Build Links and Get More Traffic like Derek Halpern


How’d you like to learn great ways to promote your content that get you high quality links and even more traffic?

You’ve heard of Derek Halpern, right?

Derek is the guy behind the popular marketing blog Social Triggers; he is known for writing up psychological research and business case studies to help bloggers and businesses make more money online.

I’ve been reading his blog on and off for about the past 18 months and I’ve found a wealth of great tips and ideas on his site that have given me more insight into the way people think and therefore the best ways I can persuade them to link to my projects.

In this post I’ve curated a list of some of my favourite posts that I think will be of interest to you whether you’re either creating content or contacting people to promote your content; which will hopefully give you an extra little edge over others.


Create an Information Gap

If you want to write an email or a piece of content that draws people in straight away then you need to make the most of curiosity.

The first line of this blog post is just another way for me to generate an information gap to draw you in and read more!

How’d you like to learn great ways to promote your content that get you more links and more traffic?

I just followed Derek’s formula:

[New, Cool, and/or Hopefully Remarkable Thing] [Desirable Outcome][Curious Reader / Viewer]


Quite simply, curiosity, as defined by Loewenstein, is an innate human behavior that’s triggered when people feel there is a gap between what they know and what they want to know. (source).


TL:DR  when you create a gap between what people know, and what people want to know, they feel compelled to fill that gap.


How to email Influencers

You don’t need me to tell you that the key to a great content promotion campaign is getting your content in front of influential people in your niche. Preferably these people will have the ability to spread the content for you online.

  1. Avoid long emails – people are too busy
  2. Create an Information Gap

If you visit this blog post there is some free template emails you can download which Derek personally uses when he is emailing people to share his content or if he wants them to feature on his podcast.


The Drafting Technique

This is the method that Derek Halpern recommends to get press in major newspapers and big blogs.

The name of the technique comes from the cycling term “drafting”, whereby the lead cyclist breaks the wind resistance and the riders following behind can travel at the same speed as the lead rider whilst expending less effort. Some people refer to it as slipstreaming.

There are three simple steps for using “The Drafting Technique.”

Step 1: What will you promote

Step 2: Who is interested in it

Step 3: Persuade them to feature you

TL;DR make the most of trends in your industry to help journalists and bloggers create unique content that features you or your client.


Thinking or Feeling?

In the video below Derek discusses which is more persuasive, I THINK or I FEEL?

You probably don’t THINK this is a big deal but once you watch the video below I THINK you will FEEL differently about the way in which you use these two words in your emails, blog posts or conversations with the people you work with.


The Power of Persuasion

A few days ago I finally got around to publishing my post on psychology and link building. While I was researching and writing that post Derek published a great article on the power of persuasion.

In the post he highlights a theory proposed by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner in Freakonomics.

In it, they say there are just three types of incentive:

  1. Economic incentives – financial gains
  2. Social incentives – looking good in the eyes of others
  3. Moral incentives – doing the greater good

Apparently, when you want to contact someone that you don’t know, with hopes of persuading them to link to you then you should appeal to one (or all) of the three incentives.

There are some great email templates in this post if you want to learn more.

TL;DR  the secret to getting people to do something for you is providing an incentive for them to do it.


How do you think you could implement these tips in your content promotion strategy? Leave a comment. And, if you are already using your own versions of these techniques then please share them too.


PS don’t forget if you’re new here, then sign up to my RSS feed to discover more ways to build links and improve your online presence.

5 Quick UX Tips from the Guy Feedin’ Your Wife’s Kids

Do You Know How Many Bloggers There Are Trying To Get My Attention Right Now?

Do you know that right at THIS, very moment … I, am, THE most popular man, on all the entire internets combined?…Waddaya think man, pretty impressive, right? … Bet yer wonderin’ who I am, ‘aye?

