Source: SEOSignalsLab

Pick His Brain!

I’d like to introduce one of our members, Niel Malhotra, for our next ‘Pick His Brain’ session and I want to thank him for the participation.

Niel is a content marketer specializing in turning data into epic content.

If you are looking for ways to get quality backlinks via content with a unique angle, he is the guy to talk to.

I thought his approach is different than other canned content marketers and wanted his take on content marketing and SEO.

Let’s load up the thread with your questions and he’ll answer whenever he is available.

Here are the rules.

1) I’ll let the thread go on until he asks me to stop. Theoretically, this thread can continue until bitcoin value goes to zero.

2) Please, no snarky remarks. I will not tolerate any intentional negativity. We are here to learn from each other’s success and strategies.

3) Please do not PM him and bother him. If you have a private question, ask for his permission on this thread when appropriate.


Can you share a success story?

I’ve done this for my own blog (as someone with no fame whatsoever) to get mentioned on Forbes and MarketingProfs.

RELATED:  Pick His Brain! with Patrick Stox

I have people I’ve never heard of backlink me, including from French and Spanish speaking blogs.

I should add the post that did this was an analysis of 100,000 viral posts.

How did you get started with this?

Saw Brian Dean’s research posts and BuzzSumo’s headline post and thought “Damn, I’m a programmer.

I could do that.” I decided to start with a post analyzing 1,000 infographics on my site.

I had literally zero traffic, but I still managed to get on MarketingProfs and get some traction.

That convinced me that I was onto something.

What type of data would create traction?

So far I’ve had success building backlinks for each of my articles.

My process is to first pick out a topic that has gotten a lot of shares and backlinks and that journalists already link to (BuzzSumo is great for this).

Then, I try and get the relevant dataset.

Can you explain what “this” is, perhaps an example of your process, and how you obtained the back links?

I’ll just copy paste what I wrote in the group a couple of days ago explaining my process:

A way I found to get press coverage and backlinks to your company:

Write about data. It’s been done by countless companies before.

If you can use your own data, that’s even better because it allows you to do something completely unique.

But, you can use public data sources as well.

I’ve done this several times before, so I speak from experience here.

First, understand what your data is about and who your customers are.

Then, use a tool like BuzzSumo to figure out what topics and articles have received a lot of mentions so you know how to write about your data so people will pick it up.

Second, find 50 journalists who have covered similar articles.

Put them into a spreadsheet and start following them on twitter and commenting on their stuff.

It helps you to build a relationship.

Before you do your analysis, ask the journalists what questions they have about your topic.

If you do it right, you should have a decent response rate. Journalists like to collaborate on articles.

Now do your analysis and write your article. Make sure you include graphs and answer the journalists’ questions.

Finally, publish your article and send an email letting the journalists know about it.

If you do it right, you should get a few articles about you.

Let me know if you have any questions.

RELATED:  Pick His Brain! with Earl Gardner

Do you use a designer or an infographic tool to design them?

I don’t do infographics, just plain graphs.

I use python and matplotlib, but there are tools available for nonprogrammers.

Have you tried interactive infographics?

Not yet, but it’s something to consider.

I think interactive infographics can be a bit gimmicky more than actually useful except when done really well.

How would this approach benefit a client like a lawyer?

First, I’d find a topic they want to write about and that relevant people/journalists would want to link to.

Then see how their data (or public data) can be massaged into fitting that topic.

Off the top of my head: What percent of your cases get settled in morning or evening?

Success rate vs other lawyers? Average time to getting off of a charge?

Even small amounts of data when presented well (like 1000 infographics) can do well.

Do you offer this as a service for clients? What is the usual process and costs?

It’s on my site: $1500 for a one-off article

What resources do you use to get relevant data sets?

Look at my comment to Steve on what data gains traction.

You want to work your way backwards.

Find a topic that is interesting then find the data.

You don’t want to try to make an unintersting dataset interesting.

As for what I use, google of course. Buzzsumo has worked well.

For my infographic post, to analyze words on an infographic I used the computer vision API by google.

If you’re starting up a SaaS company, how would you go about gaining traction to improve your content? What’s the best way to market yourself in the SaaS world?

So when it comes to content overall, I’m still learning.

But what I’d definitely say is that it’s important to have at least a couple of epic posts for you to anchor and position yourself.

I did it with my posts on infographics, viral posts, and my 13,000 word ultimate guide.

I’d use those epic posts to get people to write about you, to get guest posts, podcasts, and more publicity.

That’s the approach I’m taking to Growista (even though it’s not a SaaS), but that’s generally a good strategy to get traction.

Hey I’m standing out in the ultra-competitive content marketing space!

Do you have examples of your unique approach we could read about on a website you have worked on somewhere?

Sure. You can look at my own site. I don’t have any public clients yet (just some I work with privately):

RELATED:  Pick His Brain! with Marco Benavides Ferlini

I analyzed 100,000 viral posts here:

I got written up in Forbes:…/by-the-numbers-how-viral-content…/

I also got written up in MarketingProfs:…/what-goes-viral…

Another example I wrote about 1,000 infographics:

I got written up in MarketingProfs:…/the-characteristics-of…

How do find the right topic to write about?

I said this somewhere else but I like using BuzzSumo to validate topic and content ideas.

Buzzsumo shows what has been popular but how to determine what will be popular tomorrow?

Great question!

That’s something I wish I could determine, but I’m not too sure.

Like I said elsewhere, content is an art not a science, so it’s hard to be completely sure.

Right now, I just look at what’s popular before and I assume it will be popular in the future.

It’s worked every time for me so far.

How do pitch the top sites for your blog post?

So understand that on top sites, each journalist has a “beat”.

That is, a topic that only they cover.

Find the journalist who would cover your topic, build a relationship with them on Twitter, then ask them if they’re interested in your research before doing it.

After doing the research, send them an email saying you’ve finished your article.

1) How can we create epic content in a boring industry such as Pest cleaning? Can you guide to a blue print or something? 2) From where can we learn this art? Any guides for basics?

1) Use BuzzSumo to look at what topics in your industry are popular.

If you’re having trouble, use what Brian Dean calls a “shoulder niche”.

Talk about something popular in something related to your industry.

So for pest control, maybe you talk about a guide to maintaining a house.

Pest control can get a brief mention.

2) If you go to my site you can download a 13,000-word guide I wrote on the topic.

Or you can go to to see it on the web.

How do u measure the success of your content?

Number of backlinks. I’ve learned that content marketing is an art more than a science.

No one can exactly predict how much traffic or how viral an article will go.

Backlinks are more in your control.