SEOBlackhat has a good post on alternative link building strategy. He describes how hoaxes can generate massive inbound linkage from authority sites, using the fictional Air Force One graffitti incident as an example. Compare the effort involved in aquiring these links with getting those links by other means.
Of course, you don’t have to employ hoaxes. Sometimes all that is required is a subtle shift in thinking about what a link building campaign actually is. You could beg for links, but this is the online equivalent of begging for money. You may get some, but you’re not going to retire to your own island anytime soon. Instead, you could earn links by generating sufficient attention. As SEO changes from a largely technical exercise to an ongoing PR activity, the ability to grab attention is a key strategy, as John Scott will probably also tell you 😉
Think news. All news outlets, and most bloggers, need a constant barrage of news stories in order to exist. If you have the news they want, you’ll get links by the truckload. The trick is generating enough interest in order to get the ball rolling. The ways of doing this are obviously varied – probably the least successful of which is generating a press release, which is a sure fire way to be ignored unless you’re already of significant public interest.
Instead, go unique. Seth Godin, to those who don’t know of him, has an excellent book entitled “The Purple Cow”. He reasons that it is no longer good enough to be slightly different. In an attention economy you need to be remarkable i.e. be worth remaking upon.
The links will (no)follow.