I’m Your Target Friggin’ Audience Bubba!tweet this

  • I’m the guy that’s gonna buy your ebook.
  • I’m the guy that’s gonna join your precious little optin list.
  • I’m the guy that’s gonna share your stuff with my friends.
  • I’m the guy that’s gonna link out to your next blog post.
  • I’m the guy that’s gonna follow along after you on twitter.
  • I’m the guy that’s gonna circle your big ugly mug on google+.
  • I’m the guy that’s gonna retweet your oh-so-subtle self-promotion.
  • I’m the guy that’s gonna submit your egobait … on

I’m the guy you should be busting your ass, not to annoy.

I’m the reason you get to work for yourself, to work from home, to quit your shitty little job and say ef-u to your punk-ass’ ‘boss’.


I’m The Guy Feedin’ Your Wife’s Kids, Brother!tweet this

So I think we can agree then … I MATTER.

But let me ask you this:

Knowing how powerful I am, knowing how much influence I wield, knowing how coveted my attention is, knowing how many choices I have at my fingertips, knowing how easy it is for me to click the back button on my browser, and knowing how much work you’ve already done to get me to your blog in the first place

(and on the other hand, knowing how incredibly generous & useful I can be) …

Why the hell would you make it so effin’ difficult for me to like you? . … tweet this



And I have a message for you from all the people that read your blog with an IQ over 70 … tweet this

I don’t know you. I don’t like you. I don’t care about you. And I’m probably gonna hate your crappy little blog too … tweet this

Is That a Message You Like Hearing?

THAT, is the way you need to approach this thing …

  1. Assume that everyone hates you …
  2. Assume they all think your blog sucks …
  4. tweet this

It doesn’t take a whole lot to make me like you … and once I do, I’m usually pretty loyal (and generous). I’m a pack-animal at heart (and quite habitual in fact) … simple familiarity is usually all I need.

Trouble is … if my ‘user experience’ (you’ve heard of UX before, right? … typically you might want to have a user experience strategy for your blog … i.e. generally bloggers try to improve user experience for their blog readers, etc).

So again, … If the experience I have on your blog annoys the hell outta me … before I even have a chance to get to know you, before I have a chance to get ‘familiar’ with you … not only will I banish you from my ‘favorites’ folder, but I’ll also probably bitch about it to my friends.

Not so funny is it?

Okay, so here we go … 5 Quick User Experience Tips From The Guy Feedin’ Your Wife’s Kids …

1. Idiot-Proof Your Popular Posts

I’m officially begging you right now for this one. PLEASE, give me a highly visible, idiot-proof way of finding your best stuff.

You may think your latest post is your best, but I’m probably not going to (plus, I already know where to find that one).

If I can’t very, very, easily, find your popular posts heading, I’m out the door … tweet this

“If you don’t care about your popular posts, then why the hell should I?”

I’m sure as hell NOT gonna go searchin’ around for it.

If you don’t care about your popular posts, then why the hell should I?

You don’t need a lot of amazing posts in order for me to like you, care about you, start paying attention to you.

Having two or three good posts right up top (that get my attention … that allow me to get to know you) is all it usually takes … but if I can’t find them, there’s no chance I’m stickin’ around.

In fact, actually, I don’t even care if you choose them yourself. I don’t really care how it’s measured, just show me something … please.

Here’s a little side-tip for ya … everyone knows you have an optin form somewhere (10 or 12 maybe?) … [never had any trouble findin’ one of those].

But guess what bubba, I’m not an idiot. Whose purpose is that optin form really serving, yours, or mine? … Yeah, you know it, and I know it too.

So when you put your little optin form right up there in the top slot of your sidebar all flashed up and pretty, and then push the popular posts section way the hell down below the fold (or not even have one at all) it doesn’t take much thinkin’ on my part to figure out who you care about most, and it sure as hell ain’t me!

2. Use target=”_blank” for External Links … Seriously!

10 years ago people used to get spooked by this, but these days, all web browsers have tabs, and I wanna be able to get back to where I started from.

target=”_blank” does that for me. Do you know how annoying it is having to right-click and select ‘open link in a new tab’ every time I want to take a quick peek at one of the links in your post?

How I Read Blogs

When I read a blog post and see links I might want to visit, I open them in a new tab and then keep reading the original post. When I’m done with the original post, I start going through the open tabs, dumping the ones that end up being crap, reading the ones that really are good, and/or dropping some of them in a ‘read later’ folder.

