One of the hardest things about link building is managing several spinning plates at the same time.
With so much going on, it’s easy to let opportunities slip off the radar. It might just be from not following opportunities up, not getting feedback or spreading yourself too thinly.
The fact is, getting links live requires persistence. It needs the perfect blend of being both proactive and reactive.
Here are three techniques I have found have helped me have a more productive day’s link building.
Tomorrow’s to-do list, today
This is actually a sales technique I stole from Cold Calling for Chickens, which is effective for anyone who needs to get things done on a daily basis, not just salesmen and link builders.
It is impossible to get everything done you need to do everyday.Often, just by proxy of completing one task, you immediately create at least one other.
Some people write their to-do lists first thing in the morning; I guess it serves as a nice, gentle introduction to the day.
I’ve found there is a problem with this though: tomorrow’s most pressing tasks look different in the morning.
I hate starting each day with a blank canvas. It’s easier to get in, know what needs doing and get on with it.For good link building you need to understand search operators, they will make your life easier.
Writing down tomorrow’s most important tasks serves as a commitment to putting them into action.
Each day then, I work off two to-do lists. The first one:
- features the tasks I have identified as priorities from the previous day
- is allocated to parts of my schedule to my schedule and worked through systematically
The second list is for the next day and:
- is dynamic; I’m constantly adding to it as the day as a consequence of my work that day
- features tasks numbered by their priority and whether or not it has to be achieved the following day
Obviously, it requires a bit a discipline, but when you sit at your desk each morning knowing the bare minimum of what you want to achieve, it makes it a lot harder to procrastinate daunting phone calls, or whatever else you’d rather put-off.
Work out value and do more of it
Most people will be aware of the Pareto principle; that roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.
Understanding this can help you be more effective and work at the things that really make a difference to your results.
In the words of Bob Etherington:
“There is a huge difference between being productive and being busy”
With link building, the value comes in the contact; the back and forth of e-mails, phone calls, and the work that needs doing off the back of this.
As soon as you start to overcomplicate things, you lose sight of what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.
Personally, I’ve found the idea of link building being a numbers game as a bit of a myth. It’s a quality game. What matters is the number with which you have success.
Don’t delude yourself into thinking you’re engaging in productive behaviour, just because you are keeping yourself busy.
When you spend precious time putting together clever Excel tables, or sat in meetings, or completing other administrative busywork, then you are avoiding your most important function: talking to people.
Think about the work you do that actually provides value and moves the needle. Focus on this.
Separate proactive and reactive
I’ve already mentioned the importance of balancing time spent being proactive and time being reactive.
If you understand the difference here, you can actually separate the two when planning your daily or weekly schedule.
Proactivity is defined as:
As opposed to reactivity, which is defined as:
They’re both important. On one hand, you need to be constantly drumming
The difference between the two is that being reactive is the time spent dealing with the consequences of being proactive.
The better you get at being proactive, the more time you will have to spend being reactive.
You can define time spent being proactive as:
- Drumming up lists of potential leads
- Making fresh, cold contact with people
- Working old or inactive leads
- Responding to the consequences of proactivity
- Pushing it through to the next stage — content writer, designers, etc.
- Dealing with required byt non-value adding tasks
The reason you need to separate the two is that if you don’t there’s no focus to your approach; you’re not working as effectively or as efficiently.
You’ll end up sat waiting for e-mails to come in, desperately hitting F9, pausing whatever you were doing to respond to everything as and when it happens.
Personally, I don’t like to slog it out for hours and hours. I like to work in spurts; short, sharp, forceful streams of energy.