There are hundreds, if not thousands of different ways you can acquire links. Every link buildling tactic comes with pros and cons. I have found that the most effective way to build links is by taking the time to build relationships with experts in your industry, than to just dropping a link in a directory or forum. I understand this is a time intensive process and it requires a lot more work, but the end result are highly relevant, authoritative links. Below is a step by step process to effectively approach potential link partners.
Follow this 4 step process:
1. Make a Potential Link Partner List
If you read industry blogs, than you probably have a pretty good idea who the major influencers are in the industry. Start by generating a list of potential experts/bloggers you would like to contact. Take note of their blog (if they have one), what sites they contribute to, and any social media sites they engage in.
2. Start Following Them
Before you even begin contacting anyone, start following them. If they are on Twitter, start following them. Pay attention to what they tweet about, who they tweet about, who they are tweeting with, and pay attention to their style/personality.
If they manage or contribute to a blog, sign up for their RSS feed and being reading recent and upcoming posts. Start to understand their style of writing, how often they blog, and what topics they cover.
If they use social bookmarking sites like StumbleUpon, Digg, Reddit, start following their bookmarks. See what type of sites interest them. Find out if they have other types of passions besides just the industry you are in. You may be able to connect with someone on a deeper level (similar intersts, location, background, experience).
3. Join their Discussions
Start by retweeting some of your potential link partners tweets. This can help you to indirectly get in front of them and start building the foundation for a relationship. Find recent blog post they have written and start writing comments of value. If you have a relevant link to a resource on your personal site or blog, then provide that as well. This may encourage the person to visit your site and again helps in building the relationship.
4. Contact Them By E-mail
Once you have joined in the discussions, you are ready to contact them personally. By now you should have a pretty good idea of their interests, their online personality, and where they engage online.
When e-mailing them keep it short and to the point. Odds are the person you are contacting gets lots of e-mail pitches a day so don’t waste their time. Hopefully by engaging with them indirectly (tweets, comments, etc..) they will make a connection when they see your e-mail request.
In your e-mail you want to relate to them on a professional or personal level. It may be as simple as telling them how you have been a loyal reader of their blog and hope much you enjoy it. I think this is a good time to say that you should be honest with the people you are contacting. If you geniuenly want to build relationships and make friends in the industry, it will show!
When writing your e-mail, do not just send a generic e-mail template, they will be able to tell right away and will not want to read the rest. Take the time to mention their website, blog, a recent tweet, a speaking engagement, an award they won, a book they wrote, etc…
Keep Components of the E-Mail:
- Be Geniune & Honest
- Compliment them on their Site/Blog
- Mention Something Specific You Like
- Briefly Explain Your Expertise and Site (include URL)
- Offer Something of Value to Them
- Thank Them for their Time
Dear ‘First Name’,
My name is ‘insert name here’. I am contacting you to tell you what a huge fan and avid reader I am of your ‘Blog Name’ blog. Your ‘specific post name’ post was exteremly helpful in successfully growing my ‘site/blog’.
The reason I am contacting you is because I am interested in building relationships with ‘bloggers/professionals’ in the ‘industry name’ industry. I have been working on promoting my ‘site/blog’ and want to connect with professionals that have the same passions and interests. My blog covers ‘insert topics’.
I would love to share my expertise by having the opportunity to write a guest post for your blog. Also, I thought you may be interested in an ‘ebook/whitepaper/article’ I wrote ‘Insert link here’ that normally I charge for, but would like to offer you a free copy.
If interested, I would love to talk more about how I could help provide valuable content for your blog and readership, while also helping to spread the word about my ‘site/blog’. Thanks for your time and I hope to hear back soon.
Feel free to contact me via email, phone, or twitter.
‘Insert Twitter Handle’
‘Insert Blog URL’
‘Insert Phone #’
Of course you may need to customize the email based on who you are contacting. Instead of offering a free ebook, you may be able to give them a free trial of your product or offer a discount on your product to the persons readers.
Even if you do not end up receiving a link from their site or the opportunity to contribute to their site/blog, at least you made them aware of who you are. At a minimum they may sign up for your RSS feed or start following you on Twitter. Down the road they may remember that you contacted them a while back and they may contacting you to ask if you are still interested in writing a guest post.
About The Author
Mark is the Internet Marketing Manager for Atlantic BT, a full-service Web Design & Marketing company, located in Raleigh, North Carolina. He also is the creator of StayOnSearch, a search marketing blog dedicated to SEO’s and Internet Marketing professionals.
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