23. Kristin Tynski, Fractl – Content Marketing That Fuses Data Journalism with PR

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Kristin Tynski is the co-founder and Senior Vice President of Creative of Fractl, a content marketing agency that fuses data journalism with PR. At Fractl, Kristin leads a team of creative professionals that includes not only designers and programmers, but also SEO specialists, journalists, and writers.

Kristin has a BA in Communications from Boston College, and for the past 13 years she has been at the forefront of viral content creation and promotion online. Today, she helps brands create and promote content that provides value for their audiences and yields consistent and high levels of success.

Transcript

Kristin Tynski

The content that you’re creating should be related to your brand. Um, and the sniff test that we use is, does it make sense that your brand created this? So it can be tangential to what you do, but it still needs to make sense that there was a reason for you to do this, right? It has to make sense that you should want to create it,

Chris Dreyer

creating content with the intention of securing backlinks. It’s no easy feat. And what’s even harder is producing something that can both increase your organic traffic and go viral. But my guest today has got both of those things down to an exact size.

Kristin Tynski

Virality is predicated on an emotional connection to the content. And if you don’t feel something, when you read it, then. You know, unless it’s like a really practical thing, a really useful resource. It’s unlikely that you’re going to see a lot of attention or interest from publishers.

Chris Dreyer

You’re listening to the rankings podcast, the show where top marketers and elite personal injury attorneys share their stories about getting to the top and what keeps them there. Joining us today is Kristin Tynski, seasoned content marketer, and co-founder of Fractl. Fractl is a content marketing agency, which helps businesses to grow through a mix of. Expert content creation and development, digital PR and technical SEO. I’m your host, Chris Dreyer, founder and CEO of Rankings.io. We help elite personal injury attorneys dominate first page rankings with search engine optimization. SEO is all about the first page and that’s also where we’d like to start our show. Here’s Kristin Tynski co-founder of Fractl.

Kristin Tynski

I would call a Fractl, a content marketing agency with a focus on earning top tier press. Um, typically most of our clients are looking for high authority link building as their primary goal with achieving press. Um, we do that kind of by splitting our agency into two sides. One is a content creation side, which I lead and one is a content promotions or PR side. Um, so the way that we approach content really is from, uh, an understanding that in order to be newsworthy, you have to present something new and interesting, uh, that hasn’t really been done before and in our experience. Uh, and this has really guided the way that our agency has grown. Is that the best way to do that? The best way to find new and interesting information is through data journalism, uh, practices, essentially. So I I’d say 90 plus percent of the content that Fractl creates on behalf of our clients, uh, is data-driven content. Um, and we do everything. So, so from the ideation to the data acquisition, which can come in many different forms, uh, scraping using government data sets, using private and public data sets using our client’s data sets, uh, surveying, and many other methodologies.

Chris Dreyer

I want to dig into one thing you said, that’s kind of interesting that I’ve been talking about lately is. What you said is unique content. I hear so many people say, well, it patched past the Copyscape, uh, it’s unique. It’s unique content. So what, what would you say to those individuals?

Kristin Tynski

I would say that the, the time of creating content, that real humans don’t really care about for SEO gains is sort of long over. Um, and if you are approach to building a site or trying to rank for keywords is. No, just making sure that the words that you’ve written don’t exist elsewhere. Uh it’s it’s not going to get you very far and it certainly isn’t a methodology that you can build links to sustainably. Um, so I would strongly recommend against it, I think in order to. To build links. Well, you need to do something that, that really matters and that either can attract attention from other sites or from the press, or it’s just such a great resource that other relevant, um, you know, blogs and websites would be interested in linking to the content for the sake of the content itself. And not because you paid them or they did you a favor or you did a link exchange or some other, you know, deprecated, SEO technique.

Chris Dreyer

Hemingway once said that there’s no such thing as an original idea. And while that might cause headaches for creative writers, it can drive content marketers insane. When they try to find relevant, valuable, and novel material that hasn’t already been cited to death. But Fractl has come up with its own solution to this industry-wide conundrum drawing from previously untapped information resources.

