Impactful, scrappy, and often underutilized, link building is the sixth man of content marketing/SEO strategy.
The tactic includes getting 3rd party websites to link to your sites, either because they’re citing information or are linking to them as a reference. Building these links will improve the SEO of your site while driving traffic that your own channels wouldn’t have brought in on their own.
The tactic can work for any type of organization. Since there’re so many brands and publishers producing content in every niche under the sun, your team is bound to find someone who would like to include a link to your site. The challenge is simply finding them and providing an incentive.
Five Link Building Tactics
- Reach out to an editor: The quickest and most effective way to earn an external link is to find a piece of content that generates traffic and reach out to the editor with a link that enhances their piece. The most important part of this process is reading through the blog and finding a place to include a link. Make it ridiculously easy on the editor. Show them exactly where they could link out to your site and why.
- Step 1: Use a tool like BuzzSumo to find top performing blogs related to your content.
- Step 2: Read through the blog to find out where your link could fit.
- Step 3: Reach out to the editor with suggestions on where to include the content.
- Guest blog: These days, there’s a blog for mostly anything. As marketers that frequently serve higher education institutions, idfive’s found a lot of success guest-blogging for sites like Inside Higher Ed’s Call To Action, a blog literally all about higher education marketing. No matter your business, there’s bound to be a number of popular blogs or publications in need of writers. You just need to think creatively. For example, we made it into a lifestyle blog talking about work/life balance in attempt to promote our work culture.
- Step 1: Find an applicable publication.
- Step 2: Brainstorm content ideas.
- Step 3: Find the editor and pitch them a batch of ideas.
- Step 4: Make sure the blog links to you (the author) and or your website.
- HARO: Help a Reporter Out (HARO) is a newsletter that emails you a constant stream of source requests, basically bringing potential publishers to your doorstep. Of course, its popularity brings some challenges–when a reporter sends out a request they get hundreds of responses. To increase your chances of being picked, submit often and with a concise response that provides a unique angle. Also, don’t forget to show off your credentials. Reporters want credible sources.
- Step 1: Sign up for HARO and set preferences.
- Step 2: Check emails for requests from reliable websites in need of your expertise.
- Step 3: Respond to request with a concise response and short bio.
- Submit to a newsletter: Many popular newsletters simply curate a list of quality articles, videos and websites from around the web. Find one that reaches your target audience and pitch them your content. Unlike with guest-blogging, you get to keep the article on your site. All the newsletter does it share it.
- Step 1: Find a newsletter related to your content.
- Step 3: Pitch content to editors.
- Expand your channels: Creating new channels for your content is another great way to create more links and traffic. For example, you can take a blog you wrote and then repost it on Medium, Tumblr, or LinkedIn Pulse in addition to your other social medias. This doesn’t immediately result in an external link, but if you include a link to the original post then another blogger may be willing to link to it in their content.
- Step 1: Create appropriate channels
- Step 2: Repost content on these channels
- Step 3: Distribute that content through owned media.
Building Connections and Earning Links
As an earned form of media, link building takes more time but can open up more doors for business and media relations.
As you reach out to more bloggers, newsletter holders and content creators you’ll expand your non-traditional media connections, and if the quality of the content is good, they may even reach back out to you when they’re looking for more blogs to link out to.