relationships, not links. If you’re in the business of link acquisition
and looking for a new mantra, or a way to be great at your job, there
relationships is a new beast to tame. It’s not about trying to
influence machines – it’s about trying to influence people. Every human
is a kaleidoscope of attitudes, behaviors, and emotions.
– immersing oneself in the prospect’s world – is an asset for fostering
trust, negotiating exchanges, and building lasting relationships.
how tapping in to the study of human behavior can help us better
understand people’s actions and build stronger ties in a
1. Man (and Woman) is a Perpetually Dissatisfied Animal
warp back to philosophy class. Karl Marx’s theory of production and
consumption says, “When basic needs have been met, this leads to the
creation of new needs.”
prospect you contact has a need, something they want or they don’t know
they can have – yet. The first step for building relationships is
identifying why the person that you’re trying to foster a connection
with would benefit from a relationship with you.
Cialdini, author of “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion”,
identifies six key principles of persuasion. The very first principle
“People tend to return a favor”. The idea is that when someone makes an
effort to do something for us, our moral fabric tends to make us feel
obliged to do something in return.
your client sells shoes and you approach a fashion blogger with a free
pair to review, their conscience (and their shoe addiction) will make
them happy to review.
Not only does your offer have to be creative when you approach a prospect, it has to relate to how they can achieve a goal.
may mean having to re-evaluate your link acquisition strategy with your
clients, to identify the collateral you can exchange with prospects,
whether free samples and trials, exclusive offers, or expertise.
2. Personality can tell us a Lot about What Motivates People
extinct practice of paying for links is now frowned upon by most SEOs,
bloggers, and search engines alike. Since Google’s Penguin/Panda
updates, outreach solely based on “link building” significantly reduce
your response rates and terminates your chances of being considered on
an A-list blog.
you have to work harder to learn more about who you’re contacting and
what you can offer each other in the long-term. There’s a lot more
involved than just evaluating the keyword relevancy or page rank
value of a site.
secret to relationships lies in knowing people’s underlying interests,
needs, and values. That’s what helps you determine what motivates them
and how you can help each other in the future.
Every one of your prospects is a potential ally. And empathy is the way you will step into their world, and understand what drives their behavior and how you can influence it.
(for marketers), you can tell a lot about a person by what they post
online. They leave an entire trail of digital footprints for you to
follow, from their “About” page, their blog posts, their LinkedIn
profile, to what kind of stuff they post on Twitter and Facebook. Your
detective work is all laid out for you. It just takes a few extra clicks
and a little curiosity.
3. Identify Relevant “Currencies”; Theirs and Yours
Tools’ Influence Model talks about using “relevant currencies” in order
to influence people. The model was actually developed for a work
setting, but it’s incredible how these principles can be applied to
relationship building. The idea is to establish what the most meaningful
“currency” is to the person you are reaching out to.
The five currencies below can be great sources of inspiration when you’re negotiating an exchange:
People who value these currencies want to find meaning in what they’re
doing. To appeal to these people, approach them with a cause, something
that will lead to a greater good.
Task-related currencies are often highly valued where supplies and
resources may be scarce. Offer them your client’s expertise on a topic
that’s relevant to their site that they haven’t covered yet.
People who value this currency focus on recognition, reputation, and
visibility. Create content relevant to their interests that make an
active attempt to engage them, either directly through the content or
through social channels.
People who value relationships want to belong. These people want to
feel connected on a personal level, with you or the organization you’re
representing. Show them that they aren’t just a means to an end and
involve them in various initiatives.
These currencies relate to the other person on a personal level. You
should give courtesy and gratitude for the help you receive. It’s as
simple as writing “Thank You” follow up emails, sharing a person’s blog
post, and making it a habit of acknowledging people for their efforts.
4. The Medium is the Message
email to Google+, Facebook to face-to-face, each of these communication
channels has their own unique characteristics, much like the people who
McLuhan stated that the medium through which we choose to communicate
holds as much value as the message itself. One contact might like IM,
another might always be on Twitter – it’s good to know where people want
to be reached.
5. Influence is Give and Take
Francisco Dao’s article Networking is for Losers, he makes a key point
that sums up how you should approach building relationships; a road to quality versus a shooting slope to quantity:
“A few strong relationships can open far more doors than a thousand evenings of glad handing and networking.”
that, keep in mind these six steps for building fruitful and lasting
relationships. See if getting to know the person behind the email
address might be worth the time and the nurturing.