Jane_Doe - 8:11 pm on Feb 7, 2011 (gmt 0)
Just analyze other people's sites and see what they do. You don't have to reinvent the wheel. Go after easy, long tail terms first. Once you start getting some traffic, if you have good content your sites can become self sustaining with natural links.
Try to have unique content that high authority / high PR sites like colleges, government agencies, newspapers, radio and TV stations will want to link to without even being asked.