SlideShare a Scribd company logo
Link-building
tips in an
uncertain 2021
What we overcame in 2020
Creating positive news in an
uncertain time
Being more reactive than ever
before
Campaigns and tactics that
didn’t work
Less response from
journalists/companies due to
furloughed staff/closed
businesses
Challenges we faced
What we learned
Exploring different trends
Link-building tips for 2021
Tip 1
Empathise
Tip 2
Utilise existing contacts
Tip 3
Be reactive
Tip 4
Be resilient
Tip 5
Be emotionally resilient
Tip 6
Be prepared
Tip 7
Leave work at work
Thank you for
listening

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Webinar: Link-Building Tips in an Uncertain 2021 | Glass Digital

Editor's Notes

  1. Hi everyone, my name is Jen Macdonald and I am Digital Marketing Manager at Glass Digital I have worked in the industry for 5 years and have seen it constantly changing during this time The main part of my role at Glass Digital is to build authoritative back links to my client's websites which ultimately contributes to their SEO So, today I will be discussing link building in an uncertain 2021 with tips around how you can improve your link building strategy over the coming months We will be doing more of these webinars in the future to try and help businesses solve some of their digital marketing challenges, so keep an eye out for them
  2. As for most businesses 2020 was a very challenging year in the link building industry Not only did many of our clients have to rethink their contingency plans in terms of budget and strategy, but many publications and journalists were forced to alter their content As a result, link builders had to shift their focus and adapt to daily changes
  3. Some of the main challenges we faced were centred around client demand. Companies quickly wanted to see an improvement in their online visibility, as well as push products or services that may not have been a priority to them before Covid. For example, one of our manufacturing clients decided to focus solely on making PPE for NHS workers during the first Lockdown. This meant we have to re-think any work planned for that client and make this a priority. Over the past year, we have been challenged with creating positive/uplifting news in a very uncertain time. For the first couple of months during the pandemic, all journalists wanted to receive were stories related to Covid, as this was relevant/topical and all anyone was talking about. This focus quickly changed as people started feeling overwhelmed by the news. After this, publications began to spread positivity with their news stories. For example, how communities were coming together and how to practise mindfulness. As the need for refreshing news content was constantly changing, link builders had to be more reactive than ever before, providing new data and information to journalists on a daily basis. As a link builder one of the most important things to know is that not all campaigns or tactics work. This has always been the case, however for industries such a travel and wedding it’s been more apparent over the past year, rather than being disheartened, we had to shift focus or start again. Another huge challenge we face was a lack of responses from journalists/editors. Many publications and companies had furloughed staff, so it was important to be patient and keep an eye out for a our stories being published. We aren’t always informed if campaigns go live, but even less so when journalists had a heavier workload.
  4. While 2020 was a turbulent time, we still managed to gain exposure on many high authority websites with links included As you can see here some of these include Hello Magazine, Farmers Guardian, Liz Earle, Yahoo! Finance and Bustle Many of these links were built as a result of reactive efforts, newsjacking and topical campaigns during uncertain times
  5. As a result of challenges we have faced over the past year, we need to understand how link building is changing and how we can stay on top of these changes
  6. As link building tactics are continuously changing, it is important to stay on top of trends which journalists are looking out for Last year TikTok became a huge trend, which is being explored now for techniques such as roundups and listicles. This is a technique which can be used to look at proposal trends, skincare trends, baking trends, etc. Google Trends is a free resource provided by Google which allows businesses to look at what is trending in their industry. This tool reveals the number of searches, related topics and peaked interest in a particular search. Unique Google Trends are something journalists love to receive as it gives them key information with evidence to back this up. Not only providing evidence of what you are trying to say but showing that it is a relevant/trending topic. For example, when it was revealed that Dominic Cummings had visited Barnard Castle during restrictions, we saw on Google Trends that there was a breakout number of searches for Barnard Castle which we outreached as a newsjacking piece. Similarly to Google Trends, there are several other free online resources which can help you gather search data. As many industries and businesses have moved online over the past year, gathering search data for link building has never been more important. Again, to provide evidence to back up your story and to help guide your link building strategy by finding trending topics. Two of the resources we often use at Glass Digital are SEO Monitor and Statista, both are free tools and simple to use. Finally, a trend that we have found worth exploring is entertainment quizzes. As everyone spends more time at home scrolling aimlessly, we have found that creating quizzes (in particular, emoji quizzes) leads to links. Publications are looking to provide content for their readers that is engaging and can be shared across social media. This trend may well fade soon as lockdown restrictions are eased, however it is worth exploring if you have the resources available now.
