Launch Bait: Getting Links Right From The Start

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September 13  |  Link Building  |   Ryan Clark

One of the most important events for any business is of course its launch, and as we all know, it can either go really well or be a total flop. I love looking at new startups do their thing in the first few stages of existence and you can really learn a lot by looking at their link profile. The amount of links that are possible to nab in this time period will really help establish your new brand’s trust a lot quicker.

While I’m not going to be presenting too many new ideas in this post, I would just like to get you in the mind frame of where to start and where to go. We help a lot of new companies break out on to the scene, so we have a good idea of what works well and what doesn’t. We’ll also take a look at a couple of recent start ups and see not only how they did link wise, but also – most importantly – what they did.

If you can build a strong link base during the first 2 month window of your company/product launch, then you’ll have a way better chance at long term ranking success. Too many folks are concerned with getting x amount of anchor text links to rank well for a few key money terms, but for now just focus on getting as many natural links as possible and then worry about tweaking later(which is not really needed in this day and age anyways). So, what I’m trying to say is: don’t even really think about links for ranking now, but more so links for clicks and exposure.

Our Link Plan Of Attack

Perhaps the most important factor here is the ability to get links from coveted industry resources that might otherwise be too difficult to get on. If you’re going to launch a business, you might as well come out the gate shooting, so these tactics are where we usually start and we hit them hard within the first month. Sleep should not be a priority, so remember: you can sleep plenty when you’re dead…

Keep in mind that you’re also wanting traffic and brand exposure more so than a link for ranking benefits. Think of that latter as the gravy on top and you’ll be way better off. We recently had a client’s launch get mentioned on TechCrunch and Mashable, and those little text links alone sent over 80,000 visitors within a week from both. Not only that, but that lead to many other tech/startup blogs writing about our client and thus the links came flowing in.

Press Releases:

Press releases are the first go to place for us, and I imagine that’s what comes to mind for most businesses that want to reach out to the public. Press releases are great because they not only drive a lot of links from valuable sources, they can lead to related industry sites picking up that news as well… Or at the very least syndicating it. There are literally thousands of reporters out there looking for the next scoop, so do all you can to get your business or product in front of their eyes. I’m shocked at how little companies take advantage of these plentiful resources at their disposal. Make sure to check out our old post on advanced link building tactics to really get direct access to a lot of reporters.

What we like to do is have a different press release written for each of the major wire services for maximum exposure. Since press releases are going to get distributed the same across each network, you want to minimize the link juice loss by having a unique one for each place. If you have a good amount of coin in your launch budget, then make sure to take advantage of these wire services:


Social Outreach

This online social world has made the business life both easier and more difficult. While it’s easy to reach out and connect with amazing people and companies in your vertical, it’s sometimes hard to shout over everyone else. If you’re truly offering something amazing, unique, or just plain interesting, then your chances for a social screaming match are looking good. The tactics below are nothing new, nor are they easy to accomplish, so you’ll have to roll up your sleeves to get results; just remember that we’re trying to attract links, not to go out and slap a bunch of low quality junk together.

Industry Portals

Every industry has its fair share of portals, news sites and forums, and you’re absolutely going to want a link from them one way or another. Getting listed may be as simple as buying a press release distribution through their site. You may be even luckier and find out that sources like PRweb are already including your target portal site via a pre-existing partnership. You’re going to need to do some digging around and figure out just how to get your news on there, get interviewed, or at the very least talk them into sending out a tweet for ya!

Target Blogs In Your Vertical

These days, blogs are the gateway to mass exposure and I would be lying if I said not to even try and buy some exposure. There are stealthy ways of going about this, but it is also risky. To me, it’s no different than buying a press release because you’re not buying for the link. Your company will need/want that exposure, and Google can kiss my ass because if our client wants to get it any way they can, we will do that for them. When it comes down to it, there’s no way they’re going to tell if you’re getting interviewed, getting an infrographic published or providing them with a guest post. The fact is, even though a blog might accept a guest post, we often find they still want payment.

