For many marketers link building is a necessary evil that they have to undertake in order to increase their organic visibility.

Link building, if we like it or not, is around to stay for the foreseeable future so brands need to prepare (even in challenging times like today).

I have worked agency side for eight years and in that time have worked with hundreds of clients. There are several key challenges I hear from clients before launching link building campaigns, these are the time required to launch the campaign is limited, the budget isn’t big enough (to build the campaigns), or they think that their brand is not ‘newsworthy’.

To address the last point on how ‘newsworthy’ a campaign is, I would like to say on record that any brand, working in any industry can build links – check out my interview on building links in hard to market industries for some inspiration.

When we address the challenge over time and money its worth noting that not every digital PR campaign needs to cost the world, in fact there are things you can do without any budget which will deliver you high authority links. I have detailed down five of these tactics below:

1. Newsjacking

“Newsjacking is the process by which you inject your ideas or angles into breaking news, in real-time, in order to generate media coverage for yourself or your business.”

– David Meerman Scott

Not every brand can newsjack, however for the majority of brands this is a legitimate tactic that should be used to gain high-tier, national relevant links.

Put simply, if you have an opinion on a planned topic or a breaking news story you could send it to journalists covering that topic and gain links back to your site.

You will need a spokesperson and some time to read the daily news, but that’s it! A great example of how a brand adopted this tactic and picked up some seriously good links (and visibility) was money.co.uk

Using their spokesperson they worked with the media on relevant topics such as house prices, Brexit and company updates to give the media and customers an insight into how these updates will impact consumer finances. Some examples of these links can be seen below:

https://www.somersetlive.co.uk/whats-on/shopping/expert-says-debenhams-not-putting-2615161

https://www.mirror.co.uk/money/breaking-honda-set-close-entire-14015449

2. Unlinked Mentions

Unlinked mentions happen naturally as a journalist will often mention your brand without even considering a link.

As SEO’s we would love every mention to be linked, however we need to be aware that this won’t always be the case.

However if you do see an unlinked mention (about your brand) it may be worth asking the journalists to link to a relevant resource on your site.

Please note that you should never demand a link, ask for a link from a negative article, or ask when the link wouldn’t add any value. All in all it just takes common sense to work out which unlinked mentions could actually be turned into links.

The easiest way to find unlinked mentions is to:

  1. Set up alerts (via Google, Buzzsumo, ect…)
  2. Search Google for mentions of your brand. The best way to do this is to use search operators. For example if I was looking for mentions of connective3 I would need to ask Google to show me who, other than myself, has talked about the site. You can do this by running a search query [“connective3” -site:connective3.com]

This will show mentions of your brand but exclude your brand URL from the SERPs. Always make sure the mentions you are chasing are recent (you can do this by changing the date range within Google Search).

More information on how to find links can be seen at my recent post here.

3. Charity work or partnerships

Most brands have newsworthy content that they may not be aware of.

For example do you have a chosen charity? If so have you considered sending your charity news updates to sites such as fundraising.co.uk?  Or how about working with the charity itself and gaining links with their press office?

Or do you have partnerships/sponsorships? If so you should definitely be negotiating links on their sites as part of any contract agreement.

I understand this is not possible for all brands but for many it’s a quick win.

4. Local stores

I’ll caveat this point as this point only applies to brands with a store presence. f you work in a business that does not have brick and mortar stores you should probably move on to the next section 😊

If you do have physical locations then this tactic is a must for you.

Imagine you own a shop in a shopping centre, all you have to do to build links in this instance is contact the shopping centre website and ask for a link to the relevant store page.

Or imagine you own multiple entertainment outlets such as Bingo halls – you should certainly be working with local visitor sites such as Visit York or Visit Manchester (or the relevant local sites) to build links with them/

These sites will deliver high quality relevant links and support your local strategy. In fact, I previously did this for a client of mine and gained 60 links with no campaign.

5. Interviews and thought leaders

Everyone loves the limelight right? Well maybe not, but many people do so why not give it to them?

Your business is most likely filled with experts working in different fields such as HR, marketing, finance etc.

Well my link hungry friends, there is a wealth of really good sites that accept interview and thought leadership articles with these experts. Sites such as https://realbusiness.co.uk/ and https://www.entrepreneur.com often accept interview or opinion features – so make your colleagues famous and gain links at the same time.

Summary

Link building is hard, and its getting harder. This being said its our job to ensure we make our businesses as ‘digital as possible’ and make every web mention work harder and deliver more than just coverage.

Be creative, talk to different internal teams and I guarantee you will find link opportunities without running content campaigns.

 

David White

David White

Content Marketing Director