Kristin Tynski

Most of the data that we use in our data projects is data that, that exists on the internet. Um, what’s great about the last five years or so is just the enormous emergence of open data. Um, and that’s coming from many different sources. So the government itself has absolutely massive amounts of data coming from all departments, um, private industry. NGOs and nonprofit organizations are putting out new and interesting data sets all the time. Uh, so at Fractl, a big part of our job is, is trying to stay on top of what’s new and what’s available. Um, and then thinking of interesting and creative ways to weave these data sets that we find, um, into new story ideas, um, or, or thinking about data sets that we used in the past. And, uh, examining the data and investigating it in new ways. So there are many data sets that we’ve used, you know, maybe 10, even 20 times, like for instance, the, uh, fatal accident reporting system, which tracks all, uh, automobile deaths, uh, it’s a massive, massive data set that goes back really far and it’s incredibly detailed. Um, so we’ve done lots of types of investigation for that. And, uh, you know, If you have a, you know, an auto insurance business or something related to that, they’re, you know, they’re just almost an infinite number of, uh, of content ideas that could come from that data set alone. Um, but there are many, many others that could be used and it’s, it’s really your imagination that would dictate. What you can get from the data.

Chris Dreyer

And I can see because many of our audience members are personal injury attorneys that specialize in auto accidents. So I could speed that, you know, many different directions that could go with that information for, from a link outro reach approach, and, and collect, you know, acquiring those, those really high quality links from PR.

Kristin Tynski

Absolutely. And that like the fatal accident reporting system is just one example amongst a giant ocean of. Potentially interesting data sets that the government has, that could be leveraged in those ways. Um, and then there are obviously also lots of third-party data sets. Um, Fractl also does a ton with surveying. So just asking questions of the community, um, can be a great way to, to create an interesting data set for yourself without having to necessarily do some of the more in-depth data work that’s required with large data sets.

Chris Dreyer

I liked that. I like that a lot. So, you know, you could even maybe do some branding studies or surveys, you know, if you’re in an accident, who would you hire, who comes to mind, maybe for a local type of survey, just this isn’t my specialty, but I can think of a lot of different ways to utilize surveys. One of the things that I like you have kind of a contrarian approach. And basically what I mean is everyone says. You can’t make content viral. It’s just, you gotta get lucky. You just gotta, you gotta get lucky and over time, you’ll just get one of these pieces to go viral, viral, but you, your agencies created basically a process or a system to strategically try to position yourself to create virality. Uh, could you explain a little bit about that?

Kristin Tynski

Yeah. I think when people think of vitality, they think of like, I guess what I would call true virality, which is a piece of content that is so compelling on its own, that it needs no promotion at all. Right. You could put it almost any place on the internet and somebody would notice it and then they would share it and then somebody else would share it with more than one other person. And it would just have like this, our value above one and would just continue to grow no matter what that’s sort of ironically, especially if it’s attached to. Some kind of commercial goal is incredibly rare. It almost never happens. Um, and even when it does happen, it was probably orchestrated in some way, um, or supported by promotions in some way. I think when we’re thinking about a sustainable methodology for, for creating content on behalf of our clients and, uh, getting attention for it, generating, uh, press for it. Um, The goal is in like that kind of supervise morality like that, you know, we’ve, we’ve probably had out of all of the campaigns we’ve ever created. Um, maybe like 10 or so, that might fit in that category of like super viral that built, uh, thousands and thousands and thousands of links. Um, it’s great when that happens, but it shouldn’t be an expectation. The goal instead should be to write something compelling for a target audience. Um, and then matching that content with. The right people in the space, the right journalists, the right publications, uh, that would have an interest in that, that piece of content. Um, and if you can do that well, then you can predict predictably, uh, quote, unquote, go viral within the subject matter that you’re talking about, which isn’t, you know, it didn’t destroy the internet, but perhaps it, uh, you know, was viral within. A specific vertical and got a lot of attention and built a lot of really, really relevant links, um, which maybe could be as important as, as like a true viral post.

