So, your competitor has just got some outstanding media coverage that even includes some valuable editorial backlinks. Doesn’t it make you mad that the journalist wrote about them, and not you? Well don’t get mad, get even by using Majestic to tap into your competitor’s digital PR success. We’ll show you step-by-step how their coverage can help you uncover scores of media opportunities you can take advantage of immediately.

Take this article, American Beers with Pungent Whiff Of Place in the New York Times. This is a detailed, 1400 word-article, typical of many that appear in the quality press. It features stories and editorial links to a total of 9 breweries in the US.

The journalist who wrote the piece, Daniel Fromson, has done a lot of work; not only has he found 9 breweries around a common them, he has interviewed the owners and built a coherent narrative around their replies.

He has picked out stories that he thinks will be of interest to his readers and told them in an engaging way.

Such media stories are gold-dust for any link builder, SEO or digital marketer [click to tweet]. In this post, I’m going to show you what great value you can get by analysing this article with Majestic tools.

I’m going to show you step-by-step what to do – and this approach to mining quality articles is relevant and useful, no matter what industry you’re in.

Here’s what I’ll cover in this article:

1. Find competitors successful in Digital PR and harvest their contacts
2. Learn what journalists are looking for
3. Collect the names of journalists you already know will be interested in you
4. Identify who links to top media stories and add to your lists
5. Dig into Clique Hunter for even more media opportunities
6. Automate tracking by setting up campaigns
7. Extract Digital PR ideas from quality articles.

(In this post, I’ll use Site Explorer, Bulk Backlinks, Topics filter, Clique Hunter and Campaigns.)

1. Find competitors successful in Digital PR and harvest their contacts

Businesses that appear in top media stories are likely to be media-savvy. That inevitably means they will have been covered in many more media outlets. Majestic can take you right to those pieces of additional coverage, allow you to ‘harvest’ details of the journalists behind them and add them to your own media lists. Here’s how:

Collect all the root domains of the businesses featured in the article and paste them into Bulk Backlinks, ranking the results by the number of referring domains.

Here are the results:

The assumption that the companies are media-savvy is confirmed by the strong score for the ‘news’ topic in the centre of the screenshot.

Now I can click on the cogwheel symbol to the left of any domain name to explore it in more detail. In this case, I’ve chosen Jester King Brewery: a menu opens ups and I click ‘Topics’ to go directly to Site Explorer, and specifically the Topics tab:

The Topics tab is key to finding more news stories featuring Jester King.

Next, I add ‘news’ to the filter and all the topics that feature in the results will be news related:

I can then click on the live links under ‘Linked from Referring domains’ and details of the news story appear as in this one from the magazine, SeriousEats.com:

Click and I can go straight through to the page:

We can carry on looking at more examples including another one from NYTimes.com:

This filtering technique also allows us to explore competitors. Like this story on MaineToday.com:

Click through and we can see a clever story from Oxbowbeer.com – where they staged an exhibition of ‘Beer Label Artists’ – perhaps a link building initiative that might inspire you to do something similar!

Using this approach, every link building initiative or news story can give you inspiration [click to tweet] – and also journalists and outlets to which you can make your own pitches.

2. Learn what journalists are looking for

The first thing you should look for is what makes a newsworthy copy. There’s no tool for this step – but understanding what is newsworthy is essential if you want to succeed in digital PR. By carefully reading through the article in the New York Times, you’ll see what the journalist thought was newsworthy about each of the featured breweries.

And by ‘reading’, I don’t mean ‘skimming’. Take your time, read through the article several times. Ideally, have a notebook in hand and note down thoughts, quotes or interesting detail from the article.

This slow, methodical work will give you insights into what makes the story stand out: that’s what journalists are looking for as they scan through press releases or conduct interviews.

Once you know what journalists are looking for, then you are well placed to provide it.
Let’s take a few examples of stories that Fromson included in his article.

Journalists want vivid descriptions to bring their copy alive. In this quote from Jeffrey Stuffings of Jester King Brewery, sight and sound are used to great effect – “so much steam that you would not be able to see me” and “The coolship kind of creaks and groans”.

Journalists are much more interested in these vivid descriptions than boring claims to be “the leading brewery in the state of x”.

And here’s a wonderful quote from Levi Funk of Funk Factory Geuzeria, “It still feels like magic every time those barrels start fermenting.”

The journalist probably interviewed many more breweries than the nine he featured in the article. Using colourful language like this when you pitch a journalist could make all the difference between you being featured or not!

Another way to get remembered by the journalist is to tell a simple anecdote.

In this quote, Rob Tod of Allagash Brewing tells the story of how his company trademarked the word “coolship” and then decided to stop enforcing their trademark rights because so many brewers were using it.

