You’ve heard me and many others say that great/unique content is only half the battle of linkbuilding; the other half is promoting that content so it spreads. Even the best content needs a good push. Well, stay with me on this…it will eventually be a brief case study on linkbuilding and content promotion. But first, some background.
U2, my favorite rock band, is managed by a brilliant business man named Paul McGuinness. But he’s not endeared himself to the music-buying public lately. Twice this year, McGuinness has gone on the attack about the current state of recorded music. He’s called out ISPs for profiting off illegally downloaded music (in the form of bandwidth fees). He’s said that Radiohead’s 2007 release of In Rainbows, where they let fans download the whole album for whatever price the fans wanted to pay, was a failure because most fans downloaded it for free on filesharing networks — not from Radiohead’s official download site/page.
You can imagine how today’s free-music-loving public reacted to all those comments; they basically threw McGuinness and U2 under the bus. “Greedy”, “old”, “foolish”, “sh–y music” … those were some of the nicer things said about U2 and its manager.
In late June, Bono sent a letter to the UK music paper, NME, in which he said the band doesn’t agree with all of their manager’s comments; he defended Radiohead, too. We published the letter on @U2 and I thought this needed to be spread around the same way McGuinness’ comments were spread around earlier in the year.
End of background. Now we’re getting into the linkbuilding and content promotion discussion.
My U2 site is awfully popular with U2 fans and is well-known in most traditional media circles. But it’s not so familiar to a lot of the web-only news sites and Web 2.0-type sites where McGuinness’ comments were most heavily discussed.
One of the sites that really lit into McGuinness was the popular social networking blog, Mashable. (see this post) So, they were the first place I went. Using their Submit News link, I emailed the site, introduced myself as a Mashable reader and founder of @U2, and shared with them the link to Bono’s comments disagreeing with McGuinness and defending Radiohead.
I got lucky; they published a new article updating the story, and included a link to Bono’s letter on @U2. That’s an inbound link to a deep page from a high-quality site. In other words, Link Gold.
But that wasn’t all. News spreads, and once Mashable reported this update, it went mini-viral.
- Two days later, PaidContent.org, another high quality site, picked up the story and included a deep link to @U2.
- It turns out that articles from PaidContent.org are syndicated on CBSNews.com, which published an abbreviated version of the story, but with the link to @U2 intact.
- A day later, Valleywag picked up the story, again deep-linking to Bono’s letter on @U2.
- Thanks to that mention, TechDirt ran the story the following day and deep-linked to @U2.
- And finally, on the sixth day of this viral news-a-thon, PCWorld covered it on their blog, and sent another deep link to Bono’s letter on @U2.
So that’s six quality deep links in six days. All thanks to having a piece of unique content, and promoting that content. I would’ve been thrilled with just the first mention on Mashable. But once you push something out, you have no idea how far it might spread and how many links it might collect along the way.
If you have something interesting, unique, noteworthy … don’t be afraid to tell people about it. Push it out there and see what happens. There’s no guarantee you’ll succeed. But if you don’t promote your content, it’s almost guaranteed to fail.