Just like the rest of the SEO/inbound/internet marketing world, we have spent the last year learning how to shift from link building to link earning, and despite the fact that this stuff is really, really hard, we’ve found some success by building out processes. One challenge (advantage?) that we have is that we work exclusively on Spanish-language projects. This means that while many of the strategies are the same, some of the tactics vary. This post is primarily meant for marketers interested in targeting the Spanish-speaking world, but should also be helpful to full-stack marketers no matter the language.
Are you ready for Spanish content marketing?
There are a ton of great reasons to get started on Spanish-language content marketing. The Hispanic community in the US grew 67% from 2000 to 2011 according to Pew Hispanic, and cleared 50 million people for the first time (although reaching them does not necessarily mean you need to start marketing in Spanish). Also, while growth has slowed in Latin American countries over the past couple of years, their economies are stable enough that they aren’t as affected by downturns in the US economy as they once were. Just because Hispanic marketing is hot, though, is not a good reason for your business to invest time, money, and sweat equity in marketing to Spanish speakers. You need to validate the concept and ensure it’s the right move for you.
First, translate your main keywords. In some cases this can be fairly straightforward, but there are some products that shouldn’t be translated, since the term exists on its own. A great example is “e-commerce:” While there are ways to translate this term, most of the time we leave it in English. But please, a word of advice: Don’t use a machine translation. Get a human being to translate your terms for you, then have someone else check their translations. It is of paramount importance that your terms preserve the same query intent, otherwise, any work on keyword research will be wasted.
Next, make sure that your website is in order, and that you have decided on an international strategy. If you need more help on that front, check out Aleyda’s Whiteboard Friday about International SEO Do’s and Dont’s and her International SEO Checklist. They are both excellent resources if you are thinking about taking your business abroad.
The research phase
We believe in doing persona-based marketing at all times. There is no reason to belabor the point of how to build personas, since this topic has been written about extensively. Suffice it to say, we follow the process explained by Mike King almost to a T. The main difference in our technique is that in addition to this process, we have to think about the country/region towards which we will be targeting the content. This informs the type of data we should use for a given piece of content. For example, if you are going after US-based Hispanics, you may not even need to create the content in Spanish!
Armed with these personas, we find actual people who are active on social media and see what type of content they are sharing. Followerwonk is a great way to do this. These are not necessarily prospects, but It’s absolutely necessary to drill down as much as possible, otherwise your outreach will not be nearly as effective.
Arm yourself with information
If you are going to create interesting content for Latin American audiences, you are going to need data. Lots of it. Luckily for you, we’ve gathered a ton of data resources from all over Latin America. Some of them are country specific, but others look at the region as a whole. The information is in Spanish, but as we say in Mexico, “gajes del oficio” (comes with the territory). At least we’ve translated the description of the databases so you’ll be able to find what you are looking for. It is also a living document. As we find more data sets, they will be added (and if you have any suggestions, please put them in the comments, either here or on that post).
Since you already have your personas built, you can easily decide the data that makes the most sense for your project, and then move on to another important step:
Building the content
If you are a data driven marketer (the best kind in my opinion), when you are diving into the data, your aim has to be to understand the story that the data is telling you, and how you can use it to promote your client. Once you have the story in place, we start thinking about how to best present the data. In some many cases, a great blog post will do the trick. In those cases, we have one person start writing titles. We write a minimum of five, because we want to stimulate creative thought—it is rare that the first idea is the best.
Our lead editor reviews the proposals with the author, and together they decide which best fits the subject, as well as the websites/people the post will be targeting. Then the post is written, reviewed by the editor, and then another content creator to ensure that the piece is focused, creative, and grammatically sound.
In many cases, users will respond more favorably to a visualization than to text. This is especially true if you are explaining a process or giving instructions. We’ve found that video can be an awesome way get through to these people. If you don’t have the budget or the ability to shoot a video yourself (although you should—as Phil Nottingham explained at MozCon, good video can be created pretty cheaply), PowToon allows you to create an animated explanation video, even if you don’t have incredible design chops.
If you must create an infographic, at least try to be original in how you present it. We’ve used Piktochart and Visual.ly just like everyone else, but there are a ton of other ways to present data. We’ve created a list of data visualization resources that includes some very unusual ways of presenting data. In many cases, the main investment is in learning how to use the platform.
Shameless Plug: In my Mozinar next Tuesday I’ll be sharing the easiest way to build resources with outreach prospects built in. It’s seriously awesome. You should sign up now. ¡Por favor!
