Link building: What we’ve learned in 2018

By Kim Wan | 30 Oct 2018

A few years ago, link building was a much easier task. Link builders would ask websites to link to their site and their wish was often granted, simple as that. However, according to Search Engine Land, the task has become increasingly more difficult, not least because we’re now  in the age of fake news, content skeptics and corporate policies governing.

So, in a time where mistrust online is rife, how do we go about building those all-important authoritative links? Here are my top tips.

Great content means great coverage

To gain links, it’s essential that your content is engaging – otherwise it’ll simply drown in the white noise of mediocre digital marketing campaigns. Make sure you do your research and ensure that your content is newsworthy and aesthetically pleasing. If it doesn’t have the “wow factor” there’s a good chance that your pitch will get lost in the barrage of emails journalists receive every day.

Know who to target

When creating a campaign, refine your outreach list of target publications into sections, such as lifestyle, technology, and travel, for example. This is a really valuable part of my own pitching process as it helps me tailor my emails to suit each potential angle of the campaign. For instance, you wouldn’t pitch a travel angle to a technology site. For obvious reasons, it wouldn’t gauge their interest and most likely would be binned by the receiver due to being irrelevant or ‘spammy’.

Be personal with your pitch

Journalists receive hundreds of emails every day, so what is it that makes yours special? You may have great content, and you may have found the niche kind of publications who would feature your content, but the final hurdle is knowing what to put in the pitch itself. In essence, how are you going to get their attention?

With so many email automation tools out there, it can be tempting to take the easy route and do a blast of 300 like-for-like emails to save time. But I’m a firm believer of the old adage: ‘slow and steady wins the race’. For each publication you’re going to outreach to, research any relevant content they’ve covered that’s similar to your campaign and use this knowledge to appeal directly to the journalist.

This shows that you’ve put more thought into the pitch and that it isn’t just a typical ‘cold’ email. Putting in that extra effort makes the whole process more personalised, and you’ll also be providing the journalist with an idea for a piece they could write (less work for them usually results in them being keener to get involved). While this approach does take time, it’s honestly worth it. With just a little bit of extra homework, you’ll be much more likely to secure those gold-dust, quality links.