The key to scaling a link building campaign is to have a system in place. Throughout my career, I’ve always tried to simplify things and break things down into redundant parts that can be systemised as much as possible.
The outcome of which is a very robust system that can be broken into sections in a 1 person for 1 task type set up. With this philosophy in mind so long as you can break those tasks down into easy to follow steps, then you can scale the tasks infinitely.
If we bring a white hat, outreach and content based campaign into its core components it looks something like this:
- Create a piece of content/mini site/tool/ infographic etc that is of interest to your target audience (linkable asset)
- Select types of links that will be effective to market that piece of content
- Create a list of targets who have an audience who would be interested in your asset
- Approach them and show them what you have
- Follow up to ensure that they see it
That’s it, client link building in 5 sentences.
These 5 steps require 3 people, possibly 4 if you include a content creator for both the original piece and any ongoing pieces (for placement on other sites in the form of guest posts or sponsored posts etc).
So what do you need?
- A project manager (most of you will do this part yourself)
- A prospector, to find targets
- Outreach person, to contact and negotiate links with targets
Ok so let’s take a step back for a second, this is what happens when I get a new client:
- I add a new folder to my Google drive (a pre made folder that is just copied and renamed), this folder contains:
- A Google sheets document that will be used for project tracking (this is the main piece of the puzzle)
- Another Google sheets document that contains hundreds of dynamic search operators that allows my prospectors to find targets
- A third sheet that is a simple to do list that allows my project manager to just check things off to ensure that nothing is missed
- I set up a training folder that has step by step instructions for each member of staff that contains:
- A folder for my prospector that show them how to find targets for each link type
- The same for my outreach person except it is a little more detailed as negotiating links is more difficult than simply finding targets
- A quick overview of the process, to show them the workflow and how to use the sheets
- I then either hire some new people or add the project to my current staff members to do list, I hire in teams of 2 (for prospecting and outreach) and give them a max of 2 clients each, my project manager overlooks all of the campaigns.
Ok back in the game, so what does each person do?
This is an important role and is paid as such, I pay my guy $30 an hour.
His role is to:
- Come up with content ideas
- Selects link types for the project
- Manage my other team members
- Ensure campaigns stay on track and under budget
- Keeps an eye on target quality, to make sure they are relevant and meet the criteria for given link type
- He has final say on spending money and anything else that is asked by the team
- Allocates content to writers after choosing the level of content required
- Do the basic admin and onboarding tasks:
- Set up an email account for usage
- Add the account to any tools we are using such as buzzstream
- Perform content and link audits on the client site
- Set up the project tracker sheet so it is ready for the team to get to work on, this involves adding content pieces, including location of client, adding similar (bridge) niches
- Basically anything else that is a little bit more advanced than just following instructions
- He also holds a weekly meeting with the team to see if they have any concerns or suggestions for improving things
This person should be somebody with experience and with some knowledge of SEO so that he can address any questions from the team.
I hold meeting with this person regularly and trust them with access to my paypal account, which I use mainly just to put money in so he can spend it on content or sponsored posts etc
After hiring them, I have no other contact with the prospector and outreach(er?) my only point of contact is the project manager and if he decides that somebody isn’t up to the task, we cut them and hire a replacement.
I recommend that you do this job yourself, until you know your system inside and out, and ease somebody into the fold by gradually handing off duties to them. The reason for this is that if you just throw everything at them all at once, it is a lot of responsibility and you won’t have built up any trust of this persons abilities to perform the role.
This role is basically data entry level, so I pay as little as possible for it, generally I find people who are used to being VA’s etc and charge around $3.33 per hour.
- Go into project tracker
- Take a task from the project plan (this will always be “Find x targets” and be marked with a link type)
- Take a keyword from our content info tab
- Add the keyword into our dynamic operators sheet and filter it to the link type
- Input that into search engines
- Manually go through results and assess for suitability to campaign (all of this criteria is contained in their training documents)
- Add all relevant details to the targets tab
And that’s it, no real difficulty, easy for anybody to do.
This is a little more difficult, so I pay a little more for it $5-10.
- Go and find a target from the sheet
- Approach them with a customised but pre written email (if they can write individual ones then this will only improve results)
- Negotiate links as well as priced for paid placement types (sponsored links and product reviews etc)
This person needs to speak PERFECT English, and be conversational, this is because a lot of the interaction you have with people can’t be scripted so they need to be able to respond to to a multitude of different people and react in the best interests of the site.
Having a good rapport with targets opens up lots of opportunities for both the current campaign and any future contact you have with them. It can also drive prices down for any paid placements etc 😉
There you, go, if you have these 3 roles filled, or 2 if you take the project manager role yourself, you can scale your link building efforts to the moon if you need to.
For example, if I take away the project manager role, a recent team I have hired at a combined cost of $8.33 per hour for 20 hours per week, have:
- Built 15 links for 1 client
- 8 for another
- Found and approached around 200 targets, per client
- Spent £0 on content as the links have been mainly resource pages and link roundups
All in their first week. So what is that $166 for 23 relevant, authoritative links?
Not too shabby!
Obviously one of the key parts of this is the training documents you provide the team with, mine are included in my training system, as well as the client documents…. OH MY!Check it out