Question: Your Company Is in a Boring Industry and You Have a Boring Product. How Do You Build Links for It?
You can’t use the same link building techniques for every kind of business. Businesses with interesting products like electronics or fashion wear easily lend themselves to link building efforts. Other products are impossible to talk about, though. If your company deals in inexpensive dry cells imported from China, for instance, it can be impossible to write a blog about them, write guest posts or try any of many other link building techniques commonly used for interesting products. Hundreds of business areas are considered so uninteresting that they have no specific industry blogs, at all. If your business exists in such a category, where do you find the link building opportunities that you need?
The answer is that you need imagination. Many successful businesses in boring business areas succeed in building great link profiles. Here’s how they do it.
Use a category map and start brainstorming
Conventional link building ideas don’t work for boring businesses. You need to concentrate on finding unconventional ideas. Trying brainstorming is the best way to uncover them. Brainstorming doesn’t happen in a vacuum, though. You need to lay the groundwork to stimulate a brainstorming session properly. One of the best ways to begin brainstorming for link building is to lay out a category map.
A category map is easy to create. You simply need to map every single category that your business belongs to on a large whiteboard and think of all the content and link ideas that come to you when looking at each one of the categories you see.
You can start by placing the name of the most specific industry sub-category that your business belongs to in a circle at the center of your category map. You then need to begin thinking of every business element related to your specific industry and putting it in its own circle.
Your can put down the names of your business vertical, related business verticals, noncompeting verticals, complementary businesses, the parent category for your business vertical, the names of the business areas that your suppliers and customers belong to, popular topics of discussion, the names of related categories that those popular topics may belong to, industry trends, buyer personas and so on. Each circle can connect to the main circle that contains the industry sub-category in some way. Soon, you will have a system of circles all around the industry sub-category mapped out in the center – a map of the ecosystem that your business exists in.
As an example, if your company makes paving stones to supply to road building firms, you could consider putting down categories for the construction business, for road trips, holiday travel, safety issues related to road building, government regulations, any controversies related to these regulations, industry authorities and bodies and so on.
Once you manage to flesh out your category map, try to build a list of every related community, possible
Once you have a system of categories to surround your main business category with, you need to begin making a list of websites, forums, blogs and other communities that every one of the categories in your map holds. Once you have a list of relevant online services, you can find out what experts, authorities and enthusiasts each field holds.
With all this information, you can finally begin building links
As you study every community, website, blog, and expert on your list, you’ll find a few that aren’t very interesting – they may not be particularly well-respected or may not be active or even particularly relevant to your industry. For instance, if you need a link building plan for a DWI law firm, you’re likely to see plenty of websites and communities related to spreading awareness about the dangers involved in drinking and driving. These communities tend to be dead set against anyone trying to help DWI offenders get off the hook. It wouldn’t make any sense to try building links for such a law firm with such awareness-related websites.
If you are trying to market a boring product, regular link building techniques may not work even if you have a list of related websites and communities. You may need to genuinely engage the link building targets that you’ve discovered. You may need to organize seminars, help an industry authority with an educational or other effort and so on. In general, you may need to give back to the community to endear yourself to it. On your way, you’ll be able to drop plenty of links around.
If you go about building links in these ways, you will need at first to invest in the activity without adequate return. It can take time for such a genuine investment in the community to begin paying off. When does begin paying off, though, the results could be spectacular.