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If you are unlucky, like me, you'll recieve hundreds of spam emails every single day.

This daily deluge of spam used to be a big annoyance for me.

However, after some creative thinking, I started looking for ways to take advantage of these emails and use them as content and link building strategy.

Scammers and spammers operate in almost every niche. If it’s not an email from an African prince, I am being forwarded fake chain messages from friends and family.

This gave me the idea to make use of this spam and become the Snopes.com of my niche. People often search for myth busting information and you can use it as an opportunity to make lemonade from the lemon spam that you receive.

Here’s how to do it:

    1. Set up a section on your site where you highlight scams and feature fradulent/spammy emails. You could create a standalone section on your website or it could be part of a weekly feature on your blog. You could call it ‘Spam Sundays’, for example. Once you have decided on a schedule, it is important to stick to it. You can use automated posts to help with this.
    2. Ask your blog readers, Facebook fans and Twitter followers to forward any scam emails they receive which are relevant to your niche. Offer a weekly prize to motivate them and to keep them coming back. It’s amazing what people will do for a free tshirt!
    3. Go through your own email, searching for any relevant scams or spam. If you use Gmail you can use filters so that any emails that match a certain criteria are automatically highlighted or you can search in Gmail for: 'in:spam [your niche]'


  1. Each week, copy and paste the email address, subject and body of any emails into a blog post or article. Include some narrative explaining why the email is obviously fake and how to spot similar ones. For example, people often receive fake phishing emails from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) stating that they are due a tax refund. In your post you could mention that HMRC would never send a tax refund notification by email.
  2. When the post is live, contact blogs and websites in your niche. Inform the bloggers about the scams that you have uncovered and mention how the information might be useful to their readers. Also ask them to forward any emails that they might receive in the future. This will give them a call to action to become an ally for your worthy cause, helping to form a relationship for any future content that you might need help promoting.
  3. Follow up in the comments to any questions that your readers might have.

The benefits of using spam as a content strategy

As ironic as it sounds, using spam as a content strategy will have a number of benefits. Firstly, you will be helping your community. You will be the spam superhero, stopping unsuspecting people from being scammed.

karla_k

This is a good enough reason to implement this content strategy but there are also added benefits to your business:

Inceased traffic

  • When I am forwarded an email that I think might be fake, I copy and paste the title or a snippet from the email into Google. If your site features these emails there is a good chance that you will receive more visitors from these types of searches.
  • People are often searching for ‘fake’ or ‘scam’ related keywords. For example, if someone has heard about a tax refund scam, they might use Google to research it further.

    If your website has a section dedicated to featuring scams, with enough authority, you will rank highly in the SERPs for these keywords.

  • You will benefit from long tail keywords. The long tail makes up the majority of search volume. The more relevant content and comments you have on your site, the more likely you are to receive visitors from the long tail of search.

Links

People love to win an argument and confirm that they are right. You'll often find people linking in blogs, emails and comments to Wikipedia or Snopes.com to prove they are correct. If your site becomes the authority in your niche for outing scams, people will naturally start linking to you.

These links will increase the standing of your website and help to lift it in the search engine results pages (SERP) for other keywords too.

Reputation management

A common reputation management problem can arise if people start searching for ‘your company + scam’. When enough people search for this keyword phrase, Google will start to show it as an autosuggestion.

An added benefit of using this content strategy is that negative mentions of your brand will be suppressed in Google as your own site should rank with information about the scams which you have highlighted.

Trust

By helping your community and dispelling myths from spam emails, you will gain trust from potential customers. This will increase your chances of acquiring new customers when people require the service you offer and from people passing on your name through word of mouth. 

User engagement

Visitors to your site who submit fake emails will likely come back to see if their submission was included, especially if there is the chance of winning a prize.

People will also leave and reply to comments and this will help with user engagement and brand related searches.

The principal behind this content strategy is turning a negative into a positive. Do you turn any negatives to your advantage for your website or business?

David de Souza

Published 12 August, 2013 by David de Souza

David deSouza is Partner at GoFishDigital.com, Co-founder of MatchingDonations.org and a guest blogger on Econsultancy. You can connect on Twitter or Google Plus

2 more posts from this author

Comments (3)

Keith Horwood

Keith Horwood, Head of Performance Marketing at CoinDesk Ltd

You have to be careful with this tactic. If your site has a lot of trust, some readers may see mentions of a company giving some legitimacy to their services. You may also have be careful legally if you attack companies without the full facts or offer any financial advice. This tactic might be ok for an SEO blog, but for major online publications you will have to tread carefully.

over 2 years ago

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James K

Duplicate content is an issue I've run into when doing something similar. I noticed there were numerous sites with identical emails, published well before I intended to do so.
These spam emails are rarely unique, so just be careful what you're putting out there - Google's algo isn't quite clever enough to spot the value.

over 2 years ago

David de Souza

David de Souza, GoFishDigital.com

Hi James,

Yes, duplicate content could be an issue if you copy and pasted the while Email without any other narrative to the post.

I would firstly suggest adding as much narrative and professional opinion into the post, to make it stand on it's own two feet.

To safe guard yourself even further you could just copy and paste the subject, Email address and first paragraph of the Email as this is what people will mostly likely search for.

over 2 years ago

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