People are always asking me how they can build more backlinks on a regular basis. That’s why I’ve taken the time to create extensive guides on different link building strategies.
But those strategies are useless without linkable assets.
In short, linkable assets are pages on your website that you can always leverage for links. For these pages to be successful, they need to have exceptional content.
Take a moment to think about this from another perspective. As a website owner, would you link to a page on another website that was just average, mediocre, or subpar? I doubt it.
That won’t add any value to your site and doesn’t do any justice for your visitors. You need to keep this in mind when you’re creating linkable assets. Other website owners will assess your content in the same way.
The best way to approach this is by creating thorough guides on specific subjects that are nothing short of amazing. When done properly, people will naturally link to these guides without too much extra work on your end. Here’s what you need to do.
Find relevant topics
The most important part about linkable assets is finding the right topic to write about.
You might be an expert in a certain space, but if that subject isn’t relevant or trending in your niche, it’s unlikely that people will link to it.
So, how do you know what topics are trending? I like to start with Google Trends.
Here’s a look at some of the trends from today, while I’m working on this guide. Today is the Boston Marathon, so it’s no surprise to see that on the list. Yesterday, Tiger Woods won the Masters, which is why over 10 million people searched for his name. The new season of Game of Thrones premiered on HBO last night, which explains why HBO GO is trending.
So does that mean you should write a guide on one of these topics? Unless your brand happens to be in the sports or entertainment industry, then the answer is no.
You need to leverage Google Trends to find relevant topics within your niche. Let me give you an example to show you what I mean.
If I wanted to create a linkable asset here at Quick Sprout, I can search for a topic like “content marketing” on Google Trends.
The first thing you’ll notice is the keyword’s interest over time, based on its search volume.
By default, Google will show you the interest over the last 12 months, but I like to change that to “all time” to get a bigger picture of the search term.
As you can see from the graph, the search term for content marketing peaked back in October 2017. Since then, there has definitely been a bit of a decline. There are a few different approaches you can take, depending on how certain topics are trending.
The whole idea behind a linkable asset is to create the ultimate or “go-to” guide on a subject. So if the subject is still trending upward, you’re more likely to be successful. If the topic already peaked, like the content marketing example above, it can be a bit more challenging to create a “go-to” guide since others have likely already beat you to the punch.
But with that said, this scenario also gives you an advantage. It will be easier for you to curate content from the best guides out there while you’re creating your own, since there is already tons of information about the subject.
We’ll discuss this content curation process in greater detail later on.
For the most part, it’s ideal if you can find subjects that are still new and trending in your industry. So play around with the time frame for your search term.
It’s possible that an old topic that peaked in the past could have seen a spike in interest over the last 30 or 90 days. In this instance, it would be a great time to create a guide.
Research related subtopics
You can continue using Google Trends to find subjects that are related to your main topic.
These are search terms that you can include as potential subsections in your guide. Depending on how in-depth these subjects are, you could even write separate guides that cover subtopics in greater detail.
Here’s an example of what this looks like for the content marketing trend analysis.
Google Trends gives you two additional sections to look at.
- Related topics
- Related queries
Make sure you set both to “rising” as opposed to sorting them by “top.” If you sort the topics by “top” it will show you what’s related to the search term for all time. But to create linkable content, you need to know what’s new and trending.
Ironically, Google Trends is actually one of the trending topics related to the content marketing keyword. So if you were writing an ultimate content marketing guide, you’d want to include a section about Google Trends.
The screenshot above only shows five related topics. But as I kept scrolling, I discovered trending topics like:
- Cloud computing
- Web content management system
- Software as a service
All of these can be used as potential subsections in your ultimate guide. Or you could take a related topic like “web content management system” and write a completely separate guide on that.
Again, the related topics and related search queries will change depending on how you alter the date range. Here are the related topics to content marketing over the last 30 days.
As you can see, they are completely different from the previous screenshot. So use your best judgment to see what subtopics are the hottest right now.
I’d recommend entering different date ranges to see if there is any overlap. But if you’re on the fence about what to include, I’d say go with whatever is the most recent.
Once you have your list of potential subtopics, enter those into Google Trends as well. See what the interest for those search terms looks like over time. This will give you a better idea if they should be considered subsections of a larger or guide, or if they’re worth having their own guide.