Here’s the important part; It’s VERY easy to get distracted and forget how the hell I got wherever the hell it is that I end up. Luckily though, (most of the time) I’m smart enough to open all those ancillary posts in new tabs, so the post I started with (YOURS) is sitting there waiting for me to (share, comment on … join your list, BUY SOMETHING, click an affiliate link, put in a ‘link to’ folder, et cetera).

Now the thing is, most people probably don’t put that much thought into it. I’m paying more attention than most people probably do because I’m there specifically looking for blog posts to share & promote. Most people reading your blog probably aren’t doing that (and I even get lost myself a lot, when I forget to open the link in a new tab). So when they start clicking links that don’t open in new tabs, it’s super easy for them to get lost and forget all about YOUR POST.

This happens to ME a lot (and I’m actively trying to avoid it): I click on a link (forgetting to open it in a new tab) read the linked post, get caught up in it, forget that I didn’t open it in a new tab, and then close the tab (forgetting all about YOUR post … the one that had led me to the one I just closed out) … You just lost me, and it all could have been avoided w/ target=”_blank”

Bottom Line: It’s YOUR job to make sure I don’t get distracted and forget where I came from (your blog post). You worked so hard to get me there; don’t lose me because you didn’t take the time to setup target=”_blank” for external links.

Simple Fix: Go install this plugin WP External Links. There may be better ones out there; I really have no idea. This is the first one I tried, and it worked, so I kept using it … Quick. Easy. Done.

Note: This plugin can also mark the end of external links w/ a little icon, if you want it to (so that people know that it’s going to open a new tab when they click it).

3. Let Me Login to Comment w/ My Twitter Account

I really don’t care one way or the other if you have commenting enabled on your blog or not. I really don’t care all that much whether the links are nofollowed or not. What I do care about though is NOT having to create a friggin’ login account for 85 different blogs each month.

If you’re gonna have comments on your blog posts, allow your readers to login with twitter. Period. Nothing else will do.

If you don’t have your comments set up to allow me to login with my twitter account, then not only am I not going to comment, but I’m also gonna be pissed off and annoyed. Not because what I have to say is so important, but because it shows me once again, that YOU don’t care about ME.

Go enable WordPress’s Jetpack plugin, it has login with Twitter & Facebook already built-in.

If you don’t like Jetpack for some reason, that’s fine, or if you have some other commenting plugin, I really don’t care HOW you do it, just figure out some way to get it done.

Go figure out whatever it is you have to do in order to get this squared away, right now, today. It goes a long way toward showing your readers that you’re making these tiny little gestures to make THEIR lives easier. To make THEIR EXPERIENCE on your blog better …

And you’ll probably get a lot more comments that way too.

That’s still a good thing, right?

4. I Attach to Actual People Way More So Than I Do to Cold Faceless Entities

If you can’t be bothered to be human with me, then please tell me why the hell I should care about you? … Tip: I won’ttweet this

I’m human. I’m habitual. I like to get familiar with people. I like to care.

That’s what humans do. We’re pack animals and we tend to prefer attaching to other people, much more so than to cold faceless entities like rocks, trees … and websites.

Show me who you are …

Give Me a Reason to Care About You

Give me a reason to care about you … make me ‘feel’ something … and then give me something to ‘attach’ those feelings to … tweet this

Kids these days are calling that ‘Branding’ I think … some people seem to think it’s pretty important … your readers possibly (even if ‘they’ don’t actually know it, themselves).

The easiest thing for me to attach to is a face. So please … show me one.

In fact, I really don’t even care all that much if it’s your real face or not, so long as it’s consistent (I can even attach to cartoons).

James Agate uses a cartoon face and that works just fine for me. When I see that cartoon face coming, I know James Agate is in the room, and all the feelings I’ve attached to it come flooding right back in (it’s very efficient).

Familiarity … likeablilty … trust … branding.

I’ve put him into a category of a generous person that I like & trust …


Be Generous & Likeable … Then Give Them Something to Attach Those Feelings to … (your big ugly mug perhaps).

