Ultimate Guide to Link Collaboration

Links are important. You know that and I know too.

But here’s the thing: creating links to your web properties is one of the hardest tasks as a content marketer and blogger.

You want to make sure you have more links than your competitors. And being in a competitive niche with blogs having more than hundreds to thousands of links pointing to their site, you might find it difficult to rank without having a bunch of links.

So what do you do? Here’s where collaborative Link building comes in.

As much as I detest calling link-building a form of collaboration, it truly is. Because building links is the major problem of all content marketers and bloggers.

So if you can partner with other bloggers and marketers to build links, then that’s collaboration.

Right here, I’ll be sharing the tactics I use in building links to my web properties by simply collaborating with other marketers.

Let’s get started.

What is Collaborative Link Building?

 Collaborative Link building is the act of joining resources and opportunities with other bloggers and marketers by building links to each other’s sites.

You sure wouldn’t have the same link building opportunities, so by collaborating, you can benefit from the networks and connections of your partners. 

There are many more reasons to collaborate on link building. Let’s get real on this below.

Benefits of Collaborative Link Building

Yeah. Let’s get real here. There are definitely a lot more reasons to build links with partners.

To start with, links are expensive. Some links cost as much as $500 per link. Assuming you are planning to buy links in bulk (let’s say 100) you would be spending $50,000 dollars on building a hundred links.

So let’s be real, this is expensive than we can afford (at least for most of us). If you can, you would still be very much interested in what collaboration can offer.

Below are what you stand to gain from link building collaboration: 

  • Build Connection

By collaborating with others to build links (link exchange), you would be building more connections with people in your industry.

The network of your partner would be different from your network, so by partnering together, you’ll get to know some of his connections too.

Definitely, building connections will have immense benefits on your profession.

  • High-quality links

Google doesn’t love all links equal. Google loves high-quality links. And that’s the exact thing you get when you collaborate with other content marketers in your niche.

You get to set expectations on the type of links you need. And the most important thing is that you would be able to get links from sites that you never thought of.

  • Build Links in Quantity

Quality links in quantity is an awesome result of collaboration. When you have 5 partners, then you can easily build more than 100 links within a short period.

Instead of building a few links like 5 per month, you can do multiples. Because you have other partners building links to your site.

  • It’s Cheap

When trying to build links alone, you would be bearing all the expenses of link building.

But when collaborating with others, you wouldn’t be paying your partners, you would be paying back in links.

And that’s cheap and very affordable for anyone to do. 

Step by Step Guide on Link Building Collaboration

Here’s the deal, right? To get started with link building collaboration, you need to follow a working and proven method.

Here’s what I mean:

  1. Research Partners
  2. Outreach
  3. Connect
  4. Organize your Collaboration
  5. Automate

This method is simple to neglect, but it’s very essential and can serve as a framework for beginners and professionals in link building.

  • Research Partners

The first step to collaborating with other content marketers and bloggers is to research a list of prospects that could become partners.

You need to start by searching your niche to find prospects that have similar interests to you. 

But you shouldn’t collaborate with a direct competitor because you would have similar posts on your blog. And if you have to, there should be rules guiding the content you both want to rank.

To research partners, search for frequent guest bloggers that you have seen contributing to blogs in your niche and similar industry.

 These marketers and guest bloggers are prospects who would be comfortable with the idea.

Another way to do it is to look for bloggers that accept guest posts on their blogs. These bloggers would be willing to collaborate with you if the offer sounds interesting.

Also, editors are another set of prospects you shouldn’t miss. Some of them would be willing to do it for nothing much in return. 

If you reach out to editors, you can guarantee a more quality link opportunity. 

For tools to search for prospects, I use LinkedIn and Twitter.

LinkedIn and Twitter are professional networking tools to meet new people in your industry. 

By looking into the follower of an industry blogger, you can find hundreds of prospects that can become partners. Twitter has a lot of potentials when it comes to networking and building relationships.

Right from twitter, you can search for industry bloggers in your niche and start by following them. Check out their followers and you’ll be surprised to find more content marketers and bloggers in your niche.

And for LinkedIn, the tool curates the names of potential partners to connect with. So it’s also another way of getting your list of prospects to reach out to.

  • Outreach 

By now I believe you already have a list of prospects to reach out to.

And to get started with the outreach, you need to ensure to get the right contact information of your prospects.