Prospecting for outreach
Generally speaking, we are looking for:
Usually the best way to find experts in a given vertical is to look at Twitter, and the best way to qualify them is via Followerwonk. Enough blog posts have been written about this already, so there is no need for us to get into that here.
If you are really strapped for cash, all you need is a list of keywords for your vertical and Google’s advanced operators. We use these on occasion, but most of the time, it is faster and more efficient to lean on tools built by others.
Link Prospector supports multilingual queries, and if you want to get a great list of prospects quickly, this is a great way to find them. (Full disclosure: We helped build the multilingual tool, and while we didn’t profit from it, we do get to use it for free. Still, if you told me I could only use Moz and one other tool, this would be it).
Buzzstream is an awesome tool which also supports multilingual queries, and doubles as a way to remember what prospects are in what stage of a relationship. We have found that the contact information that the tool pulls is not particularly accurate for websites in Spanish, so if you are using this tool don’t depend on them—go get the information for yourself. Another platform that we’ve been using that has proven helpful is GroupHigh. Their platform is pricey, but the prospects that you can get from here are excellent, especially if you are doing a bilingual English/Spanish outreach campaign. The metrics they provide are based on Moz’s stats as well as social shares, but they don’t always coincide with what we find when we check sites by hand.
To be sure, we prequalify every single website we are going to do outreach to. And we craft every single pitch individually to ensure that they are more likely to looked upon favorably by our prospective partners.
Once we have our prospects, we separate them into tiers. The top tier is of the most important people and websites in a sphere. We know that getting in touch with and convincing these targets to share our content will be extraordinarily hard, simply because they are pitched to so often. The advantage we have is that most of the pitches they receive totally suck. Knowing how to approach each influencer can make or break your outreach efforts, which leads to our next point:
Outreach to influencers
The goal of any outreach campaign is to get the person/website you’ve targeted to share your content piece, right? In most cases, no matter the quality of your pitch, it will be ignored. This is because some websites are abandoned, the webmaster might be too busy with other work (like a day job), or they simply might not care enough to respond. These are the facts.
And then there is the question of culture and language. We’ve used templates developed by some of the best link builders in the US and seen zero or even negative response. So, it is crucial to localize not just the content, but also the approach. By following our process, you can increase your engagement rate when doing outreach, especially when it is for a piece of content you have created. Here are a few tips that we’ve found to be effective when doing outreach to Spanish-speaking webmasters, bloggers, and journalists:
1) Write it in Spanish
I know that this might seem obvious, but my friends who are bloggers—including for the oldest blog in Mexico—receive dozens of pitches from professional PR companies IN ENGLISH. Unforgivable.
2) Make it relevant
Even if the piece of content that you are promoting is only loosely related to the target site, make sure that you make an argument for why it would be interesting to the readership of that site. Yes, this means you can’t just blast emails. Too bad.
3) Keep it short
In Spanish, we have a tendency to be a bit verbose. In fact, we use more words to explain something than people usually do in English. That being said, it is still better to be concise.
4) Have a hook
Whenever you are doing outreach, the goal is to provide value to your client or company. Keep in mind, however, that webmasters don’t care about how great it will be for you if they share your latest infographic about dog food. They care about their readers and community, so make sure that your pitch addresses the benefits for them, not for you.
5) Address the webmaster how (s)he addresses users
In Spanish, you can address readers either formally or informally. By making your outreach consistent with how they address their readers, you can be sure that your pitch fits their style.
6) Be legit, be honest
Despite what I’ve heard about other markets, we’ve found that being TAGFEE is the best way to get results from an outreach campaign. That doesn’t mean that you can’t sugarcoat your outreach (“Links, Please” is probably not the best subject line), but we send emails from our own domain, and own up to working on behalf of a client. We even link back to our profile pages in our outreach emails.
7) Prioritize outreach method
The best method for outreach depends on who you are reaching out to. This is our priority list when reaching out to bloggers, for example:
- Contact form
In our experience, the first two methods are easily the most effective. This is another place where being open and honest works to our advantage. Since we are using our own Facebook profiles to conduct outreach, prospects can look at our pictures, read our updates, and see that we are human beings, just like them. They are far less likely to say no to someone who likes the same band as them, right?
Of course, if you are reaching out to a journalist (or even a web-based magazine) it is probably going to be best to reach out via phone. Having a prioritized list of methods makes things easier for the outreach specialist to work.
There is obviously a lot more that goes into outstanding Spanish content marketing, but this guide is here to give you the basics.