Here are some other people I’ve put into that same category … Not BECAUSE OF, their photos; because they were generous & likeable to me … BUT THEN ALSO … gave me something to attach those feelings about them onto

Gaz Copeland, Tad Chef, Jason Acidre, Patrick Hathaway, Anthony Pensabene, Neal Dougan, Nick Eubanks, Derek Halpern, Mars Dorian, Peep Laja, Wayne Barker, Michael Lykke Aagaard, James Altucher, Ramsey TaplinSteve Webb, Sonia Simone, Chris Gilchrist

Go visit these people, bookmark their sites, get to know them, they’re generous as hell and they go out of their way to care about their readers.

Tell me who you are w/ your writing … Open Up, Let Me Care About You … Then give me something to attach that to …

5. Stop Hiding the Fact That You Want Me to Buy Something

Be Proud of it … Or don’t do it! … Period.tweet this

If you’re embarrassed about selling stuff … then you shouldn’t be selling stuff! … WTF!?tweet this

If you’re embarrassed to be selling it, then I should probably be twice as embarrassed if I’m dumb enough to buy it from you!

I’m an affiliate for a few different products & services (and I also sell a few weird services of my own) … but I choose the things I promote very wisely. I’m exceedingly proud of them … and I sure as hell don’t hide that fact.

I’m proud as hell.

Before the penguin attack I was making almost as much money as my mom was (and I’m on my way back). I contribute; I help take care of my family. That’s something to be proud of … why would anyone (YOU?) be embarrassed by that … DON’T BE … trust me … if you are … we can smell it on you.

I’m proud of what I do. I’m proud that I took the initiative to try something new (most kids my age aren’t doing this stuff). If you’re squeamish about selling, guess what man, I’m not an idiot, I’m runnin’ for the hills.

I’m proud that I make money online … if I wasn’t … I wouldn’t … and neither should you … cash it in … you’re in the wrong sport bubba, go get a day job, and leave this blog marketing stuff to the people that actually take pride in what they’re selling.

My website feeds me. That’s not something I (nor my family) take lightly … If it’s the same for you, then be proud of it, and tell us what you’re selling.

You don’t have to do it in a big flashy, in my face sorta way (and please don’t) but if I have to search around trying to figure out how I can contribute, then I’m probably not going to.

6. Prove That You’re a Team Player!

If you want me to share & promote YOUR stuff, show me evidence that you’re a team player. Show me how generous and likeable you are. Show me evidence that there are at least a few other people that think you’re likeable and generous.

if you have ZERO online relationships, it suggests to me that you’re likely a selfish tool …or worse, a scammer/scumbag.

Link out liberally to relevant posts on other blogs (even if they’re your buddies, that’s fine). I don’t care if you have 10,000 followers & 80,000 ‘friends’ but I would like to see that you’ve at least established semi-friendly relationship with a few other bloggers in your niche, and show me evidence of you promoting them.

Basically, just show me something that suggests you can ‘play well w/ others’, at least a few others. I don’t care if 99% of people hate your ass (in fact, I’d probably think that was a good thing in some cases) but if you have ZERO online relationships, it suggests to me that you’re likely a selfish tool, or worse, a scammer scumbag.

Be generous, promote your buddies … promote your ‘tribe’ … promote strangers that have good stuff … promote newbies just getting started … show me evidence that you’re a team player (simple enough).

Summary To-Do List:

  1. Idiot-Proof Your Popular Posts
  2. Target = _Blank for External Links
  3. Login w/ Twitter for Comments
  4. Give Me a Reason to Care About You
  5. Be Proud of What You’re Selling
  6. Prove That You’re a Team Player
  7. Hire Me, Join My List, Donate, Buy Something?

7. Hire a Freakishly Affordable User Experience Consultant

… I just happen to know a great one! … and he’s not too busy to care yet!

Get a Fresh Perspective! …

PS … Your kid needs to go on a diet! 🙂

Identify your Link Prospects Preferred Representational System

Following some feedback from my last post on NLP and link building, I’m going to follow up with some quick and easy ways that you can identify a link prospects preferred representational system to improve your chances of success with your outreach communications.

