A couple weeks ago I came across a tweet from Ross Hudgens of Siege Media that asked about outreach during the holidays. At the time I was trying to wrap up one of our link building packages for a client and finalizing an outreach campaign of my own. The tweet really got me thinking about how other link builders approach not just outreach, but the task of link building in general during a chaotic time such as Xmas.
Not about to let an opportunity to learn go to waste, I asked Brian Dean of Backlinko if he would share his thoughts on the subject of holiday link building. Hopefully his answers will spark some ideas for your next campaign.
1. Overall, how do your link building strategies change with major holidays around the corner?
I usually spend the holidays hunkering down and focusing on big content pieces for 2014 unless I have a client that does a lot of volume in December. Most of my link building focuses on email outreach, which doesn’t work nearly as well when people are busy for the holidays. So if you’re looking to get some SEO work done during the holidays, I’d recommend creating something BIG that you can leverage for links in 2014.
2. Is there much difference in the content assets you choose to leverage during the holidays as opposed to the rest of the year?
Actually, no. I’ve never had success with any holiday-focused content because it tends to be gimmicky — 10 ways Santa would save money on car insurance — type of stuff.
If one of my client needs links and traffic during the holidays, I’ll publish and promote something that would also work just as well in June.
3. Outreach can be tough during major holidays, that’s no secret. Is there a certain audience that responds to holiday outreach better than others (mommy bloggers, travel sites, etc)?
Although I don’t do much outreach during the holiday season (as I mentioned above), I haven’t found a huge difference in response rates during that time. But for me, I try to get every link that I can. So even missing out on one opportunity because is enough for me to press “pause” on outreach for a few weeks.
4. Are there any specific methods that seem to prove more fruitful around the holidays?
If you’re in a place where you need to get links over the holidays, I find that sprinkling in some holidays-specific messages in your outreach emails help a lot more than you may think.
For example, you can end your emails with:
“Either way, have a great holiday!” instead of “Either way, keep up the great work with your site!”.
Any way that you can humanize yourself in outreach emails help conversions. And the holidays offer a unique opportunity to do just that.
What's your process for doing outreach on a week like this? Avoid at all costs? Curious to hear everyone's approach.
— Ross Hudgens (@RossHudgens) November 25, 2013
5. Giveaways are a common and effective strategy for earning links. How would you leverage giveaways during the holiday season?
I’d target a segment of bloggers that are particularly apt to share giveaways. For example, you can target mommy blogs and personal finance blogs. Because they tend to have frugal audiences, they go nuts for generous contests or giveaways.
You also want to reach out to blogs in your niche to give them a heads up about your giveaway. For example, if you ran an online bike parts ecommerce site, you’d want to let as many bike blogs as you can know about your $1000 bike parts giveaway.
Like anything in the link building world, the more targeted outreach you do, the more results you’ll get from your campaigns.
6. What kind of offline link building campaigns can be leveraged during the holidays?
Cards and presents are HUGE anytime of year. In fact, doing anything offline instantly separates you from all the other people vying for an influencer’s attention.
In fact, there was a case study published a few weeks ago that went into detail about how to execute a gift-based link building campaign. Worth a read if you’d like to give this a shot.
But the holidays give you a better justified reason to send random people things without coming off like a stalker. Plus people are more receptive to kind words, which means they’ll be more likely to mention your generosity in a blog post or social media post.
7. When the days run out and Christmas finally arrives, is there anything that the savvy link builder can do to still be productive? Schedule content to be published, low priority email follow ups, or just relax and revel in awesomeness?
You should definitely revel in awesomeness for a few minutes every day…not just during the holidays 🙂
Like in the rest of your life, the week between Christmas and New Year’s is a great time to reflect on what you’ve accomplished over the year and what you can do next year to take your game to the next level.
And as I mentioned earlier in the interview, this is a GREAT time to focus on producing amazing content.
It’s one of the only weeks of the year where you can get some piece and quiet 🙂