To paraphrase a well know parable,
People can see your true motives and if you’re just after a link it’s often transparent. Take the time to build a real relationship, instead of just links. I personally would rather have a resource or friend in the industry than just a link anyway.
Here are 5 tools and strategies I’ve learned that can assist in building relationships:
1. Social Media: This might be obvious, but not enough people utilize it. If you want to connect with someone the first step should be to connect with them on social media. Make sure and hit all the big ones: Twitter, Google, and LinkedIn. I would attempt twitter first because it’s the easiest way to approach someone and it is not creepy. I would not suggest befriending a person on Facebook or LinkedIn that you have not established a rapport with because many people would just consider that spam. All of these social media tools can be used to learn a little more about that person and help you establish common ground. Now you have the ammo needed to begin conversations on social media and start to build a foundation. Remember, it never hurts to share someone’s content either. This is a good opening to let the writer know you respect their work, and everyone knows that sharing is caring.
2. The Personal Touch: Social media is a useful tool, but it doesn’t always allow for the personal touch. A relationship can be made stronger with a personal email, note, letter, postcard, or a small gift. If you want to show that you are truly innovative, your company can send a personal video messages with Vsnap. Maybe a nice holiday message? I have found that these strategies work well with guest bloggers. After their blog is posted you do not want the relationship to end, and one way I’ve continued the relationship and built it up is by sending them a personal note with some company swag. Guest bloggers appreciated the personal touch, and sometimes you even get the bonus of them sharing an image of themselves and the swag. Hmm did you just build brand awareness? I think you did!
3. Newsle: This tool allows you to track more than just social news. With Newsle, you can create a portfolio of contacts or anyone that interests you and be notified when they do something big. If one of your contacts get mentioned in a news article they will receive lots of congratulations, but you will make a strong impression if you are one of the first to congratulate them with a quick phone call.
4. Linkstant: What better people to connect with and build relationships with than people already linking to your website. SEOs, PR and Social Media departments can benefit from knowing about new links (especially if they are quality) as quick as possible and Linkstant can assist with this. By socializing with the linking websites you can quickly build up the relationship, but also show others that your website is authoritative. This tool is also extremely useful for managing content and online reputation management.
5. Commenter Contact Explorer: This WordPress plugin built by Seer Interactive will export a commenter’s names, email addresses, and URL. This information can then be cross referenced with SEOmoz’s Mozscape API to obtain page authority and domain authority for the commenter’s URL. Build yourself an Excel file with all this information and you have yourself a whole list of potential new relationships.
This list is not in comprehensive, but it will get you started. If you enjoy this article or have comments/questions feel free to connect with me or leave them below. I always also enjoy making new friends.