There are two ways to approach link building. Go for mass volume and don’t worry about quality or target fewer, higher quality links.
The problem with the second approach is that it is not easy and it takes time. In the past the first approach has always won when it comes to quick gains in rankings. But as Google learns how to detect dodgy link building, more and more sites are being penalised for these low quality links. So not only are they less valuable than good links but they can even damage rankings.
This post will teach you why these links are more valuable and how to reach out to influencial bloggers in 6 steps. This is an area covered in depth on our Content Marketing Training course.
Content Marketing is a tried and tested technique for gaining natural links and building authority. Writing great content encourages people to link to and share your site – telling Google that it is a useful resource that deserves ranking. Writing posts for other sites extends your authority as a blogger within a niche and also has the double advantage of a couple of good backlinks.
Content marketing goes hand in hand with our SEO training and Social Media training courses as an overall internet marketing strategy. SEO teaches you how to optimise your content for search engines which social media will help you develop a working social media marketing strategy.
So how do you get these high authority links?
Last week, I was lucky enough to attend Chris Lee’s BrightonSEO workshop on PR Link Building.
Lexi Mills (Distilled) gave a similar talk at the event itself which echoed what Chris said in his workshop.
While both concentrated on building links with PR – pitching to journalists – Chris spent the afternoon concentrating on blogger outreach, which I found most useful.
The tips in this post are aimed towards building relationships with authority bloggers but are also useful as a way of cosying up to journalist for those high power media links and even in real life where building relationships is the way to get ahead in the world.
Why are Relationships Important?
The power of relationships allows you to gain shares and links from authority figures within your niche.
Once you are on somebody’s radar they are more likely to share your content, link to your site and even let you write posts for their site.
Without these relationships, it’s a lot harder to get these juicy links.
This isn’t just about writing guest posts, it can also be valuable to ask authority bloggers to write for you. Marking them up with rel=author tags will tell Google that a high authority writer is giving your site a thumbs up. They are also likely to then share that content with their fanbase, which is probably much larger than yours.
Remember though – links aren’t everything, especially not with the changes Google has planned. Building relationships is also a great way to raise brand awareness. Get the authority bloggers talking about your business and soon everybody will be!
6 Steps to Building a Relationship with an Authority Blogger
Pick your blogger
- Look for an authority in your niche – use a tools like ebuzzing labs’ Top Blogs to search or even just Google
- Evaluate their influence – do they have a high PageRank blog? How many followers do they have? What is their social reach?
- Use Klout and Alexa to check the influence of individuals and blogs
- Have a read through their site – do they allow guest posts? Are they liberal with links?
- Check those external links – are they follow or nofollow?
Make yourself known on social media
- Connect with your chosen blogger on all the applicable social channels
- RT, like, +1 and bookmark their blog posts
- Share their content on your social media channels
- RT, like and +1 their social shares
- Join in the discussion by commenting on their posts but make it relevant and useful
- Hopefully this will result in them sharing your content as a thank you
Link to their site on your blog
- When writing on your blog, consider if your chosen blogger has written anything on the same topic and link to it
- There is nothing more flattering than a surprise backlink!
- Make sure they know by tweeting them the link to your post
- Stroke their ego, let them know you think they’re great and why
- This will get them on your blog, opening up the possibility that they will link to you in the future
Talk to them
- By now, the blogger should be aware of who you are and what you do and hopefully will have read some of your content
- If they are talking at or attending a conference you’re going to then introduce yourself, grab them for a drink afterwards if possible and get talking
Pitch your idea
- Now that you’re on first name terms and have bonded over a pint, it’s time to go for the pitch
- Emails are okay but the best approach is to GET ON THE PHONE. Something that doesn’t happen nearly enough in blogger outreach. That influential blogger probably receives 20-50 ideas for blog posts a day; even if they know who you are they might not have time to read through yours. Speak to them on the phone and you will get a yes or no answer.
- Think outside the box – pitch original content and not rehashed ideas. What can you write that nobody else can? Think interviews, personal experience, stats, surveys etc.
- Don’t hassle. Some bloggers are prolific and get content out daily, others take a slower approach and might not publish your posts, or provide content for you, for a good couple of months. The more you push, the more likely they are to find they don’t have the time to do it anymore.
Keep track of the relationship
- Build a database of people you have talked to for reference
- Document all their profiles and blogs, how influential they are
- Keep track of who you have spoken to and what about – this allows you to always give contact a personal touch. If the last time you spoke to someone they were ill, ask them if they are better the next time you see or speak to them.
- Follow up on all interaction. If you publish a post on their site then make sure you participate in the comments and do plenty of social sharing yourself – showing that you’re not just in it for the link. Keep up the relationship for more content in the future – for your site or theirs.
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