It’s unusual anecdotes like this that makes the journalist think, “Wow, that’s a great quote – I just have to work that into the story”.

Quotes are often used to finish an article. The New York Times opened up with a quote from Jeffrey Stuffings: often the journalist likes to finish with another quote from the person he used at the start of the article.

So, try to create a social setting that could provide a final thought to end the piece. “After the tour, Mr. Stuffings sat at a picnic table outside… and mused how he was infatuated with their (the beer’s) elegance, their texture, the airiness of their foam.

This is a wonderful use of words and certainly brought its reward to Jester King Brewery.

Many people who only skim the article will fail to spot these crucial quotes – but not you! Take the time to look for these gems. They’ll probably be present in every news story you read: learn from them, adapt them to your own industry – and journalists and writers will soon start to take notice.

3. Collect the names of journalists you already know will be interested in you

Most online media sites now have a page for every journalist that writes regularly for them. Visit these pages and you’ll be able to see all the articles the journalist has written previously, you’ll likely see their twitter handle and sometimes even their email address.

This is great intelligence for approaching journalists in the future. You’ll quickly learn what they write about, their style of writing and their point of view.

Incorporate these insights into your pitches and your chances of success will be so much higher.

Unfortunately, the New York Times does not publish profile pages for each journalist that writes for them. But there’s an easy alternative – you can do a site search on Google using the journalist’s name – in this case, Daniel Fromson – like this:

You can see that according to Google, there are 58 articles where Fromson’s name has appeared – that’s more than enough articles to get a good idea of what he is about!

And of course, it’s easy to do a search on Twitter and that can prove useful in contacting him. Here’s his profile:

But there’s more than I can get from that NYTimes.com search on Google.

Scanning down the results, I come across this page – specialising in beer:

Visit that page and we get articles by a whole bunch of journalists who have written about beer in the NYTimes.com over the last few weeks and months. That’s more potential targets to approach!

The New York times lists 10 journalists who have written about beer for them in the last 5 weeks.

Click through on their name and you’ll see the article they’ve written – next, have a quick look at their Twitter profile:

You can see that Joshua M. Bernstein has a great sense of fun:

“I write stories. And drink beer. Not always in that order.”

Now you use Majestic to systematically build your list of beer writers on the NYTimes.com. Here’s what to do:

  • Search for each of the names on Twitter
  • Grab the URLs of their Twitter Pages – you need to grab the URL, not their Twitter handle
  • Enter all these URLs into Bulk Backlinks and sort on the number of referring domains.

The results show you how influential each journalist is:

With just a little bit of work, I’ve built a ranked list of 10 journalists who regularly write about beer – using just one quality article as my starting point.

Just imagine the lists I could build with Majestic if I repeated this process with other quality articles about breweries or craft beer?

Here’s the search I would do on Google News if I wanted to dig deeper into the ‘craft beer’ market:

So first, I’d search for “craft beer” on Google News so that I’d find important news stories.

Then I’d use the ‘Tools’ on Google to limit the search only to news stories that had been published in the last month. That’s because, the more recent a story is, the more likely the chance of making a real connection with the journalist who wrote it.

Do the same in your own industry, and you’ll quickly build a list of hot journalist prospects.

But remember, you’ve got to give them something newsworthy 🙂
Tweet: “Competitor scores a digital PR success? Don’t get mad, get even! https://ctt.ec/30AzI+ via @ Majestic #linkbuilding, #SEO, #DigitalMarketing

4. Identify who links to top media stories and add to your lists

Journalists and bloggers often quote and link to interesting or important articles written by others. Therefore, checking who links to a particular piece of content like the beer article in the New York Times, can discover other relevant journalists and bloggers who can be added to your media lists.

Check out the backlinks to the actual URL of the article and you’ll find over 30 links:

I’ve highlighted the link to “One of Austin’s best breweries is spotted in the New York Times”.

Here’s a screenshot:

This type of article is common – a local media outlet thinks the fact that a local company was featured in a national paper is ‘newsworthy’.

Such secondary coverage is valuable for at least 3 reasons:

  • Austin360.com links to the original article, making sure that a local audience is aware of the success and allowing them to link through to the original piece
  • Austin360.com also gives an editorial link to Jester King
  • Austin360.com publishes links to stories they have previously written about Jester King.

The savvy link builder should always tap into this ‘bonus’ source of local coverage and backlinks when you score a major media hit.

And of course, it gives you another journalist to add to your media list – in this case, Arianna Auber. Click on her name and Austin360.com gives you a list of all her recent articles. You can see that she covers much more than beer stories for the local outlet:

But have a look at her Twitter profile and you can see where her primary interests lie. Furthermore, she often tweets about the breweries she writes about:

5. Dig into Clique Hunter for even more media opportunities

One question most of us hate from a prospective client is:

But do you have experience in the [insert client’s sector] business?”.

