Your website is great. But, people aren't talking about your website online.Here's how we'll make you famous.

OVERVIEW

In order to create and implement a more aggressive link building strategy for Acme Widgets Inc, we have broken tasks out into three overlapping categories: Content Creation, Relationship Building and Community Engagement, and Link Building. We discuss strategy for each of these three sections, and conclude this document with a list of action items and ongoing tasks required to implement the strategy.

CONTENT CREATION

Content really is king. If you want people to be linking to your site, you must consistently provide timely, relevant, and useful content. You have to give them something to link to, right? Many companies use their blog for this purpose. For Acme Widgets Inc, the “Learning Center” and “News” sections of the site provides the most obvious opportunities. We’ll want to look at adding more pages within the Widget #1/Widget #2/Widget #3 niche sections as well.

Creating a Content Calendar
We’ll want to identify topics to cover, and set a loose schedule for content creation. Steps to identifying topics to cover:
  • Create Buyer Personas.
    Personas are basically customer archetypes. They are fictitious people we create to represent your market segments. This exercise helps us to know whom it is we’re “talking” to, and to create content targeted specifically to them. Creating personas can be a very detailed and lengthy process to do well. We may want to start small here, and work up to full-blown personas later. (You may already have created personas, perhaps within your sales team.) At a minimum, it would be good to segment your audience by answering the following questions:
    • Who are we talking to? Existing Clients? Prospects? Existing and/or potential referral sources? Other?
    • What is their role within the organization? Owner? Lab tech? Other?
    • What is their role in this interaction? Decision maker? Researcher? Other?
    • Basic demographics: gender, age, education level, technology level (internet savvy or no?), location, etc.
    • From what industries are these people?
    • What is there knowledge level in this interaction? Have they used this kind of product/service before? From Acme Widgets Inc? From a competitor? How do they feel about this product (excited about it, or is it a necessary evil)?
  • Identify pain points. Once you have personas (or some other workable grouping of your audience) you can begin to identify pain points. What problems do these groups have that you can solve? What frustrates them about this product/service? What makes them feel like they’ve received value? List these out pain points out, and then brainstorm article topics around them.
  • Review Google Analytics for topic clues.
    Monthly, we should be reviewing Analytics to see if there are any clues about the type of content people are looking for on your site. Is there particular interest around a specific keyword? Write more articles around that. (Note: We’ve already done this step and created a content plan when we began building the site. I will circulate that document around again, as it should already have lists of pages for us to create. But we’ll still want to review Analytics monthly to update/add to the list.)
General ideas to brainstorm around:
  • How-to articles and other tutorials
  • Any innovative techniques or products you can write about?
  • Case studies
  • Company news
  • Can you take any presentations or white papers and turn them into articles?

Social Media and Content Inspiration
Use social searches and the feeds of your social community to discover what other social users in your niche are posting and/or writing about. Just because someone else has already written about a topic doesn’t mean you can’t too. Just approach it from your own angle. What can you add to the conversation on the topic?

RELATIONSHIP BUILDING AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

Social media is the easiest and most effective way to build relationships online. But why is online relationship building important at all?

Simple: relationship building within your niche will lead to more links with higher authority. If you come to be known as a helpful and knowledgeable authority in your field, you significantly increase your chances of webmasters wanting to link to your content. You also increase your chances of people following your social accounts, which means that you’ll have an audience when you promote your own content (which they may then share, like, comment on, and/or link to from their own sites).

Creating a Presence
Acme Widgets Inc currently has accounts on Linkedin, Google+, and YouTube. We will continue to grow our presence and activities there. However, in order to be more aggressive in our activities on social media, we should also create a Twitter page. After getting Twitter up and running, we will evaluate progress and determine whether or not adding a Facebook page also makes sense.