Every one of us has a mixture of all four representational but we have one that we prefer and operate in most of the time. When we take the time to learn to recognise other people’s preferred representational styles we can relate better to them by adapting our style to theirs. In other words, if you love facts and figures you need to realise that not everyone you have dealings with will appreciate your passion for in depth detail and therefore only want a “big picture” view.

The key influencers we want to target with our outreach efforts are likely to be keen social media users, bloggers or published authors. This makes it very easy for us to pick up on the words and language they use without having to meet them in real life and make these decisions on the spot.

We stalk can follow them on social media sites e.g. Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, subscribe to their blog’s RSS Feed or you could use Google and a few advanced search operators to find any comments they may have left on blogs, forums or Q&A sites.

As someone who likes to visualise things I will add a person’s Twitter profile, Google+ or RSS feed into this free HTML5 Word Cloud or Tagxedo to see which words they are commonly using and then analyse them to gauge their preferences.

Visual Style

People with a visual preference are often direct, business and career focused, driven, leaders and action takers. They dislike small talk, too much detail and time wasters.

Phrases they are more likely to use:

  • I see what you mean
  • I can see the big picture
  • It appears to me
  • Picture this
  • Mental Picture
  • 30,000ft view

If you are following them on Twitter or Google+ they are more likely to be sharing articles and talking about business, productivity or boasting about their latest achievements.

Kinaesthetic Style

People with a kinaesthetic preferential system are laid back, casual and are very people focused. They are risk averse, avoid confrontation and really don’t appreciate being pushed in to make quick decisions. It’s quite common to find these people in roles that involve a lot of physical activity.

Key phrases that they use:

  • That feels right to me.
  • Come to grips with
  • Let’s touch base.
  • Let’s connect.
  • Take care.
  • Get a handle on it.
  • I feel strongly about this.
  • Let’s do this together.

Auditory Style

This group are very talkative, animated, day dreamers, like the big picture, prefer to deal with people and want to have fun. They are easily distracted and can get bored quickly.

Key words they use:

  • Hear
  • Ask
  • Talk
  • Tell
  • Fun
  • Sound

Auditory Digital

People with an auditory digital preference will often be in careers that involve data, analysis and considered planning. They love details, facts, order and being prepared, they therefore do not appreciate people who are late, don’t deliver on time or are unprepared.

Key words that they use:

  • Process
  • Think
  • Know
  • Details
  • Research

Below is a word cloud from some interviews people have conducted with Wil Reynolds over the past couple of years.

So, how would you approach creating an outreach campaign to persuade Wil to link to you?


23 Super Useful Social Media Resources for SEO’s

It’s no secret that social media is playing a bigger role in the way in which today’s online marketers increase the visibility of their clients online, from prospecting potential links, generating content, circulating media and even utilising profiles to rank for their keywords.

Currently site authority is mainly measured by the quality and quantity of links. It is a commonly growing belief in the internet marketing community that the major search engines are moving towards analysing where a website should rank based on the author’s authority and also who’s sharing that content on social media.


Despite what some people believe Google+ isn’t a complete ghost town and a lot of very smart SEO’s are making the most of this social network from Google. As Google+ is still relatively small compared to Twitter and Facebook there are a lot more opportunities for you to connect with key influencers and find people who will be willing to share your content.

10 Tips to take Advantage of Google+ for SEO – Cyrus Shepard published this really handy guide on Google+ over at SEOmoz. It covers some really handy tips to help you obtain dofollow links from your Google+ profile and a few tips you can use for outreach with thought leaders in your space.

Expert Tips for Google+, Twitter and Quora – Kelvin Newman offers some more tips and tricks for making the most of your social media profiles.

The Ultimate Guide to Google+ SEO – I couldn’t sleep at night if I missed off this monster guide from AJ Kohn who has quickly become an authority on Google+. AJ has also written a lot other great guides and delivered some presentations with very handy tips on G+, so be sure to add him to your circles.

