How to Get Backlinks with Negotiation and Persuasion
Link building is the process of getting other websites to link to yours. so here I discuss with you about How to Get Backlinks with Negotiation and Persuasion.
It’s not an art.
It’s not a science.
It’s a game of negotiation and persuasion.
Now, negotiation in link building isn’t being used in the same way you would bargain for a car.
And persuasion for links is different from convincing your parents to get you a dog.
There’s no one-size-fits-all template, which means you need to learn how to execute
based on various scenarios.
So today, I’m going to show you how I’ve used these two techniques to get more backlinks
from places like Entrepreneur, Inc, Popsugar, and tons of other sites.
What’s up, SEOs?
Vishal Patwa here with my blog, the SEO tool that helps you grow your search traffic,
research your competitors and dominate your niche.
Now, negotiation or persuasion isn’t about tricking people.
I look at these two things as tools to communicate more effectively, so you don’t come off
too loud in your first email.
And if you’ve received any of these kinds of emails asking for links straight away,
I’m sure you’ve ignored the majority, if not all, of them.
Yes, I know you can still get links just by asking, but this tutorial is about increasing your link conversion
rates as well as going after more significant links that won’t get done with a template.
With that said, let’s get to it.
Negotiation and persuasion are two completely different things.
According to Professor Bontempo from Columbia Business School, negotiation is a mutual exchange
of resources for a mutual benefit.
Meaning, you’re coming to some form of an agreement.
Negotiation is generally explicit, it’s fast, and it’ll usually come with concessions from both sides.
As a result, it can also be quite costly.
Persuasion, on the other hand, is more about changing someone’s mind.
It’s subtle. It follows a gradual process consisting of small movements.
And the idea is to make your end goal their concept.
It generally takes a lot more time, but it’s free.
Now, when you’re building links, some links will come fast, others within a medium timeframe,
and others can take months.
So let’s talk about each of these categories and see how these two techniques fit in.
First are quick links, which usually come within 0-14 days.
It is all about negotiation.
And these would likely include common tactics you probably know and use, like the Skyscraper
the technique, broken link building, and guest posting.
For example, a typical outreach email for a broken link building campaign might say something like:
My name is Vishal (a fellow coffee enthusiast).
I’m contacting you because I clicked on one of your resources to so and so’s a blog,
but it looks like they deleted that post.
I thought you might like a friendly heads-up to remove this part.
Here’s a screenshot of where I found it:
If you’re open to suggestions for a replacement,
I wrote a guide on [whatever the topic is with my unique selling proposition].
[And then I’ll add my URL.]
No pressure at all 🙂 Just thought you might want to add a supporting resource rather than
removing the sentence or paragraph.
Now, this email might be enough to get a few links,
but it’s very much a take it or leave it to approach.
And let’s face it, most people will leave it.
So even if we tweak the email with a straight line like
PS. If you ever need a hand with anything, i.e., shares, feedback, or whatever, I’m always happy to help, and then you’re signaling that you’re ready and willing to negotiate.
So let’s say they respond with something like
Sure, I’d be happy to add your link, but would you mind adding my link to your website?
It is where the negotiation process begins.
Now, since I don’t personally participate in reciprocal link building, this is where you can do a bit of research
to get an understanding of what motivates them.
And if you can satisfy their motive, then your chances of getting the link increases.
Here’s an example response I got when doing outreach for my blog.
He first says that the post I pitched is excellent and that he shared it on social.
Then he tells me, he would link to my post if I was willing to link to his article.
I openly share that I’m not going to do reciprocal links, but I mentioned that I have a column on Entrepreneur
and I’m planning on doing a bit of guest posting as well.
And naturally, I link to pages that are relating to my content where it makes sense.
I told him if he decides to link to me to keep me in the loop so I can add his page to my list.
He likes the potential, so he links to me.
And take note of the language he uses:
That sounds like a great deal to me.
Now, it’s important to note that his content was good so that I would’ve linked to it
had I known about it before?
So I don’t recommend making these kinds of promises
if you know, you’ll never look at their article again.
Or if you never intend on helping them out.
From my experience, I’ll convert anywhere between 7-15% on any of these kinds of emails.
We have full tutorials on various link building tactics, so I’ll link them up in the description.
Next is the medium-speed category.
And this is pretty situational, so it can fall into either negotiation or persuasion.
Let’s run through an example of how and why I switched gears from negotiation to persuasion.
And this is how I got my column on Entrepreneur.com.
A few years ago, I blindly reached out to someone with a Skyscraper styled pitch
using a combination of Twitter and email.
The response I got was that she couldn’t add links to her blog post because she was hired as a freelance writer for the site.
But she wanted to jump on a call.
Now, a lot of people would have just ignored this request and thought of it as a failed link attempt.
But this person was a freelance writer, which means there was an opportunity to get multiple
links for the unforeseeable future.
