My Favorite Way to Get Links and Social Shares – Whiteboard Friday
So you've got a new blog post you're ready to reveal to the interwebs. You've worked hard on the content, and now you really need to drive activity on it.
If you don't have a widespread network of contacts to help you, you may need some tips to help drive that traffic. In this week's Whiteboard Friday, Rand shares his favorite way to get links and social shares, while simultaneously seeding future plans to get links automatically built for you.
Make sure to refer back to Rand's post on What Separates a "Good" Outreach Email from a "Great" One for more in-depth tips on conducting outreach.
We'd love to hear your feedback on these processes! If you have thoughts or something to add, make sure to leave it in the comments below.
"Howdy, SEOmoz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week I thought I would talk about what my personal favorite methodology for getting links in social shares is. A lot of folks ask about this like, "I need to get a lot of links. I've got to share this new blog post. I have a new white paper I want to put out. I'm trying to get people to share this webinar." Whatever it is, you have some people that have content that you really need to drive activity on, and I understand that.
So even the search engines have evolved. Certainly links are still a huge part of the algorithm, especially in Google and Bing, and we're still seeing the value that social shares can bring, in terms of being a leading indicator or highly correlated with lots of links coming to them. Certainly when you need to get activity and you've got to get something announced and get awareness built, these are very helpful.
I actually don't like a lot of the classic methodologies that are kind of go out there and push a link or acquire a link from a place. I really love it when people will automatically build links to me. If that doesn't happen though, or if you need a seed to get that process started, where people can start coming to you and linking automatically because they like what you've done, to seed that I love getting people, that I'm involved with, involved in that process, meaning friends, colleagues, business connections, people in the community, people who are in the particular field where I'm operating in, where I'm creating content, who might have an interest in it. That's a great way to go to help seed this process. If you don't already have that built up though, it's really hard to get that started, unless you do this. This is my absolute favorite process for this kind of work.
Step one. Go out and assemble a list, as big or as small as you want – it can be as niche or as widespread as you want – of people, friends, colleagues, people who you admire, whom you would like to help out, meaning you want to help them promote their stuff. For example, I might email some other companies in The Foundry and Ignition Portfolios, other companies that have been invested by our investors. I might email some other people in the SEO community, some of my agency friends, and in-house SEO friends, some speakers that I've spoken with at other conferences, some people I really admire on Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn, and that kind of stuff. Then I would reach out to them. Maybe your dentist has a great website and is very web savvy and active, your travel blogger friend, your buddy on Twitter, your old boss, or a writer you admire. Whoever these people are, you're going to help them. You'll see where I'm going with this in a minute.
Step two. You need to reach out to them. That outreach process looks like this. Note that you want to share and recommend some stuff. It really helps if you've got, either on your personal website or your blog or your company's site, a recommended resources. These are companies and people or company's content and resources that we recommend, we've loved here at SEOmoz, or I have loved personally over the years and would recommend to you as well. I do this with books and with vendors here in Seattle, that we've used as a company, or that I've encountered. I do it with SEO people. I have a whole recommended list of SEOs. All this kind of stuff.
Then I would note to those people, "Hey, I'm trying to get more active in my social sharing and building up my recommendations list, and you're a person that I really like and admire. Do you have anything that you would like some help promoting? Is there anything I can do to help you promote something out there? Is there something I can link to for you, maybe put on a recommended list. I could socially share this. I could tweet it. I could put up a Google+ post about it." Keep that email just short and friendly. You can reuse a lot of that same email. I'll do this sometimes when I outreach to people. I'll construct the body of it, and I'll just put a new opening line or two and a new closing line or two, but the body of that main paragraph will stay the same.
Then people will reply to you. They'll be like, "Oh my gosh, Rand. That's awesome of you. Yeah, actually I wrote this post last week. It hasn't got a ton of attention, but I think it's a good one. Would you help share it? I think you've got a community of technology people who would really care about this." Or, "Yeah, actually, my friend runs a cleaning service here in Seattle, and I would love if you could reference them. That would be a great citation for them." Terrific. Great. Now I am going out and helping all of these folks, and in the future, right after you've helped all the people, the next time you need help promoting something, whatever it is, you have a group, a list of folks that you know you have already helped out. You can reach out to them again and say, "Hey, I have this thing, and if it's not too much trouble, I would love some help promoting it."
This is not a direct reciprocation, like, "Well, I did this for you, so now you do this for me." This is just seeding the pot. You are creating a positive impression with these folks. Trust me, a lot of the time, even if you don't have something to promote, if you do this for people in your network and people in your world, just try and make their lives better and promote their stuff, they will automatically be incented for the next few months to do something nice for you. If they can think of anything, they will try and do it for you. They will be more likely to help you out. If you do ask for a share, you'll be more likely to get it.
This process is very, very effective in getting results and getting a group of folks who can help you share. I highly urge you to do this. I think the wonderful thing about this is that you're going to help all these people before you ask for any help yourself, which is a great thing too.
All right, everyone. I hope you've enjoyed this edition of Whiteboard Friday. We'll see you again next week. Take care."