This is the third and last part of the guide to building link targeted content. Part one was titled Researching for Inspiration & Brainstorming for Ideas and part two discussed Creating Content & Preparation. All posts are available as a combined, single post or as pdf (14 pages of black text on white background, I promise…), as per request.
Awesome piece of content? Check! Solid preparation? Check! Well, let’s move on then!
If your aim is slightly off, or when not all engines light up at the same time, the launch will still proceed, but the target will be missed. No matter how good your missile is. As soon as you hit the launch button, there is no way back.
Launch controller, by Vernk
Timing is important
The timing is an important factor during every launch. However, there is no ‘ideal’ time during the day for hitting the launch button. Although there are some excellent studies on what time might be best to submit your stories to Digg, this still depends on factors like the language of your website, the countries where most of your link targets live, the subject of your content and the market segment you’re targeting. For example, an official newsworthy press release can be more successful in the morning, while an entertaining blog post might work better in the evening. Testing helps to determine what might work best in your situation.
Submitting ain’t that easy
When you submit (or let someone else submit) your piece of content to social media sites, such as Digg, there are several things that can either make or break your submission. The title of the submission, the description, the category where you submit the story to and the visibility of the submitter all play part in the process of reaching the front page. The only problem here is that you need to pass every possible pitfall without falling, one single miss will result in an overall FAIL. Both Marshall Kirkpatrick and David Wallace have written excellent posts about how to submit your story properly.
Besides hitting the front pages of several social media websites, you also want to reach as many a-list bloggers in your niche as possible. Some of these bloggers might find your content through your social media efforts, but a good pitch to the right bloggers and journalists will result in additional coverage and links as well. Hopefully, after reading part one, you’ve gathered the contact information of several influencing, relevant webmasters and bloggers. When you’re contacting these people, be personal, interested and honest. There are several things you really have to avoid and several things you really have to consider while contacting bloggers, but in my opinion, it bears down to those three factors.
Use your network wisely
A good network is one of the most important tools of a successful marketer. In stead of doing everything by yourself, you can ask friends, relatives or even friends of friends to do stuff for you or to help you out with something. In stead of being alone, you can have a huge team of specialists working together on your piece of content, if you manage to use your network the right way. Imagine yourself what a master of headlines, a social media power user and an expert in the field of your choice can accomplish together. At first, you might think that spending several hours a week helping out other people, or chatting, Twittering, discussing and emailing with them is a waste of time, but this can really pay off in the long run. A good network is worth quite a few bucks…
Like I said before, as soon as you hit the launch button, there’s no way back. It is, however, still possible to adjust the path slightly or to avoid obstacles that suddenly appear. In order to do this, you have to monitor everything, because you’ll have to react quickly.
An ambulance pulse monitor, by Vitiis
Be on top of your stats
Your website statistics can provide excellent data of where your content gets picked up. Use this data to monitor your new backlinks, the traffic every link sends and the average time spent on your site per referrer. You might want to check out websites that send lots of traffic or sites that provide visitors who click through more often, to see what the post or link looks like. If necessary, contact the owner of the site, for example to provide additional info, to request a slightly different anchor text or just to send him or her a thank you note.
Besides bloggers and journalists, you might see several others discuss your brand, product or content as well, for example in blog comments or forum threads. If you only have the slightest idea that it’s a legit website, don’t hesitate to join these discussions. By leaving additional information (or dropping a link to a relevant web page or site), answering questions or -again- just by simply thanking others for the attention and/ or compliments, you’ll show commitment. And commitment builds brands.
Besides your website statistics, there are several other tools that you can use to track these discussions. Google Alerts and Technorati will lead you to the majority of the pages where your piece of content gets mentioned.
The launch was successful and the traffic seems to be over its peak. Now is the time to turn the campaign into a real success, by directing the link juice, expanding your network and planning the follow-up.
Even more beauty awaits after the storm, by ladyinpurple
Directing the link juice
The main goal of link targeted content is -obviously- attracting links. Once you’ve obtained multiple links, whether it’s 5 or 50,000 links, it’s quite important to use the power of these links optimally. Attracting links is one thing, but leveraging the juice of these links the right way looks like a whole different ball game for some.
For example, the brilliant (Dutch) Hema viral campaign for Hema gathered nearly 30,000 links. The only problem is that there isn’t a single link on that page that can pour link juice over the rest of the website…
There are several things that you can do to avoid situations like this, and to let your entire website enjoy the taste of link juice;
- Use in-content links to other important pages on your website. Adding these links to the content page, after the first traffic- and link peak is over, works perfectly fine.
- Slap a nofollow tag on links to pages that aren’t that important, or remove some navigational links on your link bait page.
- Afterwards alterings. Make small changes to the page you’ve promoted, such as a slightly improved title or by adding a few relevant keywords and/ or links.
- 301-redirect the page to a different URL as soon as the traffic slows down. I personally wouldn’t recommend 301-ing in most situations, though. And I’m certainly not the only one (exact same example, btw).
Maintain your new network
You’ve attracted lots of links, both your RSS subscriber number and the amount of Twitter followers have skyrocketed, you’ve participated in several interesting discussions, left numerous comments on other blogs and collected a few email addresses of influential linkerati. Say hello to your new, expanded network. If you can maintain your entire network with care, you’ll make the process launching another piece of content in the future much, much easier.
In stead of preparing a single piece of content, make sure to have several more great posts, articles, videos or other material waiting in the queue to get published. It’s much easier to attract additional links when you’re still enjoying your first flow of attention, than when possible linkers have already moved on. The linkerati you managed to get in touch with will also be more likely to link to another one of your pages, when your website’s name is still fresh in their memory. A good follow up strategy builds you a more solid name, it makes sure that you won’t lose subscribers and it avoids the risk of looking like (or becoming) a one day fly.
While some seem to think that a campaign -whether it’s a viral, a link marketing, or any other campaign- is over as soon as you hit the launch button, that’s just one of the several stops during the journey. Monitoring the campaign thoroughly and optimizing the results with care can make or break the outcome. Preparing a solid follow up can make life a lot more easy in the future.
The most important factors of a successful campaign, however, are planning and dedication. If you can manage to think one step ahead, you’ll manage to stay ahead of your competition as well. And sure, you might have success with something that you made in just five minutes, or with something that accidentally came across your path, but you’ll only reach maximum effect if you’re dedicated enough to walk through all steps.