Clique Hunter is the tool to provide a brilliant answer in such circumstances! Let’s demonstrate with our 9 brewery sites and show how you can become an ‘instant expert’ in link building in any industry.

Clique Hunter will show you:

  • The most important sites from which to get backlinks
  • Why each of your competitors got links from these important sites – all with vivid examples and screenshots.

First, enter all 9 domains and hit ‘Compare’:

Here are the results (note that the first line you see is our article from NYTimes.com):

Clique Hunter reports 631 sites that link to 2 or more of the domains we entered.

And the tool also allows us to see the actual pages for every competitor. The underlined numbers in the right-hand columns are clickable and they’re the gateway to additional information.

I’ve picked out an example to demonstrate, ‘Imbibe Magazine – The Ultimate Drinks Magazine’ (my green highlight).

The first column shows the site has a Trust Flow of 33, and the subsequent columns are live links to magazine pages. I’ve clicked on the 6th column which then opens up the links to the Jester King Brewery.

Notice the title, ‘Farmer-Brewers Growing Local Beer’? I click on the link and it takes me directly to the page on ImbibeMagazine.com:

I can then see the context of the link and understand why the journalist gave it.

And you can explore how each of your competitors is featured in Imbibe Magazine.

Click on the numbers and you arrive at the stories that featured your competitors. Here, I’ve taken small screenshots of the 7 articles on Imbibe Magazine:

I’ve done this just for one publication, but you can do the exercise for as many publications as you wish. This will show you:

  • The types of stories that get coverage – so you can improve your own pitches
  • A range of journalist writing for the publication – so you can learn about their individual likes and dislikes.

6. Automate tracking by setting up campaigns

I’ve already said that companies who feature in the quality press are likely to be media-savvy and will likely get media coverage in the future. That’s why I add them to a campaign and switch ‘alerts’ on. That means that once a week, I’ll get an automatic email from Majestic giving me details of any new links I’ve found for those sites in the campaign.

Here’s a screenshot of my campaigns. You can see that I’ve set up two campaigns:

  • ‘American Beers’
  • and ‘American Beers News Stories.

So why two campaigns?

The first campaign, ‘American Beers’ is obvious – it’s what anyone serious about monitoring their competitors would do.

But the second campaign is a little unusual but useful nonetheless. Here’s why.

I’ve said earlier that journalists and bloggers often write about work created by other writers – usually to praise or to criticise. Either way, they’re entering into a conversation of sorts – and you could join in and perhaps get some publicity yourself – or at least start a relationship with a journalist.

So, I set up a campaign based ONLY on quality articles on craft beer. If I set up a campaign that’s purely about news stories, I can get an email from Majestic once someone links to one of those stories. This can take me to conversations or debates within the industry.

I added the URLs I’d collected while researching this article (but of course, I could add more):

Make sure to switch ‘Alerts On’ and you’ll receive emails like this one that I received this morning:

Clicking through, I find an established writer on beer, who has quoted and linked to one of the articles I had added to the campaign:

This is a current story and gives me an opportunity to engage with the blogger if I so wish.

7. Extract Digital PR ideas from quality articles

There’s no Majestic tool for this step, but it can be a fantastic by-product of the work I’ve done.

I’ve collected and read a lot of articles on craft beer as I’ve conducted this research. Quality articles are detailed and often the journalist aims just to get a set number of words written – they have to hit 1400 words, not 2000 words.

And that means they can’t cover everything they’ve discovered in their research – so their articles are often full of ideas that they haven’t been able to develop.

After I’ve written and submitted my article, I’ll grab a coffee (or maybe it should be a beer in this case), go through my research notes and print-outs for any ideas that might ‘pop out’.

Here are some phrases I’ve picked out that could inspire me:

Getting creative inspiration is a very personal thing – the topics that I’ve picked out, set my imagination alight. But the beauty is that you can get entirely different inspiration from the same material I have used.

Could Majestic be the only Digital PR tool link builders need?

Digital PR success is something that is expected of experienced link builders today – and it can produce tremendous results. Yet many link builders don’t have extensive PR experience, nor access to the expensive media databases available to PR professionals.

However, as I’ve demonstrated in this post, the existing tools within Majestic provide ample opportunity to find journalists and bloggers; to understand what approaches are considered newsworthy; and to monitor competitors and set out a viable Digital PR and link building strategy.

Tweet: “Competitor scores a digital PR success? Don’t get mad, get even! https://ctt.ec/30AzI+ via @ Majestic #linkbuilding, #SEO, #DigitalMarketing

And now what about you?

Have you used Majestic to power your PR campaigns?

As always, we’d ask you to share your PR experiences, your suggestions and questions in the comments below.


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