Everyone I work with repeats this phrase almost daily: “Link building isn't easy.”
They're right. The way we build links isn't quick or easy. As a job, it can be extremely rewarding when you focus on the results and keep plugging away-- but it's easy to get discouraged. When frustration sets in, it seems like the whole world is against you. You've produced good, useful content but no one wants it. No one is returning your emails even though your messages are thoughtful and you've personalized each one.
Link building also doesn't work in short, sweet bursts. It's an ongoing project. There's no instant gratification even when your work does come through. I've been through all of it and I'll be through it again, and I can safely say that the only way to succeed is to keep at it.
The Link Builder Vs. Discouragement
Discouragement kills motivation, innovation and creativity. Link building, as it turns out, is all about those three things-- so discouragement is the enemy. Whenever it feels like the entire world wide web is conspiring against you, try to remember that it's not. You're not important enough for that. “I thought this was supposed to be encouraging?” you're probably saying.
Well, it is. While your writing is good, your research is sound and your work is important, the entire internet still doesn't revolve around you. No one's out to get you, they're just living their lives and serving their own interests. Sometimes your interests coincide with theirs and sometimes they don't. That's all there is to it. You can't force anyone to open an email or read your work. It's out of your control. As long as you create compelling content and write personable outreach, you're doing the best you can.
The Link Builder Vs. The Blogosphere
First things first: you're not fighting against bloggers, you're working with them. If someone doesn't want to work with you at all, just move on. It might feel like you're engaged in a constant struggle against bloggers and webmasters, but you're not. If you just can't sync your needs with their needs, it's not going to work.
Even when a blog owner rejects you, it's still their site. You're right-- it might have been foolish of them to pass on your content, but that's their decision. It's frustrating sometimes. That's all there is to it. They're not working against you-- either they don't like guest posts, don't think your content or link is a good fit or they're fed up with some of the crappy link builders that have come before you. Sometimes you can start a conversation and iron it out, but usually you need to move on. You're not a bad person for wanting a link in exchange for a good blog post, and they're not a bad person for refusing. It is what it is. They're missing out and you're moving on.
Real progress, the kind you can feel good about, comes when you're actively working with a blogger or site owner. They give you feedback on your ideas and your writing, and you craft something that works perfectly for their audience and your client. Two weeks of frustration and discouragement are instantly cured when you find that perfect fit. Work towards that.
The Link Builder Vs. The Client
Sometimes it feels like your client and the deadlines that come with being employed as a link builder are fighting against you, but that's another bad way to think about your job. You're never fighting against your client, they're spending hard-earned money on your link building efforts. If they have an oddball request, it's your duty to fulfill that request. That client is the reason you're gainfully employed, so figure out how to roll with it. Your client is never being mean-- they want you to succeed.
Deadlines are a little bit trickier. We already discussed the fact that you just can't force someone to post your article or link to you as a resource, which can make impending deadlines look like a snowstorm on Donner Pass. You're a link builder, though-- you know it's tough. Sometimes you're not happy with the amount of links you create before the month is over, but that should just fuel you to think of new ideas and produce better content.
The best reason I can give you to keep at it is this: if you give up, your link building efforts fail. If you create some great, solid links in a month, that's awesome. But it's not enough. When search rankings start to improve and your client is happy, that's when you'll forget you were ever frustrated. Those rankings won't change unless you keep at it, so just remember that no one's out to get you and you can't force anyone else to post your content. Keep your head up and keep building great links.