For content-based link builders, the beauty of developing link relationships is that you typically benefit far beyond a single link. If the publisher that thinks your content, cause, sale, or new tool is interesting enough to link to, it might also share that content with its social network. The publisher could potentially mention it in its email newsletter. It might even mention it to an even more influential publisher -- in fact, this is often how we've earned our best links for clients in the past.
This is why it's so important, when you're promoting content for the purpose of link building, to concentrate on building your content distribution network. However -- you build your distribution network by becoming a distribution network.
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If there is a single secret to success for content distribution -- besides creating stellar content -- it is to always promote in every way possible the exemplary content of your peers. Always. Bend over backwards to find ways to help promote their great work, and you will find that the rewards return to you in kind, and then some. Having and demonstrating the willingness to help promote others has an effect on those who you haven't actively helped yet. They will be more willing to help someone they view as a "peer promoter."
One final note on pre-reciprocation -- it's not a contract. Just because you've helped someone out doesn't mean that they owe you anything. If you're asking for mentions from your peer group, always ask humbly and with no pressure. If you've done an excellent job creating content, then it should be a "no brainer" for them to mention you.
1. Tweet your peers' content
When you find great content from peers, tweet it. If you're retweeting something, try not to simply hit the retweet button. That's kind of lazy. Indicate why others should read it. Add a little context to the URL. This will help you to stand out to those you're promoting, and will also add value to your followers.
2. Submit great content to niche social news sites and respond to vote requests
Always check to see if a new, notable piece of content is in your industry's niche social news site. If not, add it and let the author know it's in the running for hitting the front page of the site. It's often a good idea to respond to vote requests when you receive them. This builds "favor capital" for you and increases the likelihood that others will vote for your content in the future, especially if it happens to be awesome too.
3. Write news and informational roundups on your blog
Consider writing a blog post once a week or once a month that includes links and mentions of all the content that you've tweeted or voted for. Not only is this an excellent overview for your readers, but it gives you the opportunity to show some link love to your peers. Include commentary and a blurb for each item regarding why it made your list.
4. Publish a newsletter
You should already be publishing a newsletter as a way to stay in touch with your customers and prospects. If you think they would be interested in content created by a peer, then by all means you should mention it to them. You could simply link to your industry roundup in addition to the great content you're already creating on a regular basis.
5. When someone seeks promotion help in a forum, chip in
If you're a forum regular and someone there asks for content promotion help, chip in if you think the content is worthy. Do this as often as possible. You never know when you will be the one making a plea to the community -- though you certainly shouldn't make this a habit.
6. Always look for ways to link to your peers
Whenever possible, look for ways to link to your peers. If they've written something that helps you illustrate a point, link to it. If they're launching a new service, make time to review it. Conduct group interviews and link to your peers' websites. If they accomplish a goal, mention it. Link lavishly, and it will return to you in time.
7. Always seek to grow your network
Be constantly on the lookout for great content and promote it when you find it -- even if you've never heard of the creators or if they're new to the space. If it's relevant to your business and you think your followers, subscribers, and site visitors would find value in it, by all means mention it.
Garrett French is the co-founder of Ontolo Inc.
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