The Golden Age of Pull Marketing

Since blogging has become popular there are far more people writing than their are good ideas to spread. This means that if you can create a good idea marketed at publishers looking for a scoop, and format the idea to spread you can probably get enough link authority to get a natural PageRank 6 in just about any market.

Obvious Story Seed Locations:

Each day the Digg homepage and popular lists have new content posted. There are also a couple major channels in just about every field that people pay attention to. If you can get featured on any one of these you can capture the attention of a targeted market.

If you read and learn these channels, and then create, format, and target your content with the intent of capturing one of these markets or publishers it should be easy to get featured.

Following Up With Email:

Don't rely on any one channel to spread your story. If it gets blocked for any reason you want other back ups that will help spread your story.

While you have mind-share follow up with personalized emails. In some cases it might make sense to remind people that you were as seen on and in other cases (such as rivals like Gizmodo vs Engadget) that might offend them. Sometimes putting an as featured in link in your email signature is a more confident, more tactful, and less overt way of showing that credibility.

Is Sending an Email Spamming?

If you are carpet bombing cheesy off target link exchange requests for then that is spamming.

Many sites have a email address. They are not being spammed when you solicit coverage of quality is something they are asking for, and something they need to keep publishing cutting edge stories first.

Sure email is push, but the large gain from it is the pull of that channel. If it is targeted and personalized and they ask for it I don't see how they could consider it spam.

Realistic Expectations:

Email allows you to personally target your message to a targeted group of influential people. As long as it is well targeted and personalized it rarely backfires. You can't expect them all to work, but if you get exposure on a few channels that is all you need to seed the story.

People do not see or know of your emails that had little or no effect, they only see people talking about your site on the active channels.

News Half Life: Why Email is Crucial:

Once news is a week old it no longer is news. It is stale. Being featured on few premium channels all at once will cause a story to spread much further than if you try contacting them slowly over time.

Once something is years old it might be worth reformatting and turning it into news again, but if it is just a few weeks old it is much harder to get people to care than it is fresh off the presses.

Cascading Effects:

Being seen on a number of authoritative sites leads to more coverage. Recently I got a story featured on the home page and sent out 2 emails to authoritative blogs. Both blogs covered the story, it made the popular list, got linked to from Wired Magazine, and a couple hundred unique sites linked at it.

My only regret is that I didn't take the time to send out a dozen more emails. But if I didn't get covered in all 3 of those authoritative channels right away I might have only got a few links out of it. Each trusted independant citation makes it easier for people to trust the story as being valuable and important, and leads to a cascading set of inbound links.

Since their is so much attention concentrated on the top few channels and there are many more people writing than there are original thinkers or good ideas to spread these authoritative co-citations lead to many second tier site owners feeling that they need to publish the news too.

New Channel Discovery:

After spreading a few ideas you will find many other channels to target that you may not have thought of. Did you know that was a Digg clone? Or that HGTV is adding a community feature? Or that MSN is using a Digg-like feature for news in some of their smaller markets?

Drifting on Someone Else's Story:

Some might consider it unethical to snag someone else's story, but many stories spread because they are formatted to be spin and lies. If you see spin spreading debunk it on your own site or directly on the site producing the spin.

Yesterday an analytics company posted a blog entry about what Google properties are growing and dying. I commented that I thought it was spin (clearly stating why). I knew lots of people would read that story and that some would read the comments on the page and link at me. At least one person did.

The earlier you debunk a story the more links you get as their story spreads.

The Golden Age of Pull Marketing:

Any indication of demand, any channel spreading stories, any story that is spreading...all of these are fair game to track and leverage for easy exposure. It is easy to see what ideas are spreading, who is spreading them, and what formats work. It is the golden age of pull marketing.


The Golden Age of Pull Marketing was a phrase Andy Hagans used in a phone conversation I had with him. I asked him if it was ok to make a post titled that. He said it was as long as I begged you to subscribe to the Tropical SEO feed. He also said he would love me long times if I asked for you to unsubscribe from Scoreboard Media while you were playing with your feed reader.

Published: February 21, 2007 by Aaron Wall in marketing


February 22, 2007 - 10:19am

Your point about sites with a tips address is a good one. Sites like gizmodo like readers to send tips. I almost gave up on them last year when I sent them 5 tips and none got published but once I got a bit wiser about the stories they were looking for they write about a lot of my stuff.

One thing that works is whenever they cover a story from my site I submit & push it to the digg homepage (3 times so far). That makes them think people love reading my stories.

February 22, 2007 - 12:07pm

While I agree on your points I believe we are still very much in the infancy of whatever it is this monster will grow into. I don't think we are quite at the golden age of anything yet, other than the golden age of sock puppet digg users, silly youtube videos and crappy multicoloured myspace pages, heh.

February 22, 2007 - 12:20pm

Fair point Chris. I am hoping the internet grows in depth and is not so top 10 reasons for x, but am uncertain what forces will push it in that direction.

The need for publishing to be profitable as search commoditizes many of the virtual monopolies is going to mean that people who create great stuff are probably not going to be doing it just with profit in mind...more likely those people will be people with passion who maybe accidentally stumble into profits after others stumble into their passion.

But for now it is really easy to package low value content in a way that makes people think it is of value and then watch the links flow like wine. And since those sites are largely human regulated it is going to take humans getting burned out or more aware of the market exploitation directly for the easy links to stop being so easy. That, or search engines will have to get more aggressive at manually penalizing off topic or hyped up stuff, but I can't see them penalizing hype much because if it is spreading that means some people believe in it.

Of course it is better if the content is of high quality, but most content is takes far too much effort and research to create really great content, so we accept average stuff with pretty packaging.

February 22, 2007 - 4:40pm

"Recently I got a story featured on the home page and sent out 2 emails to authoritative blogs. Both blogs covered the story, it made the popular list, got linked to from Wired Magazine, and a couple hundred unique sites linked at it. "
The post contains useful advise. However the amount of gold a person can pull out is much depends on her own authority.
You siganure under email is a sign of quality, Therefore you needed just 2 emails to receive this coverage. A person with less authority might need 20 or 200 emails to have similar feedback on similar content.

February 22, 2007 - 11:03pm

Hi Vladimir
Actually this marketing was for a site that is not of amazing quality (IMHO) and the story was pitched to channels that either do not know who I am or them knowing who I am would likely make them less receptive to promoting my stories (remember, for example, how Diggers hate SEOs...there are some parts of the blog world that do as well, but this part of the blog world was probably more indiferent than for or against)

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