The word reciprocity typically implies an exchange between parties -- reciprocal links for example. "Preciprocity" is a condition in which you link out first, with no certainty of a link in return. When engaging your link prospects using the preciprocity techniques in the templates below, you can build far more inbound links than outbound.
Further, these techniques establish your presence within your industry's community of bloggers and other expert publishers. These techniques are an excellent starting point for link builders who are new entrants into a space. Lastly, and most importantly, all these formulas promote the expertise of your link prospects in some way. This makes it easy for your prospects to link -- they are in fact promoting themselves by doing so.
1. The Top/Best/Resource Roundup
Start your preciprocity with a resource roundup. Use the Linkable Content Analysis Work Sheet to identify the strongest, most influential pieces of content in your market, then organize them in a new and meaningful way. Once you've built and organized your massive list of more than 100 top resources, you can write to everyone on your list and let them know they were included. Ask them to share it with their network if they think it's worthy.
A further value of starting with a resource roundup, especially if you're new to a space, is that you get a genuine idea of what great content looks like in your market. Further, you'll see what the biggest information-pains are (that is, you'll see what information your market requires). To quickly get a sense of the info-pains in your market, check out our Guide to Competitive 'How-To' Content Analysis.
In client campaigns, we've seen between about a 15 to 20 percent response rate -- tweets and links -- to resource roundups in spaces where a site is "brand new." Response rates should be much higher in a space where you're established.
- Example 1: Link Building Master Class
- Example 2: The reasonable surfer; makes for unreasonable thinkers
2. Top Twitter Users Piece
Compiling a list of top Twitter users for your space is another excellent way to build goodwill and preciprocity towards your future outreach efforts, not to mention a great resource for newbies. Find clever, novel, and/or useful ways to arrange the Twitter users, and look for a reason to include some bio text, or even some sample tweets, from each person.
Again, we saw between a 15 and 20 percent response rate to this tactic, with a bit more leaning toward tweets than links.
- Example 1: Musicians on Twitter: 100+ Artists That Tweet
- Example 2: 18 Must Follow Link Building Experts on Twitter
3. Write a Group Interview or Survey
A group interview typically works like this: You write a set of questions, then e-mail them to your expert list, along with clear deadlines. Then you work the responses into a massive piece that showcases the brilliance your questions unearthed.
Spend some time reviewing previous interviews in your space to get ideas for your questions. If you're lucky and a "big name" responds, consider publishing their answers as a stand-alone interview.
At this point, if you've done the resource roundup, as well as the top Twitter users, you can try and focus on the people who have already responded positively to you -- the people who have linked or mentioned your work in some way. Include your A-listers though -- if you can land one, that will make the group interview have more credibility and, if your questions are good, add more value to your market!
For example, in a space where we had no established name, expertise, or brand, we got about a 20 percent response rate to our questions. Of the 20 respondents, half linked and 75 percent retweeted. This group interview was picked up by a major industry news source, as well as Time.com.
- Example 1: Interview: 12 Top Online Entrepreneurs Share How Hard They Work
- Example 2: Local Search Ranking Factors
4. Write Solo Interviews
While solo interviews don't guarantee a link back from the person interviewed, you certainly stand to gain from some links and traffic from others who appreciate that expert's wisdom. Make sure you're asking new questions by reading previous interviews. Politely ask the interviewee to share with his or her network.
- Example 1: Advanced Linking - Interview With Aaron Wall Of SEOBook.com
- Example 2: Ruud Questions: Aaron Wall
Now Write Linkable, Lead-Driving Content and Request Links
We've found that group interviews and interviews of others don't typically generate leads. So now that you've warmed up your community and established some credibility for yourself, it's time to create informative, lead generating content and request promotion from the people you've been working so hard for all this time. If your content genuinely advances the conversation in your market they will be even more likely to lend a hand and link.
Spread the love. Link out lavishly if the content is worthy of being shared with your site visitors. And above all, look for ways to warm up your relationship with the influential bloggers, experts, analysts, reporters, and other link prospects in your media space!
Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!