Building Community
We will engage in the following activities to identify quality accounts on Google+ and Twitter.
  • Review Acme Widgets Inc’sMailChimp mailing list. Identify subscribers to look for on social networks.
  • Follow social accounts of industry publications. (I believe this has already been done, but will double check.)
  • Review following/follower lists of industry publications to see who they’re following and who is following them. Follow relevant accounts. Also, review publications’ feeds to see who is interacting (sharing/liking/commenting) on their posts, and note anyone we might want to follow or engage with.
  • Use tools like FollowerWonk and Topsy to find accounts to follow based on keywords on Twitter. (Both Followerwonk and Topsy are Twitter-specific.) Search for the same people on Google+.
  • Review conversation link list and follow/engage with any standout profiles/conversations.(see “develop conversation link list” under Engaging with Your Community below)
  • In all above activities, we will also interact with the account at the time of follow, if appropriate, by:
    • Liking/+1 one of their posts.
    • Sharing one of their posts.
    • Commenting on one of their posts.
    • Posting a message to their wall
    • Note: all of these accounts will be added to Acme Widgets Inc’s feed, so there will be an opportunity to interact at a later point if more appropriate.
Linkedin works a little differently, so we’ll need to take a different approach. Here, we’d like to do some prospecting. We will:
  • Search for users’ profiles based on certain criteria points, determined by Acme Widgets Inc (criteria to line up with typical customer/potential customer demographics, job title, etc.)
  • Review the list and remove any obvious “no”s.
  • Submit list to Acme Widgets Inc for review. For any profiles deemed worthy of connecting with, you’ll:
    • Decide which Acme Widgets Inc employee should reach out.
    • Decide whether to send a standard connection request, or to reach out with via InMail.
  • If we set up Acme Widgets Inc run Linkedin Groups, we can invite these people to join the groups as well.

We should also plan to add social buttons to Acme Widgets Inc’s Home Page (and maybe to the header/footer of every page) so that people can easily find and follow your profiles.

Engaging with Your Community
To find social conversations to join, on a weekly basis we will:
  • Review your social feeds, and
  • Conduct broader keyword searches to develop a “conversation link list”
We will submit any conversations from your feed or from our broader search that we believe may provide opportunities for engagement. Engagement can be:
  • Linking a post.
  • Sharing a post. Note: when you share someone else’s post, the share should include your own introduction including one or more of the following:
    • Acme Widgets Inc’s thoughts on the article;
    • A question prompted by the article;
    • A request for feedback/thoughts from your networks;
    • Any other brief intro that lets your network know what the post is about and/or why they should care.
  • Commenting on a post, with something that adds to the conversation. (Avoid “great post!” type comments.) Here are some general ideas for comments:
    • When you read the post, did it raise any questions for you as an expert? Address that question in your comment.
    • Do you see a point that they neglected to mention, or did they not delve as deeply into a particular area/topic? Write a comment that addresses that “missing” point.
    • Do you disagree with anything in the article/post? Respectfully offer your contradicting opinion.
    • Do you see a way that this topic might be of particular interest to an industry that you serve? Write a comment that makes that connection. “I wonder if this technology could also be of use to someone in the xxx industry, in that _____.” (or something along those lines.

We will also investigate the articles that are linked from social posts. We will provide a list of any articles with comment opportunities as well. (See “commenting on websites/blog posts, below.)

Creating Your Own Conversations
You can create your own conversations on any of the social networks by:
  • Posting a link to content from your website.
  • Posting a link to industry news or an interesting article on another site (be sure to also write an introduction as outlined above.)
  • Promoting an upcoming event (speaking engagement, product announcement, etc.)
  • In all of the above cases, try to incorporate a key word and/or a hashtag.
  • Ask questions. Run informal surveys.

Joining/Creating Groups and Communities
We will provide a list of existing groups (Linkedin) and communities (Google+) for you to review and consider joining. We will provide suggestions for groups you may wish to create yourself.





LINK BUILDING

Link Prospecting Via Social Media
We can use our social media keyword searches to find people linking to relevant articles on other websites. We will generate and submit a list of these websites, and review whether there are opportunities to get Acme Widgets Inc a link.

Using Your Email List
Consider emailing new content on your website to your email list (or a segment of your email list). This would need to be done judiciously, of course – but a really great piece of content might be worth emailing to your list. Some of your list will click through (good for Acme Widgets Inc) and some of those who click through may find the article interesting enough to share on their own social networks (double good for Acme Widgets Inc).

