If you work in the digital world you’ll no doubt be aware of V.Cs or Venture Capitalists, to give them their full name. They are the Dragon’s Den style investors who stump up the cash to make budding entrepreneurs digital business ideas come alive.
But behind every investment is an understanding of risk, they know that a large number of their investments will never pay off; but they manage the risk so that when they do make an investment that comes good, it covers all the downside of their failed attempts and still delivers a big money prize.
It’s a clever approach and one that I think most search marketers would be wise to use with their link building campaign.
Are you playing too safe?
A lot of link building campaigns aren’t particularly inspired; a simple mixture of directory submission, article syndication and the odd bit of back link analysis here and there when time permits. It’s not going to set the world alight but your fairly confident for every hour of work you’ll put in you’ll get reliable outcome of links which will push the needle in the right direction.
There’s no shame in taking a cautious approach like this but you need to realize to make the big wins, you need an ambitious campaign even if that makes it a little riskier.
Not Every Tactic Will Work
Sometimes when people get more adventurous in their attempts to get links they trial one approach and get scared when it doesn’t come off.
As soon as you increase the potential risk there is a likelihood that not every campaign will work. This needn’t be a problem and shouldn’t put you off. You just need a portfolio of approaches where the upside in the few successful campaigns covers those less fortunate.
So don’t just write one piece of linkbait and give up when it only gets 25 Diggs, write a dozen, and produce some infographics, do a Twitter give away, send some freebies to bloggers etc. The more adventurous your ideas the more important the diversity in your approach becomes.
Compare the Potential
Venture Capitalist spend a lot of time forecasting and understanding the potential of any project before investing. You should take a similar approach for your campaigns. What would you consider a success? What is the likelihood of success? Would the potential outweigh the risk? All difficult questions to quantify in link building campaigns; but exactly the types of
questions you should be asking.
As you gain experience in this approach your forecasting will improve, in the same way a seasoned VC has a much higher success rate than someone just starting out.
Know when to fold
Sometimes with a VC they will grow a business that is to some extent successful but pull out and shutter the project because the reward they require is no-longer possible.
It’s very likely a link building effort that’s delivered the goods in the past may still work. However does it currently justify it’s expense. It’s likely a few of your old school habits might fall in this category. Just because it works in some small ways doesn’t mean it works well enough to justify your attention.
So are you taking a portfolio approach to your link building mixing high risk high reward projects which have the potential to recover the lost time and effort of your failed attempts? Not every campaign will work but that shouldn’t stop you taking risks it should just make you more intelligent about the risks you are prepaid to take.
Kelvin Newman is SiteVisibility’s Creative Director and is the editor of the UK’s most listened to Marketing Podcast. He also spends his time at conferences, tweeting too much and working on top secret research and development projects.