Link building is a dynamic art form, which is constantly redefining itself and coming up with new techniques which may be more efficient, and more powerful, than the old fashioned manual link request emails.
In link building, sometimes marketers lose their focus or get over aggressive, and spend too much time contacting every single site within their niche, hoping to get a link or a buzz generating blog post about their product or service. Sometimes it’s better to identify one blogger, site or messenger who will do your link marketing for you.
Efficiency in Link Building
Ways to become more efficient in link building have been the introduction of linkbaiting, which was a new opportunity which was born from the adaptation of social media, and social news sharing. As more journalists and bloggers turned to Digg.com and Delicious popular to find their daily cup of news, the opportunity to land a top spot on these networks led to multiple third party links from bloggers who cover these stories.
A good story, idea, or decision to farm out a link building campaign to a social media marketer for $5,000 can lead to thousands of links. But in multliple cases, link baiting brings in links from smaller bloggers, in a more mass linking oriented approach, and does not target specific niche links.
Trickle Down Link-O-Nomics
As a complimentary link marketing form, we should not forget one of the core practices in traditional marketing or public relations, reaching industry opinion leaders, who in the online world have become direct messengers and industry evangelists with their loyal groups of RSS subscribers, daily readers and email lists.
In the tech start-up or “Web 2.0” world, the most influential blog in terms of introducing the world to new products or services, is TechCrunch. According to their site and Feedburner, TechCrunch as over 800,000 RSS subscribers and a great deal of these subscribers are bloggers, newspaper journalists, and television reporters.
Michael Arrington and the TechCrunch team pride themselves on getting the industry scoop on Silicon Valley happenings, so a breaking or exclusive story on TechCrunch is valued very highly on the web. If your business is lucky enough to be written about on TechCrunch because of some groundbreaking new technology, product launch, acquisition or other newsworthy happening; what’s going to happen is viral spreading of coverage and links, from TechCrunch to the Washington Post, to Digg, to Paidcontent to Search Engine Journal to Delicious Popular & StumbleUpon and right on down to the smallest personal blog covering the tech industry.
Defining the TechCrunch of Your Industry
But what if you aren’t a venture funded Valley start-up or the target of a Microsoft or Google acquisition?
The key here is to define who the messengers of your industry are. Who is the Michael Arrington of your niche?
Take search engine marketing for example.
If your company is about to launch a new backlink checking tool, a Firefox extension which serves site analytics, or some kind of innovative search marketing tool, how will you build buzz and links?
If you are only depending on a submittal to Sphinn to introduce your product to the masses, think again. As popular as Sphinn may be within the search industry, it does not reach everyone within the industry. A normal Sphinn frontpage story usually brings in about 75 to 100 unique users.
The messengers in the search marketing industry are widespread, since everyone in this industry seems to have a blog now, but the industry leading blogs still deliver the meat which the rest of the industry feeds on.
- Search Engine Land
- Search Engine Roundtable
- Search Engine Journal
- Search Engine Watch
- Search Engine Guide
All of these blogs and sites are considered the messengers of our industry, with about 100,000 RSS subscribers and readers between them (probably about 40,000 unique subscribers).
Approach these bloggers via emails and contact forms to inform them of a relevant product launch or new search engine service which you and they feel are relevant to their readers. Include a product demo, press release, bulleted points of interest, your contact information and a launch date.
The Return on Investment
Chances are if Search Engine Land, Search Engine Journal or Search Engine Watch covers your launch or newsworthy happening, one of their stories, or your own, will make it to Sphinn and trickle into the search marketing forums. Once into the forums or Sphinn, Search Engine Roundtable may then pick it up.
And once these major blogs pick up your news, their readers are also going to probably blog about you or drop a link on their sites somewhere. Also, there are many other quality search bloggers who scour these industry leading blogs, and either write similar stories or cite the popular bloggers for quotes.
Furthermore, these search news blogs are for the most part indexed within Google News, Yahoo News, Techmeme and other news outlets, so your product and story will also be read by those outside of the select group of search marketers that Sphinn appeals to. Not to mention the occasional MediaPost, ClickZ or AdAge coverage which introduces search marketing services to media buyers or other interactive marketers.
As a direct result of having one or two search bloggers writing about your business, you may attract hundreds of quality niche links of high relevance and value overnight.
Enter the Paid Blog Post or Sponsored Review
I’ve written many times about the value of a targeted paid blog post. For some bloggers, sometimes the best way to get to them is via their wallet, especially in some industries.
Say for example you are launching a blog monetization platform, which helps bloggers make money via affiliate programs or some other form of advertising.
Putting $500 or $1,000 into a paid blog post from someone like John Chow, or even more for a paid review from ShoeMoney, may pay off extremely well. Not because of the search engine ranking influence derived from coverage or a link from these sites, but because these sites are read by bloggers looking to make money, or write about making money.
Don’t even worry about the blogger linking to you with or without nofollow, the value of coverage from these paid reviews would be the trickle down effect of their audience signing up for your service, or writing about your service themselves.
A paid blog post which may cost you $1,000 could lead to 100 bloggers writing about your service or linking to you. In that respect, if you break down the Link-O-Nomics, you are only paying about $10 per link or per post coverage, all from one marketing campaign.
If you’re paying $400 for a newswire service for a press release which may or may not be picked up by journalists, why not pay a large sum to have your product delivered to targeted bloggers via a paid messenger?
Action Steps :
So, to get started :
- Make a list of 20 to 50 blogs which cover your business niche or that of your clients (Google Blog Search, Technorati or Best of the Web Blogs are great places to start).
- Identify the most influential bloggers, maybe 5 to 10, dependent on the size of your industry and its blog presence.
- Contact those bloggers to alert them of your product or business launch. Give them a launch date, demo if available, information, quotes and contact info for following up with you.
- If the situation deems relevant, try some paid blog reviews on industry leaders blogs.
- Once your newsworthy happening comes to be, monitor these blogs to see what kind of coverage you receive.
- Link to the blog posts about your company from your press room.
- Alert other bloggers in your industry of the coverage from the main blogs. Feel free to email them with a personal mail and link to the blog coverage from a niche specific A-List Blog.
- Monitor the results via incoming links, traffic, search rankings and conversions. If the campaign works well, move on to another one. If it doesn;t, figure out why and try to better your approach and releationship with your industry specific bloggers.