Linkbuilding has always been a SEO staple. To this day backlinks remain an important factor SEO. This post looks at some unconventional ways you can gain high authority inbound links while increasing your exposure and broadening your audience.
We all know how to build links, don’t we? It’s simple. Just create better content than your competition and they’ll link to you! You can:
- Make an infographic.
- Utilise multimedia.
- Write a guide.
While the above is roughly true, you can’t just create a great guide and expect it to generate you links on autopilot. In order for a brand to stay ahead of the game wholesome advertising campaigns are required. That means stimulating peoples senses using brand association,
We have been sold on this idea that content creation will automatically lead to exposure. There are thousands of link building guides out there but many just rehash the same information which, for years, Google has said will be detrimental in the long run. For years Google tweaked their algorithms in order to make sure that they are able to deliver the most accurate content, and as a result be the best.
Often online services, like SEO, forget about the potential of people who are offline. During the corona-virus pandemic there has been a huge change in how people work, what people do in their day to day lives. This has created an opportunity for a lot of people, but it is mainly that large brands which have benefited.
This is a different kind of link building guide, which utilises your brand – and some of the same methods that are usually reserved for the giants in industry. Some people are great at building contacts and managing PR. I am not saying that doesn’t work. I’m here to change your idea about what content is and how you leverage it – in a way that anybody can do.
- What makes Content Great?
- Why Great Content Isn’t Always Relevant
- It’s Not All About Video
What Is Great Content And How Can I Leverage It?
You don’t want to be known in your industry as the backlink beggar. If you want to be noticed you have to be creative. Links aren’t everything, for online marketing the goal is lead generation, and a wholesome strategy is required.
Great content that will generate you links on auto pilot, does exist, I will explore some examples. The one thing linking these examples is that they have a viral factor. It’s not content generating you backlinks; it’s your userbase liking your content who will then build links, share pages and buy products.
The key to getting well converting content is by having a clear idea of your audience. Who are they? What do they like to do – at work, in their spare time. You need to find small correlations to focus on. This blog is aimed at small to medium enterprises, but even at the lowest level you can learn a lot by looking at how industry giants work.
Your brand is central to advertising. People have the wrong idea of what makes great content, beating your competition isn’t necessarily good enough. To optimise is to make the best.
Great content – from a marketing point of view – can be made up of just two factors.
- Entertainment and Brand awareness
The content you create to promote your business doesn’t have to be informative, it has to be interesting. Everybody who sees your content has the potential to share it, a wholesome range of content is required. First you find your niche, then you work on broadening it.
Real Gorilla Marketing
On TV often ads have nothing to do with the product being sold. The best adverts make you remember a brand through multimedia. Jingles were a staple of the radio. A song can trigger hunger. The crunch of leaves underfoot can easily be associated with a foods – crisps or biscuits.
I am using food because it is an easy example – everybody has to eat. You want people to remember you. If you have unique content than people will:
- Remember you
- Review you
- Recommend you
What do a gorilla, drums, and Phil Collins have in common?
Chocolate. Think how insane that answer would have been before the advert aired, but now with the power of viral media most millennials will remember Cadbury’s.
This is Guerilla content at its most basic, linking memories to a variety of senses. Most people have different tastes so Cadbury’s created a particularly memorable advert which is still colorful, musical and engaging fourteen years later. To this day if you talk to a Genesis fan about chocolate, or a chocolate fan about Genesis they are likely to make the link to a Phil Collins, dressed as a Gorilla and remember Cadbury’s.
That’s not down to more people buying chocolate, it’s caused by people writing about a monkey and a drum-kit. Over time Cadbury’s hopefully become the brand people think of when they go in their local store hungry for a chocolate bar. Memories flow, the content is shared and conversions are made.
At this point I would run a competition just to milk the campaign for all I can – share the video and subscribe to the channel for a chance to win big. I think Cadbury did, and it went down as the example of viral media while I was training.
What’s stopping you scaling this down I thought?
- Gorilla suit:£30
- Drum kit: Find a student – Free
- Video camera rental: Find a student – Free (a good one can edit for you too)
I would say the only real cost you can’t work around is the suit, but all in the advert could be recreated for less than £200 if you had to pay for everything. It wouldn’t work because it has been done before, but amazing TV worthy content doesn’t have to be expensive.
Cadbury’s advert may have cost thousands (or tens of thousands, maybe even more). If you pay your students and make sure you find real talent you can create great, original music/video content with your brand on show for peanuts. If you can get a YouTube sponsorship you will have created a whole new income stream.
Big businesses spend millions sponsoring sports personalities in the hope they will perform a superhuman feat with their brand on show. Red Bull are the king of this form of viral marketing and it has worked. If you ask people to name an energy drink brand they will usually say Red Bull.
Red Bull can charge more than other soft drinks because people believe that it has more value. It gives you wings. A very strong and sugary coffee is probably as effective as Red Bull at waking you up, but through the power of money marketing entertainment Red Bull has become the drink people grab when they are hungover before work.
