Often when we think about the concept of link building, we usually consider things like – contacting relevant websites and seeing if they’d be interested in give you a link, submitting to directories, purchasing ‘editorial endorsements’, creating articles or other topical pieces of content for linkbait etc. etc.
But there’s a whole world of offline linking potential that we ignore simply because it’s not online
Not online? I hear you thinking… If something isn’t online, then how can it possibly gain me links… and why is a Search Marketing company telling me to do stuff outside of the Interweb?
They say we come in contact with over 3000 product endorsements every day – be it billboards, magazines, radio, TV, etc. Some of these endorsements stick with us, others don’t.
The ones that do stick, are often talked about, blogged about, Twittered, shared on Facebook and throughout all sorts of other social media networks because that’s how we share interesting and relevant information in this crazy, online society we live in.
And it’s not just individual’s sharing this information – the media is really not that different. If something is newsworthy (which in today’s standards could mean anything) it will be mentioned in multiple news sources – radio will quote something from TV, TV will quote newspapers, and inevitably, it will end-up online.
So you’re probably thinking – I know how word-of-mouth and general media works, but how is that going to help me get links?
In its simplest form, a link is really just a citation or recommendation connecting you to the relevant location where you can find more information about a specific topic. So following that logic, link building should be treated no differently to branding.
When building a brand, the aim is to interest people and get them talking. Social media’s most basic definition is ‘people communicating/interacting with each other’ so an offline branding exercise can quite easily turn into an online discussion, and if the offline component was done well, links are sure to follow.
So how can I do this?
One method is getting quoted in a news story and or even issue your own news/press release (which has the benefit of being printed or may lead to getting you quoted in other sources). These types of articles are great to send to local journalists for their offline publications (knowing that many of these have online equivalents) and if they don’t, a topical news story will often be picked-up by other news channels. If that fails, you still have the rights to the articles you’ve written and can quite easily submit them to article/PR websites which is another good way of getting the odd link.
If you do manage to get the odd news article printed, stay in contact with that journalist/publication. If you come-across as being authoritive in your field, when a breaking news article pertaining to your industry goes hot, the journo may call on your expertise to make a comment/statement.
When people see a quote about how “the current economic climate is affecting online marketing trends by Peter Newsome, Search Marketing Director of SiteMost”, they are likely to go searching for this ‘SiteMost’ company and who this character ‘Peter Newsome’ is.
When others make reference to this news item, they’re making reference to you as well. This could result in a link, but even without the link, the offline endorsement has triggered a search to your website – it has driven traffic from someone interested enough in the topic and wants to find-out more.
This is just as (if not more) beneficial than some random link in a blogpost.
So next time you’re thinking about starting an online marketing campaign, don’t forget that the offline efforts are equally as important as the online ones, and if done well, will yield links and exposure that you may not have been able to achieve if you had just stuck to a purely online approach.