How to Approach Link Building and Content Marketing in the Years Going Forward
Start Redefining Content
The top sites on the web like Facebook, Amazon, and YouTube aren’t what we typically think of as content sites. Yet sites like these completely dominate top-notch content sites like Mashable or the New York Times.
The most successful sites on the web are built on a foundation of applications, tools, and communities. Most people can go without “content” as we currently define it. Most of us can’t go without online tools and communities.
I suspect that content marketing and SEO agencies over the next few years are going to start investing a great deal more in web design and coding. Part of this is because more people are spending time on mobile devices, where they spend most of their time in apps.
At the same time, it’s also because nothing earns press, attention, and precious user behavior metrics the way that an online application does.
Certainly, we can expect more traditional forms of content like blog posts, videos, infographics, eBooks, and whitepapers to continue to play a huge role in content marketing. In fact, these can only be expected to grow over the next several years. Just be warned, it’s going to be harder to shine through.
Interactive experiences, on the other hand, attract attention like nothing else.
New Outreach Techniques
While traditional outreach techniques like guest blogging still have their place, marketers who focus on building business relationships will have the most success.
Here are a few examples of what I’m talking about:
- Paying influential writers and bloggers to guest post on your blog. This is, for example, how Social Media Examiner built its audience.
- Working with YouTube “celebrities” to reach a different kind of audience.
- Hiring influential designers, artists, and coders who can help expand your reach.
- Interviewing experts and influencers.
- Taking interviews on podcasts.
“Link begging” has become so commonplace that even if you offer value and try to start real conversations it’s easy to get ignored. Influencers are increasingly deaf to anything without immediate and clear financial benefits for them, and marketers will need to find ways to satisfy this need while staying within Google’s terms of service.
I suspect we will be seeing SEOs and content marketers pulling more stunts like these in order to be newsworthy. In this case, it’s not about things you say, it’s about things you do:
The point of stunts like these is that they earn news coverage in mainstream publications. These are the kinds of links and the kinds of publicity you can’t earn any other way: not with guest posts or outreach.
SEO and content marketing are still changing. Big surprise, right? A look back over the years reveals that very few shortcut tactics still work. While it’s still fundamentally about earning links and exposure, marketers need to be innovative and bold in order to stay ahead of the competition.