Optimizing your SERP today isn’t the same as it was just a few years ago. Not too long ago you could simply keyword stuff your site or do the same to off-site blogs and other web properties and, voila, you could make a positive-looking SERP pretty easily. Today, Google demands much more from websites than just a handful of keywords. Today, Google says, it’s all about providing value to the internet. To get a good SERP today, you have to employ several different strategies, like creating social profiles, guest blogging, making videos, and more.
As a result, reputation management is much more varied today, and you have to be more creative. One of the ways you can be more creative is by building out some cool content that gets links from a variety of authoritative websites. Things like infographics, e-books, videos, downloadable posters, and more can be a great way to fill up a SERP with positive mentions of your name, but they will only work if you can get people to link to them. Although many reputation management professionals may complain about how hard it is to get something to “go viral” (and not everything will), there is a strategy you can follow to at least ensure that your content—whatever it might be—gets the best chance it can get at widespread links and exposure, ensuring a place in your SERP.
1) Define your audience
First of all, you need to define your audience. Let’s say you’re doing reputation management for a company that build e-learning tools, and you want to get their latest e-book to rank in the SERPs for their name. Identify who that e-book might be useful to. Is it teachers? Is it corporate trainers? Is it parents? It is CEOs? Once you know who you need to reach out to, the next step is a no-brainer.
2) Identify the leaders
Today there is an online community for just about everything. Whether you’re targeting lifestyle management coaches, alligator enthusiasts, or harmonica players, you’ll find a community on the internet for it. All you have to do it identify who are the movers and shakers in that community, and the people that follow those leaders. Once you have identified that the e-book is targeted at corporate trainers, it’s time to step up your game and get social.
3) Establish relationships
Making friends on the web can be a bit tricky, but all it really boils down to it contacting someone and telling them you like what they’re doing. For example, once you have identified the top five blogs about corporate training, send the personality behind the blog an email, comment on a recent post, follow them on social profiles, or share their content with your followers. This step has nothing to do with asking them to read your e-book or even mentioning that you have anything to do with an e-book, it’s simply about getting their attention and showing them that you are truly interested in what they are doing.
4) Don’t ask for a link
Once you’ve spent some time building a relationship with your target, don’t ask for a link to your e-book. Asking for a link is one of the sure-fire ways to not get a link. Rather, approach your target with an idea or ask them for an opinion. Send them an email and ask them if they can give you feedback on an e-book you’ve written about corporate training, then simply send them the e-book. If you’ve already established a relationship of trust, and you ask sincerely, they’ll probably say yes. The key is to bring your target into the content creation process, make them feel like they are a valuable part of the process and that their input will help make your content better.
5) Follow up
Give them some time to look over the content you’ve sent them and then follow up to see what they might have to say about it. Don’t be pushy, just ask if they’ve had a chance to look over it and if they have any suggestions or opinions about it. Again, if you have a relationship with your target, they’ll probably make some time to get back to you—usually with some great feedback.
6) Thank them
Once they’ve given you feedback, thank them for their time and tell them how appreciative you are for their expertise and guidance. Then—finally—you can ask them if this is the type of e-book they’d want to share with their audience. They might say, no. But if they had favorable things to say about your e-book, then they’ll probably say yes. But, even at this point, you’re not asking for a link—you’re simply asking for them to share content that they already like with their audience. Which could be though a link on their blog, through a tweet, a Facebook share, or more.
Any one of theses outcomes is a win. If they link to it, that’s great. If they share it with their followers (and their follow base is sizable), many people will RT it or share it through social networks—creating many mentions of your e-book on the web.
And if you can duplicate this process with 5-10 leaders in the industry, you’ll get a huge response to your e-book. Not only will you see an uptick in downloads, but you’ll get a mess of links and it’ll probably start to rank in the SERPs for your brand or company name—which is exactly what you wanted in the first place.