  7. Digital PR campaigns have fast become one of the main tactics link builders use to secure high-quality back links. These campaigns can be created using, design assets, data, research, expert commentary and so on. Anything unique and newsworthy that you can turn into a fully fledged campaign is worth looking into. Create a story unique to your business which will make people want to share it across social media and talk about with their friends. Whether this is survey results, research or a visual asset your company has designed, use this to your advantage as this is what journalists are looking for now. Full campaigns to help them put together an exclusive story, bespoke for their readers. Some of the campaigns we have created in the past year include post lockdown wedding trends, UK robot density levels and tool theft prevention techniques, which is included in some of the exposure you can see here.
  8. Taking inspiration from what we have learned over the past year, I am going to run through a few tips which hopefully you will find helpful when building links in 2021
  9. Firstly, you need to empathise with the person you are contacting. Whether this be a publication, freelance journalist or complimentary business. A key part of link building is building relationships. This has always been the case, however, in the past relationships were built by connecting with people online, following someone on twitter or reaching out via email. Now a relationship you build needs to be more meaningful. You need to show journalists you recognise their struggles in the industry and care about how their readers are feeling. The stories you tell need to mean more and give people something extra.
  10. Most businesses will have several contacts they can turn to at times like these. This is the time to call on businesses or publications who you have worked with in the past to ask what is it their readers/customers would like to see. What is standing out in the industry and what is getting a lot of engagement? Who better to ask than the professionals you already work with and trust.
  11. Being reactive is without a doubt one of the biggest challenges link builders have had to face over that past year. While this has always been important in the industry, we are now having to stay ahead of the news like never before. If something is revealed in the news on Monday, by Tuesday it really is ‘yesterday’s news’ and there is a different story which has taken it’s place. Some of the main ways to build links with reactive content is by providing expert commentary to journalists, being quick with turn around times and staying ahead of the latest news and trends. Don’t be too transfixed on an idea which may have been great for yesterday but will be overshadowed today.
  12. Being resilient when creating a story or asset for link building is crucial for the success of your campaign. Does your campaign have adaptability? If you have carried out research or conducted a survey, make sure you dissect each area of this so you can create a range of different assets. Whatever link building tactic you are using don’t be afraid to change this once your idea has been finalised. It may be that a digital PR campaign is taking a while to create and you need to outreach an expert comment straight away as something has broken in the news. Also, Make sure your campaign can have multiple angles. If something changes in the news it may mean you have to change your story, if you have prepared for this in advance it should be easier to flip the campaign quickly
  13. As well as being resilient with your work, you need to be emotionally resilient when it comes to link building Don’t be too disheartened if an idea doesn’t work. It could just be down to bad timing or the wrong angle. Saying this, not all campaigns work and not all stories go viral. So try not to compare yourself to what others are doing as I can guarantee they will have had failed attempts during link building as well. Don’t take it personally is a journalist doesn’t respond. Try not to worry if you don’t get many responses from journalists. Many receive over 300 emails in their inbox every day, so might have missed yours or published a campaign without letting you know. So keep an eye out for your company mentions. Always try to manage business expectations from the start. Communication is key why trying to understanding goals and what you need to do to achieve them, so to avoid frustration down the line, communicate well with your team around what is expected from a campaign.
  14. Always be prepared to answer questions or send further information when outreaching If possible and where relevant, create visual assets to go alongside your story or campaign which makes it unique to your business and stand out from the crowd. Most stories we read now have visual assets, as attention spans are shorter and engagement rates are one of the key metrics publications use to analyse a stories success. Also, it is important when link building to send the publication everything they will need to cover your story without them having to ask. Send over headlines, imagery, data, research sources, expert comment, etc. This can be sent in a Dropbox folder if it is too much for an email. Ideally they will be able to publish your content without having to come back to you for anything.
  15. And finally, leave work at work This is probably one of the most important tips I can give you as a link builder. Try to switch off from the news cycle as best you can. This can be hard as we are always told to stay ahead of the news, however it is important to make sure your free time is spent occupying your mind with other things, especially when the news isn’t very positive at the moment Also, try to avoid burnout. Don’t over analyse why an idea or campaign hasn’t worked. Try to think of the positive aspects you can carry forward and how you can improve whatever didn’t work for your next campaign. Your mind and wellbeing matter for link building. If you are invested and engaged with an idea you are working on it will show in your link building efforts. It is important for the success of your work to stay proactive and optimistic. This is more challenging than ever at the moment as most days blur into one, but just remember there are better times ahead and any link you build during this time is well deserved.
  16. Hopefully, I have given you some useful tips which you can take forward through your link building efforts in 2021. My details are on screen now if anyone would like to reach out with any questions We will be doing more webinars in the near future, looking at different aspects of digital marketing and how you can get noticed online, so please keep an eye out for them and thank you for watching!