Are You Building Your Business Network?

Where did the month go? Hope you’ve all rested and are ready to kick off your new year with some hard work.

One of the most forward-paying activities for any business owner (small business owner or otherwise) is to build a network. I’ve mentioned this a time or two (like last year), but building a network is a massive lifeline to your future profitability and viability.

Better Than Building Links?

As a marketer who’s relied (a bit too) heavily on search engine optimization for targeted traffic – the best kind of web traffic in this business for conversions – I rarely suggest that there’s an activity “better” than building links to your website. But like I said previously (and re-iterated): you can’t rely solely on search traffic for your business.

Google, Inc. doesn’t owe you a lick of traffic, and makes no promises that today’s successful rankings will bring in tomorrow’s customers. So don’t repeat the grievous mistake of relying on their search engines (or Bing, etc.) to send prospects your way.

Hedge your bet a little, or “CYA” to put it bluntly.

In other words: don’t just build links, if you build links at all.

(And yes, I am suggesting you don’t build links as an alternative to being heavily Google-reliant for your web traffic. I am not saying don’t build links, but rather that you don’t have to build links if you do the following…)

Build a Network

How many times have you heard the term “network marketing” and associated that term with things like Amway, Melaleuca or pyramid schemes? (If you’re associated with these companies, I’m not trying to knock your boat, but the association is there all the same.)

That’s not what I’m talking about with network marketing here – but the approach is to build a network of like-minded and interested:

  • Customers
  • Bloggers
  • Fans
  • Social Media Leaders
  • Colleagues
  • Various Business Associates
  • (Gasp!) Friends or Family Online

…all to help you promote your content.

Sounds too good to be true, even selfish or manipulative if you get down to brass tacks, but it’s all in how you go about your networking activities.

What Rand Fishkin at SEOMoz.org Said

I can’t lie here, I think Rand’s a genius. I also think this post (a “Whiteboard Friday” post if you’re familiar with his work, and you should be) is incredibly simple. You might say it’s simplistic.

Rand simply entitled that video “My Favorite Way to Get Links and Social Shares” – and if you don’t like video, there’s a transcript below it. Watch the video, or read the transcript like I did. Either way, it’s golden and frankly rare for marketers to think that way.

In a word, what is proposed there is simply a bit of the “Golden Rule” at play: do unto others as you’d have them do unto you, or treat others how you want to be treated.

Want your content shared?

Start by sharing theirs.

It’s a “give-to-get” mentality, and not too many think that way in this business. Too many think it’s a “dog-eat-dog” world (and it can be), but you’d be surprised how your networking efforts take off running following that small bit of advice given in the Whiteboard Friday presentation.

Short and sweet and to the point, I can’t improve on what Mr. Fishkin said so I’ll just say it again: watch the video. You’ll thank me him later.

If you’re tired of figuring out the complicated “how-to” part about building a network, an actual, active and viable network that is glad to share content and cross-promote, you owe it to yourself to listen to what Rand said.

(No: I’m not paid to endorse SEOMoz here, it’s just that uncommon sense type of video that deserves more attention.)

The end result? Natural links. Natural traffic. A good reputation. Friends in the niche, rather than only competitors. More business and traffic.

So I have to ask…

How Are You Building a Network?

Building relationships with others that will gladly share your content (by linking to it or otherwise spreading the word about your material) is an activity that pays dividends down the road. Better yet, it’s entirely “Google-proof” marketing that will keep customers hooked.

So I’ll safely assume it’s on your agenda (to build these relationships/network). If you don’t plan on doing it, you need to – that’s how important it can be to keeping your virtual (or actual) doors open for business.

I’ve mentioned the post that really “did it” for me (Rand’s post above), really spelled it out simplest and best – but what about you?

Maybe you’ve been entirely successful in other endeavors and “giving to get” the way the video describes isn’t something you’re interested in doing. Fair enough. What are you doing then?

How’s it working?

Care to share with the rest of us? Tell us about it below. Thanks again for reading, and see you next time!

Comments

  1. I agree with this concept of building a network of bloggers/ friends for constant and reliable traffic. Since Google seems to change the algorithm every other day, no once can stay on top of the search results without constant know how of Google algorithm change. I think building a network not only helps us to promote our content , but also helps to gain the page rank. If its a no follow link , its helps to boost traffic.

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