Coming up with great link building ideas can be a challenge. It requires creativity, research, and thinking outside the box. Let's review some techniques to get your business started in the process.
One of the most direct methods to discover link building ideas is by solving customer problems. I illustrated this in link building case studies for B2B and the travel industry. By solving a customer problem, I discovered great link building ideas -- a.k.a. link bait (define).
Why is this simple method often overlooked and forgotten? Pretty simple: it isn't sexy enough for an industry that thrives on buzz and hype.
Here are five techniques to uncover customer problems you could turn into a great link building strategy.
Use your favorite keyword research tool to find out what people are searching for. Look for phrases that indicate the person is looking for answers to a problem. These could include such words as "how to," "help," "tutorial," "fix," and "problem." Now you know specific problems that customers need to have solved. Use this information to create a great link building strategy -- and gain new customers at the same time.
You can discover link building ideas simply by talking to customers and uncovering their challenges. This includes conducting a survey, making phone calls, or asking customers in your brick-and-mortar locations.
B2B? Conduct a survey of clients to find out their challenges for the upcoming year. Make sure to ask open-ended questions. That's the best way to find the less obvious opportunities.
Talk to your account managers, customer service staff, and salespeople. They're the people in your organization who have the most contact with customers and the best understanding of their issues.
Tip: Have customer service representatives keep track of problems or questions customers have throughout the week.
Forums, Blogs and Social Media
Spend time reading forums, blogs, and social media sites in your industry to discover recurring problems people face. For blogs and social media, pay close attention to the comments people leave. Much is revealed in those comments.
If someone said something you want to explore in more detail, don't hesitate to contact them directly. Many will be willing to elaborate.
Consumer Review Sites
Spend time researching consumer review sites for your industry. Try to spot recurring issues. Review sites provide a wealth of invaluable customer data.
Use the information gathered about what customers are searching for and brainstorm link building ideas with your staff. Include people from different departments since you never know who'll come up with that incredible idea.
Be different: put a spin on the idea. It's easy to copy what another company has already done. It's just as easy to be ignored by the Web.
Dare to be different. As Sage Lewis pointed out in his link column last week, "If you want links to your site, you must do and be something others simply are not. You need to give something worthwhile to the Internet community."
Is your idea worthwhile? Is it different? What sets your strategy apart from the competition?
Good link building is just good marketing. It's about solving problems, being creative, doing research and thinking outside the box.