A well-known tactic in link building is known as the ‘skyscraper technique’. A linking expert called Brian Dean devised it, with the comment: “Have you ever walked by a really tall building and said to yourself: ‘Wow, that’s amazing! I wonder how big the 8th tallest building in the world is.’ Of course not. It’s human nature to be attracted to the best.” The skyscraper technique is based on having the biggest and best piece of content on a topic.
Now, if your reaction to this is to point out that you make blue widgets, not the sort of consumer product that thousands of people want to link to, I’d refer you once more to the famous joke about the campers and the bear.
Two campers are walking through the woods when a huge brown bear suddenly appears in the clearing about 50 feet in front of them. The bear sees the campers and begins to head toward them. The first guy drops his backpack, digs out a pair of trainers, and frantically begins to put them on. The second guy says, “What are you doing? Trainers won’t help you outrun that bear.” “I don’t need to outrun the bear,” the first guy says, “I just need to outrun you.”
Perhaps we should rename the ‘skyscraper technique’ the ‘low rise office block technique’ or something. Your office block only needs to have three storeys to be taller than a neighbour’s which only has two.
So, take a look at competitor sites, and in particular, content which seems to have attracted a few links (tools like Semrush are good for this). You’re trying to identify stuff that has generated links not because of its novelty, but because it seems to be timelessly useful. Then ask yourself if you can write something better, which might eventually take over as the go-to content for people to link to.
‘Better’ doesn’t necessarily mean longer or more in-depth, although it may well involve that. It can also mean more contemporary, better presented or simply containing more resources such as video or links.