Content Marketing as a Growth Strategy

Insights from Amanda Natividad, VP of Marketing @ SparkToro

Happy Saturday to the 8,214 builders, marketers and unicorns reading this newsletter.

Today we're going to look at content marketing as a growth strategy.

We'll hear from Amanda Natividad, VP of Marketing at SparkToro, about:

  • How SparkToro got 500 press mentions and 4,000+ backlinks from one article

  • SparkToro's content flywheel that you can steal

SparkToro is an audience research tool that shows the websites your customers visit, social accounts they follow, hashtags they use, and more β€” so you can do marketing that works.

Time to read: 4 minutes

Difficulty level: MEDIUM

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β€œDon’t build links. Build relationships.”

– Rand Fishkin, Founder @ SparkToro


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Now on to the main event:

Content Marketing as a Growth Strategy

Everyone knows that to build awareness you need to create content.

But most people overlook the value of great content as a force multiplier for other growth strategies.

Case in point:SparkToro, founded by Rand Fishkin (founder of legendary SEO tool Moz).

SparkToro's content playbook is a flywheel for growth:

  1. Release in-depth study that taps into industry zeitgeist

  2. Use study to generate publicity (media coverage)

  3. Media coverage generates backlinks and speaking opportunities (webinars, conferences)

  4. Webinars and conferences increase brand awareness

  5. Backlinks increase their ability to rank for high intent search terms

How SparkToro Gets 1,000's of Backlinks from Studies

Using Ahrefs to analyze SparkToro's backlink profile, you can see that four of their top six URLs by backlinking domains are for research reports.

These reports are generating an average of 2,303 backlinks from 1,046 unique domains EACH:

Here are live links to these reports:

The interesting thing about these reports is that they get almost no search traffic.

But they increase SparkToro's domain authority tremendously and account for 31% of all referring domains.

The beauty of domain authority for SEO is that it becomes an unfair advantage.

So it doesn't matter that these four research reports generate almost no search traffic, because the links they've accrued have increased's credibility in the eyes of Google, making it much easier for SparkToro to rank for higher intent and higher search volume terms in the future.

"We went from not ranking at all for 'audience research tool' to ranking 1 or 2 in less than a week. The goal [of our 2022 Twitter analysis] wasn’t to rank for anything, but we wanted to see if we could tap into the news cycle, which would in turn increase organic traffic to our site."

- Amanda Natividad, VP of Marketing @ SparkToro

How to Write An Effective Study That Generates Backlinks

SparkToro's studies are effective because they:

  • Tap into the zeitgeist, which appeals to journalists looking for stories

  • Have a spiky point of view, which makes them noteworthy and shareable

  • Are extremely well-researched, which lends them necessary credibility

  • Acknowledge their potential limitations, which enhances credibility

Take, for example, the analysis of fake Twitter profiles.

During Elon Musk's negotiation with Twitter, the percentage of fake profiles became a point of contention.

SparkToro injected itself into this highly publicized conversation with its own research.

Naturally this attracted the attention of journalists covering the Twitter sale, who were in need of content for their coverage.

Some of you might object:

Rand has 468K Twitter followers:

Amanda has 128K Twitter followers:

And that's true.

Rand and Amanda's existing audiences give them an unfair advantage to amplify research that other startups wouldn't have.

But a young startup can still learn from SparkToro's methodology to create meaningful content that generates substantial word of mouth, brand awareness and backlinks (on a smaller scale).

A note about credibility:

Journalists and bloggers put their own reputations on the line by using / linking to a source. Your research has to be thorough, accurate and well-documented, and your company's online presence has to be legitimate. Otherwise a great piece will die a quiet death.

🚨 Level Up Your Content Marketing 🚨

As luck would have it, Amanda just announced her new course, Content Marketing 201.

She's distilled her content marketing knowledge into four 90-minute live sessions that will give you an actionable blueprint for a scalable content strategy.

Unicorn readers who use the promo code "UNICORN100" will get $100 off the price (can only be redeemed 3 times, so act fast).

*If you're serious about content as a growth strategy, this is a no-brainer my unicorn friend.

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✨ That's it for today.

I hope these content marketing insights help you in your growth journey.

-Brian πŸ¦„

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