How to Get Other Websites to Link to Your Website
If you’ve been following this series of guides to marketing your New Zealand tourism business, you should now have a great website, some amazing imagery, and a strong knowledge of what makes you different from your competition. You should also have a list of all the website pages where you would want to be featured, from the blogs to the online travel guides. Now how do you get your links on the website pages that you have selected? The truth is that you’ll probably only be able to be featured on a small portion of them because some of the pages may be from (or paid for by) your competitors, some may be news articles, some may be unchangeable due to some websites’ own policy, and others may simply be too expensive for your marketing budget. But it is ALWAYS worth a try in order to improve your website’s ranking in search engines, as explained in Tourism Marketing #7: Improve Your SEO. Find out how to approach influencers and publications in this eighth instalment of our tourism marketing guide for New Zealand businesses.
A Note About This Tourism Marketing Guide
If you are just stumbling upon this page randomly or through a search engine, lucky you. But before you keep going, you should definitely read the introductory article to this series on tourism marketing for New Zealand businesses, so you get a bit of context about the tone and the content within it.
This article follows directly from Tourism Marketing #7: Improve Your SEO.
To contact the owners of websites and the pages you want to be featured on, you’ll need to find their contact details. In most cases, a link to their contact page can be found in the footer of their website. Alternatively, reach out to them on social media. In the latter case, you’ll usually be given an email address to contact them at.
Once you’ve got your hand on an email address, you can finally get the ball rolling. Speaking from experience, it is incredibly important to be respectful of their time and value. Most tourism businesses look down on influencers and publishers, thinking that it only takes a few minutes to add a couple of links and that it is owed to them because they obviously offer the best thing around… The truth of the matter is that creating and maintaining content does cost a lot of money. Some influencers are a one-man or woman job, so they rely on a small handful of advertisers in order to make a living, meaning that each advertiser needs to pitch in more. On the other hand, some publishers like us have high running costs due to the quality of their platform.
The Costs Involved in Publishing Online Content
I will take our own example of why we can’t link to any website for free, which should give you a good understanding of the costs involved for publishers to give you a bit of candid context.
Here are the people involved in the making of this travel guide: one operations manager, one editor-in-chief, three part-time developers and four part-time writers. All those people need to be fairly compensated for their time.
We host our website on several servers around the world to increase the speed of delivery for users. Depending on traffic, this can cost a few thousand per month. We also use quite a lot of paid tools to build our websites that have a monthly cost of just under NZ$1,500 at the moment.
Content Creation and Travel
Purchasing imagery and creating content is one of our largest costs. For each article that can be monetised through advertisers, we create three or four others that help support this niche and drive traffic to that article. Doing all this research both digitally and physically by travelling to places and experiencing activities ourselves in order to know how to write about them has significant associated costs, from extra hands on deck in the office to travel costs such as gas, plane tickets, accommodation, food, wear-and-tear of our camera equipment, and more.
Generic Business Costs
Like any business, we also need to have an accountant, to pay taxes, to pay for power, office supplies, have insurance, pay rent and all that “good” stuff. Our pet peeve is time spent chasing invoices – if only people were paying on time, we’d all have twice more time on our hands!
Experience and Audience
Although not a straight cost like all the other costs stated above, we have spent years acquiring an encyclopaedic knowledge of the travel industry, building a platform and a large audience to monetise. Like a lawyer that spent years in law school or a mechanic that has automotive qualifications, this prior investment and experience acquired has tremendous value and is therefore passed down to the client. There is a reason why some people are capable of delivering a high-quality job in a timely manner. It’s called experience.
How Much to Pay for a Link Placement
Considering the costs and work put into creating an online publication that ranks well in search engines, thinking that simply providing a free pass to your attraction, for instance, should warrant for a big mention with a link, a picture and the #1 spot in the “top 10 things to do in your region,” and a mention on all the social media you’d like is a bit far-fetched. Bartering by offering famil’ can be a great way to get the ball rolling with low-level bloggers and influencers who are just starting out, but with larger media, publications and influencers, you have to be prepared to pay for their work like you expect your client to pay for yours. On the other hand, this does not mean that you should accept any and all outrageous pricing that you receive. I often receive some crazy price sheets through my consultancy for New Zealand tourism businesses.
Sure, it is hard to establish how much you should pay for content and influencers, as it very much depends on the media and the extent of the coverage, but here is the math that I sometimes do. Feel free to use only one or all at the same time to help make the decision that’s right for your business.
The Number of Work Hours
I try to understand how many hours the job would take, including travel and editing, and times it by between NZ$40/h and $80/h, depending on the media.
As a rule of thumb, I try to keep each mention on an NZ Pocket Guide page under NZ$300 per page (sometimes up to NZ$500, if it is very high ranking) and when getting a full-page dedicated to your travel product, I always keep it under NZ$1,000.
I sometimes look at the audience of the influencer and publication and estimate the number of readers that a page or a post will have. With that estimate in mind, I try to keep it between NZ$25 and $70 per thousand readers. This is a wide range but I adjust this according to the quality of the source. For instance, a travel guide would be paid more than a clickbait type platform due to the quality of the readership and the longevity of the content. But that can differ depending on what you want, for instance, if you are running a flash sale, go the other way around.
So with all this information in mind, you need to determine your own marketing budget to know how much you should spend on link placements. I am quite gobsmacked by all the businesses that I advise that simply tell me: “Oh well, I spend what I spend. I don’t really know what my marketing budget is.” I find that incomprehensible… You need to pick a figure, say NZ$10k, and try year after year to make the most efficient use of that figure. You can proportionally increase it yearly and increase your targeted result along with it, but it needs to be a set figure that rolls over yearly. Otherwise, you are creating a marketing pit to throw money at and may run yourself into the ground. Anyway, this is such a big topic that I have dedicated the whole next article of this series to setting up your marketing budget.
Email Template for Contacting Publishers and Influencers to Feature Your Business
Alright, so now that you have a bit more understanding of publishers and have a price in mind, keep this to yourself and send a kind message to them to start the conversation. Yes, I’ve even got the whole template for you so you know that what you send will be well received. This is based on an email that we received from a campervan company in New Zealand.
[Your name] here from [your company]! I hope you’re well and have had a lovely week!
Just touching base as a few of our travellers have seen your information about [region/company/type of tours/…] on [the website you are emailing] so we’d love to see if we could be featured a bit more.
If you have a media kit or a price sheet to send me, I’d love to have a look at it to see if it fits our budget. We are mainly interested in being featured on the following pages:
[List the pages that you think are the most relevant for your business or list the social media you would like them to feature you on]
[If you are contacting a publisher, then add] Otherwise we’ll be happy to look at getting brand new content created.
Thanks so much for your time – please let me know if you have any questions!
Do You Want to be Featured on NZ Pocket Guide?
We can help you get featured on our site and start driving direct traffic and direct bookings in no time. If you want your business to be featured on New Zealand’s largest and most popular travel guide, we’re just a quick email away. Just head to our contact page. Plus, if you mention this article series, we’ll shout you 20% OFF your first year ad campaign – just like that!
Continue Reading the Tourism Marketing Guides…
To keep going with this tourism marketing guide series, check out Tourism Marketing #9: Create Your Marketing Budget and Stick to It! Or go back and start afresh with the 10 Tips to Promote Your New Zealand Tourism Business.