If you're a small business owner, you may be using a blog to communicate with your prospects and customers. Maybe you publish e-books, white papers or case studies to establish your thought leadership and enhance your connections. Ideally, you're hoping readers will find your content so interesting that they share it with their networks or talk about it on their own blogs, driving backlinks to your website.

So what do you do when you publish each piece of content, whether it's a blog post or a longer resource? Do you sit back and watch for your tweet counts and Facebook share stats to creep up, hoping for a handful of visitors? You can take this approach, or you can take a more proactive approach, turning each piece of the top-quality content you've so carefully crafted into dozens even hundreds of valuable links.

Keep Link Building In Mind As You Craft Content

When you're writing each piece of content, keep link building in mind as you work your magic. Instead of bland, boring copy that's appropriate for a textbook, think of ways to discuss otherwise mundane material in an interesting, engaging way that still informs.

When you're writing for the web, write in a conversational style and keep your content concise and easily digestible, using sub-headings and bulleted lists to break up sections of content.

Use Your Social Sharing Tools Wisely

So you've got social sharing buttons on your static web pages and blog posts. But readers see those widgets on just about every website they visit; it's not enough of a call to action to encourage readers to share your content.

Get the ball rolling by sharing your own content across your social networks. Use a sharp, witty lead in to grab readers' attention and encourage them to share. There are a few channels you can utilize to share your own content:

  • Social Media networks, like Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
  • Social bookmarking sites, like Digg, Delicious and Reddit.
  • Social news sharing sites and networking forums. Think Metafilter, Kirtsy and Slashdot.
  • Press releases: If you've written an especially newsworthy piece, spin it into a press release and distribute it using PRWeb or free press release distribution sites, such as i-newswire.com or PRLog.

Create An Outreach Campaign

Link-building outreach follows one of the oldest principles of sales: You won't get the sale until you ask for it. You have to close and when it comes to link building, that means actually going out and asking publishers to give you a link or publish your content.

Conducting outreach to build links takes time, but your results can be well worth your efforts if you follow a few solid principles:

  • Seek out publishers within your industry, yet aren't direct competitors.
  • Prioritize your efforts by filtering your prospects by the SEO value of a link. Does the website have a high PR or get a ton of traffic? These links will be more valuable than those from lower-ranking sites with fewer visitors.
  • Offer your prospects something of value in exchange for a link. Offering a guest blog post is a great way to do this.
  • Use your anchor text wisely. Create a list of targeted keywords you can work into guest posts and link opportunities. Sending posts and blurbs with your links already coded in with your keywords as anchor text.

Engage With Your Readers

When your readers take time out to comment on your blog posts or your social networking tweets and posts, the last thing you want to do is leave them feeling like their communication isn't being reciprocated. Engage your readers in conversation to create a more personal connection and encourage return visits.

When you've taken the time to craft engaging content, don't let it go to waste. Maximize your link building efforts, and your exposure, by syndicating your own content across multiple channels to increase your odds of earning backlinks. Having a solid link building strategy in place that you can use with every piece of content you produce will be worth the few extra minutes it takes to create momentum.

If you liked this post, you might also enjoy Using AuthorRank To Future-Proof Guest Posting