How to Create FREE High-Quality SEO Backlinks in 2024

If you're looking to establish yourself as an industry leader and get published on major sites for free backlinks, pay attention.

Connectively is a game-changing platform that connects journalists seeking sources with subject matter experts like you.

In this step-by-step beginner's guide, I will explain exactly how Connectively works and how to maximize your success by leveraging it for media exposure and high-quality backlinks.

Let's dive in!


Why Link Building Still Matters For SEO

But first, let's cover why securing backlinks remains crucial for SEO success.

Backlinks signal to Google that other reputable sites find your content valuable enough to link to. The more sites link to you, the more authority you gain in the eyes of Google. This results in better rankings.

Backlinks Bring 3 Core SEO Benefits:

  1. Increased Authority - Links from authoritative sites pass equity and credibility to your site.
  2. Higher Rankings - Quality links are a top factor for ranking highly in search results.
  3. More Referral Traffic - Backlinks drive direct clicks from other sites to your content.

In short, backlinks remain one of the most powerful ways to improve your SEO and traffic. So, let's look at how Connectively makes it easier to get published and linked to top publications.


What is Connectively & How Does It Work?

Connectively is an online platform that brings together three key groups:

  • Journalists looking for sources to interview for stories
  • Subject matter experts interested in contributing commentary 
  • PR pros seeking placements for their clients

It streamlines the process of discovering relevant experts and collaborating on content.

Here's a quick overview of how it works:

1. Journalists post queries detailing the type of sources they need for upcoming articles along with relevant topics, deadlines, and their contact details.

2. Experts browse queries and identify opportunities aligned with their expertise. If it's a fit, they can submit a pitch showcasing their experience.

3. Journalists review pitches and select the sources that would provide the most relevant commentary for their pieces.

4. Published articles include quotes or insights from the chosen experts, with links back to their websites or profiles.

The platform is extremely user-friendly with a simple pitch submission form and tools to filter queries by niche, media outlet, and deadline.

It's free to sign up and browse media requests. Active pitching requires a paid subscription starting at $19/month, with the first month free.


Key Benefits for Industry Experts

So why should subject matter experts care about Connectively?

Here are the main perks:

1. Get Published on Major Sites

The platform grants access to writers from prominent publications like Forbes, Entrepreneur, HuffPost, Wired, and more. 

Having your name and commentary featured on these respected sites does wonders for your credibility.

It's a priceless branding play that's far more valuable than advertising.

2. Earn High-Quality Backlinks

Each time you're featured, you'll get a valuable backlink from that publication pointing back to your site. This signals trust and authority to Google, helping improve your SEO rankings.

Backlinks remain one of the most important ranking factors, making this an indirect but powerful link-building tactic.

3. Expand Your Media Presence

The added exposure expands your industry visibility and amplifies your expertise. You can include a link to your Connectively profile on your website and LinkedIn to showcase your growing media presence.

This social proof builds trust and establishes your status as a thought leader.

4. Connect Directly with Journalists

Rather than blind media pitches, you get direct access to reporters seeking commentary on specific topics.

It's much easier to grab their interest when they're actively looking for people like yourself. This allows you to build relationships with key journalists covering your niche.

Pro Tip: Save the contact details of writers who publish your comments so you can easily follow up on future stories.

5. Increase Website Referral Traffic

Links drive referral visitors to your site, boosting your overall organic traffic. The higher the quality of the publication, the more visits you’ll earn from each link.

This is passive lead generation from people genuinely interested in your expertise and offerings.


Step 1 - Optimize Your Connectively Profile

To maximize your chances of being featured, ensure your profile looks professional and demonstrates your expertise.

Here are tips to beef up your profile:

  • Upload a high-quality headshot - This adds credibility and trust.
  • List your role as Founder, CEO, or subject matter expert. Avoid generic titles.
  • Select niche topics that position you as an industry leader.
  • Write a robust bio highlighting your experience and credentials. 
  • Provide social proof of media features, awards, testimonials, etc.
  • Make your email public so journalists can contact you directly.

Also include links to your website, LinkedIn, and portfolio examples. The richer your profile, the more likely journalists will select you as an expert source.

Pro Tip: Check profiles of sources commonly featured to model best practices in your niche.


Step 2 - Identify Your Target Publications & Journalists

Rather than blindly responding to any query, take time to research target publications and reporters relevant to your business and expertise.

Prioritize securing links from sites that:

  • Are authoritative in your niche
  • Overlap with your target customers 
  • Would be valued by your personas
  • Currently don't link to your site

Search Connectively for relevant past queries from your targets to assess viability. Also, research the author's previously covered topics and sources to determine alignment.

Pro Tip: Save searches for your targets' names and niches so you're alerted when they post new queries.


Step 3 - Craft Pitches That Convert

With limited monthly pitches, you must nail every response to get featured. Follow these best practices when crafting your pitch:

1. Personalize the Introduction

Always start by addressing the journalist by name. This helps your pitch stand out from the pack.


Hi [First Name],

2. Position Yourself as an Industry Authority

Briefly establish your credentials and experience relevant to the topic at hand.


As the Founder of [Company], an agency specializing in [Niche], I've helped over 100 clients improve [Metrics] with [Expertise].

This immediately demonstrates you are qualified to provide insight.

3. Directly Answer Each Question

Quote each question verbatim, then succinctly answer it. Avoid blocks of rambling text.


How can small shops compete with Amazon?

Small shops can compete by heavily emphasizing their personalization, customization options, and localization that Amazon simply can't match...

4. Match the Publication's Tone & Style 

Mirror the language and presentation appropriate for the target publication's readership.


Use more informal diction and conversational style for a trade publication versus formal wording for a major national paper.

