How to build organic links through influencer campaigns
Don't let PR or social goals dominate the conversation - influencer marketing projects are a great opportunity for SEO teams too
Brands choose to work with influencers for a whole roster of reasons. Different internal teams and agencies all have different aims: one might be looking for brand coverage, and another might be thinking about boosting their social media metrics.
Within all this activity, some of the link-building benefits of influencer marketing can get lost. So it’s worth getting all your marketing teams around the table to think about how to maximise the impact of a campaign, rather than seeing it as purely PR or social activity.
Don’t forget to invite the SEO team, because brilliant campaigns can generate juicy backlinks – and there aren’t many organic search specialists who wouldn’t want a few more of those in their site’s link profile.
Here are just some of the ideas that you can think about with your wider team, with those linking citations in mind:
New iterations of existing assets
Many departments will have a great idea for an influencer marketing campaign; then they’ll create the core asset, maybe do a bit of promotion, and that’ll be that. Yet, with a bit of creativity, it’s possible to give these assets a wider appeal and a longer lifespan.
If you have the resource to do so, why not rework the asset into new formats or tease out new angles? You might turn an ebook into an infographic, adapt an article into a video, or create several niche iterations of a broader guide (for example: breaking a street food guide into pieces that focus on pizza or burger joints). These new assets can be aligned for new outreach targets, allowing you to cast your net much wider.
Ego-baiting (but don’t call it that…)
Using industry experts and other influencers within your content can be more powerful than you might expect.
This tactic is often called ego-baiting – though as Matt Souza points out on SEMRush, the practice isn’t as negative and cynical as that makes it sound: “Ego bait is content that promotes or features industry influencers on your site. […] While the name can have some negative connotations — you’re essentially ‘stroking their ego’ to get a link or share from them — the main crux of ego bait is networking.”
It can work whether you’re on the B2B or B2C side too. We’ve worked with consumer-facing bloggers and vloggers on a range of campaigns; those who contribute are much more likely to want to help you out with a bit of promotion. And that means valuable backlinks to your site or asset.
Turn your asset into a content opportunity
Some of the most successful campaigns we’ve worked on involve taking a branded asset and extending it into a genuine content opportunity for influencers. If there’s a natural fit between the asset and an influencer’s passions and interests, or if they can bring new expertise to a sub-topic within the asset, we’ll come together to promote it as a partnership.
For instance: when we created a map of UK food events for Expedia, we didn’t stop at the asset. We invited food and travel bloggers to attend the events listed on the map, or create recipes that feature relevant ingredients. Because that approach combines their expertise with a natural reference to the asset, it’s a much easier sell in than saying “Here’s a food map, we thought you might be interested in posting about it”.
It’s coming up with these fresh angles that will help you get the most return on investment in the long term. Not only will you be able to extend the lifespan of each asset, but you’ll also diversify your backlink profile by being able to target different types of websites.