how to build linksIf you listened to our last Analyze Content Camp you heard me say that link building is all about building relationships. Be it on a blog, social media, or email, you are trying to build relationships with your leads and customers. There's another type of relationship you need to build that isn't related to your lead or customers. It's relationships with people in your industry.

LinkedIn is the ultimate place to build relationships. The social network has more than 100 million users and is growing rapidly. It provides marketers with the tools necessary to build relationships, and when I mean relationships, I’m not talking about building relationships with leads; I’m talking about building relationships with people that are in your industry that you genuinely want become friends with.

There are many ways you can build a relationship on LinkedIn, but the number one way is….to be yourself! Don’t pretend to be someone else, be authentic and genuine, just like you would when trying to build an in-person relationship.

Alright, so enough about relationships – you get it. You’re probably asking what the heck does this have to do with link building. Follow the steps below and you’ll be well on your way to link building success:

Step 1:  Use LinkedIn or Twitter to start the conversation and tell people you appreciate what they’re saying. You need to go deep and actually mean it. You need to explain why you like or maybe don’t like their content. Ask them questions, be engaging and don’t talk about yourself. This is a great time to post comments in their blog.  Don’t try and rush the relationship building process or it won’t work.

Step 2:  Start reaching out and ask if you can use their content on your site. Ask if they would mind if you reviewed one of their webinars or slideshare presentations. Do a good job and again, be genuine. Make sure you give them proper credit for their work and link to their content and website.

Step 3:  Be involved in discussions that they’re involved in. Add them to a twitter list; respond to their discussions or questions on LinkedIn. Show compassion and start taking the relationship to the next level by talking about non-work related topics.  Be a devoted reader of their blog.

Step 4:  By now you have probably got a decent relationship built. They know who you are and you know who they are. You can start asking if they mind if you guest blog for them, or if they want to do a joint webinar or co-author an eBook. They've probably linked to your site and what you’ll start seeing is other people will start showing interest in you. You’ll start engaging with these other people and build more and more relationships.

Online relationships are no different than in-person relationships. They take time to create, you need to build trust and show you genuinely care about the other person. Don’t expect this to happen in a few weeks, it might even take a few months. Once you have a built and nurtured a few relationships, you’ll not only see the number of links to your website increase, you’ll make genuine friendships and your business will be better off.

Image credit: www.wholenewweb.com

Originally published Jun 30, 2011 3:12:00 PM, updated December 16 2013