Do you remember when you stopped writing a Christmas list?
As kids, we’d start crafting our Christmas lists at some point in August. So by the time mall Santas took their red-velvet, food-court thrones we were already on a third draft.
What happened to that? When did we start responding to the question “what do you want for Christmas?” with “I’m sure I’ll love anything you get me.”
At some point we turned “practical” and happy to get whatever we unwrapped without ever setting our sights any higher. And we often do the same thing with links. We’re just so grateful to get anything at all; we accept our third annual pair of ugly plaid pajamas with a smile.
Why not make this the year you get inspired with your link wishes? By thinking, researching, and writing down the things we aspire to, we have a much better chance of actually achieving our ambitions.
Ideal Link Profile
What is your dream link? Taking links from the Google home page off the table, what would your ideal link be? And how often have you thought about that?
Is it a link from The New York Times or a leading blog in your niche? Is it a branded link or does it have targeted anchor text? Does it send you traffic or help your reputation?
If you’ve never created a profile of your perfect link, then how would you even recognize it if you got it? But more importantly, and realistically, how do you go after it if it’s never been defined? It’s nearly impossible to develop a strategy to reach a goal if no goal exists.
Spend some time thinking about what your ideal link would look like, where it would be, and how it would serve your website. By defining the specs of “perfection” you’ve created yourself a target. Sure, it may be wildly ambitious, but it’s an end-game nonetheless.
Dream Link Giver Profile
So you know what your consummate link looks like, and how it functions, but what do you know about the person behind it? There are two different kinds of profiles you can make.
First, look at what you have. You wouldn’t make your Christmas wish list without at least doing a minor inventory of what you already own. I mean you don’t need another Slap Chop if you already own two. So who are your links coming from?
Are your linkers, enthusiasts, professionals, bloggers, educators, social media addicts?
Knowing who links to you, and what they do helps you figure out who you appeal to. It may be a few different kinds of people, or you may find there aren’t many common threads. But having a profile of that personality helps you spot the kind of people who have a high probability of linking to you.
The next step is to think long and hard about the profiles of the people you wish were linking to you. Just like with your ideal link, how do you know who you should be spending your time approaching if you haven’t identified the top prospects?
Do you wish a celebrity would notice you? Do you want the attention of a college professor? Would you like to see your site mentioned on CNN?
Well sure. Who wouldn’t want any of those things? But we wish for them like we wish it would snow less in January. Yet, getting crazy links is a lot more feasible than controlling the weather. But the first challenge is to profile the people you most want links from.
It may be a broad as identifying a target kind of link giver, people with reach and influence, or people with highly trusted websites. It could also be as specific as a list of names. But with that information you can make a plan.
Once you know who you’re targeting, you can figure out where to find the people you want links from and begin making a connection. Who knows, it may be the start of a beautiful relationship and a step toward your perfect link.
Ultimate Content Profile
If you can dream big with links, why not dream big with your own content. How often do we say wistfully “Wouldn’t be awesome if we could make (insert epic piece of content)” But then someone says “Well that would take 6 months to create so we’re just gonna buy this article for $30 instead.” And think “Well that certainly seems logical… But, what if…. “
We give up on our content enterprises all too easily sometimes. Why? Most often it’s because it seems too hard, because it will take too long, or because there are just too many moving parts and not enough time. Believe me, I get it.
But when was the last time you disregarded the naysayers long enough to write it down, break it down, and identify all the little gears and sprockets that would need to come together? Lots of complicated ventures seem insurmountable at the outset. But once you start dissecting, designing and delegating you find that, holy crap, this is actually doable!
Don’t hold back. Create your content wish list with your most insane ideas for killer content.
If you can’t envision it, you’ll certainly never create it. But if it’s there on your list, then maybe, just maybe if you move this here… and spend some time researching that… and have Bob in design look into this thing here…
Before you know it you’re on your way to building the Sphinx. Or a new tool. Or whatever it is that once started out as a ridiculous, impossible dream.
Close Your Eyes and Wish
Perhaps it’s their innocence that allows children to create uninhibited wish lists. We jaded and cynical adults don’t write down things we don’t think we can ever have. But you know what? Maybe the kids have it right.
Maybe we all need to dream bigger – in links, in content, hell, in life.
Make your link wish list, make your ideal linker profiles and concoct the most amazing content ideas you can. Do it, because knowing exactly what you want is the first step to getting it. Yeah, you may never get there. But trying anyway may just turn out to be the real triumph.
Don’t talk yourself out of putting something on the list because of the little voice that tells you “Well that’s just not practical”. Who cares? Tell the voice to shut its pie-hole because, you, are a dreamer.
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!