The Google+ Cheatsheet – you like cheat sheets don’t you, well I know I do because I am too lazy busy to have to remember everything I need to about a particular topic or web tool. Be sure to keep this guide to hand while you get to grips with Google+.

How to Prepare for AuthorRank – Mike Arnesen’s blog post over on SEOmoz has already earned over 130 thumbs up and I’ve no doubt in my mind it’s going to earn a lot more. Mike covers off a lot of topics you need to be aware of in this post including ways in which you can begin to build your AuthorRank.


Twitter is a Social Media powerhouse and according to Shareaholic provides approximately 1% of all traffic to websites.

15 Sites That You can use your Twitter Profile to get Links – Kristi Hines shares a multitude of sites that either automatically link back to you using information in your Twitter profile or will allow you to sign in with Twitter and add links because of it.

8 Secrets To Use Twitter For SEO – Bufferapp run through their top 8 tips and provide examples of how they worked based on this video from Rand Fishkin.


Link Building with Twitter – over on the Point Blank SEO blog I share 2 great (and free) tools and how you can use them to get links to your website.

10 Twitter SEO Tips –  Mashable run down their top 10 easy tips to maximising your Twitter profile for search equity.

Twitter Competitions to Grow your followers  – Gaz Copeland gives you a a full run down on how to use a Twitter competiton to increase the followers on your account.

How Twitters Bad SEO affects your ORM – Italian SEO Giuseppe Pastore shares his insights into the dangers of linking to your Twitter profile incorrectly and the impact this can have on your online reputation management efforts, Giuseppe has recently updated his  Twitter SEO analysis.


The behemoth of Social Networks with 1billion users this site is by far the most well known and used by small businesses to market their products and services to this huge audience.

7 Ways to get Shared on Facebook – Read through Traffic Generation Café’s advice for getting your content shared on Facebook.

SEO for Facebook Pages – this guide runs through how to edit and keyword optimise your Facebookfan page. It’s a very basic guide but puts to rest a lot of myths that many other Facebook SEO guides spout.

How to get your Business on Facebook – When you’re ready to create a fully customised Facebook Page there are some key components that you should consider.

Increase Fan Engagement on Facebook – Even if you’re active on your Facebook page posting regular status updates, interacting with fans and answering questions, you’re probably still missing out.

The Oatmeal Guide to Facebook – if there is just 2 Facebook articles you are going to read this year then make sure it’s this one and this one on how to get more likes.


Apparently Pinterest is in the top 4 traffic sources beating out the well known Social Media giant Twitter and search engines Yahoo and Bing by quite a distance. But let’s not get too hasty this is still less than 2% of web traffic.

But the sudden growth in Pinterest over the past 12 months can’t be ignored. The audience on Pinterest is different from the major social networks because most people use it to find inspiration.

How to Use Pinterest for Link Building – shameless self promotion time but it’s my blog and I’ll link to who I want to. In this post I have collated a selection of very useful tools you can use to find out who is pinning yours and your competitors content,  how you can earn links and gain more traffic to your website.

Five Step Guide to Pinterest for SEO – Jonny Ross runs through a few quick pointers for you to make the most of Pinterest to drive traffic back to your websites.

Best of the Rest

The below sites and communities are not on the levels of the big boys mentioned above but they still have very active communities which can drive traffic to your site or help you rank for difficult keywords.

How to Get More Instagram Followers – a great guide to getting more engagement on your Instagram account.

How to Use Quora if you are an SEO – Wordstream run through their top tips to make the most of Quora if you work in the search industry.

The Power of Slideshare – Tom Critchlow writes for Distilled about the great benefits of using SlideShare as part of your inbound marketing toolkit. Active communities like SlideShare as great places to get extra exposure and expand your reach.

SlideShare SEO  follow AJ Kohn’s tips for creating presentations that will rank highly in the SERP’s and deliver traffic to your site.

The Reddit Guide to Massive Traffic – Neil Patel shares his top tips for delivering huge amounts of traffic from Reddit. Be careful planning a marketing campaign on Reddit as they are very web savvy and can spot commercial intent a mile off.

