How to build links in ‘hard to market’ industries

Lets get one thing straight, link building is hard, and what’s worse is that its seems to be getting harder and harder every day.

Creativity is now the most important trait any digital PR specialist can have. A good idea will always build links, no matter who the client or brand is.

Over the past 3-4 years, I have seen a huge change in the way that agency’s and companies execute their link building campaigns. If we take a look back at 2012 (the year I started in digital marketing) buying links was the norm.

Thankfully these days are over and as an industry, we have grown. We now have to think outside the box, creating content that will naturally get links and shares from high authority publications.

Now at this point you’re probably reading this post and thinking shut up David, the above is nothing new!

Well, you’re right. If you have attended any SEO or PR conference in the last few years you will have heard the above time and time again.

So ask yourself, why do I still find myself seeing paid links scattered all over the web in an attempt to trick Google?

I mean seriously guys! I dare you to search for any small time blog and I can guarantee you that within 5 minutes of searching you will have found someone buying links.

If you delve a little deeper you will normally find that these links are for ‘hard to market’ or ‘taboo’ industries such as gambling and loans. And, whilst working with clients who are deemed as a taboo by the media makes link building a little harder, it does not make it impossible to gain national links, from high authority sites.

So what sites link to hard to market clients?

Well, this is a good question. A lot of experts out there will tell you that the national media wont touch a ‘hard to market’ site and therefore you must focus your efforts on low quality blogs.

Well, my link hungry friends, I can prove that this is not the case and is, in fact, a load of crap.

I analyse links on a daily basis and through my research at Branded3 I have found that ‘hard to market’ industries gain links from the following media types:

The second highest bar above is national media! That’s right national media with huge followings will link to you! I promise you it is a possibility.

In order to achieve the links that all clients dream of, you need to focus on creativity and relationships.

How to build media relationships

Building a relationship with the media is fairly easy (as long as your willing to graft!) First of all, all journalists want is great content, the kind of content that will drive traffic to their posts.

So be creative, think outside the box and run campaigns that you and your friends would naturally talk about. A recent example of creative content that gained national links for a ‘hard to market client’ is Provident Unbroken Britain. This was a campaign I executed with Branded3 and you can see all the results here

Secondly, don’t harass a journalist. If you have emailed them and they haven’t responded, the fact of the matter is your idea is probably crap and contacting them again and again will just annoy them.

Finally, make the journo look good. Give them the assets and the freedom to create content that’s award winning and viral. This will make them trust you and hopefully be the start of a beautiful relationship.

I recently talked to Digital Olympus about the above topic and you can see my presentation below:

I beg, pray and hope that this post will stop at least a few of you buying links. And, if not, you will get them devalued soon anyway so its your loss!

Thanks for reading!