Although risky, sponsorship can be effective if performed correctly. There are a few things that can minimise risk and improve your chances of getting the most out of this tactic. Roughly the same rules apply as with any modern link building method: relevancy, quality, and quantity.
The first rule is to only ever sponsor relevant events or organisations. Don’t go wild and sponsor everything and anything under the sun. A local garden furniture company in Scotland will look quite out of place sponsoring financial services and bitcoin meetup in San Francisco. As with any type of link building campaign, relevancy is a vital element in getting the most value.
Firstly, it’s advisable to do a quality control check on the website itself.
Is the site relevant to your industry?
- Does the site have the possibility of driving targeted traffic?
- What are its metrics (DA, TF, CF, TTF)?
- Its backlink profile?
- Has it been spammed?
- Is there any point sponsoring it?
If the site as a whole passes the test, look at the individual page where the link will be placed. How many other links are on the page? Is your link going to be on a page with hundreds of other links? If so, it’s probably an opportunity you should skip over; your money will go further elsewhere.
Finally, look at the anchor text of other sponsors. Keyword rich anchors are a red warning flag. Only ever use branded anchors e.g. Brand Name, BrandName, Brandname.com, www.brandname.com.
As with all link building strategies, it’s essential not to overdo any one tactic. Most strategies are effective as long as they are intertwined with a plethora of other strategies and link types. Never ever take one strategy as the holy grail of SEO. Mix things up and diversify.
The types of opportunities that are available to you will depend solely on your niche. To give you a rough idea, these are the types of opportunities I look for:
- Local media
- Local events
Finding Sponsorship Opportunities
Finding potential opportunities is pretty straightforward. Firstly, have a look at your competitors to see if they are sponsoring any events, then reach out to them and ask if they have any more sponsorship opportunities. This method can work very well if your competitors are sponsoring events, but it can be a little potluck. A great deal of time can be spent only to uncover a complete lack of opportunities. If you do find a competitor with sponsorship opportunities, I recommend looking at who else has these opportunities and performing backlink analysis on these companies too, thereby widening your reach significantly.
The main method I use is search queries. This doesn’t have to be a long search query. To keep it simple, I start with:
Keyword + sponsors
‘Sponsors’ can be switched to other terms such as ‘supporters’
Forums are by far my favourite sponsorship opportunity. They are amazing for getting a niche relevant link. More importantly, these sponsorship opportunities allow you to directly connect with your target audience. This form of connection can give you a wealth of data and insight into how to better market yourself and align with the needs of your audience. This in turn builds trust and drives traffic and sales.
As part of a campaign for a high-end security and surveillance eCommerce store, I started a relationship with a relevant forum. After some negotiations, an image link was placed on the homepage of the forum. Traffic from that forum alone now accounts for 20% of the overall sales!