Is Inbound Linking for You? (Part 2)

Part 2 of 3:
Build blocks
Now that you’ve spend a good bit of time and energy getting your site linked on a couple hundred directories, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and really get to work. You’re excited, I can tell.

2. Intermediate Tactics
Intermediate tactics require more time and typically a financial investment. The effort is worth it since this is when the multiplier effect (viral marketing) can take place and take you to unexpected heights.

Intermediate Tactics are (1) article and press release writing and marketing and (2) advanced networking. Both of these tactics require you to create relevant content that will appeal to your market and, potentially, be worthy of being shared, of going viral and the ability to create meaningful relationships.

Viral, in marketing terms, means it spreads, like a virus. In other words you send me an article or a press release that is so compelling and so interesting that I take the time out of my busy schedule to forward it to someone else. I spread it, they spread it, and so on and so on.

Creating that kind of content is not easy but here’s the key: After you write your article or press release ask yourself this question, “Will this be shared?” If the answer is “Yes” then you completed the most difficult step. If the answer is “No” then you still have work to do.

At first you may not be able to tell if your content is spread-worthy or not but, as with anything, you should get better over time and with effort, with practice. Writing content that is worthy of being shared is tough but, after that, things get easier since you can hire/rent the additional expertise you need.

The process of getting your articles syndicated, spread across the net, and your press releases submitted to online outlets is something I suggest you outsource. Article syndicating services and press release service providers are two of the fastest growing services you’ll find online and, as such, the providers are improving the quality of their services and lowering their costs.

I’ll leave it to you to find find the best firm to meet your specific needs but feel free to contact me directly if you want a recommendation. Most of the press release services charge a fee, which can range from $50.00 to several hundred dollars, monthly subscription packages are also popular. Free services exist but the results may be less than you desire.

Hiring an expert to help you fine-tune your content, coordinate an online PR firm and develop a structured SEO program is wise if you’re serious about being successful because all these tasks require a relatively high level of specialized talent to be effective.

Here’s what I used to say to my bosses when I was in Corporate America and they told me to do something outside our department’s area of expertise, “Sure, we can do it ourselves but I’m concerned because amateur work usually produces amateur results.” Or, “part-time work produces part-time results.  They loved getting that kind of feedback. Yeah, right!

But it’s true, hire a pro if you want professional results, the benefits outweigh the expense. Besides, even if you hire a pro there’s still so much that you can and should do on your own.

Link building is like cold calling in sales. Persistence alone will produce some results. But networking to secure referrals and giving value before asking for value are the best ways to secure new opportunities and, eventually, new clients.

To maximize effectiveness, build personal relationships with webmasters, bloggers and other people who you want posting a link to your website on their website. The way to do this is to make yourself valuable and, therefore, visible to the right people. It’s self promotion through added value, a win-win.

A good way to start is by reading other people’s blogs and leaving (valuable) comments. Typically what will happen is they will start reading your blog (you must have one!) and leaving comments in return.

Social media sites such as Twitter, StumbleUpon and Digg are also great relationship tools. You simply point (ReTweet, for example) people to content you think they’ll find interesting or useful. Again, you’re adding value and as your relationships grows the opportunity, or mutual self-interest, in providing each other an inbound link will surface.  Depending on the strength of your relationship this might take days, weeks or months.

From a link building perspective, if the relationship is solid enough and based on mutual respect and appropriate self-interest, you may even be asked to post a guest blog on their site. If that happens, jump on it and ask permission to link your guest post to relevant links as well as your website and blog. Those links will open you up to a whole new audience and will also improve your keyword rankings on the search engines.

If done correctly these Intermediate Tactics – writing great content, outsourcing submissions and building new meaningful relationships – will significantly increase the links to your site and move you up in search engine rankings. In addition, if your articles and press releases are linked tightly to a sound keyword strategy, the increase in search engine rankings for specific keywords and phrases will skyrocket. As Stephen Covey says, begin with the end in mind.

We’re not done yet but now have a blueprint so get going. Monday we’ll discuss some really Advanced Tactics.

Steve

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