How To Reverse Engineer Successful Content – A Webinar from Paddy Moogan

On Thursday, October 29th, we had an amazing webinar with

Paddy Moogan on “How to Reverse Engineer Successful Content”.


We want to thank all of our listeners for finding the time to join us and being so attentive. We received many questions and insightful comments during the webinar. As promised in today’s blog post, you can find the answers to all of the questions that were asked.

Question From Joe R.

Joe: Can you supply an example of one of your briefs please?
Paddy: Here’s an example of a brief for you to use in your future campaigns:

Question From David K.

David: For content outreach, do you find outreach before content is published works better than publishing and then undertaking the outreach process?

Paddy: Not all the time. For some content, the people you contact don’t care about anything until they can see something real. So you often at least need to have a test URL to show someone if you’re going to outreach before something is published. I think it can be very useful if you’re aiming for very high level targets where you may want to negotiate an exclusive too. But you’d only do this for very strong, popular websites.

Questions From Ron M.

Ron: How many images should you have for the brainstorming session?

Paddy: As many as you can find that are relevant really. I’ll often find 10-20 images in advance but it can be just a handful or even zero sometimes. The key is to feel like you’ve exhausted the research and can’t find anything else that is useful for you to know in advance of the brainstorm.

Ron: How do you choose the keywords to search images for?

Paddy: Pretty randomly! I just include a keyword that covers the topic I’m researching and if the results are good, I’ll stick with it. If they’re not so good, I’ll refine the keyword a bit until I get a good set of results.

Question From Andy Drinkwater, SEO Consultant At IQSEO.Uk

Andy: Is there a cutoff age of a past article that you wouldn’t go beyond? E.g. would you not look at something written in 2011?

Paddy: I don’t worry about age of content too much except for when I need data. Ideally, you want data to be as recent as possible, so going back several years for data may not work well because things may have changed and the data may not be credible any more. For general content ideas, I don’t think the age matters as long as the idea still has relevance and appeal.

Also, Andy provided a few great comments during the webinar:

    • is a free tool for finding content ideas based on user’s searches taken from the auto suggest results provided by Google and Bing.


Questions From Ross T.

Ross: How do you scale finding contact information?

Paddy: We don’t scale too much but we do use BuzzStream and Kerboo to do this sometimes.

Ross: What do you use to keep databases of contacts?

Paddy: We usually use BuzzStream for this but sometimes will use basic Google Docs or Excel sheets if it’s a simple project. We also use Gorkana which is a PR database of editors, bloggers and journalists.

Ross: Do you pull the API into a custom app or into a google doc etc

Paddy: It’s our own custom piece of software but you can also pull the Buzzsumo API into a Google Doc. You can read more here.

Ross: What do you do if a client won’t let you add content to the site?

Paddy: We don’t tend to work with clients who want link building / digital PR but don’t allow us to add content to their website. You can create microsites instead but this isn’t really optimal. The client needs their website to be link-worthy so if they can’t, you’re going to struggle to generate links.

Ross: Can you do cold outreach to journalists and still expect them to link back?

Paddy: You can if your story / hook is strong enough. Obviously if you have a relationship with them, you have a better chance of a positive response. But ultimately, they care about looking good in front of their editors and generating pageviews. If you can help them do this, they won’t care if your outreach is cold.

Question From William Og McCawley, Digital Marketing Executive At The Tomorrow Lab

William: What is your current number one link building technique at present for enhancing this content shares?

Paddy: Aside from making sure a piece of content has a hook and is link-worthy, the quickest win is often to find broken links pointing at similar pieces of content that have been done before. Then contacting those sites to ask them to change the link to your newer piece of content.

If you still have questions, please ask them in the comments and will answer them shortly.