So over the years I’ve worked with companies in dozens of industries – and some of them have been pretty obscure niches, some of them being what you could call boring. 

Now for your own business – you might think it’s very boring, or too niche to produce content or build links for.  But the reality is, link building and creating linkable assets is possible for even the most mundane of industries. 

The missing link (if you’ll excuse the pun), is the thought process and mechanics that go into constructing a link building campaign.

The Challenges of Link Building in Boring Niches

Building links for any niche will come with its own nuances and sticking points – but when it’s a boring niche, this comes with its own challenges.

Here’s some of the main ones.

Challenge #1: Lack of excitement

This can present in many ways, but it may be a niche which is just not conducive to having compelling content that captures the attention of an audience. This also then has a knock on effect on ability to earn backlinks – because if there aren’t enough people reading the content and finding it valuable – there won’t be many proactively linking to it.

Solution #1: Crossover audience & content research

Niche up your content, find crossover audiences that you can make content for and do deep research to understand what your audience actually cares about. Don’t be overly dogmatic about your content, and impose your own opinions. When you do this, this sometimes is what may end up yielding boring, or overly technical content that doesn’t drive engagement. 

Challenge #2 : Lack of linkable assets

Many sites in these types of boring niches, just don’t really have a lot to link to. The websites tend to be fairly sparse, maybe there is only so much that can be said about the product, and any content that goes in-depth about the product, is just becoming overly technical and nuanced. 

Solution #2: Creating alternative content types

Maybe the key isn’t to have written content, but to find other types of content like tools, calculators, interactive maps or an asset like the BlendTec example I shared earlier. I’d also recommend talking to customers or running a survey, to just find out the kind of things they want to learn more about – those answers may give you a starting point to create content around.

Challenge #3: Small link target pool

If you’re in a narrow or a boring niche, and have a product or service with relatively small target audience, or an audience that comes from only a handful of industries – using this as the basis of your link strategy, can then result in a restricted pool of targets you can actually reach out to for building links. 

Solution #3: expand your horizons

I mentioned this before but it really does pay off to research other linkable audiences, and industries where you can get relevant links from. Make sure to also expand the geography of who you’re reaching out to (while still keeping it logically niche relevant) – that can also help expand the pool of potential targets. 

So now, let’s dive into this a bit deeper.

Step 1 – Creating content that isn’t boring

Often the reason why content creation and building links isn’t as boring in other industries, is because the niche is large enough that you have a large enough pool of obvious sites to reach out. 

For instance, let’s say you have an eCommerce company selling outdoor gear & equipment. That is pretty broad and there are so many obvious things you can talk about in your content which talks to that particular audience. The target audience itself is large (and its international), and therefore the pool of potential websites you can reach out to is huge. Same follows for any B2B SaaS companies or most DTC ecommerce brands selling items to the masses. 

Now compare that to something like a company in the trucking industry, waste management, or logistics. On the surface, not the most exciting topics and it’s hard to get excited about writing about rubbish skips, trucks or delivering boxes…  However, those industries ultimately still have a market, they solve problems, and therefore, there is an opportunity to create content around those things. 

We’ve worked with a couple of companies in the logistics industry and where our clients did really well, was to think about the issues that their customers are having, and create content addressing those problems or current affairs. 

One company in the logistics sector which has really done this well is Red Stag Fulfillment. Rather than just make blog posts which are essentially just sales pitches for their service (most companies in niche industries do this by the way), they’ve created a mammoth blog section which covers almost every topic that their potential client would have an active interest in. 

RSF in a nutshell, is an order fulfillment company. They store, pack and fulfil deliveries on behalf of companies who want to outsource this part of their business. 

As you can see here they have content covering multiple categories:

Red Stag Fulfillment has content covering  multiple categories

Everything from things like “What Is a Floor Loaded Container?” – which is a type of shipping container that some companies might use for storing products. And articles like “Setting Shipping Expectations for Your Holiday Shoppers” – which is a pretty common problem for many companies, which RSF have particular experience with. 

You might not want to branch out quite as wide as they have, but you should start thinking of common problems that you can advise on, tools, whitepapers, plugins or calculators that you could create or even articles on industry trends that your audience should know about, but which perhaps isn’t being covered much elsewhere. 