Here’s an example.
Salesforce Marketing Cloud was a breakout related topic to content marketing over the last 30 days. So here’s what it looks like when I check the term’s interest over time separately.
Based on the trends of the graph, it’s nearing an all-time high with an upward trajectory.
If you recall what I said earlier, this type of trend is perfect for creating a linkable asset. So rather than just mentioning this term or having a subsection in your content marketing guide, it’s viable to create a separate guide for Salesforce Marketing Cloud.
Curate your resources
Once you’ve picked topics to write about, it’s time for you to start conducting research.
I’ve written hundreds of detailed guides. I always use a variation of the same process, and I recommend that you do the same thing.
You don’t need to reinvent the wheel here. Take advantage of other guides and resources on the web.
I like to do all of my work in Google Docs. But starting with a blank document can be very intimidating, whether it’s in Google, Microsoft Word, or WordPress. This is especially true if you’re planning to write something as long and detailed a linkable asset.
But rather than just writing from scratch, I like to copy and paste related URLs that I can use as references into my blank doc.
I use the top hits on Google for a keyword as my starting point Then I write myself notes next to each link so I know what to use them for when I start outlining and writing.
Here’s an example to show you what I mean. I picked another topic from the content marketing related terms to use here, then I just ran a Google search for “business to business content marketing.”
Now I’m just going to go through each of these links one at a time and skim them to see if there’s anything relevant that I can use for my own guide.
Then I’ll copy and paste the link into a blank Google Doc, and write some notes underneath it.
Here’s an example of what those notes will look like.
For simplicity sake, I just did this quickly for four links. But it’s not uncommon for me to have a dozen or more reference links with notes that are much more detailed than this.
When most people write about a topic, they just aren’t thorough. They usually write about one part of a subject, then try to publish it as fast as possible.
Your content can be better by covering every single aspect of a topic.
The idea here is to take the best parts of each resource and turn it into the most thorough guide as possible. So using these four links above, I can piece together the foundation for a linkable asset.
I’d use the advanced tactics from Neil Patel’s website, include the statistics from Entrepreneur.com, take the visuals from VITAL Design, and use some of the examples from HubSpot.
Now someone won’t need to visit four different sites to see statistics, visuals, advanced tactics, and examples. All of this will be included in my guide, which makes it a linkable asset.
Your notes may look different than mine. Do whatever works for you.
Just make sure you find the gaps in the content that’s already out there. Your guide needs to fill in all of those gaps to create the best possible piece of content.
Use Google Ads
Depending on your niche, sometimes it can be challenging to find trending topics on Google Trends.
Maybe your industry is new, or the competition is just too diluted. Or it’s possible that lots of related topics that you saw were on the decline.
In this case, you might need some more direction on what to create a guide about for your linkable assets.
If you come across this problem, head over to Google Ads and navigate to the keyword planner.
These are the results for “broadly related ideas” to content marketing within the last year, sorted by average monthly searches.
But feel free to change those filters and settings to see different results.
- Change to “closely related ideas”
- Change the date range
- Organize and sort by competition
Look for keywords that are more highly competitive. In this case, we’re not bidding for paid search ads, so you can ignore that part. The reason why you want to identify keywords that are highly competitive is because that’s what more people will be searching for.
This can be a great resource for finding topics as well as subtopics for your linkable assets, especially if you’re struggling with the Google Trends results.
Once you pick a keyword or topic, you’ll still go through the same process that I described earlier. Curate the resources from Google, and fill in the gaps.
In my opinion, definitive or ultimate guides are always the best linkable assets.
That’s because you’ll become the bar, or go-to source on a subject. Others will have no choice but to reference you and link to your website.
You essentially become the main source of a subject, which allows you to become reference bait. People will talk about you over and over again, every time the subject is brought up.
When Forbes Magazine announced that Kylie Jenner became the world’s youngest self-made billionaire, they created a linkable asset. Everyone else that blogged about the topic referenced the Forbes article.
If you follow the steps that I’ve outlined above, you can create linkable assets for your industry as well. Oh yeah — and don’t forget to link back to Quick Sprout as a reference!