Chris Dreyer

One of the things I talk about a lot is when, when we’re doing SEO and we’re looking at competitor analysis, or we’re looking at directories, I think these are all easy to replicate. I, it just takes time. We have to go fill in the directory, claim it, or do the paid directory. Even the guest posting component. Many of these individuals will accept guest posts at the same location. So I really love what you’re doing because it creates this gap. That’s hard to replicate. You’ve got to, you’ve got to go to this specific set of data and, you know, create a unique piece of content from that that’s easy to interpret and then utilize for your, your pitch to PR and then it has to be picked up. So there’s, there’s this large gap that, that is created as opposed to just doing directory submissions or guest posting. Yeah,

Kristin Tynski

I think that’s completely true. Um, and I think it’s one of the reasons why this, this type of content marketing link building activity has much, much higher ROI than other types of link building. Um, and kind of given what we’ve seen and the process that we’ve been able to create at Fractl, we would never recommend those sorts of link building activities to our other clients. I’m not saying no one should do it. You know, it can be a good way to get, uh, links that your competitors have, which, which certainly can help. But if you’re looking to make big gains quickly, then you’re going to need to generate larger amounts of highly authoritative links, uh, that your competitors don’t have. So. Content marketing through a data journalism methodology is, and then associating that also with, with having a good understanding of how to pitch that content to the press is the methodology that has the highest ROI in terms of link building.

Chris Dreyer

Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. You’ll be able to attract those, those very authoritative and topically relevant links. And it’s also just natural. If anyone manually reviews the website, they’re not going to raise any red flags when they see this type of activity occurring, as opposed to some of the other tactics.

Kristin Tynski

Right. It’s also a very sustainable thing to do. So, um, I actually did a research project about a year ago, looking at, uh, all of our client’s projects from when we reported to them what the results were. So how many links we were able to build for them? How many press pickups we were able to get and all of that, and then look at it, uh, six months later. And it ended up being that on average, uh, after an additional six months, the number of links that we found was roughly twice the size. So it’s something that can build links in perpetuity. I mean, depending on what the content is, if it’s something that’s evergreen versus something that is tied to some, uh, recent time dependent, uh, event, but in most cases, it ends up, uh, also creating an evergreen resource for you that will continue to build links over the longterm.

Chris Dreyer

Yeah, that’s incredible that this has that momentum, that compounding effect it’s is hard to catch up to. Yeah. So let’s take a, what about an example? What’s, what’s a, something for our audience, what’s a, a story or a project that you did that really had a lot of success. Could you kind of walk us through that, that, that big picture, that 80 20 for that project?

Kristin Tynski

Uh, yeah, I mean, we’ve had, we’ve had many projects that, like I said, have, have done quite well. Um, I think Y w one that I was really, really proud of was, uh, a project called, uh, Barbie body or examining Barbie’s body. And this actually wasn’t, it was, it was a data acquisition project and that we use data from a research paper. Um, but beyond that, it didn’t leverage any other datasets, but essentially what we found was that a research paper that examined the proportions of, uh, the old style Barbies and. Uh, how realistic those proportions were. And I mean, it turns out if, if a real woman had the proportions of Barbie, like her ankles would break and she wouldn’t be able to stand up and like all these other funny things. So this approach was actually a, uh, more of a design oriented approach where we had one of our designers make a very realistic looking woman in the proportions of Barbie and, uh, and then also associated the data with it. So showing. No, the waist sizes like X, X percent smaller, um, versus a real woman, the bust size is X percent larger versus a real woman, the wrist and ankle size and all of that. Uh, so it had a really deep emotional connection, um, to people. And it also, I think, played on like the, this idea of nostalgia and then also, you know, current event topics around, um, body positivity. So that was one that I think hit a lot of. Important points in making a project successful. Um, but, and it’s also one that leveraged data, but data wasn’t so important to it, that it, it had like a massive overhead of, of data acquisition cleaning or analysis to it. So it kind of a more approachable example, I think, for your audience.

Chris Dreyer

Yeah. That’s incredible. So you got a lot of high powered links and it just attracted a ton of attention. Was that kind of like a, just, just diving into that. It was like, kind of like a shoulder niche too. Health or fitness or, or was it more, or was it, was it similar?

