Link building is the process of getting other websites to link to yours. It’s not an art, it’s not a science, it’s a game of negotiation and persuasion. Now, negotiation and building isn’t used in the same way you would bargain for a car. And persuasion for links is different from convincing your parents to get you a dog. There’s no one size fits all template, which means you need to learn how to execute based on various scenarios. So today I’m going to show you how I’ve used these two techniques to get more back links from places like Entrepeneur Inc, PopSugar and tons of other sites. Stay tuned. What’s up, Nassios, Salmo here with the CEO tool that helps you grow your search, traffic, research your competitors and dominate ironic. Now negotiation or persuasion isn’t about tricking people. I look at these two things as tools to communicate more effectively. So you don’t come off too strong in your first email. And if you’ve received any of these kinds of emails asking for links straight away, I’m sure you’ve ignored the majority, if not all of them. Yes, I know you can still get links just by asking, but this tutorial is about increasing your link conversion rates, as well as going after bigger links that simply won’t get done with a template. With that said, let’s get to it.
Negotiation and persuasion are two completely different things. According to Professor Bontempo from Columbia Business School, negotiation is a mutual exchange of resources for a mutual benefit, meaning you’re coming to some form of an agreement. Negotiation is generally explicit. It’s fast and it’ll usually come with concessions from both sides. As a result, it can also be quite costly. Persuasion, on the other hand, is more about changing someone’s mind. It’s subtle. It follows a gradual process consisting of small movements. And the idea is to make your end goal their idea. It generally takes a lot more time, but it’s free now. When you’re building links, some links will come fast, others within a medium time frame, and others can take months. So let’s talk about each of these categories and see how these two techniques fit in. First are fast links, which usually come within zero to 14 days. This is all about negotiation and these would likely include common tactics you probably know and use like the skyscraper technique, brokenly building and guess posting. For example, a typical outreach email for a broken link building campaign might say something like, Hi, Sharon, my name is Sam, a fellow coffee enthusiast. I’m contacting you because I clicked on one of your Resource to so-and-so blog, but it looks like they deleted that post. Thought you might like a friendly heads up to remove this part. Here’s a screenshot of where I found it. If you’re open to suggestions for a placement, I wrote a guide on whatever the topic is with my unique selling proposition. And then I’ll add my Eurail. No pressure at all. Just thought you might want to add a supporting resource rather than removing the sentence or paragraph, Chairs said. Now, this email might be enough to get a few links, but it’s very much a take it or leave it approach. And let’s face it, most people will leave it. So even if we tweak the email with one simple line like P.S., if you ever need a hand with anything, i.e. shares feedback or whatever, I’m always happy to help, then you’re signaling that you’re ready and willing to negotiate. So let’s say they respond back with something like, sure, I’d be happy to add Jahrling, but would you mind adding my link to your website? This is where the negotiation process begins now, since I don’t personally participate in reciprocal link building, this is where you can do a bit of research to get an understanding of what motivates them. And if you can satisfy their motive, then your chances of getting the link increases.
Here’s an example response I got when doing outreach for my personal blog. He first says that the post I pitched is great and that he shared it on social. Then he tells me he was linked to my post. If I was willing to link to his article, I openly share that I’m not going to do reciprocal links. But I mentioned that I have a column on entrepreneur and I’m planning on doing a bit of guest posting as well. And naturally I link to pages that are linking to my content where it makes sense. I told them if he decides to link to me to keep me in the loop so I can add his page to my list, he likes the potential, so he links to me and take note of the language he uses. That sounds like a great deal to me. Now it’s important to note that his content was actually good, so I would have linked to it had I known about it before. So I don’t recommend making these kinds of promises. If you know, you’ll never look at their article again or if you never intend on helping them out. From my experience, I’ll convert anywhere between seven to fifteen percent on any of these kinds of emails. We have full tutorials on various link building tactics, so I’ll link them up in the description. Next is the medium speed category and this is pretty situational so it can fall into either negotiation or persuasion. Let’s run through an example of how and why I switch gears from negotiation to persuasion. And this is how I got my column on entrepreneur Dotcom. Basically, a few years ago, I blindly reached out to someone with a skyscraper style pitch using a combination of Twitter and email. The response I got was that she can’t add links to our blog post because she was hired as a freelance writer for the site, but she wanted to jump on a call. Now, a lot of people would have just ignored this request and thought of it as a failed link attempt. But this person was a freelance writer, which means there was an opportunity to get multiple links for the unforeseeable future. I just needed to get an understanding of what motivates her and then see if I could help. So I did a bit of research and learn the. She was a journalist who