I just needed to get an understanding of what motivates her and then see if I could help.
So I did a bit of research and learned that she was a journalist who had written for places like
The New York Times, NBC News, and more.
So we got on a call, and throughout our time together I learned she was looking for a more stable gig
since journalism is tough to climb the ladder.
I also shared my desire to write for some more significant publications, so I asked for her advice.
As the conversation went on, I offered to reach out to some of my contacts to see if they were hiring,
and naturally, she wanted to extend her help.
So she offered to reach out to her contacts at publications like The Huffington Post and Entrepreneur.
By the end, I had contact details for the right editor and some helpful tips.
Best of all, I had the opportunity to name-drop in my pitch, which I believe helped me get my column.
The entire process took around two months, but the accomplishment back then felt pretty good.
Now, take note that once you’re able to publish on these more significant publications, getting other
guest posting opportunities at other big names get much more comfortable.
Now, on to the more extended plays, which tend to be slow, but super-rewarding.
These will usually be your best links and persuasion will be your best friend
and your worst enemy.
The reason being, persuasion is hard.
And it’s not something you can usually do easily on first, second, or even third contact.
Publishing an article on Inc took me around five months
of on and off the conversation with another contributor.
And I wish I could give you a step by step tutorial on this, but persuasion is so situational
that it’ll largely depend on the context of the conversation.
So here’s what my approach looks like.
The first thing I had to do was find an author on Inc that writes about similar topics as me.
I don’t remember exactly how I found this person, but you can just go to Google
and search for something like
site:inc.com/author and then look for topics separated by the OR search operator.
Now, the other footprint will vary depending on the site you want to get a link from,
but you can usually find that out by going to an article on the publication you wish to write for,
clicking on an author’s name, and then taking note of their URL structure.
Now, visit some of the author pages and see if they would cover similar topics you write about
and that they’ve published an article recently.
After you find the person you want to contact, you need to get an understanding of what would
motivate them to help you accomplish your goal.
For my particular contact, he was building his personal brand, so things like exposure,
particularly like mentions of his name seemed like something that would be worth giving.
But rather than just giving randomly, there was a series of steps I took.
First, I tweeted out some stuff that he had published.
This was simply to be somewhat of a recognizable name and face when I would eventually email him.
He made it pretty easy for me because he followed me on Twitter, so now I just needed to find
a good reason to contact him.
Thankfully, that was pretty easy too.
I went to his site, and it wasn’t working.
So I sent him an email basically explaining the issue on his site.
He responded, thanking me, and that was the end of the conversation.
So at this point, it might feel like you’re at square one, but you’re not.
They know your name, you’ve helped them in a small way, and most importantly you have
your foot in the door.
It’s where you can offer up something that will help set the tone for them to reciprocate.
And this is all based around what you believe will motivate them.
Now, rather than asking for something, I want him to come up with the idea alone
that we should help each other get more exposure.
So I sent him an email asking if he wanted a link.
I said t just to send me a few post ideas, and if it made sense, I’d add it to a guest post
on a decent site, I was already approved for.
After a few back-and-forth emails, he sent me a couple of potential articles to include
in my post and said:
By the way, if you have any good ideas for an Inc article and want to work on one together, let me know.
I had it published and was extended the offer to publish anytime with him.
Now, not everything goes as smoothly as this one went.
I’ve tried to collaborate on a piece with someone from Mashable and The New York Times,
where neither converted.
And I made the same mistake both times.
I got impatient and went in for a hard ask way too soon.
With Mashable, the person was motivated by growing their personal Facebook fan page.
We jumped on a Skype call, and I stupidly asked to collaborate out of context.
With The New York Times writer, I found the perfect reason to contact her.
And this was around the time of the election between Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump.
And she had written an article on The New York Times talking about retargeting ads,
but she had missed out on a lot of things only people doing retargeting ads would know.
So I gave her some useful insider information, and she responded with gratitude for the new outlook.
She wanted to know more.
So I nailed that email and boom. And I Got Nothing.
I went in for the ask way too soon instead of her coming up with the idea to collaborate
or reference me as a source.
I learned from my mistakes and went on to get a tiny niche blog some authority links
from places like Forbes, Livestrong, and WikiHow, to name a few.
Now, you can get links going shotgun style and sending anyone and everyone templated emails.
But conversion rates are going to be lower since almost everyone’s inboxes get flooded
with the same outreach emails.
Now, the advantage you can gain from understanding someone’s motives and leading a conversation that
fulfills that desire can ultimately lead to significant links and higher conversion rates.
Now, I’m curious about your approach to link building.
Do you find that sending tons of emails shotgun-style is most effective, or do you prefer the sniper approach,
where you’re building relationships along the way?
Let me know in the comments and if you enjoyed this article, make sure to like, share, and subscribe
for more actionable SEO and marketing tutorials.
So keep grinding away, and I’ll see you in the next tutorial.