If you're looking to build links to your website, one of the most important skills you will need to develop is communication skills. Digital producers are not machines, they are people and need to be treated as such.
One of our recent successful link building strategies for our client, 'Man With A Van', came down to building a good relationship with a local awards night, 'The Duke of Edinburgh International Awards'. The plan didn't go without its hitches but the success came down to good communication.
Man With A Van was looking to get some exposure by donating some of their services to a range of charities and not-for-profit events throughout the year. We became aware of the Duke of Edinburgh Awards through a media callout when the organisers were looking for goody bag fillers.
Although Man With A Van didn't have anything to put in the goody bags, after researching the awards night we thought there might be a chance they would need a van for all those goody bags on the night.
We emailed the organiser explaining that our client was looking to sponsor some charitable events by donating their time/services to help out. We acknowledged that although our offer wasn't what they were originally looking for, we still wanted to reach out and see if there was an opportunity to work together.
Sure enough we got an email from the organiser, letting us know that he had been thinking how he was going to co-ordinate everything and would love a few hours of help.
Everything was locked in and ready to go, however not everything would run smoothly...
A few weeks went by and we got a phone call from the organiser for the event. There had been some communication problems and they weren't 100% sure they had the van for the night. Although we were set to go ahead and knew the client was on board, we had to be careful we didn't promise anything that may have fallen through.
After getting a concerned voicemail on my phone from the organiser, we called them directly to see what had gone wrong. This lead to us phoning the client and getting confirmation before getting back to the charity ASAP to lock everything in.
Man With A Van were very much still on board and the charity appreciated us resolving the matter quickly.
Once the event had passed we kept an eye on the website for any mention of Man With A Van, after 3-4 days we felt it was a good time to follow it up.
Tip: Be understanding! Give managers/event organisers who have promised you a link a reasonable amount of time to post it, if they've been busy organising an event they might not get around to the sponsorship marketing for a few days. When you send your follow up don't be demanding or frustrated, being reasonable and polite will go a long way.
Our contact got back to us as soon as we emailed him and told us he would make sure a link went up as soon as possible.
- A link from a high quality, trusted domain
- Great website referral traffic
- Good PR for the client with positive feedback about the company on the night 'Thanks for following up... Man With A Van were excellent!'
- An established relationship with the organisation that other clients could be pitched to
At the end of the day, gaining a link wasn't the be all and end all. We weren't going to harass our contact but by being a nice person, delivering a good service and treating people with respect translated to a useful traffic source and a link.
Remember ~ you win more bees with honey.