One of the causes of poor performing outreach is reaching out to the wrong person. Whenever you’re thinking of outreach, be more concerned about reaching the right person with the right contact.

For this, our main target is reaching out to SEOs, bloggers, and content marketers that deal with link building in their industry.

We are not after the CEOs and busy people that have little to do with the SEO of their brand.

So the idea of pitching the founder of a big industry blog might not work. They have an editor for that purpose. So you should reach out to the right people.

Also, another thing to consider is your outreach email. Most outreach email sucks.

And the reasons for this aren’t far-fetched, they were written with a nonchalant mindset.

Everybody matters. And the way you approach people is very important. And just like any other form of communication, the first impression matters.

If you’re reaching out to people the first time, you should put in the effort to catch their attention and also prove you’re valuable.

What do you think trade is all about? It’s about exchanging values and nothing else.

And since this is a partnership, you are both contributing values. So when reaching out, you need to prove to your prospects how they would benefit greatly from the collaboration.

A way of doing this is to show them the quality links you’ve gotten for your brands and sites.

Show and not tell. That’s the rule, authenticity.

Sending Generic Outreach Emails with Tools Doesn’t Work in 2020

Sorry to disappoint you. I’d to bold this to lay emphasis.

If you’re thinking of sending out outreach emails to hundreds of prospects by using time-saving tools to send generic emails, then think about it.

This is 2020. You’ve to be ready to put in the effort if you want to stay relevant in your industry.

Sending Generic emails is frustrating and annoying to people. I’ve gotten a lot of generic emails and all I do is to delete them.

Worse is the fact that the emails promise to do what they can’t show. Just sending generic emails wouldn’t work – I repeat.

A better way of getting more done in time is to craft some email templates and then change some part of the body to personalize the email to prospects.

I don’t even take the time to read emails that are not directed to me on most occasions. And I’m sure, I’m not the only one on this table.

Lastly, if you’ve some amazing hard-to-get links, then including them into your email might be a great plus of proving your credibility to the prospects.

I could go on hammering the need for an authentic outreach email, but I think showing some examples and templates would be better.

Here are some email templates that I have used before.

#1 Outreach Email Template

Hi {First Name},

I am (Name) a content marketer at (company or blog). I am reaching out to propose a partnership that will leverage link building to you.

I have been featured on CoSchedule, Linkody, TechPrevue, and many other high-authority blogs.

If you’re interested, I would be happy to send you the details.

Best regards,

{Name}

#2: Outreach Email Template

Hi {First Name},

How do you do?

I am reaching out to find out:

  • if you accept guest posts on your blog (If yes, I would be happy to suggest some topics for your blog).
  • And if you would be interested in a link building collaboration, I write 2-5 guest posts per month on high-quality sites.

Here are some of the guest posts I have landed

{link to your top and best guest posts}

I look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,

{Name}

  • Connect and Follow up

The result of your outreach will be a mix. So don’t bother trying to beat yourself up for rejections.

To be exact, you might even get more rejections than “Yes”. I also did too.

Also, some wouldn’t even reply to your emails and you might feel down. But I already told you, the result for all outreach emails is always a mix.

Instead, here’s what to do.

For the few that said, Yes, connect with them to discuss more on the expectations of both parties. State the expectations clear from the onset.

What are things your partners plan to achieve with the link building? Or better still, what are the posts they are planning to rank?

You need to connect with each other in order to move the needle forward.

For those that said No, send them an email thanking them for getting back to you. For replying to your emails, you should appreciate their time.

And for the emails you didn’t get any reply, it doesn’t mean it was intentional. Do yourself a favor, by following up on your email after the 3rd day of getting no replies. Ensure to properly write a follow-up email.

Your follow-up email is as important as your outreach email.

Below is a simple follow-up email you can send.

Hi {Name},

How is it going?

My name is {Name} and I emailed you about a link collaboration.

Since I haven’t heard from you, I thought I should send you a reminder.

Please let me know what you think.

Best regards,

Eniola

Here’s a follow-up email sent to a partner proposing link collaboration:

And then after some days again. And if you get no reply, stay mute.

But in the end, you should connect with both those that said Yes and No. They could all be useful in your entrepreneurship journey.

The truth is, your network still matters when it comes to growing your brand.

  • Organize your Collaboration

At this point, it’s believed that you’ve started putting your link building partnership into work.

But since you aren’t collaborating with just one marketer, you need to organize your system to get things straight.

So right here, I’ll be sharing the tools I use in organizing my link building collaboration.

