How to Prospect?
There are a few ways to build a prospect list:
- Enter the query in Google and make use of advanced search operators to narrow down your search results.
- Collect search results using scraping plugins and Google Sheets. Take a minute to see it in action here
- Repeat this exercise to all the brands owned by the business.
Refine & Source Contacts:
In this step, you will closely analyse your prospect list and remove any of the following:
- Irrelevant mentions: mentions in comments, random online tools, mentions of irrelevant references ( When “Mars” is mentioned, it’ll not always be about your favourite chocolate bar but potentially about the planet Mars, Bruno Mars, Veronica Mars and the list can go and on)
- Negative mentions: let’s hope your brand hasn’t been mentioned in any negative PR stories or product review posts but if it has, you would want to ditch those mentions off your prospect list and move on.
- Linking mentions: Mentions that already link to your website (using xpath query & google sheets you’ll be able to detect if there is a link to your site)
As you’re refining your prospect list, pull the contact details of the ones you want to go after. I suggest to aim for phone numbers rather than emails. Emails and contact forms should be your last resort type of contact.
Now that you’ve got a filtered list of opportunities with their contact details, it’s time to put on your sales cap, pick up the phone and make some calls. When submitting requests, keep it simple and explain what you’re after in layman terms. Further details can be provided in a follow up email.
Your success will depend on how you submit your request and who you’re dealing with. This task needs a person with solid communication skills and immaculate phone manners. Try and get a hold of the editor in charge as they will likely be responsible of granting your request.
Tip: You’d want to be able to know how you’re doing in terms of results at any point in time. Properly organising and managing your spreadsheet will greatly help in tracking results, making any changes to your strategy and staying on top of things.
Don’t miss any easy opportunities, not all promises are delivered, not all requests are trusted. Editors often take time to actually add the link and sometimes they completely forget. On the other hand, your initial email, may have not receive the attention it needed for some reason or another. Follow ups will ensure that you don’t miss out on any real opportunities to earn links. I’d suggest to do two follow up rounds with a week difference in between.