Elvis Presley is credited with being one of the first pioneers of rock and roll. He launched his career in 1955 by popularizing black and bluegrass music and scandalized many with his suggestive pelvis moves. A lot of musicians have become famous since then, but none have defined rock and roll like Elvis. When you say “the King of Rock and Roll,” it’s Elvis that immediately comes to mind. His reputation in this field is unchallenged.
Building a top-of-mind reputation that attracts links isn’t easy in any industry and doubly hard if you’re a small guy fighting for space and links on the web. The internet is a cluttered place with multiple news, ecommerce, and social media outlets, making it difficult for the guy with a limited link and advertising budget to get much attention.
Or not! One of the best things about the ever-increasing use of social media and the advent of universal search is the level playing field it brings to online business. Because people are participating in discussions, providing reviews, and developing blogs, it’s people who are gaining attention and subsequent links. Regardless of the size or scope of your business, it’s your reputation that’s established and works to attract links to your business. That’s a little different than traditional advertising, where it’s your logo doing most of the work.
But participating in social media alone won’t make you a rock star. Just like everything else in life, you can’t grow a business doing just one thing. Let’s take a look at a handful of opportunities a new, small, or established business owner can use to increase his/her online reputation.
If you know your customer base, you have an advantage in knowing where to start your reputation campaign. But if you don’t, that’s ok too. You can still focus on creating a link-attracting reputation by using a mixture of social media and traditional news venues. Here are three of my favorites:
Topix. I love this site. It’s a gold mine for finding news sources and submitting stories. Topix offers a number of ways to submit news to its data base. For starters, you should sign up to be an editor. Editors have up to five ways to submit stories to Topix, including “your own original content and editorial.” With 14 million people visiting Topix each day, being visible on this important news site will work toward making you highly visible and establishing your reputation.
Content writers & bloggers. If you want to become an authority in your niche, it’s crucial to become known to the key bloggers in your industry. Not only will they write and link to you, but they’ll open a pathway for others to do the same.
The challenge here is to find the right bloggers. Blog directories don’t host all blogs and can’t filter by demographic and sentiment. A large number of writers and columnists are freelancers and not part of an organizational chart listed on a news site, so it can be difficult to know how to target them. How can you find topical bloggers?
There are a number of services that provide lists of bloggers by topic, age, gender, etc. Search on the term “locate bloggers” and you’ll find a handful of resources.
I also use Technorati’s advanced search feature to look for relevant blogs. Technorati added a voting system recently, making it easy for you to get an idea of which blogs are popular. If you click on the pink “fans” button, you’ll see who voted and their profile information describing their interests. Make it a point to contact these reviewers and ask if they’ll host your content. People who take time to review sites other than their own have shown a vested interest in promoting an industry and are more open to hosting content. Get on their reputation radar.
Niche media & forum sites. It’s been said the new social media sites are a take-off of the standard forum. Either way, both can be gold mines when looking to establish yourself as an industry rock star in a given area. Start posting and share your knowledge, get involved and create a special promotion exclusive to the forum. You’ll be rewarded with reputation points and links.
Because most industries are populated with multiple forums and there’s only 24 hours in a day, how do you know which sites to participate in?
Since your goal is to establish your name as a top-of-mind source, participating in the community with the largest membership makes sense. Most standard forums and social media sites will post their membership numbers online along with their advertising opportunities. If that information and a quick visual scan isn’t enough to help make up your mind, look at using a tool such as Quantcast’s internet rating system or Alexa’s Traffic Rankings. Both will give you a good idea on traffic counts and provide a list of sites related to yours.
There’s an old Scottish proverb that says, “A bad wound may heal, but a bad name will kill.” The quote is a little over the top, but the point is solid. If you want to be an industry rock star and attract links, position yourself in a community so everybody knows your name. Cheers!
Debra Mastaler offers link training and custom link building campaigns through her Williamsburg Virginia based firm Alliance-Link. She is also the author of the link building blog The Link Spiel. The Link Week column appears on Mondays at Search Engine Land.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.