I want to share my favorite Red Bull sponsored video to show how a big brands market themselves – I had a lot of choice but this one take the crown.
This isn’t a TV advert. It doesn’t push the brand in your face and there is no call to action. Still this 7 minute video gave Red Bull’s authority a jumpstart.
It is hugely viral (90,000,000+ views on YouTube as of writing) and it is an amazing piece of work. When people link to the video they are likely to link to more of the subject – Danny MacAskill’s – work but the exposure Red Bull have gained is priceless. This helped build Red Bull the authority site that they are today (more than 250,000 backlinks at time of publishing).
Is it an advert? Red Bull supplied Danny’s helmet and the course – at great expense – but they keep their branding subtle enough to keep the advert interesting.
Great Content Doesn’t Have To Be Informative Or Relevant
I feel the need to defend what I said earlier. If you can make truly great content inform, and be relevant to your brand then that is a massive bonus. All I said was it isn’t necessary.
Great content needs to bring curious traffic to your site. If you are SEO focused it will need to bring links too. If you have a clear understanding of your audience demographic you can make a cool video which will bring you very targeted leads.
To gain links on autopilot you to know what will push a very specific demographic into a sharing frenzy to be the first to show all their friends. Social media is driving ‘real media’ – if something goes well and truly viral socially it will start hitting Social Media, YouTube, and even standard media.
If links are your goal you don’t need to muddy this content with information. All you need is a clear idea of your demographic, and a well thought out sales funnel.
I have used huge brands as examples until now, but you don’t need a huge budget to launch a successful viral marketing campaign. You don’t need big sponsorships or the resources of international corporations.
The other day I was asked how I would market a real estate website which sells condos in gated communities. They had a great website, but traffic was an issue and they weren’t making sales because people weren’t finding them.
For that niche it was easy to suggest a piece of great, viral content that would be relevant. Employ a free runner to do a guided tour of their condo inside and out.
Combine something like this with their brand, and their condos – try adding music, graphics and animation. A full advertising campaign doesn’t have to break the bank or be reserved for huge brands.
It’s very relevant, and also manages to be informative as people would be able to see the condos they might buy. Most importantly it will share itself, people will build links to it, and they will become know as Condos who had Freerunners offering Tours. Local media will love having something to talk about, and if it takes off regional media will pay attention.
Why So Video Focussed?
I am not saying the only great content is video. The SEO niche is nerdy enough that we get very excited about a great infographic or in depth case study. The Moz 2015 Ranking Factors case study is amazing content. Big data works better in images and video – with planning it can be digested more easily – which is convenient because it’s easier to share that way.
Image and video are the two media where you can really push your brand without necessarily giving anything else away about your business – leave people to find out more themselves. As I have shown this can be really effective.
Local Guerilla Marketing
We live in the smart age – smart phones, smart watches, smart glasses. I would like to present a smart advert.
Everybody knows IBM, but for a small charity it wouldn’t be too expensive to setup a similar marketing campaign. Just the ambition behind a small charity offering this kind of content would likely generate both a huge amount of exposure and a great deal of good as they get noticed by mainstream media online and off. This is becoming increasingly effective as time goes on. People have been sold a lot of uncertainty – it is time to offer some assurance.
You have to take risks in business. How could you make this advert cheaper? If you own a brick and mortar business put this billboard outside. Fabrication would be expensive but not bank breaking. Great content is creative use of the tools and space you have. Great ideas make your brand.
Killing some time waiting for the rain to stop – why not follow a QR code. Mobile search now makes up more than 60% of Google’s traffic and in the first world nearly everybody has a mobile phone. Target one audience, while appealing to as many as possible, great design is always a great excuse to take a selfie, and share.
Reverse Graffiti and Stickers
Take it one step further with reverse graffiti, be enigmatic by printing QR stickers that link to your social media or a landing page. Find some local artistic talent and ask them to design you a stencil which promotes your business. Instead of using spray paint, wash the surface you want to advertise on for a eco friendly piece of temporary graffiti.
Cleaning a surface isn’t illegal, and as long as you have the building owner’s permission you can keep the stencil fresh by going over it again and again. One stencil can rapidly be replicated time and again. Banksy uses this method to spread his ideas worldwide.
Every artist (I’m using the term broadly) wants a sponsor. Just because you aren’t Cadbury, IBM, Red Bull doesn’t mean you can’t use their methods. The more you get creative the more people can benefit, and the more benefit you receive.
The three brands mentioned above gain a tiny bit of authority by my mention. If you are interested, share this article. Who knows who could benefit.
Start small. Plan your first advert carefully. Make sure people notice what you are doing and ensure your website and social media is ready to make the most all the traffic generated. Prepare to give out discount codes, or run competitions, build email lists and compound your profit.
Look at what the big fish do. They have huge marketing departments. They know what works and have been doing it for a long time. Copying content is bad, but copying methodology to improve on an idea is great. Gorilla/Guerrilla marketing works. Try it.
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