First of all, you want to be able to track where your partners are getting your links and the number of links they have gotten you. Plus the number of links you are owing.

Also, you want to be able to track your content marketing campaign other than link building.

You need to think farther than just building links to your web properties, you need to look at the overall state of your content marketing.

So let’s get into details on how you can organize your link building collaboration.

  • Linkody

Let’s start here. Linkody is your aid when it comes to tracking your guest blogging campaign. Guest blogging is the method I use to get more freelance writing clients.

And it’s also another amazing method of building high-quality links. To track your guest blogging links, you can use Linkody.

And with Linkody, you can add links that you have gotten or expect to the database.

And where Linkody really finds its usefulness is the fact that it was built to manage and track your links in the first place.

Instead of manually checking the domain authority of the links you acquired, Linkody automatically displays that for you.

Other important metrics to track like the status of the link if it’s dofollow, nofollow, UGC, or sponsored; Linkody verifies and displays this for you.

  • Monday.com

Monday project planning tool is another tool I use to organize my link building collaboration.

You definitely need this if you have a small team that helps you keep the work going smoothly. 

For example, if you’re doing guest blogging at a scale, you would need to hire freelance writers, outreach assistants, and even an editor.

With Monday project management, you can assign tasks to your team and also manage your remote team effectively.

  • Skype

I use Skype to connect with some of my partners and also have a more detailed chat on how to move the partnership forward.

And that’s why I said, you should look farther than just building links to your blogs.

Think about creating amazing content alongside with other marketers in your niche.

Skype could be another way of interviewing your partners (as interviews are another way of generating backlinks).

If your prospect agrees to an interview, ensure to forward the interview questions to your prospect. Sending the interview questions beforehand will help you produce quality and recordings.

You don’t want your audience to get confused during the interview. So sending the questions will help the prospect go through them and make some edits based on their privacy.

For me, I haven’t hosted an interview for general consumption on skype before but I have done some recorded audio chat with my partners.

  • Chanty

Chanty is another tool I use to communicate effectively with my team and partners.

Sending emails and awaiting responses can be a long chain. And as a marketer, you might need some short response chain, and Chanty could help you out here.

Also, you can also consider the popular one, Slack. I also use Slack.

  • Automate the Process

Link building isn’t a one-time thing you do and just stop. It’s a practice that you keep doing every month.

It’s called link building practices. It’s a culture among successful sites. And if you want to be among them, then you need to consider automating the process.

As a founder or marketer, you shouldn’t only focus on link building. There are many other important tasks on your to-do list.

So you need to automate the process. To automate the process, you need marketing tools and freelancers.

For creating content for link building, you need to hire freelance writers that can help you with creating amazing content for your guest blogging campaign.

Also, reaching out to each and every one of your prospects personally is tedious. And trying to do that by yourself, will only make you lose control over other important things.

So if you’re doing it at scale, you should consider outsourcing the outreach process to someone.

you will also need tools to automate the process, like Hunter.io for finding email addresses, Linkody for finding link building opportunities, and tools for email outreach.

My Personal Experience with Link Building Collaboration

There are a lot of fake bloggers and marketers that teach what they don’t do, count me out of them. 

I have practically experienced the effect of link building collaboration with other content marketers. While I don’t buy the idea of collaborating with other marketers mainly for link building, I so much agree with the power of links.

My journey to discovering this link growth strategy started when I published a guest post on CoSchedule. I received numerous shares on the blog post and I had few bloggers pitch me on getting them links on top sites.

I decided to consider this kind of link building strategy and I reached out to big fishes in the marketing industry. 

I got a lot of Yes compared to No. I was able to get on the radar of popular bloggers like Lilach Bullock, to name a few.

And I also got emails from high profile bloggers willing to collaborate with me thanks to my commitment to guest blogging.

Thanks to this partnership, I got links from InspirationFeed, Enstine Muki, CoSchedule, Stream-SEO, and many other sites.

Conclusion

Building links is as essential as creating amazing content. And we all know it’s difficult building links.

So the best thing to do is to take advantage of the power of many and start collaborating with others on link building.

Over to You

Have you ever tried collaborating on link building? I would love to hear about your experience.

And if you’re just hearing about it, what do you think about this guide?

About the Author

Akinduyo Eniola is a freelance content marketer for hire helping small businesses leverage effective content marketing for the growth of their business. You can see his portfolio here and can connect with him on Twitter @guruscoach