Sites like Forbes, New York Times, Mashable, and Yahoo have become the Holy Grails of link building. A single link on a site with a high domain authority can do wonders for your site showing up in the search engine result pages (SERP’s). The problem is actually getting a legit backlink on one of these sites. A couple years back, I was able to secure a link on Forbes with an approach that has single handily gotten myself, and my clients, links on several sites like Yahoo, NY Times, Mashable, etc. I wanted to share this little secret technique so that you may also one day, bask in link glory and impress your clients with some of high authority site backlinks.
We all know how Google wants us to build links, they want us to provide information, graphics, and content that people will want to link to. This is easier for websites with a lot of traffic, but for those sites that don’t get a lot of visits, even if they have the greatest asset in the world, if no one knows about it, sees it, or can find it, then they are never going to get the backlinks that their awesome piece of content deserves. For most of us, our sites simply don’t have the traffic needed for our content to go viral on its own, so we must promote our content, which is where content marketing comes into play.
This is the content marketing strategy that I implemented to get a Forbes link back to my client’s website. The piece of content I was promoting was an infographic for a former client. This client was an insurance marketplace, so it wasn’t a non-profit or a brand that was particularly easy to gain links for. My approach was to find people on high authoritative websites that had recently discussed the topic or niche of my infographic. I conducted a simple Google search, and then did a bit more digging. My goal was to get a Forbes link. It had been one of the Holy Grail links that I had yet to acquire. I searched through Forbes website and article history, and finally stumbled upon an article that had been written a year prior detailing almost the exact focus of our infographic topic. I read over the article making some notes about the content and the author who wrote the piece. I then did a quick Forbes search of the author and read over some of her latest and most popular articles. I searched her name and was able to find all of her social profiles including her Facebook and Twitter accounts. From there, I simply sent her a private Facebook message. The note read something like this:
“Hey [Author’s Name],
I wanted to let you know that I am a big fan of your work on Forbes.com. I have been a fan of yours ever since I read the article detailing [the topic of my infographic] and have been subscribing to your posts ever since. The above article actually inspired me and my team to create the following infographic [I included the link to my hosted graphic.] I would be honored if you would share it with your readers.”
I went on to discuss other articles of hers that I liked and explained why. I essentially made myself appear to be a person that had similar interests to her and her writing. About an hour later I receive a reply back through Facebook. She was ecstatic that she was receiving fan mail from someone who created a piece of content inspired by her work. She asked me about some of her posts and things that I have done or watched lately surrounding the topic of the graphic. She also wanted to thank me for being a fan of her work and taking the time to read through her articles. At this point I was in, all I needed to do was close the deal. I replied with answers to her questions and went more in depth by asking her questions about her own articles. She replied again very quickly and was thrilled that I was so interested in her niche. In this reply she said, “I absolutely love your graphic and wondered if I had full permission to use it in my next post.” I replied by saying absolutely!
The next day I was excited to see a message in my inbox saying “What do you think?” Followed by a link to her next article. It was a wonderful feeling seeing my infographic surrounded by a well-written blog article and that beautiful Forbes logo in the top of the screen. I got a link on Forbes! I nervously hovered over the link and inspected the elements, hoping to see the (rel=) in front of my link. It was wonderful to see a ‘do followed link’ and a link to the homepage of my client’s site! The Holy Grail of links was complete, it was time to pop the champagne and celebrate pure link success. After Forbes, the links and social shares started to pour in. My infographic gained 127 placements and links. It was well worth the 4 hours it took me to build that quality relationship.
To this day, I still maintain a great relationship with my Forbes contact, as I do with several other high authoritative publishers that I’ve built relationships with using very similar tactics. I have gained some of my own publisher accounts on sites like Yahoo using these tactics as well. These links are by no means easy to acquire, but with effort, time, and dedication, you too can build links to authoritative sites like Forbes, even if you are working with a client whose site, on paper, isn’t the easiest to promote.