Let’s kick things off with the first blog in this module where we’ll talk about structuring and hiring different members for your link-building team. Now, there are two team models that I’ve seen work. The first model is to have a team of all-in-one marketers who do everything from writing the content to finding prospects, finding emails, and doing all the outreach.
The second model is when each team member focuses on just one part of the link-building process. For example, digital marketing professional services might have a prospector who only does prospecting. A vetter who only does vetting. And an outreach manager who only does the outreach. Now, the first model can be effective because the content creator will know their content best, and they’ll also have a good understanding of who their link prospects are. But I’ve never seen a team do this efficiently.
Stages In The Link Building Process
The reason is, that no one is a master of all the stages in the link-building process and no one wants to do all of these things. For example, content creators might love the content creation and prospecting aspects. But I highly doubt that many will enjoy finding emails, vetting prospects, and/or doing email outreach. This leads to inefficiencies and sloppiness in areas where these all-in-one marketers aren’t as strong. The second model, it’s much more efficient because each person handles a part of the link-building process. They become masters of their role and over time, synergy is created within the team, leading to a system that works like an efficient assembly line.
Why I Think This Is The Best Way To Go
In the next blog when we talk about systems, but first, let’s talk about the different people you’ll need to hire, the skills, traits, and qualifications you should look for, as well as an overview of their roles and responsibilities. So the first person is a prospector. Now, a lot of people look at this job as lower-level. And I think it’s because prospectors are often given an SOP to find prospects for common link-building tactics like broken link building or the Skyscraper technique. These are easy to put into a step-by-step process because it rarely requires creativity.
But when you’re going with the seed and lookalike approach that I taught in module 2, it’s a little bit more of a bespoke experience where you need to be able to analyze data and creatively execute on it. And that’s why I think prospecting is arguably the most important part of the link-building process for the seed and lookalike approach. Your campaign’s success is dependent on the relevance and quality of your prospects. If you get your prospects wrong, then your outreach will be ineffective and vetting would have just been a waste of time.
Skills and Qualifications
Now, as for skills and qualifications, this person should have strong knowledge of SEO, have solid researching skills, be an analytical thinker, and be creative. And their roles and responsibilities will primarily be behind the scenes. They’ll work with the outreach manager to come up with pitch angles; work with content, design, and dev teams to ensure all assets are ready; and they’ll set up the campaigns in a data management tool like Google Sheets or whatever you use in your organization. Now, their role also overlaps a lot with a project manager. And for that reason, I think they’re usually the best person to manage projects until or if you need a dedicated PM.
Alright, next up is the vetter. Now, this person’s job is to qualify and disqualify prospects based on a set list of criteria. And these criteria will vary depending on your organization’s SOPs and requirements. As for skills and qualifications, the two things I look for are attention to detail and the ability to follow instructions consistently. Now, their roles and responsibilities will actually be the most time-consuming. The majority of their time will be spent reviewing prospects and their pages to ensure they meet your list of quality standards. They’ll also update prospect statuses in your spreadsheet and potentially find email addresses. Now, I say to potentially find email addresses because some people prefer to hire a dedicated email finder.
Also Read: HOW TO WRITE THE PERFECT ABOUT US PAGE
But from my experience, my vetters have always done a better job at finding email addresses. Plus, the blitz list eases quite a bit of this pain too. Alright, the final person on your team will be your outreach manager. This is the person responsible for sending all emails and managing the relationships that come from them. And because good outreach is all about relationship management, the skills I look for include: strong communication skills; good with people; organization; strong copywriters; and creativity.
Maintaining Relationships With Key People
As for roles and responsibilities, they’ll be writing emails, templatizing them, and building and maintaining relationships with key people. Now, contrary to what many believe, outside of the prospector, I don’t think vetters or outreach managers need any link-building or SEO experience. The best vetter that I’ve worked with had a background in SaaS quality assurance. And one of the best outreach managers I’ve worked with had a strong background in sales.
The outreach manager I’m currently working with has a strong background in relationship building and copywriting. So in my opinion, when hiring and building your team, it’s important to focus on the core competencies of the role rather than looking for “SEO specialists.”
Things like metrics are easy to teach, while creativity and people skills are not. Now, whether your team has a strong background or no background in SEO, you’re going to need a system for them to work in. And the system is going to help you stay organized because there are a lot of moving pieces in a link-building campaign, and it’ll also smoothen out your processes to maximize your efficiency.