I hope this post has given you some inspiration to begin to use your social media accounts in different ways to improve your visibility in the SERP’s if you have any more tips or resources to utilising social networks for SEO please drop share in the comments below.

Why you F*%$ing Suck at Link Building

I wanted to write this blog post as a response to some posts from people on internet marketing blogs and forums who feel that the Penguin Update has ruined their easy link building efforts. Well guess what it has. The barrier to entry for link builders was lowered with the simplicity of cheap blog networks and automated tools such as Xrumer and Scrapebox which can build thousands of links per day with very little user interaction. IM Forums are littered with SEO’s crying that it’s just too hard to obtain editorial/contextual links from webmasters or bloggers and guess what I’m happy. A skill set I’ve worked at over the past few years to develop has just become even more in demand.

Well I’m going to tell you why YOU suck as a link builder.

It’s all about YOU YOU YOU – I’ve seen your outreach emails, I get them every day in my spam folder and the ones that slip through are pure narcissistic egotistical waffle. Nowhere in your outreach efforts do you offer any form of benefit to the webmaster to link to your site. It doesn’t have to be an exceptionally long piece of prose but a few bullet points to explain why a link to your site would be of interest to their community would probably increase your response rates 10 fold.

Pay it Forward – Your responsibility as a link builder grown adult is to establish some sort of relationship and invest in it before expecting someone you’ve never met to do you a favour? Come on, grow up and welcome to the real world. Subscribe to your prospects blog or Twitter Feed. Comment on their blog posts, share their stuff on your social media accounts and answer their questions on Quora. If you have anything about you the first email you send to them won’t be a begging letter for a link but actually offering them some feedback, advice or technical assistance. Just remember when you are link building you are dealing with a REAL person with REAL emotions and not a website.

Put the hours in – there was a reason you were paying a few dollars per link to BMR. You haven’t worked a single day in your life. The best link builders hard working, they get into the office early just to Skype with a blogger in a different time zone. Their mobile devices are buzzing day and night with emails to let them know their prospects are checking in nearby on Foursquare or have Tweeted a question. If you want to succeed at link building you need to work hard…

You have to pay to play – you don’t always have to pay or offer payment in kind for your site or product to be featured. Beyond the fact Google don’t like paid links, the FTC requires bloggers and celebrities to disclose of payments received for endorsing a product online. It’s very important as a link builder to understand the difference between editorial content & advertorials. My belief is that outreach is more about PR than paid media.

All Hail the Mommy Blogger – so many link builders and outreach professionals praise at the foot of the “mommy blogger” temple, but the thing is the “mommy blogger” is actually a mythical creature much like a Unicorn. Lots of people see “mommy bloggers” as a “link cash cow” as their lifestyle blogs often cover a wide variety of topics and categories from iPad apps to food to home furnishings and clothes. It’s quite common for “mommy bloggers” to want some form of payment for their work and I have found more success with bloggers who have a long tail lower ranked niche blog and have never been kissed by an agency.


What do you say to a failed Link Builder?


Y U NO Tenacity? – Wait a minute you just sent someone who probably receives hundreds of emails every day, one email? Do yourself a favour and if you haven’t received a reply in a few days send another. What you didn’t get a response the second time? Pick up the phone, dial in their telephone number and speak to them. A good link builder won’t fall at the first hurdle and if after all this effort they still don’t link to your infographic on kittehs, make sure you keep their information for future link opportunities.

You’re just playing a numbers game – you scrape a bunch of contact info from Google and then just blindly fire out emails. Guess what, you’ve probably got more chance of winning the lottery than getting a link from an authority website in your niche with that method. Research and find the right people by asking yourself a few questions:

  • How many social followers do they have?
  • Who are they connected to by checking with tools such as Mentionmapp or Klout?
  • Will they link to me? Have they linked to anything similar before?

If you follow the advice I give above you’ll start #winning at link building. We all reach points in our projects where we would rather blame a bunch of external factors than actually look at the things we can have an effect on.

Just like any marketing effort link building doesn’t just magically happen, we need to plan, measure, execute and refine our processes.