I was in Peru earlier this year for a digital marketing conference, and I overwhelmingly heard the same frustration: “It’s really hard to use outreach to earn links or PR coverage in our country.”
This wasn’t for lack of trying. As I continued to hear this sentiment during my visit, I learned there simply weren’t a lot of opportunities. For one thing, in Peru, there aren’t nearly as many publishers as in more populous countries. Most publishers expected payment for mentioning a brand. Furthermore, journalists did a lot of job-hopping, so maintaining relationships was difficult.
This is a conundrum not limited to Peru. I know many people outside of the US can relate. When you see the Fractl team and others sharing stories about how we earn hundreds of links for a single content piece, you might think it must be nice to do outreach somewhere like the US where online publishers are plentiful and they'll feature great content with no strings attached. While the work my team does isn’t easy by any means, I do recognize that there are ample opportunities for earning links and press coverage from American publishers.
What can you do if opportunities are scarce in your country?
One solution is focusing your outreach efforts on publishers in neighboring countries or countries with the same language and a similar culture. During conversations with the Attachmedia team (the company hosting the conference I was at), I learned they had much greater success earning media stories and building links outside of Peru because publishers in surrounding South American countries were more receptive to their email pitches and publishing third-party content.
But you may not need to do any international outreach if you know how to create the type of content that will organically attract attention beyond your borders.
At Fractl, many of our top-performing client campaigns have secured a lot of international links even without us doing much, or any, international outreach. To dig deeper, we recently conducted an analysis of 290 top-performing client content campaigns to determine which content naturally attracted coverage from international publishers (and thus, international links). Altogether, these campaigns were featured by publishers in 130 countries, earning more than 4,000 international media stories.
In this post, I’ll share what we found about what causes content to spread around the world.
1. Domestic success was a key factor in driving international placements for Fractl’s campaigns.
For years, we’ve noticed that if content gets enough attention in the US, it will organically begin to receive international press and links. Watch how this happens in the GIF below, which visualizes how one of our campaigns spread globally after reaching critical mass in the US:
Our study confirmed that there’s a correlation between earning a high number of links domestically and earning international links.
When we looked at our 50 most successful client campaigns that have earned the highest number of media stories, we discovered that these campaigns also received the most international coverage. Out of the 4,000 international placements we analyzed, 70 percent of them came from these 50 top-performing campaigns.
We also found that content which earned at least 25 international media pickups also earned at least 25 domestic pickups, so there’s a minimum one-to-one ratio of international to domestic pickups.
2. Overcome language barriers with visual formats that don’t rely on text.
Maps showing a contrast between countries were the visualizations of choice for international publishers.
World maps can be easily understood by global audiences, and make it easy for publishers to find an angle to cover. A client campaign, which looked at how much people eat and drink around the world, included maps highlighting differences between the countries. This was our fourth-highest-performing campaign in terms of international coverage.