Asking for Links from Clients
One strategy is to:
  1. Write a 300-word explanation of a solution that Acme Widgets Inc created with/for a client. Make the solution interesting to read and paint the customer’s business/technology  in a positive light. We can ask them what keywords they care about and include them along with Acme Widgets Inc’s keywords.
  2. Customer uploads the content to their site and, likely, promotes it on their social networks.
  3. We edit the content we wrote for the customer and add it to Acme Widgets Inc’s site. We will mention their website, but won’t link to it.
  4. We will share the article(s) on Acme Widgets Inc’s social networks, making sure to tag the customer in our posts.
For customers who don’t want to post (or don’t have a place to post) and article like that on their site, but who are open to having an article/case study created about their business solution, we can:
  1. Write and publish an article for Acme Widgets Inc’s website.
  2. Promote the article on Acme Widgets Inc’s social networks, tagging the customer in the post.
  3. Email the customer the link to the article and the social posts, and encourage them to share with their own network as they see fit.
  4. Alternatively, we can send them a link to the article and draft social posts for them to publish on their social accounts. (Sometimes customers respond well to a message along the lines of “we just wanted to let you know that we published the article to our site [link], and our social networks [links]. We’ve drafted long and short social media posts that you can use to promote the article to your own networks, if you’d like.” That way, they don’t have to come up with their own intro text if they want to promote it; they have one already written from their perspective (as opposed to the ones Acme Widgets Inc would post, which would be written from Acme Widgets Inc’s perspective) that they can just copy/paste.

Commenting on Websites/Blogs
During our keyword social searches, we will look out for any websites or blog posts where it might make sense for Acme Widgets Inc to comment. This is something you should only do if you can add value to the conversation. As noted above, we should avoid “great post!” type comments.

Give Aways
If you have–or can create–something that your networks would be interested in downloading (like a really useful/informative white paper, tutorial, etc.) you can promote the give away on your social networks and sometimes generate some buzz. This should be something of value, and something that isn’t already available publicly elsewhere. You can also require interested parties to enter an email into a simple form in order to download, and build your mailing list while you’re at it.

Add Social Share/Like Buttons to Your Site Pages
It’s not necessary to add social buttons to every page on your site if you don’t want to, but it makes sense to add them to at least the pages within your News and Learning Center sections. These are social share buttons, which make it easy for people to share content to their social networks without ever leaving your website.

ACTION ITEMS

Next Steps:
  • Create audience personas or segments.
  • Identify pain points of audience segments and generate a list of articles to be written that address these pain points. Create editorial calendar showing when each article should be written/published.
  • Review existing content development plan and create calendar around creating content already identified.
  • Set up Twitter page at twitter.com/Acme Widgets Incfiltration.
  • Review Acme Widgets Inc’sMailChimp mailing list for people to search for on social media channels. Follow as appropriate.
  • Confirm that industry publication social sites are being followed by Acme Widgets Inc’s accounts. Use publication list previously provided by Jeff/Kim. Review publications’ list of followers and review who they’re following; follow those people as appropriate.
  • Determine criteria for first round of Linkedin prospecting.
  • Add social buttons to Acme Widgets Inc’s Home Page and/or header or footer on every page.
  • Add social share buttons to certain articles and news items.
  • Create list of existing Communities/Groups for Acme Widgets Inc to join.
  • Create suggestions for Communities/Groups for Acme Widgets Inc to create.
  • Generate list of customers to contact asking for link to our site (through article Acme Widgets Inc writes for them).
Regularly Occurring Tasks
Weekly:
  • Conduct keyword-specific social searches and review for:
    • Topic ideas for articles/site pages for Acme Widgets Inc to create.
    • Profiles to follow.
    • Social posts to engage with.
    • Articles (on click through) to comment on.
    • Web sites (on click through) to review for link opportunities.
  • Review social feeds on each network and note any:
    • Topic ideas for articles/site pages for Acme Widgets Inc to create.
    • Profiles to follow.
    • Social posts to engage with.
    • Articles (on click through) to comment on.
    • Web sites (on click through) to review for link opportunities.
  • Review Google Alerts for link opportunities.
  • Use Followerwonk and Topsy to find additional accounts to follow (we may move this to a monthly task after the first couple of weeks; probably won’t be that many new people on a weekly basis).
  • Linkedin prospecting. (We’ll start weekly and see how it goes. May move to a monthly task if that makes more sense.)
  • Update weekly metrics on benchmarking spreadsheet.
Monthly:
  • Review site analytics to find any new keywords to write content around.
  • Update monthly metrics on benchmarking spreadsheet.
As Needed:
  • Promote new site content across social networks.