Step 2 – Designing your Link Building Strategies

But what some companies make the mistake of doing, is thinking that link relevancy stops as soon as they venture out of your own industry. I’ve had this conversation with clients in very niche industries before that if they wanted to stand any chance of getting links consistently in the long term, they had to broaden their horizons. 

When you’re in a very narrow niche and there just isn’t a large pool of targets, you will need to start looking into “shoulder niches”  – i.e. related industries where there is some topic crossover. These could be industries which contain some of your target market but are not necessarily directly in your industry. 

Let’s take the example of a company that sells punch and die products (An example I got from a Citation Labs/Eric Ward webinar: https://www.ppunch.com/). These are tools which are used to punch holes in metal and stuff…. extremely boring for most people I’m sure you’ll agree!

Ppunch

However, there is an audience for it, as there are industries and businesses where these kinds of tools are essential. 

While it’s possible to look into immediate industry, and build links from that sector, you will find that your pool of targets will quickly diminish. Punch and die products in mind- you could reach out to other companies in that sector (many of whom may not even want to link to you), but you may have some very specific industry publications if you venture out into the general sphere of “manufacturing”. 

For example – https://www.themanufacturer.com/

The Manufacturer's website homepage

The pool may still not be large enough. Expanding outside of your local region may help, if you’re able to do that and if the same industry standards and practices apply across borders. 

Let’s brainstorm a few more ideas for this specific example. 

Existing relationships and professional network

Are there people or organisations in your immediate circle or professional network you can get links from? If there is some tangential relevance, there’s definitely benefit in this. 

Metalworking industry associations, tooling and machining associations, trade associations  – are some suggestions. Even conferences and trade shows that your company or competitors attend. 

These are potentially low hanging fruit and you may even have someone in mind you can email and ask. 

Another big pool of ideas can come from your existing (or potential) customer base(s). Sticking with our example, by looking at the products and what they’re used for,  helps us generate some ideas.

Metalworking and machining

So at least from my amateur knowledge, I see that these products used by ppunch.com are used in the manufacturing of certain machines. Many of which involve the cutting of metal. So we could also try:

  • Manufacturers of steel fabrication equipment. 
  • CNC machine manufacturers
  • Metalworking industry news
  • Machining industry news

Ammunition and Firearms

Certain tooling is also used in the production of good quality ammunition. So there could be an angle here to talk about this in sectors like: 

  • Firearms and ammunition industry news. 
  • Firearms organisations
  • Sportsman news – i.e. especially the hunting industry. 

Perhaps getting into specifics of why this tooling is important, what potential issues it may solve, etc. 

Law Enforcement & Military

Following on from the ammunition angle, there are sites aimed at law enforcement and the military, and even police training academies. It may be a fairly technical topic for many of these sites, but this is where you’ll need to tailor your idea in order for it to make sense for their editors (and audience).  

HVAC

Here’s one angle – specifically looking at the fin die tooling, it looks like this is particularly useful to the HVAC industry. Fins are responsible for the majority of the heat transfer process. 

So if we have HVAC industry news sites, we could talk specifically about this topic, or other relevant aspects of how our products relate to the HVAC industry. 

Pharmaceutical & medical industry

The mold component products have an obvious link to plastic injection molding – which is big in the medical and pharmaceutical industries. This opens up a whole other niche to us, and there will be healthcare business sites, sites aimed at the pharmaceutical industry as well as other sub niches of the healthcare industry. 

Again, bridging the gap between our tools, and the medical industry will be key here. Here’s one idea that was a random article I found – “The Pros and Cons of Injection Molding for Medical Device Manufacturers.”

The Pros and Cons of Injection Molding for Medical Device Manufacturers.

Linkable Audiences and Building Links That are “Irrelevant”

So as you’ve seen in the previous section, even seemingly mundane, and overly niche industries will give you something to grasp hold of. But let’s turn things on its head and think about when we want to venture out of the things which seem relevant. 

(If you’re the business owner this may seem counterintuitive but please bear with me.)


Sometimes, the most effective way to have a link building campaign which is going to pack a punch, and actually get you rankings for the right keywords and bring in traffic which can lead to enquiries – is to just get links in the first place. 

And you may find that when you only focus on the things which are directly related from a product/industry/customer perspective, you will find yourself in this 2 step situation:

  1. The pool of targets isn’t big and you end up with a list of a few hundred sites.
  2. Even when that pool of targets is seemingly big, you realise that not everybody wants to link to you or let you write for them, at least not right away. 