Take Care Of The Usual Suspects

There is a lot of easy and “non-threatening” links you can build for yourself that won’t get you caught up in the Penguin penalty box. For most of my readers, you’ll know what to do, but if not I’d start with:

– Getting the usual links like twitter/facebook/youtube/foursquare/yelp
– Reading this, this and this.
– Listing your company in Twitter directories
– Buying tweets
– Buying into the usual authoritative directories like crunchbase/botw/yahoo dir/manta/
– Profile Building on tech sites/startup sites/venture sites

3 Real World Examples

I’ve picked a few startups and/or new businesses that have launched anywhere from 6 months ago to just within the past 30 days. This will give you a good idea of what can happen if you do things right. As I started earlier, there is no better time to get editorial news links than during the initial launch of the company. While you can do stunts and come up with press release bait later, it always seems so much easier to get something written about you when you’re fresh on the block.

I should mention firstly that Tacocopter turned out to be a hoax, but that doesn’t mean I still don’t crave it, nor does not work for me to get my message across. I don’t doubt that services somewhat like this will eventually be legal and doable, but for now let’s take a look at how a unique business idea got the attention of the Blogosphere. Keep in mind that if you can get one post on what I like to call a “key launch target”, you’re going to see a domino effect.

The Internet is going wild for Tacocopter, perhaps the next great startup out of Silicon Valley, which boasts a business plan that combines four of the most prominent touchstones of modern America: tacos, helicopters, robots and laziness.

The news of was so exciting that it made headlines around the world and even got a spot on The Colbert Report and I first heard about it on its Huffington Post news article and if you want to see what I mean by “key launch target,” just check out these share numbers from that one post.

From there, it spread like wildfire to all the top tech news blogs as well as big media outlets like The Guardian and Forbes. If you take a look at Tacocopter’s link profile now, you’ll see a natural link set that most businesses will envy.

The Out NYC is a “straight friendly” urban resort aimed at the gay and lesbian crowd, but it’s hip to all! I chose them because they launched a few months ago and it serves a niche market… I like that! Whomever was in charge of their marketing did an amazing job and reached out to all the right channels. The right PR company can really go a long way in getting the word out, and with that comes the links!

The hotel opened at the start of the year, so they’ve had a lot of time to do their launch marketing efforts and I can see how much of an impact it had. It is perfect for this post because it can be worked into the large vertical of “travel”, as well worked into the sub niches of “gay/lesbian travel” and “general gay/lesbian news”. This gives you a lot of angles to work with and the potential for links and brand buzz is great. Here’s the link graph from the first few months after their launch:

Image Credit:

As you can see, that’s a whole lot of natural link building taking place without anyone actively seeking out a link. They of course got the goods from places like, Trip Adviser and Travel Weekly. To break it down into the sub-niche of “gay travel”, they got hundreds of links from gay/lesbian news and blog sites…. Hell, they even got a mentioned on FOX News. You can see over 11,000 mentions about The Out NYC by viewing this SERP result.

From here, we can see that an MSNBC Travel article on them led to thousands of other travel sites picking up the news and of course providing links. Here’s a brief sample of their editorially-given links:

Not a bad start!

Fancy Hands

Last but not least is an NYC based startup called Fancy Hands which aims to make personal assistants accessible for anyone. They tackled their startup marketing quite well and could have most likely drummed up enough business from their Mashable post alone, but they got a much larger reach in the end. The main reason I picked them as the third in my list is because of how they got a lot of links and startup buzz simply because they’re an NYC based company. For example:

Every business is going to have their sub-niches to work out links and buzz from, so make sure you identify what those are. Since Fancy Hands had such a unique product as well, it certainly helped them get exposure on the usual tech blogs. What I love about getting a mention on sites like Tech Crunch or Mashable is the fact that all the smaller tech blogs will pick up the story and cover it as well. I just picked a random chunk of their link profile thanks to Open Site Explorer and you can see what I mean:

All in all, they had an excellent launch for their company, and having an innovative product should help lead them down a successful path as well. Their link profile is definitely worth diving into for a better look at who and what picked up their news at launch. This can lead to discovering the actual “time path” of how their news/buzz started and how it spread throughout the blogosphere.

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About Ryan Clark

I'm the CEO of Linkbuildr Marketing and the brains behind our branding and blog content. I specialize in effective marketing strategies for hotels, luxury brands and real estate. If your brand is in need of a boost then don't hesitate to contact me for a free proposal. Follow me on Google+: +Ryan Clark Twitter: @Linkbuildr on Twitter. You can also come ask me a question on our Facebook Page.  

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