The B2B SaaS Marketing Blog

    How Relationships Work in Link Building

    Last updated: March 25th, 2014

    In link building, you often hear the statement like “build relationships, not links.” This presents one important element that is lacking in many link building campaigns – relationships. Building relationships is far more difficult and crucial when looking at generating links from relevant and authoritative websites. Here’s why this is crucial and you should be careful with it:

    • A wrong move can negatively affects your brand’s image.
    • A relationship that doesn’t benefit both parties might only last for a while.
    • Asking for an immediate response/link/mention of your brand would only give your brand a bad impression.

    While there are still other reasons you need to consider when connecting with people, the main point is that you have to consider the image of your brand from the planning phase to the actual link acquisition of your campaign to make relationship building yield better results for you.

    Relationships by Jenny Downing

    Image source: Jenny Downing

    Why Is Relationship Building Important?

    1. It multiplies your brand’s ability to acquire multiple links.

    A genuine intention to help others makes it easy for you to earn relevant and valuable backlinks. When your target audience sees the human side of your brand and they’re able to connect with you easily, the likelihood of giving you a credit for what you’ve done (link from their blogs or a little brand promotion) is higher.

    2. It attracts people to follow the brand.

    Trust matters in relationships. If you want to get links from highly-trusted domains (i.e. educational and government websites), you have to earn the trust of their webmasters. While content is the front-element to get these site owners to link to you, building relationships can add more value in link building for long term goals.

    3. It helps the brand understand the needs of its users/customers.

    Ongoing dialogue with the webmaster can benefit both parties. The person who does the outreach gets know the exact needs of the webmaster (which in aggregate, can help you understand the needs of a small portion of your target sector). The webmaster gets some promotion of his/her brand.

    3 Steps to Build Relationships with Industry Influencers

    There’s no secret formula to quickly connect with industry influencers. However, if you can follow this simple step by step guide, you’ll be able to maximize the time and energy that you will exert for those targeted key influencers.

    1. List down verticals your brand can target.

    Ask yourself a question. Who are your primary customers? Can you target other verticals aside from the primary industry you’re targeting to?

    Widen your list of targeted verticals as you promote your content and discover sub-groups that might potentially be interested to your business. Here are some resources to help you find the right verticals that you need to target:

    2. Find your influencers through free/premium tools.

    There are tons of tools to quickly find influencers in your niche but here are the best tools in my list:

    1. Followerwonk

    Social influencers can boost the promotion of one brand or content (especially when followers of those social influencers are influencers as well). Followerwonk has a social authority feature to assess the popularity and engagement of an influencer. It’s easy to use. Simply type in your niche/keyword in the search bar and sort the results from the highest to the lowest social authority by clicking the word, “social authority”. Visit each Twitter profile. If it is relevant to your industry and has a decent amount of followers, include it to your own list of influencers.

    2. Buzzsumo

    This is my newly founded tool but found it to be useful in content creation and in finding influencers in one sector. If you want to use this tool to find great people in your niche, you can read this guide by Matthew Barby.

    3. Identify things that connect you with the influencers

    A person knows his similarities with his friend. This offline truth can also be applied online. If you know your similarities or the points where you can connect with your influencers it will be easy for you to engage with them.

    Here’s how you can do it:

    • Find your influencer’s most recent activity (i.e. Twitter updates). You may understand his inner thoughts by taking a look at his engagement. What industry is he always talking about? Is that related to yours? What kind of content he is most interested to share on social? Do you have that content on your blog? You can use AllmyTweets to track his recent Twitter updates and to answer aforementioned questions.
    • Identify your influencer’s followers and linkers to his blog. The way to find this is to use Cognitive SEO to get the top linkers of his website. In most cases, those linkers are also influencers which you can also connect with. The reason you want to do a competitive analysis of your influencer’s backlink profile is to understand the audience that he is targeting to (if the person linked to the influencer’s website, that linker is part of the sub-group that the influencer is targeting for his campaign).

    Once you have this information, you can start connecting with the influencers by following them on social accounts, commenting on their blogs and/or sharing their blog posts on your own profiles.

    The moment they start to see that you’re authentic with your action, they’ll begin to notice you easily and links will just be a by-product of your deeds.

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    Related: What to Expect from a B2B SaaS Content Promotion Program

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