5. Include a Unique Perspective

Offer a fresh point of view or exclusive stats that add newsworthy value. Don't just rehash the same old info.


Interestingly, our internal data shows [Compelling Stat] indicating [Trend]. This means [Insights For Audience]...

6. Close With a Clear Call-to-Action

End by asking to be notified if featured and offer to share the piece.


Please let me know if you decide to include me in your article - I'd be happy to promote it to my network!

This positions you as a promoter, not just a source.

7. Proofread Thoroughly

Double-check spelling, grammar, formatting, and length before submitting.

Following this formula will convey expertise and provide real value to journalists seeking sources.


Avoid These Common Pitch Mistakes:

  • Rushing responses without proofing
  • Answering in vague, generalities
  • Lacking customization and personal tone
  • Failing to demonstrate domain expertise

Take the extra time to craft well-written and compelling pitches. Your odds of conversion to links will increase exponentially.

Pro Tip: Save successful pitches to reuse formatting and segments where applicable.


Step 4 - Follow Up for Added Visibility

Don't end your efforts after submitting a pitch. Follow up to increase visibility and bring added value.

1. Thank Them for Considering You - Send a quick thank you to maintain a positive relationship, whether they feature you or not.

2. Offer Related Resources - Send them additional studies, stats, or contacts that build on the topic of their query.

3. Keep Them Updated - If you have a relevant company update or announcement, let them know in case it ties into future articles. Commonly featured sources get priority. 

4. Share On Social - If featured, share the article on your social networks and tag the author. Most journalists monitor brand mentions.

5. Republish Content - Seek permission to republish quotes or excerpts on your own blog with a link back to their piece.

Proactive follow-up and sharing strengthen your ties with journalists and keep you top of your mind for future stories.


Step 5 - Track Performance Metrics

Analyze results over time to determine which queries, outlets, and pitch approaches deliver the best return and links.

Metrics to track:

  • Pitch success rate - Percentage of pitches resulting in a link.
  • Link equity - Domain authority and quality of sites linking to you.
  • Referral traffic - Visitors are driven specifically from earned links. 

Continuously refine your targeting and messaging based on the data. Links that don't yield noticeable ROI should be phased out.

Pro Tip: Use UTM parameters on links so you can segment referral traffic sources.


Real-Life Pitch Examples & Templates

Now let's look at actual pitch examples across different formats and niches so you can model success:

1. Informational Site Pitch Example

Here is a sample pitch for an education site looking to be featured in a piece about remote learning trends.

Subject: Insights on remote learning trends among high school students

Hi Amanda,

As the Director of Curriculum for E-Learning Hub, an online education site helping over 50,000 high school students annually, I can provide some exclusive insights into remote learning trends we are seeing based on our internal student usage data:

1. Student engagement hours peaked at 3-5pm after school activities, indicating the optimal teaching times for remote sessions.

2. Shorter video lesson lengths under 7 minutes have 75% higher completion rates versus longer lecture-style videos indicating shorter segments boost retention.

3. Interactive elements like polls and quizzes during videos increase participation by over 50% compared to passive viewing.

I'm happy to discuss more numbers and trends we are spotting across our broad student base. Please let me know if you would be interested in including my expertise in your upcoming article on the remote learning landscape. I look forward to your thoughts!



[Title, Company]

This provides data-backed insights tailored to the journalist's query and demonstrates niche expertise.


2. E-commerce Site Pitch Example

For online retailers, the pitch may focus more on trends or tips they are seeing.

Subject: 5 Tips for Reducing Shopping Cart Abandonment


As the Founder of Clothing Shopper, an e-commerce consultancy specializing in the fashion space, we've tested dozens of strategies for reducing shopping cart abandonment. Based on the tactics that have proven most effective, here are the top 5 tips I recommend:

1. Offer free shipping on all purchases to eliminate sticker shock.

2. Make the mobile checkout process 2 steps or less to cut friction.

3. Add quantity breaks and discounts to incentivize larger purchases.

4. Send cart abandonment reminder emails to nudge customers to complete checkout.

5. Allow customers to create an account during checkout for faster purchasing in the future.

Would love to discuss more abandonment recovery tactics as I know it's a major struggle for online retailers. Please let me know if you need any additional insights for your article!



[Title, Company]

This provides actionable tips tailored to the journalist's e-commerce query.

Pro Tip: Include stats, examples, and specific details wherever possible to demonstrate deep expertise. Avoid general, generic responses.


3. Quote or Data Request Pitch

For quick quotes or data requests, your pitch will be much shorter and focus only on positioning yourself as an expert along with the quote or stat itself:

Hi Matt,

As the CEO of Social Media 360, a digital marketing agency specializing in branding on social platforms, I can provide insights into the rise of TikTok for business use cases:

"We've seen TikTok adoption among our small business clients triple in the past year. 70% of users log on daily making it vital for brands to establish a consistent presence.”

Let me know if you would like me to expand on the TikTok traction we are seeing or provide any other statistics you need. Happy to help!



[Title, Company]

The key is responding quickly and confidently, using supporting data to establish your expertise.


Additional Tips For Connectively Success

Here are some final tips to maximize your links and exposure using Connectively:

  • Set email alerts for saved searches to respond to listings quickly
  • Focus on 3-5 strategic keywords relevant to your business
  • Target journalists who cover your niche and have published you before
  • Follow up politely if you don't hear back after 1 week
  • Reply promptly to every journalist that reaches out, even if not featured yet
  • Share on social media when featured and tag the writer
  • Evaluate metrics to determine the highest converting tactics and continuously refine

By implementing these steps, you can secure authoritative backlinks via Connectively to grow your website traffic and boost SEO in 2024 and beyond.

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