Eric Ward at Search Engine Land has a great article about what makes the perfect link builder. The question remains, will this become one of those hot jobs that everyone wants filled but few can do? Or can enough people learn? Do you have to be technically-oriented, or creative, or both? A Leonardo da Vinci of blogging?
Eric says that the best link builders/ content publicists have certain characteristics. I’m summarizing: they’ve worked in business and maybe an academic setting, have an intellectual curiosity, and most of all, passion. There’s more, and I urge you to read his article.
Now, I have by no means been link building as long as he has, but have done some intensive work in the past year. Here are a few of the traits that I’m finding a link builder needs (though there is overlap):
- Passion. Really important. Most of the bloggers I’ve hired/ worked with either don’t want to link build or will not or cannot learn. Or maybe they don’t see the point yet.
- Really understands the purpose of link building.
- Has or can build a repertoire of different techniques for link building.
- Thinks of link building as a long-term effort. Linkbaits are not enough – but that’s just my opinion.
- Is outgoing. Even introverts can link build, but breaking out of a shell helps considerably. While building a powerful social media account isn’t absolutely necessary, it helps as well.
- Has creative abilities as well as a technical understanding of blogging, etc., or is able to learn. By this I mean has a sense for the creative aspects of written language, such as producing natural-sounding anchor text while also understanding technical copywriting, some SEO, etc.
- Storytelling ability. This goes hand in hand with the previous point. My worst linkbaits were my early ones, where I was over-zealous in my linking. My best (most popular) ones injected a bit of humor and used actual joke and storytelling hooks that I picked up when I spent a year basically starving and mostly writing short fiction. In retrospect, it was a worthwhile skill to add, though that doesn’t mean you need to acquire it the same way.
- Attributing intelligence to the reader.
I think, and I’m sure others do too, that link building will become a full-time job position sooner rather than later. Is it a skill that can be picked up? I believe so. Is it easy to do so? That probably depends on your desire and passion. Does it have to be part of a blogging position, or can it be separate? I say integrate.
Thoughts? What characteristics do you think a link builder should have, and do you think this will become a full-time job in the future?