Link Building Strategy: Employee Volunteer Program

Looking for a simple way to build links? One way is to start an office volunteer program. It just needs to be promoted to get the attention of local media, bloggers, and others.

Think of a headline on the nightly news and online newspapers like this: “Local Company gives Free Computer Classes to Disadvantaged Youth.” That could translate to high-quality links, publicity, and improved employee morale

The Program

One way to start this and get employees excited is to find a cause many of them are passionate about. This volunteer program could be a one-time event or recurring.

Regular events will generate more publicity and links. It also allows the chance to do different types of volunteer work each month — creating more opportunities for publicity.

If your company can’t afford to pay employees to do this on the clock, then turn it into a voluntary weekend event. For many companies, however, the cost will pay for itself in links, publicity, and team building. That will translate into improved rankings, better revenue, and increased productivity of employees.

Serious About Links?

Think like a politician when deciding what type of volunteer work to do. Study the people who could bring the most attention and links to your volunteer program. What are the influential journalists, columnists, and bloggers in your city interested in?

Does your mayor or congressperson pay a lot of attention to a social cause, such as literacy, poverty, the environment, or job training? Selecting a cause of great concern to these influential people will increase the success rate of getting their attention. Work it the right way and you might even get your mayor promoting your company as an example for others to follow.

Action Plan

Let’s say after some research you discover the mayor and several other elected officials are concerned about disadvantaged youth in the community.

One easy solution: have your staff provide computer education to disadvantaged youth. This could be done at local community centers, or even by letting youth come to your office. Perhaps the last Friday of the month between 4 and 5 p.m. young people come in for computer lessons. It’s not like employees are productive during that time anyway.

If you can’t afford to pay your staff to do this, then put that projector to use with a classroom-style presentation. That way it only involves one or two employees.

No projector? Talk to your local chamber of commerce about using their meeting room. That would actually add to the publicity and most likely make it into their monthly newsletter and blog. That means more links and greater exposure.

The Links

Many Web sites are hesitant to link to commercial sites. Solve this by publishing a news release page about the program on your site. This will provide people a non-commercial place to link to.

You might be thinking, “But I want the links to the products or the home page.” The way around this is to channel the link power by linking to your most important pages from the news release on your site. This could simply be done in the closing of the release that talks about your company and its history.

Promote, Promote, Promote

For any type of campaign to produce publicity and links, the right people need to be aware of it. There’s the obvious press release, blogging, Twittering, social media, etc. Yet why not turn this up a notch and make it more personal?

Staff Networking

You could hire a local public relations agency to get the attention of local politicians. Also, find out the connections your staff has. Perhaps one is a relative of the mayor. Another might play tennis with the spouse of a popular reporter.

It’s a small world. Use the money saved on the PR agency to reinvest back into your volunteer program.

Public relations campaigns like this are a great strategy for link marketing, publicity, and improved office morale. Plus, you’ll give these kids invaluable skills and much needed hope.

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