Content isn’t just something nice to have – it’s one of your most tangible brand assets. Use content to build effective backlinks that are going to stick, and actually benefit your business and brand. Content-oriented link building is some of the most effective link building you can do, but it doesn’t come for free and takes real commitment. Here some ways in which you can use the power of great content to propel your online brand.

Build a content asset


Invest in quality content on your domain to boost relevancy and authority.

Asking for a link or a mention is a lot easier if editors and website owners have got something awesome to link back to – not just a boring commercial page with minimal user value. A content asset depends on your niche– it could be a mega guide into a niche topic, an in-depth how to article, or a humorous take on something affecting your industry.

  • This is an investment – it will take time and money to do a content asset properly. Don’t think that you can just throw up any old content in a day in an effort to be ‘influential’.
  • Think about what would really appeal to your audience. Do in-depth keyword and audience research and use content research tools like BuzzSumo for inspiration.
  • Don’t forget to promote your content through all channels available to you. Got something really great? Your content could be of interest for people doing industry roundup posts, or maybe an influencer you’ve mentioned may want to know about what you’ve created? Send out friendly emails or social media posts. Use the power of great social media promotion to give your content the edge.
  • Now you’ve built your asset – leverage it to help you build links and impress editors.

Get creative


Don’t be held back by any format – there are literally thousands of different types of content assets out there you could build on your domain.

  • Visual content like SlideShares, memes and GIFs can all be used for link building.
  • Image attributions mean that you can attract backlinks by publishing high quality images and image galleries online.
  • Video content is super engaging and people love to share online videos.
  • Custom development means you could even create a custom calculator, a browser tool or interactive quiz – the sky’s the limit.

Sponsored content


Not everyone’s favorite, getting sponsored content spots from bloggers and websites is an easy way to raise awareness, but content quality varies and advertorial posts tend to get less engagement.

  • Certain industry publications, magazines, and directories will give you a spot on their publishing platform if you are a signed up member. This can be a great way to share relevant content with your peers, or update potential clients on new business developments.
  • Bloggers work with brands and businesses over sponsored content, and some offer a lot of value, but others aren’t always such a good opportunity. Product reviews and giveaways are some of the most popular forms of blogger collaborations, but content also comes into in the form of sponsored posts.
  • Tread carefully with this link building tactic, it can potentially get you in hot water if not managed properly.

Guest posting


Really good guest posting adds value, bad guest posting is basically spam.

To build effective and long-lasting links and to raise brand awareness, it’s always best to focus on quality over quantity. Reach out to sites you admire and approach sites where you know you can add a lot of value.

  • Be selective about the sites you go for – invest your time in finding high-quality, relevant sites.
  • Good guest posting starts with figuring out where the crossover lies between your site and theirs – find that relevancy hook and go for it with a well-timed and relevant guest post email. Keep it simple.
  • There are various different levels of difficulty here – depending on editors and their guidelines. Generally posts that are sloppy and obviously just made for link building efforts won’t be appreciated by anyone.

Ego bait


Everyone likes to know they’ve been mentioned online, right? Think about it – if you’ve been recently interviewed for a publication or mentioned in a post, wouldn’t you in turn share (and link to) that content? Creating content that includes other people and uses their expertise is a great way to help you build links.

  • Expert roundups are very popular because people love to hear what challenges other people have had and how they have overcome them. Getting people to answer a simple question is a great way to get the attention of a busy influencer – just make sure you ask the right question! Spend loads of time brainstorming your initial outreach request.
  • You can also do more traditional roundups if you don’t fancy asking people to contribute – “the best B2B business writers to follow on Twitter”, “my favorite wedding bloggers” etc.
  • If your site has relevancy and authority, you can even create a badge saying “I’ve been featured on X” that people can use on their sites. This works best if you feature junior to mid career people who are more likely to include this in their professional portfolios.
  • Reaching out to the real leading lights of the industry is risky, but it may be worth it if they get back to you!

Do it better


You have all the research tools out there to help you find out what content other people are linking to and finding compelling – so why don’t you go up a level and outdo your competitors?

  • If something has been successful once it shows there is an appetite and a desire for that content – use that knowledge to your advantage. Try to go for different variations on the same theme and use a backlink analysis tool like Majestic to start building a list of potentially interested sites.
  • This isn’t about blindly parroting stuff that’s already been done – but about genuinely improving and adding value to content that has already proven popular with people.

Open up your blog


Bring relationships into it.

If you fancied nurturing some content talent on your blog, you can let budding writers and other industry experts write for your blog. This opens up an avenue for natural collaboration and synergy – which both often lead to links.

  • Exchanging views over reciprocal blog posts should be a natural process – not something you see as the default. This isn’t just about building links – it’s about building a brand.
  • Getting to know people (both offline and online) is a worthwhile exercise that yields results in surprising ways. Many great links and pieces of content have started out as a simple ‘hey’.

Finally – don’t forget your on-page content


Think of it like this, if you are asking for big authority website to work with you on content, whether that is linking back to you or working on a guest post, wouldn’t you want them to see a site that impresses, not scares them?

  • Spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and thin and poor content will turn off editors and reputable websites.
  • Make sure your website is well-formatted and updated and that you are following all the latest web & SEO practices. People these days are careful who they link to – don’t mess up your chances of a fruitful partnership with a poor website.

Still not sated? Here are some more content marketing lessons your brand should take on board (including how to write authority articles and clean up core content).

Gareth Simpson

Gareth Simpson

Freelance Contributor– Technical SEO & Startup Founder

Gareth has worked as an SEO for almost a decade now and has recently started his own content agency whilst also freelancing as a technical SEO. His SEO specialisms are content and blogger outreach…and he likes green tea. You can follow him on Twitter @SimpsonGareth.