) having a constant source of data about the URLs that thought leaders in your niche are mentioning should be a really useful tool for staying in touch with your core fans.
Thanks to Richard Baxter for showing how he gathers and populates an Excel document that allows him to easily track vital information about a target audience - where they are, what they're sharing and what they love.