had written for places like The New York Times, NBC News and more, so we got on the call and throughout our time together, I learned she was looking for a more stable gig since journalism is tough to climb the ladder. I also share my desire to write for some larger publications, so I asked for her advice. As the conversation went on, I offered to reach out to some of my contacts to see if they were hiring and naturally she wanted to extend her help. So she offered to reach out to her contacts at publications like the Huffington Post and Entrepreneur. By the end, I had contact details for the right editor and some helpful tips. Best of all, I had the opportunity to namedropping my pitch, which I believed helped me get my column. The entire process took around two months, but the accomplishment back then felt pretty good. Now take note that once you’re able to publish on these larger publications, getting other guests, posting opportunities at other big names, it’s much easier now onto the longer plays, which tend to be slow but super rewarding. These will usually be your best links and persuasion will be your best friend and your worst enemy. Reason being, persuasion is really hard and it’s not something you can usually do easily on first, second or even third contact. In fact, publishing an article on INC took me around five months of on an off conversation with another contributor, and I wish I could give you a step by step tutorial on this, but persuasion is so situational that it’ll largely depend on the context of the conversation. So here’s what my approach look like. The first thing I had to do was find an author on ink that writes about similar topics as me. I don’t remember exactly how I found this person, but you can basically just go to Google and search for something like Site Colan Inc.com author and then look for topics separated by the other search operator.
Now the author footprint will vary depending on the site you want to get a link from, but you can usually find that by going to an article on the publication you want to write for clicking on an author’s name and then taking note of their You URL structure. Now visit some of the author pages and see if they would cover similar topics you write about and that they’ve published an article recently. After you find the person you want to contact, you need to get an understanding of what would motivate them to help you accomplish your goal. For my particular contact, he was building his personal brand. So things like exposure, particularly like mentions of his name, seem like something that would be worth giving. But rather than just giving randomly, there was a series of steps I took. First, I tweeted out some stuff that he had published. This was simply to be somewhat of a recognizable name and face. When I would eventually email him, he made it pretty easy for me because he followed me on Twitter. So now I just needed to find a good reason to contact him. Thankfully, that was pretty easy, too. I went to a site and it wasn’t working, so I sent him an email basically explaining the issue on his site. He responded, thanking me, and that was the end of the conversation. So at this point, it might feel like you’re at square one, but you’re not. They know your name. You’ve helped them in a small way. And most importantly, you have your foot in the door. This is where you can offer up something that will help set the tone for them to reciprocate. And this is all based around what you believe will motivate them now rather than asking for something. I want them to come up with the idea alone that we should help each other get more exposure. So I sent him an email asking if he wanted a link. I said to just send me a few post ideas and if it made sense, I’d added to a guest post on a decent site I was already approved for. After a few back and forth emails, he sent me a couple of potential articles to include in my post and said, By the way, if you have any good ideas for an INC article and want to work on one together, let me know. I had it published and was extended the offer to publish any time with him. Now, not everything goes as smoothly as this one, when in fact I’ve tried to collaborate on a piece with someone from Mashable and The New York Times where neither converted and I made the same mistake both times. I got impatient and went in for a hard ask way too soon. With Mashable, the person was motivated by growing their personal Facebook fan page. We jumped on a Skype call and I stupidly asked to collaborate out of context with the New York Times writer. I found the perfect reason to contact her, and this was around the time of the election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. And she had written an article on The New York Times talking about retargeting ads. But she had missed out on a lot of things. Only people doing retargeting ads would know. So I gave her some good insider information and she responded with gratitude for the new outlook. In fact, she wanted to know more. So I nailed that email and boom, nothing. I went in for the ask way too soon instead of her coming up with the idea to collaborate or reference me as a source. But hey, I learned from my mistakes and went on to get a tiny niche blog. Some authority links from places like Forbes, Livestrong and Wiki, how to name a few. Now you can definitely get links going shop style in. Sending anyone and everyone templated emails, but conversion rates are going to be lower since almost everyone’s inboxes get flooded with the same outreach emails. Now, the advantage you can gain from understanding someone’s motives in leading a conversation that fulfills that desire can ultimately lead to big links and higher conversion rates.
Now, I’m curious about your approach to link building. Do you find that sending tons of emails, shotgun style is most effective, or do you prefer the sniper approach where you’re building relationships along the way?