The importance of social media as a business tool has exploded in countless ways in recent years.
One of the strongest reasons for this has come through its deep-rooted connection to another aspect of business that has undergone a similar surge recently: content marketing.
Content marketing is one of the most important trends in internet marketing right now and its importance is only going to grow, especially in connection to social media.
However, while it’s great to get lots of social shares and buzz, in order to fully realize the power that your content can have, it also needs traction outside of social media.
For this to happen you should embrace a concept that many marketers have been hesitant about. Link building.
Related Article: The Current State of Link Building in SEO & What To Expect in 2016
If Great Content Exists, but Nobody Knows About It, Does It Earn a Link?
There was a time in the last few years following the initial roll out of Google’s Penguin Update to their algorithm, where “link building” was seen as a dirty phrase. Now, however, thinking this way is more likely to hamper your efforts than help you.
While, yes you should still steer clear of black hat SEO tactics, there are legitimate ways to utilize link building in your strategies. To some people, the difference between these sides may seem somewhat mysterious and difficult. However, by paying attention to the changes Google makes, and not buying into misconceptions, it is much easier to direct your efforts in the right direction.
While it’s great when your content gets shared with a large audience through social media, it won’t bring the long-term results that you should shoot for. The connection between content and SEO should be no surprise to anyone in 2016. Still, rampant misconceptions about how to make your content valuable from this standpoint remain. While ideally, your content would be so fantastic in design and execution that it attracts quality links, this simply is not generally the case.
If nobody knows that your great content, then how can you expect it to earn links? Even if it is the absolute best resource on its given topic that has ever been created, you will likely be beat out by competitors that are doing a better job at SEO. In order to fix this and make yourself more competitive, you have to do the necessary work to get your content in front of the right people that will actually garner you links. In other words, you need to do some link building.
How to Make Links and Influence Influencers
There are many ways to go about building links, but the most important thing to consider from the beginning is if there are any ways to go about this by using assets and relationships that you already have. When people think negatively about link building and SEO, it usually has a connotation of spammy practices and deception. However, the best way to engage in these strategies is actually quite the opposite, and should be based on building lasting and mutually beneficial relationships.
Identify people who would truly benefit from your content and share it with them. When you do this, you should put yourself in their shoes. If the content you pitch to them seems like just a sales pitch, it is unlikely that they will respond well to it. However, if it is a truly beneficial resource, then sharing it is helpful to them as well. Doing this will not only help attract these links but also will help you improve your content.
If an influencer within your industry has already talked about your brand in a positive way, then pitching additional resources and content to them is an easier sell. They have already put a mark of approval on you by writing about you previously.
You probably don’t want to publicize your direct competition and drive potential customers to them. However, when influencers within your industry put out extraordinary content, especially in the form of case studies and research, then talk about it. Cite these experts in your content and research. This both makes you more credible by using their respected knowledge and opinions and gives you an opportunity to more widely spread your content.
If you cite someone, reach out and let them know. If you can do this through email, then you have a great opportunity to commence a dialogue with them. If nothing else, at least tweet them to show how much you value their work. This may only lead to some additional retweets or followers, but it could also lead to them citing you later on, especially if you’ve taken their ideas and injected a unique or fresh take.
Frequently, people in the business world look at social media primarily as a direct marketing tool. In doing this, however, they ignore the networking opportunities that it brings, which is one of the best reasons to embrace social media in business. Becoming adept with social media, especially Twitter, to connect and interact with others in your industry can be hugely beneficial to both you personally and your content efforts.
Shifting focus to pursue higher quality links than you are currently receiving or pursue links in the first place may seem daunting at first. Fortunately, whether you already incorporate these tactics as part of your content strategy and are looking to step up your game, or it’s a new concept to you, there are a wealth of link building resources available to help you get where you want to be.
Receiving a large amount of social interaction and shares with your content is fantastic, and has the potential to do great things for your marketing efforts. However, if your content is only garnering social shares, and not also gaining quality links from relevant sources, then it is not living up to its potential, and you need to do something about it. By going about your content marketing and SEO strategies in this relationship-minded way you’ll be able to grow this success into even larger opportunities moving forward.