5 Different Types of Contribution to Get You Links

Original content contribution should form part of any strong backlink acquisition strategy. The key is to finesse your approach and only go after the opportunities that offer genuine value to your company or clients.

It’s true that a contributor-style strategy requires a bit more patience. It won’t enable to you gain large quantities of links in one fell swoop. It’s also true that it shouldn’t be the only angle to your outreach – far from it.

When combined as part of the bigger picture though, it will allow you to selectively target the sorts of sites that you want to get links from. Select potential sites carefully, gradually build up your link profile and start to reap the rewards.

In this post, I want to show you that some of the most tried-and-tested contributor strategies can work just as effectively now as they ever have.

Conduct High-End Guest Posting

Not every person wanting to build links also wants to provide guest posts. The act of securing such placements can be time-consuming; whilst it can also leave you empty-handed if you don’t go about it in the right way.

But it can still be such a worthwhile activity, particularly if you’re going after larger domains. Some of the many positives linked to successful guest posts include:

  • Awesome backlinks
  • Exposure on major industry websites that receive large amounts of relevant traffic (that could then be sent your way)
  • Building your reputation amongst the industry you operate within
  • Giving you leverage for becoming a valuable source to journalists (by saying ‘hey, use us as your expert source, look where we’ve been featured!’)

On top of this, guest posts on industry sites relevant to your company/clients can help provide a big tick in the relevancy box of link building. We all know how important relevance can be in your link-building efforts and coverage/links from prominent sites in your industry are a great way to attract Google’s attention.

There are of course other ways to bring success too. Obtaining a large amount of press links, for example, can be really effective – but that won’t always give you follow links or that relevant angle Google loves – and those are both things you shouldn’t neglect. I continue to see the effect a bunch of relevant, high-authority links can have as part of our content and outreach strategy at Evoluted and it’s something I’d really recommend.

In the past 12 months, I’ve written for marketing-related sites including Campaign Monitor, SourceBottle, Capsule – and of course State of Digital. This has brought some amazing exposure for Evoluted and several awesome links in the process. It’s also correlated with a strong spike in traffic to some of our most important website pages. Win-win.

Give Them An Interview

Securing an interview for your company or client can bring great coverage without you or your client having to give up too much time. Whether you’re responding to an existing callout or looking to procure an interview yourself, you can enjoy the rewards for what might only require an hour or two of investment.

Any journalist that shows interest is likely give you a set of questions ahead of time that they want to ask and once the interview has finished, they’ll produce the piece as they best see fit. This can ultimately lead to some brilliant SEO returns for minimal input.

If you do go down the interview route, here are a couple of tips:

  1. When you’re initially negotiating the interview, I’d always recommend a frank discussion around whether you’re going to get a followed link in exchange for your help. This way, if they say no, you can decide whether it’s worth your time.
  2. Just bear in mind that even if you don’t get offered a followed link, there is other value that can be had from an interview with a large and/or relevant publication. It gets your brand noticed, whilst there’s a good chance the coverage will also drive valuable visitors to your site. I’ve secured interviews for clients that haven’t brought links initially, but the journalist has come back with a different publication and provided an opportunity to secure a link there instead.

Some of the different ways you could secure an interview include:

  • Responding to journalist callouts on Twitter
  • Using a tool such as HARO or ResponseSource to find journalist callouts
  • Building a database of relevant sites to contact
  • Contacting a journalist to provide a counterpoint to someone’s opinion in one of their pieces

A great example of the ‘small input for great reward’ part of interview link building was this coverage I secured for a client operating within the student accommodation market. I responded to a journalist request, sent over some questions to the client and returned the information in a couple of hours.

We had to wait a little time for the piece to go live but it did bring a link full of relevancy and quality from a respected industry publication.

Provide Feedback

A bit more of a niche angle to explore is providing feedback to companies seeking input on their software or product. The best way to explain this is to provide a couple of examples:

Ruler Analytics

Ruler Analytics were seeking feedback from companies regarding the shifting role of the CRM in the world of marketing. This was for a piece of content they were putting together, where they were looking for comment from those working in the industry.

We received a fairly generic email from them on this asking for feedback; which would have been easy to write off as spam. I mean, how many emails do you get each day asking for something which you just ignore?

Having read their email, I decided to spend an hour providing the feedback, as a bit of digging showed we would receive a followed link in exchange (providing we were selected). Sure enough, a few weeks later their piece was live and we secured a link/exposure on a prominent marketing tool’s website.

DashThis

Another example of success we’ve seen in a similar way came via reporting software provider DashThis. We received what really looked like a sales-style email from them. It was a busy day and it would have been so easy to write it off as another spam email; to add to the hundreds of others we get each day.

I spent time reading the email and from the initial information they gave, it seemed like the best we could hope for was our name and company being included in the final piece they were producing. I decided to invest half an hour providing the feedback they asked for nonetheless; and it paid dividends:

When I sent my response over, I asked whether it would be possible to get a followed link in exchange for the feedback and they were more than happy to oblige. This led to coverage and a link for us as part of the piece they put together, around tips for marketing reports.

I also asked whether they’d be interested in us producing a blog for them, which they were also really positive about. The conversation ultimately led to our own dedicated piece around how to help clients get the most from their monthly reports.

All in all, a couple of followed links, some decent exposure and a dedicated blog from DashThis. Not bad for giving up five minutes of my time to read an email, especially when you think about how hard links can be to secure.

Give Them A Resource

In-house marketing teams cannot possibly cover every angle with the content they create. They might not even have anyone available to produce such content. This can leave a gap for you and your clients to take advantage of. Give external providers something of use and they may be willing to use it on their site and credit you for your troubles.

In my most recent column, I referenced a guide to Sheffield’s parks that I produced for a client of mine operating within the student accommodation sector. This saw me work with our Creative Director to put together an engaging guide designed to promote Sheffield’s parks and encourage people to get active in the city.

At the core of this guide were a selection of prominent local contributors, who I approached in the early stages of the process. I wanted them to add weight and expertise to the guide, to help make it more relatable to locals and visitors. Part of the discussions I held with the contacts I made at these organisations included them using the final resource on their own websites upon completion; giving their audiences some great content in the process.

This worked well, with Sheffield Wednesday Football Club and Sheffield Mind being great examples of prominent contributors to the guide that eventually used the content and provided a backlink.

This brought my student accommodation client visibility on several prominent local sites; as well as giving us a several local links for our troubles.

Give Them A Testimonial

They may not be an original tactic, but testimonial links can still deliver success nonetheless.

Taking marketing as an example, there are so many tools you’re likely to be subscribing to and using every single day.

A lot of the PR teams working for those companies will likely be very glad of any positive feedback you can offer. What’s more, if you’re giving them something that can potentially bring them more business, you’re in a better position to ask for something in return.

That’s exactly what we did with both WhosOff and CapsuleCRM, two tools we use here at Evoluted. I got in touch with individuals at both organisations, pitched an idea and we were rewarded with placements/backlinks from each; albeit in slightly different ways.

We genuinely love both tools and would be happy recommending them to others, so there’s no reason for us not to have endorsed them in exchange for two valuable backlinks.

Summing Up

Hopefully these examples provide you with inspiration to add another string to your bow when it comes to formulating your link acquisition strategy.

Contributor content is just one of the many options available to you when it comes to link building, but it can also be one of the most consistently effective ways to grow your digital profile and authority.

Sean Potter

About Sean Potter

Sean is Head of Content at Evoluted, a digital marketing and development agency in Sheffield. He’s worked in digital marketing since 2014, having initially spent time with BBC Radio Newcastle.