Link-building: What is the “Personal” Approach?
The reason we see this method as being particularly rewarding is that the best kind of link for you to attract is a natural link from someone who has read your content and deemed it linkable. The key word in the last sentence was ‘someone’ – a real person. That person obviously has some control over the content that is shared via their website or social media platforms and therefore they are a great person to reach out and engage with. The really powerful, high quality links on the web all come from real people so it would seem like a no brainer not to increase the amount of opportunities you have to engage with these people.
Successful link building is about building and nurturing relationships. We live in a world where so much of our activity is carried out virtually, online, that we sometimes forget that out there, striving for links just like us are other people with similar interests and common goals. The secret is getting out there and meeting these people and building relationships that in time can become beneficially mutual.
Where do you begin?
It should be noted right here, right now that if you are already pressed for time and you have stumbled across this article in the hope of finding a quick fix to building links back to your site, then this is not the place for you. The personal approach takes time, and in some cases money (but there are other benefits to the money you spend). The personal approach is definitely a long term play. First you have got to find the right sort of people with the same interests who could potentially provide you with a valuable link, then you’ve got to nurture that relationship and after a while, once you feel comfortable with them, you may then be on a position to ask for a link back to a piece of content that you feel is of interest to them and adds value to them as a business.
In terms of places to start with this process, it’s all about putting yourself out there so if you are one of these people that goes to conferences and stands on their own in a corner when the morning and afternoon breaks come around, again this is probably not for you as it is going to put you right out of your comfort zone.
Our top 3 places to start a meaningful relationship
Conferences or trade shows
This one is pretty straightforward. Look for a conference that you are interested in attending and book your place. For us at Kurve, this might be something like Confab which sees content marketing strategists from around the world converge for 3 days of presentations and networking. When you’re at the conference, make sure you:
- Put yourself out there and talk to people at all the breaks
- Talk to different people at each opportunity; don’t just hang out with people you know
- Join the conversation on social media using the conference hashtag
- Reply to people’s questions on Twitter and look them out for further discussion
- Go to any evening activities – more opportunities to speak to more people
- Check the delegate list and see if there is anyone you might recognise or want to track down
There is obviously a cost associated with this, however there are so many benefits given the number of people you will come into contact with as well as the fact that you get to attend an awesome conference or trade show.
Physical meet ups
In many towns and cities across the UK and worldwide, there will be regular meetups organised by like-minded people to talk about the latest trends, what’s happening within the sector and to have a general get together and talk about issues and innovations. Sometimes these are organised by trade bodies such as the Chartered Institute of Marketing etc but more often than not, they are just arranged by a group of people who meet up in a bar once a month and throw some ideas around. They are usually extremely sociable, you get to meet a great bunch of people and most importantly, you start to build relationships with people who are more likely to be able to provide a link back to your content in the future. A good place to start looking is Meetup.com
Virtual meet ups
Although this post is more about the forming of physical relationships, there are also virtual meet ups that are organised using things like Google+ Hangouts. These are similar to the meetups above but they simply take place online which can give you access to people all over the country and even the world. These can be quite useful if you meet a bunch of people at a conference from various places as you can arrange a monthly catch up without having to travel.
Not every relationship will lead to a link
One thing not to forget is that not every relationship you form through conferences and attending meet-ups will lead to a backlink. In many cases, there will simply not be the relevance there to warrant a link back to your site. However one thing not to forget is that even if you don’t get a link back from someone you have formed a relationship with, these people still have friends, they still have great connections on LinkedIn and they still provide you with opportunities to gain links back to your content.
Quality content is still crucial
So, you have done all the hard work, attended conferences and meet-ups, formed some really strong relationships and even put yourself out there and asked for a link back to your content and then the worst thing ever happens; the person looks at your content and it is average at best. All your hard work is immediately undone so think carefully about this before you ask for a link back to your content.
In an ideal world, you may not even have to get to this point and we have seen this happen countless times with our own content. We meet people at conferences and get chatting about what we do. People then come and check out our site through natural curiosity and if they like what they see, they will often share this without us even asking. This is usually a social share in the first instance which is great as it gives us a platform to carry on the relationship but hopefully it keeps our content fresh in their mind if they are ever writing anything where a link back to our content would be beneficial.
As much as it is possible to live in the virtual world, building relationships with people from all over the world without even leaving the comfort of your own home can develop far stronger relationships.Make sure you are getting out there and taking time to meet people – it’s a long term play that can reap real dividends over time.