Aaron Wall claimed, in Strategic Content-Based Link Building, that you could gain $10,000 worth of links with two days of work. That’s a lot of hyperbole, which goes back to how I didn’t make 3K in a week. My 3K post and my criticism in the comments on Aaron’s post is at the heart of this post’s idea: measuring distribution to project the success of content-based link building.
In plain English, measure how many people’s attention you have to project how many people you can get talking when you share a great piece of content.
Aaron can spend two days working and attract five figures worth of links while the rest of us might do that in a month of work for a client because his distribution is greater. He has so many RSS subscribers and people linking to his posts regularly that the mere fact of publishing high-quality content will attract links for him.
How do you measure distribution? How do you tell how broadly your network will spread your ideas?
Social Media Analytics: As most of you know, social media is a great way to attract links. Measuring the strength of your relationships in the social media world (and particularly any niche communities you may be targeting) is a great way to guesstimate how many links your awesome content will attract.
RSS Subscribers: This metric is directly related to the causal relation outlined above – the number of people whose attention you have affects the number of people whom you can get buzzing with a great item. And RSS, being a very blog-centric technology, has a greater proportion of bloggers amongst its users than other similar technologies, like email. Therefore this is a great metric for distribution.
Email Subscribers: As I outlined in Email Marketing for Linkbait, social media and/or RSS is not the only way to distribute your content to the linkerati. Email is an easy way to do it too! The upside is that more people have email, so you can gain greater general distribution. The downside is that fewer bloggers get newsletters and/or feeds by email, so the list quality vs RSS is not as great. My post at Youmoz also compares this method to social media for distribution. Anyways, list size is pretty easy to measure; correlate that to average open rates and you’re doing great!
Years In an Industry: This is a proxy for the strength of a person’s network and connections in the business and is similar to social media analytics. Think about it: Aaron’s been doing SEO since 2004. I’ve been in this since 2006. It only makes sense that his network is stronger and broader, as he’s been to more conferences, linked to more people, voted on more submissions, etc.
Your Extended “Family”: How significant is the distribution of the people in your network? Giovanna Wall is reasonably new to internet marketing, afaik. Yet her extended network through her husband is gangbusters! (And if she shares how to pull off a 120% ROI on a PPC campaign, I think her own distribution will grow pretty quickly too!
Update: Here’s an example of what I mean: This is a FUNNY post about Google buying the CIA, but hardly anyone knows the blog, so it hasn’t gotten many links. Luckily for schmearch, its extended network somehow got it to Brian “AdWords Man” Carter’s eyes, which is how I found it and they got the link. And hopefully, this link will extend both schmearch and Brian’s distribution a little and get ’em more links.