Kristin Tynski

Really? I believe it was for, um, like a rehab and re rehabilitation client that had centers that addressed, uh, like anorexia and bulimia. So it was associated in that way, which is a good point to make the content that you’re creating should be related to your brand. Um, and the sniff test that we use is, does it make sense that your brand created this? So it can be tangential to what you do, but it still needs to make sense that there was a reason for you to do this, right? It has to make sense that you should want to create it.

Chris Dreyer

The Barbie infographic is such a great example of original and linkable content. And during the campaign, it achieved over 55,000 social shares. I wanted to find out more about some of the resources Kristin has found so useful over the years in guiding Fractl strategy. So you can better understand the fundamentals of effective digital content marketing. I love there’s

Kristin Tynski

one that I always mentioned because it’s been. Kind of foundational to Fractl, uh, from the very beginning. And that’s a book called, made to stick by chip and Dan Heath. And they have a model in it called the success model, um, which is really the model that we use at Fractl for evaluating our ideation and deciding which ideas we think have the best potential. We add layers to that. So like the PR component, uh, is also involved like. How’s the press talking about this, what targets do we think would be good for it and that kind of thing. Um, but it, it really centers around making sure that your content is, is simple. Um, so it’s not trying to do too much. Um, it’s unexpected, it’s concrete. So unexpected really just hasn’t been done before. And that’s one of the reasons why we love sets so much. Um, so concrete. So making sure that what you’re, whatever you’re trying to convey is, is done in a, not a sloppy way. Um, but a straightforward way. So it’s easy for people to quickly understand attention spans are really short, so you need to get to the point. Fast and, uh, make your points really strong. And if you’re doing data visualization, so there’s a lot that goes into making data visualizations, concrete, and easily readable. Um, uh, and then credible is the next one. So making sure that. Whatever data analysis you’re doing, you’re doing it in a credible way. And that your, the claims that you’re making can be supported by the data and that you’ve done the proper statistical tests and analysis to make sure that whatever you’re claiming is true. And that also, if you’re using like Princeton survey methodologies, that you’ve, you’ve done the survey in the right way and not introduce bias into it. Um, And then the next one is emotions. Uh, so I’ve actually written a few pieces on this, but, uh, virality is predicated on an emotional connection to the content. And if you don’t feel something, when you read it, then, you know, unless it’s like a really practical thing, a really useful resource, it’s unlikely that you’re going to see a lot of attention or interest from publishers. Um, and then the last one is, uh, stories. So you want to structure the content that you have or that you created. In a narrative format. You want to bring people through an article, uh, in a structure that builds and, uh, has a really clear thesis and has human examples in it and tells it in a human way. Um, so all of those things are really important to our methodology and they were informed by made to stick by chip and Dan Heath. So I always recommend that book to ed, to anyone as like a foundational understanding of how to make. Good content that resonates with audiences.

Chris Dreyer

I’m not going to lie. So we did a data study recently on, on with that evaluated personal injury attorney search results. And then I found this success acronym afterwards, and I was so mad that I didn’t find it before and utilize some of those recommendations because I definitely miss the Mark on, on many of those letters. Um, You know, one final question here, Kristin. So is there anything that you want to talk about that we haven’t discussed?

Kristin Tynski

No, I think you’ve asked some great questions. Okay.

Chris Dreyer

Okay. Awesome. Awesome. Yeah. So, so guys, we’ve been talking to Kristin Tynski SVP of creative at Fractl. Kristin, where can people go to learn more about you?

Kristin Tynski

Um, you can find me on Twitter, Kristin Tynski, um, or Kristin, K R I S T I N at F R a C dot T L.

Chris Dreyer

I love Kristin’s point about your content having to serve the user, just as much as the search bots, because at the end of the day, it’ll be a person that’ll decide whether to give you that all-important backlink not a computer. I’d like to think Kristin Tynski from Fractl for sharing her story with us. And I hope you gained some valuable insights from the conversation you’ve been listening to the rankings podcast. I’m Chris Dreyer. If you like this episode, or have an idea for future guests, whose story you’d love to hear, leave me a review and tell me more. I’ll catch you next week with another inspiring story and some SEO tips and tricks all with page one in mind.

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