And that can be painful, as I’ve often found when our own agency had a campaign where we had to hyper focus. 

We could only build a handful of links each month, and couldn’t build up the velocity to have a large impact. 

So the solution for this is to step out of what seems logically relevant, and think about audiences where you’re going off at a tangent – but from both a human and search engine POV, it’s still a good link and has some relevance. 

Those audiences are what are often termed as “Linkable Audiences”. 

What are linkable audiences?

A linkable audience is essentially a group of people who are often quite passionate about their subject area, and who you can serve with non-salesy content. 

Linkable audiences can really be anything, but can include parents seeking resources for their children, diabetics, the disabled community, the LGBTQ community, People concerned about the environment, etc. There are numerous, and even within each linkable audience there will be subcategories. 

The key is to be able to produce content which has some relevance to your business, but is still of enough interest that a site in that niche will want you to guest post for them, or will link to an already created piece of content. 

The point being that these are audiences where you’re likely to open up a much larger pool of targets, and can get links – provided you have the right piece of content to leverage. 

The reality is when it comes to creating content and building links through this method, the content is almost always not going to have much commercial value for your business. You will need to keep your business hat off, and put your “content writing” hat on when it comes to this. Go to the editors/bloggers of the sites in these linkable audience spheres and think about what they and their audience want in terms of content. After you’ve addressed that, you can think about the relevance it has to your business and how best to work your angle in, without harming the value of the content. 

If you do it the other way round, trying to fit their needs into an article that serves your interest it’ll be like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. 

Example: Punch and die products / sustainability

Let’s go back to our example and pick a linkable audience – the eco conscious and sustainability sector. One of things that the audience has on their mind is plastics and the harm they cause to the environment. Plastic injection molding has a tangential relevance to this, so maybe we can create a content piece talking about making the injection molding process more energy-efficient and capable of producing less waste. 

The reality is when dealing with linkable audiences you’ll probably have to make the content piece less technical and talk more broadly – and it may be unlikely (although not impossible) for someone in your target audience to click through to your site. But, it will have served its purpose in getting you a tangentially related link. 

However, the key is to do this within reason and I’d always advocate wherever possible, to get links as hyper-related to your brand as possible. But, in order to keep building momentum and any degree of velocity you will have to somewhat venture out of there.

This also leads us into the next section where we have to balance relevance, against authority. 

PR and Journalist Outreach

Public relations is a slightly different ball game, but can be a really good way of getting high authority links. Now, you may have some of those same self-limiting beliefs when it comes to link building, thinking your business is just not PR-worthy.

Now that may actually be the case for your core business and products – it’s safe to say that mainstream media is just not going to find ejector pins or injection molding something that their readers are going to be particularly riveting!

However, the idea when reaching out to journalists in publications which are more mainstream, is to find something where there is some crossover between your industry, and that audience. 

Let’s take this real example from BlendTec, whose entire business is centered around selling food blenders… not exactly the most exciting of topics –  and nothing immediately springs to mind outside of publishing blending recipes for smoothies and other drinks. 

However, they came up with the idea of “Will it Blend?” which was a viral marketing campaign where they blended everyday household objects to see what happened when it blended. 

This had a humorous slant and was not directly related to the real use of their product – but it was very successful and that site (when it was live) accumulated almost 6,000 referring domains. Many of these being top tier publications like the New York Times, WSJ, the Guardian and countless others.

BlendTec

You don’t necessarily have to go down the route of humor, but anything that’s thought provoking, controversial, and leverages a newsworthy trend can work really well. It’s always worth reaching out to journalists ahead of time and running an idea past them to see if it’s something they think they would run. 

Conclusion

To sum up, just because it seems a boring niche on the surface, doesn’t mean you can’t produce content around it. 

On top of that, where you can really scale up a link building campaign is when you think outside of the immediate sphere of your business and its main customers. You will want to bridge that gap using personalised outreach and well written content, to reach segments of your target customers or the linkable audiences like we discussed earlier. 

But if this all sounds like a lot of work, and the whole of link building sounds “boring” then TLG is here to help. 

Click that “Let’s Chat” button on the right, and we can take care of the entire link building process – so you can stick to being excited with the results…