Here is a guest post from a partner in the UK outlining some tips for using surveys to generate interesting blog content. Read below for this great technique that will generate traffic and backlinks through cooperation with local media.
Surveys are probably my favourite method of link building. I like them for the quantity of links it brings in as well as the quality. First of all, think of an interesting topic within your niche, put together the questions you want to ask people, and then find the people you want to ask.
Although it can be pricey finding a decent enough sample of people (1000+), there are a couple of ways around it. Spend a little bit of money promoting the survey on Facebook and offer a prize draw entry for one of the participants. You can also make use of your mailing list if you have one. Failing this, you can go out in the streets and ask people who walk past. It might be hassle but it’s better than spending thousands on a survey provider.
Once you have the results, think about the spin you want to put on it, and then create a piece of content around it. In my experience, it’s not enough just publishing the results – they have to tell a story. For example, if you asked 1,000 dog owners which dog food product they use the most, instead of publishing content that reads “1,000 dog owners survey”, I would look to see which product is the most popular and use it as a title – “37% of dog owners prefer Bakers to any other dog food brand”. With that, you’re more likely to acquire a link from a big business.
Another piece of advice around surveys would be to see what’s going on in terms of news in your niche at the present time. For instance, I was working on a campaign for FreeOfficeFinder and we were going through the biggest news event in a generation in the UK (EU referendum). Although FreeOfficeFinder is not a political website, they had a database of thousands of office workers who they could quickly ask their opinion on the upcoming vote.
Be as specific as possible with the survey. If you ask two or three basic questions, the chances of your survey being newsworthy are reduced. As you can see with the Brexit survey, there was only one question asked, but the intention of the survey was to split the results into areas of the country, which provided us with something newsworthy to present to websites.
Even though your survey is finished and the content is on your site, your job isn’t done. Any link builder will tell you that the whole “if you build good content you will gain links” advice is a myth. Without outreach, you will not get links. With a survey, I split my outreach between newspapers, journalists and bloggers in the niche the survey is in.
When it’s a local survey, the local press is usually very interested in hearing what it’s about, but I’ve found that nationally, it can be extremely difficult to get the press to listen. Instead of just emailing the Newsdesk, phone them up. Find a number of related articles on news websites and use social media to contact the authors.
When sending your outreach emails, you need to remember that journalists and bloggers are busy people. It’s important that you keep your contact short and sweet. Put all your main points in a bullet list and make sure the most important point is clear when they open their email.
From my survey and outreaching efforts, the Brexit survey was mentioned in a national newspaper. Sadly this wasn’t a link but it was free publicity and it let to more people visiting the site and a few links were created from it.
With all the tips and advice, you’re ready to go. Not every survey is a success, but if you do them properly, there’s a good chance you’ll bring in some excellent links to your website.