From Marketing Tools 24/7: Recently, after attending a search conference and listening to a number of panels discuss the relationship between content and links, I could not help but notice similarities between what was being said and the principles highlighted in Stephen Covey’s book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Covey’s work suggests people can be successful in business and life when they’re effective at doing things that bring about desired results. He wrote the book long before the Internet became part of our daily life, but the principles are timeless and certainly apply to people developing links.
We all know there are various types of link building tactics available. They have names like “directory submissions,” “link bait” or “article writing” and follow a fairly cookie-cutter process that does little to lay a foundation for building a business reputation. Used independently, these tactics can produce results, but if you want to get incremental, quality business to come to you with minimal dollars spent, consider turbocharging your link tactics with these seven “habits” of effective link builders.
1. Create an early warning system. Find and listen to key bloggers, journalists and active tweeters for breaking news and hot trends. News is often live on Twitter before general media has a chance to report it, set alerts and RSS to capture new content as it’s shared. Find reporters working for the AP and other wire services, follow them on Twitter.
2. Be patient when you’re building links. It’s hard work and doesn’t always go according to plan. Henry Ford once said “nothing is hard if you divide it into small jobs.” Obviously he wasn’t thinking about the tedious task of link building but he did know a thing or two about the assembly process so it’s sage advice. It’s easy to be tempted by the 500 links for $39.95 promotions, but resist!
3. Leverage cross-channel marketing. Do the intuitively obvious and take full advantage of opportunities to cross-promote through all of your channels, even those offline. Add a “link to us” tag in all confirmation emails, in your catalog and autoresponders. Remind your Facebook visitors they can visit your site and link to your content, encourage clicking to your webpages. Don’t give up the old-fashioned forum, people still use them and there is a forum for almost everything. Check out BigBoards for a forum in your niche.
4. Make good content, not crap. The easy part of link building is knowing that you need them. The hard part is influencing the right people to give them to you without making it look like you asked. Good content attracts links on it own. Here’s some ideas on components you can develop:
- Don’t send your content away to an article directory, build a library on your site and stock it with your articles.
- Develop a blog and update it at least 3x a week. Invite some of those key bloggers you’re meeting to participate as well and be sure to link to them from the new blog.
- Create a glossary for your industry, promote it with the media when it’s complete
- Design a widget or put together a free promotion using one of your products.
- Take a picture of every item you own and create a photo library on your site to hold them. Allow anyone to use the photo provided they leave the embedded link intact. Look into submitting photos with Creative Commons.
Image libraries are really working right now, be sure you own the images you offer and clearly state what you expect from people when they use your links.
5. Location, location, location. If you’re going to guest blog, make sure you select the best blog possible to host your content and reputation. Why? Because link building has become about where you link, not how. Don’t be afraid to ask how many visitors a blog gets and what the blogger does promotion wise. If he/she is not tied to a G+, Twitter and Facebook account, think twice. You need to expose your content and your brand to new avenues, that should be the main reason you guest blog. Link popularity will flow regardless of where you drop your content but only a quality blog will pass the authority and traffic you need to influence rank.
6. Your site is not an island. The world doesn’t exclusively speak English, translate your articles into different languages and drop a press release announcing their addition to your resource center.
7. Use all your assets. If your business hires people on a continual basis, consider developing an on site employment center. Once it’s built, contact the career placement offices at area colleges and broadcast the resource. Issue a press release and encourage your industry Association, Chamber of Commerce and local employment commission to link to it as a resource. Remember, every component of your business has potential to be content and used accordingly.
It’s common to fall back on what you know or be tempted by easy tactics but the reality is, doing the same thing over and over doesn’t move you forward. Get into the habit of looking at everything as a new opportunity and you’ll find the links will come to you.