A Step-by-Step Guide to Create Content That Attracts High Quality Links

If you want to earn top-tier links, you can’t cut corners on the content you create.

You have to do everything the right way.

First, the bad news: it isn’t easy to get links on relevant, quality sites.

But the good news is that means fewer people are doing it the right way.

As long as you’re ready to put in the work, there is a greater opportunity than ever to be had.

This step-by-step guide will show you how to create content that consistently attracts high quality links.

This Process Works

This guide isn’t based on theory or best practices, but on actual real world results.

In the past three months, we’ve pitched five pieces to Lonely Planet (one of the most influential sites and best links in travel) that have followed this process.

The result?

Coverage for every single one.

This has led to projects that have all gone into double figures in the number of linking domains they’ve achieved, many of which have been on top-tier publications that have had the biggest SEO impact.

The example I use below is on 84 pieces of coverage and counting.

Here’s exactly what we did.

1. Research

Before we get anywhere near the brainstorming stage, we are constantly on the lookout for other pieces of content that perform well and attract lots of links and coverage.

We specialize in travel, but we look far and wide at projects in a wide variety of industries to get a sense of what is working and then look for angles we can apply in travel.

This is an ongoing process.

The further in advance you can do this ahead of actually having to come up with your own idea, the better.

Tip: Monitor industries outside of your own, as it will give you ideas that work and you can twist for your own niche, rather than just rehashing the same stuff all your direct competitors are doing.

2. Ideation

Now you can start to consider what your twist will be.

How will you apply your idea to your own (or your client’s) brand?

The key is to identify what the core idea is behind what’s working and then put a spin on it.

Try to combine your spin with a prominent, newsworthy topic – and then sync that with a popular content format.

Here are some types of content we’ve seen be particularly successful lately:

  • Maps.
  • Posters.
  • Data-driven indexes.
  • Interactive content.
  • Quizzes.

For the example we’re using here, we decided to create an index of the best locations for solo-traveling women.

Solo female travel is a popular theme at the moment. It fit well with the brand and we managed to find some data sources that would allow us to create a representative index.

3. The Data

Depending on what type of content you choose to go for, you’ll then have to delve into collecting some information.

If you’re creating posters like these then you’ll have less raw data to collect, but will need to have a quirkier take on a topic to gain traction. I loved the controversial angle these posters used, but that isn’t something available to everyone, especially if you’re working with clients.

If you’re running something data driven then you’ll have to be prepared for some legwork hunting data down and then collecting and collating it.

As we’d chosen to go with a data-driven index we needed to track down enough sources of information to give us a true picture of what the best destinations for solo female travel actually are.

Fortunately, some good old-fashioned Google searches will usually surface some fantastic and useful information sources.

Searching for general statistics websites and seeing what information they already have available is also a good approach. This can actually help as a starting point from which you can identify and mold a new idea.

Of course, if you have a significant amount of budget available you can spend that carrying out your own surveys and polls to collect brand new data to use.

However, this can be costly and you never know how good the responses will be.

Tip: If budget is an issue, try to avoid specifying exactly what data you want to find in the first instance. You’ll often find it isn’t available, and without it, your idea is dead in the water.

It’s better to come up with a general concept, then spend some time searching for data sources that would fit and molding the idea around the data that is available.

4. The Format

Once you have your dataset ready you need to come up with the best way to present it.

Creating something shiny, fancy, and complicated doesn’t necessarily lead to better results.

If you have good data – and can build a good story around it – then presenting that information in a simple and attractive way can work really well.

Also, it keeps costs to a minimum.

5. The Story

This is what will take your content from good to great.

If you can draw out an interesting angle from your data, or you have built in a good hook to your map or illustrations, then that will put the turbos on your idea and maximize its link potential.

The fact that you have created some nice illustrations or a map is not a story! There must be something beyond the fact that you have just made this thing that draws a journalist in.