We’ve all been there — that moment in any link building campaign where you hit a wall. There are so many things that you want to do, but there is so little time or buy-in to do them that you settle on just doing the things you need to do.

That sucks.

It gets tedious, and it will eventually wear you down by sucking all of the creativity out of link building — which, let’s face it, is the best part of link building. You end up doing one thing over and over again because it works. You stop iterating. You stop testing. You stop being creative. Plus, you lose sight of the big picture — of why you’re doing this in the first place.

I call this situation the link building block. Here are some ways to break it:

Card Storming

Card Storming is typically used as a way to gain consensus in large group, like when you’re trying to get all of the stakeholders of a project to agree on the main goals.

Yes, those are Nerf darts. Brain breaks are also key in the creativity process.

Yes, those are Nerf darts. Brain breaks are also key in the creativity process.

We adopted this from our Agile Web development teams who use it to build and prioritize their backlog of work for Sprints. It also has some effective uses for brainstorming because it allows you to get everything out there while continually prioritizing the ideas.

Give everyone in the room a stack of sticky notes. For 10 minutes, have everyone write down one tactic — a sound, executable tactic here, nothing big picture — that they could implement for the client. Hopefully, after those 10 minutes, everyone has a cluster of sticky notes around them.

Then, pair off, and in 5-10 minutes go through each of their sticky notes and agree to the top 8-10 total. This helps people talk through their ideas with someone else without it being in a large group.

Once agreed, each pair will go up and put their 8-10 tactics on a whiteboard. Then, the project lead for the account leads and moderates the discussion of where each tactic goes in the backlog based on priority, resources needed to accomplish it, and expected return.

Sit Back & Strategize

We got sucked into the link building block when it felt like the only thing we were doing was guest blogging. (I’m sure we’ve all been there, too.) To ensure we don’t get back there again, our marketing department meets once a month for two hours over lunch. They bring a SWOT analysis of their clients, and we have a collective mind meld of ideas flowing.

You can't see it, but we're on the verge of greatness here.

@GainesvillePR, @latrointhemist and @brittneysheff are on the verge of greatness here.

We use the 70-20-10 method:

  • 70% of ideas we can do immediately. There’s no client push back, and we have the resources and the budget ready to go.
  • 20% of ideas would take some finagling. We’d need to get some budget from the client, nail down resources, or do something that’s a little outside what we typically do.
  • 10% of ideas are totally off-the-wall. We don’t pay attention to any constraints and the ideas just fly.

Engagement Cycle Analysis

Shout out to Elizabeth Heil from SmallBox for alerting me to this tactic, which they do during kickoff meetings. It’s a great way to better understand your client’s business  and generate some ideas that reach the right people at the right time in order to increase the likelihood of making a conversion. Here, you’re looking to analyze your client’s sales and buying processes.

Sales process: Have your client (preferably someone from their sales department) walk you through their job.

  • Where do you get leads?
  • How do you vet your leads? What qualities do you look for in a good lead?
  • Where do you do your research on a potential customer?

Buying process: This works best if you can talk to both existing customers and potential customers in their target demographic. Surveys work well for this.

  • How do you shop for this product/service?
  • What are the must-have features?
  • How long do you think about it before purchasing this product/service?

Knowing the details behind the sales and buying processes will help you to determine where knowledge gaps and conversion drop-off points exist — and what content you can provide to the potential customer to fill these gaps.

These are just three ways that help us step back from the day-to-day and focus more on why our clients hired us the in first place: to be creative and get them great results. What are some methods you use?

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Link Building | Link Building: General | Link Week Column

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About The Author: is the director of digital marketing at 352, a digital agency creating websites, software and marketing campaigns. Follow her on Twitter @erinever.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn



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  • Guest

    My advice. Check out case studies. You’d be surprised at the level of inspiration you can gain but looking at someones work. This great piece http://www.simplybusiness.co.uk/microsites/google-analytics-guide/ from distilled gained a link from the google blog… the google blog!!!! Amazing inspiration, my best cure for link builders block by far! :D

  • Craig Gilhooly

    My advice. Check out case studies. You’d be surprised at the level of inspiration you can gain by looking at someones work. This great piece http://www.simplybusiness.co.uk/microsites/google-analytics-guide/ from distilled gained a link from the google blog… the google blog!!!! Amazing inspiration, my best cure for link builders block by far! :D

  • http://www.brickmarketing.com/ Nick Stamoulis

    “Knowing the details behind the sales and buying processes will help you
    to determine where knowledge gaps and conversion drop-off points exist”

    Great point Erin. When you find the holes your find opportunities! Sometimes it’s hard to notice where the pain points are until someone else points them out to you.

  • http://www.v2interactive.net/ Josh

    tl;dr

    “regroup, rethink and study”.

 

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