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Link Building That Counts: 4 Easy Steps to Leverage Key Influencers

By Ashley Reed in Digital Marketing on August 13th, 2012

SEO Manager Greg Lee and Social Media Marketing Director Ashley Reed recently attended a SEMPO Atlanta event on Link Building strategies post Penguin/Panda.  The predominant theme throughout all three speakers’ presentations was establishing relationships with influencers and leveraging those relationships to acquire quality links. Below are four ways to put this strategy to work. 1.)  Utilize Social Channels to Identify Influencers Guest speaker Eric Enge of Search Engine Land and 352 Media Group’s Erin Everhart offered helpful tips for leveraging social media platforms to identify influencers among target audiences.  The following are just a few ways to use LinkedIn, Pinterest and Twitter search to find quality publishers. LinkedIn: Use LinkedIn’s advanced search feature to narrow people down by title and company. Look for people with “Content”, “Editor”, “Writer”, “Blogger”, etc. in their titles. Look for any shared interests such as schools attended, common LinkedIn groups, and note these when asking to connect with them on LinkedIn.  (When possible, ask for a shared connection to introduce you). Finally, follow them on Twitter if they included their handle in their LinkedIn profile. Pinterest: Search for keywords related to your industry within the “People” category. Review individuals’ websites (listed in their bio) as well as Pinterest boards and pins to see if they are a relevant publisher. If “People” searches do not yield relevant results, try a “Board” or “Pins” search. Twitter: Use services like Twellow and Listorious to search for top Twitter influencers. 2.) Evaluate Degree of Influence Before putting in the work to establish relationships with these individuals, do a little homework to make sure they are good targets for you to outreach to.  Review each publisher’s site traffic, social profiles and engagement levels.  Are people commenting on their posts?  Do they have a solid social following? Do they have the ability to influence your target audience?  Make sure the answers to these questions are yes before pursuing the relationship. 3.) Establish a Relationship Now that you have a solid list of influencers, it’s time to begin to build relationships with these people.  The first step is to show genuine interest by subscribing to their blog, following them on Twitter and Pinterest, and taking note of what type of content they are sharing.  Once you have a good feel for their interests, initiate connect by commenting on their blog posts, retweeting them on Twitter, and repinning, liking and commenting on their Pinterest pins.  Continue to do this until they begin engaging with you; it may take some time but it will pay off. While social media is a great tool for fostering relationships – don’t forget the importance of one-on-one contact! If you have the opportunity to meet these influencers in person (such as at an event or conference) – do so.  This is still the most valuable way to establish a connection. 4.) Outreach to Influencers with (Great!) Content After you’ve built the relationship with influencers, there is a much higher chance that they will be willing to generate a link for you.  But make sure you have valuable content to offer them.  Keep these tips in mind when creating content for your brand: - Make content engaging and relevant to your audience and the publisher’s audience (they may differ slightly, so find commonalities). - Content should add value to influencers – make them look good! - Work together with publishers when creating content; they may have insights into what types perform best. - Focus on content that is sharable such as infographics, videos, and photos. Search Engine Land’s Eric Enge and BKV's SEO Manager Greg Lee at SEMPO Atlanta Linkbuilding Event