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Using National Days, Weeks & Month Events for Link Building

By now you’ve probably read Jon Cooper’s gigantic blog post listing almost every link building strategy known. If you haven’t, then go and read it…now. Back? Great.

I say ‘almost’ every link building strategy because I’ve got one that’s not listed and you don’t see talked about very often. I’m not claiming it’ll work for every site and every industry, but there’s so much scope that I’d be shocked if you couldn’t apply it to your site in some way.

National Link Building Day

Ok, that doesn’t exist (I don’t think), but it’d be cool if it did right? Imagine if everyone expected to receive emails requesting links on that day, everyone was more open to linking out and it all just worked. Maybe some day.

But that’s what the point of this post is. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of official days, weeks and even months dedicated to different aspects of a huge number of industries. They’re often organised by governments, charities, governing bodies or associations. This gives them more clout and means that these groups will be promoting the event for you. Jon’s post covers sponsoring events, timely or seasonal content, associations/organisations and discounts which all come close. In fact all of those elements are included in this post in one way or another but it’s the angle of the ‘National day’ that I think is unique here.

Using National Days, Weeks and Months for Content

When an event is looming you can use it in a number of simple ways to generate new content. You could write a blog post about the event and what it entails, or even produce a press release focusing on how the industry uses the event and what this years event will bring. It should be easy to think of content for these event when you see a industry specific example you can relate to.

But wait…

Using National Days, Weeks and Months forContent Link Building

But why stop there? Why create a blog post or press release when you can go the extra mile and reap the rewards :)

Here’s a list of possible tactics you can use alongside events like these to move from straight content creation into link building territory – some of these may start to overlap onto Jon’s list but that’s no bad thing ;) Each tactic won’t apply to every type of national day, week or month, but there should be something for almost every occasion…

Create an infographic charting the history of the event

Focus on key moments, key people, popularity growth, themes etc. Utilise the official logo (if one exists) and put some real effort into the design.

Extra credit: Then contact the group in charge of running or promoting the event to see if they’d be interested in using the infographic during the event – or at least if they’ll host it on their blog or site. These types of groups often having well trusted sites, even if their design might be a little ropey.

 

Build a guide to the activities planned across the country/industry to mark the event
Make it comprehensive and easy to use. Don’t forget to make it easy to share. Again, get in touch with the group in charge to gauge interest.

Extra credit: Use the latest design techniques like jQuery, CSS3 and HTML5 to make the guide interactive and really visually appealing. That increases its ‘shareability’ factor hugely.

 

Depending on the event, create a voucher code to commemorate it
A 10% discount code can make a real difference to orders during an event. A client I’ve worked with recently received their largest order after offering a discount code during an industry ‘month’.

Extra Credit: Promote your discount codes on sites like VoucherCodes.co.uk and MyVoucherCodes.co.uk. You’ll get a couple of links (possibly nofollow) but the real benefit will be the regular users of those sites and the people who find them when searching for voucher codes. Sometimes the events will encourage companies to offer discounts to support it, if that’s the case then there’s a good chance they’ll have a page on the site dedicated to linking to people who’re participating.

 

Host a smaller event during the main day/week/month
This one one won’t work for all types of national day but ones that celebrate a type of product might fit well. Let’s say it’s National Egg Week. It’s not only catering companies and restaurants that can get in on the action. Any company with premises could host a range of egg themed events to commemorate the day. Why not have egg eating competitions like in the film Cool Hand Luke, or hold omelette cook offs? Promote these events in local press (they almost all have websites now) as well as blogging about it before and after the event.

Extra Credit: Try to involve people who’ll bring clout or newsworthiness to the event. It’s National Egg Week, how much would it cost to get Edwina Currie to come along? Possibly cost prohibitive but you get the picture :)

Involving the party most closely related to the event is always a win – it’ll bring press and the press will bring links, juicy links. In the stupid egg example that would probably be the British Egg Foundation in the UK or the American Egg Board in the US.

 

Create your own special day, week or month event
As I alluded to in the opening paragraph of this post, there’s no National Link Building day, but if someone got behind it and gave it a push it just might keep rolling. So if there’s no event that fits for you or a company you work for then create it. Make sure it’s not too commercially motivated, so National Buy a Widget Day probably won’t go down too well – but National Widget Appreciation Day might work.

And remember if you control the event website and the event itself you’re bound to get a boat load of links for as long as the event runs. It’s going to cost a bit to put together and organise an but the benefits should far outweigh this. Just think, you’ll be getting other companies or website owners sending you great content, asking to join in and generally getting involved.

Extra Credit: Contact the press, don’t be shy. A UK blogger who realised there wasn’t a day to bring attention to dementia, went about creating his own. TheDementia Awareness Day page he created on Facebook got a pretty nice link from the BBC here. Much of the news of this type that reaches the BBC website originates in local newsrooms, you don’t need to contact some bigwig who’ll knock you back. Try here if you’ve got a genuinely interesting story or event.

 

Contact news outlets to let them know why X event isn’t helping the industry
Possibly a higher risk strategy but one that’s been proven to work. If there’s one topic that always gets people talking it’s controversy. As long as you have genuine concerns about an event, whether it’s gone off the boil or you think it damages the image of your industry – talking about it can bring you lots of links. The people linking to you may be angry but they’re links all the same.

Extra Credit: Linked to an earlier point, if you think an event is no good or you could do better, then do just that. Create a better, competing event. Pretty big risk if the other event is well established and popular, but maybe choose to focus on a slightly different area of the industry so people could feasibly support both

Conclusion

Many of these ideas can of course be applied to traditional industry events such asLondon Fashion Week, the Geneva Motor Show, or something closer to home likeSMX (look at what Distilled and SEOmoz have done in our industry withSearchLove). Maybe you don’t have the budget to put on a rival to the Geneva Motor show (heck, even the UK car industry can’t afford to stage the British Motor Show any more) but I’m damn sure you could produce link-worthy content about it.

 

Resources to find days/weeks/months in your industry

Here’s some initial pointers to get you started, but I’m sure you’ll probably already know of days related to your industry that you could be using in a smarter way:

 

Hopefully this post has given you some ideas, let me know your thoughts in the comments :)

2 thoughts on “Using National Days, Weeks & Month Events for Link Building”

  1. Woah. This is awesome. I’ve heard about this before (I think Wil Reynolds talked about something like this he did for a client at a conference a few years ago?), but you really took this to the next level.

    Here’s an idea: Plan the entire thing out a month or so in advance. Have the infographic all set & ready, then reach out to bloggers and ask them to help you raise awareness by embedding it as a separate post on that day. Bloggers are much more willing to embed an infographic (or video: think SOPA) that a lot of others have also embedded if it’s for a great cause.

    Then, make sure you get in touch with the journalist a month ahead of time, and ask if they’d write up a story: either go for having it written up prior to it (so people know) or one that’s after the fact (i.e. “50 health blogs helped raise awareness about bulimia”) showing what all went down.

    Regardless, this is a great idea. I really like the creative juices you have Will. And thanks for the link! Came here just because it was about link building to find out my post was mentioned right off the bat (that was an awesome feeling :)).

  2. Hi Jon,

    Thanks for the comment :) I’ve not seen Wil’s slides about this, I’ll look them up.

    Good work on the blog post by the way, a really useful resource for people starting out and even experienced pros.

    I like the idea about using an infographic or other link bait and then reusing that by focusing on the result of the initial work, clever.

    Cheers

    Will

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