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How to Set up an Outreach Campaign for Link Building

You’ve probably heard that links are important for your SEO campaign. Although some folks might tell you that they don’t matter these days, the truth is that they can make every bit of difference in your rankings. In today’s post, we’re looking at what outreach marketing is, how you can use it to your advantage, and what you should and should not do to be successful with it. 

Outreach Marketing – Outreach Definition

It’s a little difficult to define outreach, but we’ll try to do our best. SEO-wise, it is the process where you or someone you have hired for the process manages to acquire a link by sending out an email and offering something in exchange for a new link. 

Black hat SEO people usually offer money, but people who don’t have a huge budget for the task will offer guest posts or use the Skyscraper technique to point out to website owners that they have dead links on their websites that they could replace. 

The reason blogger outreach is one of the most commonly used link building methods out there is that it doesn’t really go against any search engine’s policies. 

While buying links might be against Google’s policy, for example, writing guest posts is definitely not, especially if they are credited to the author and they’re clearly marked as being guest posts. 

Read on to find out more on how to start a campaign and some other things about the general outreach meaning these days. 

outreach marketing

Outreach ideas – What are you offering?

One of the reasons so many outreach campaigns fail is that people don’t seem to understand that they have to offer something practical in exchange for a link. 

The way you create your email and communicate with admins can also make a difference, but essentially, you have to offer them something in return. 

This could be a service, a product that they can review on their blog or website, a piece of content (the guest posts we were mentioning before), or even an intern that they can try out for a while. 

The Skyscraper technique also works because you’re basically offering website owners data, which can be valuable if they don’t know that much about SEO or they don’t have a SEMrush or Ahrefs subscription, for instance. 

So before you write and send out your first outreach email, carefully think about what you have to offer to the email recipients. 

define outreach

What does a good outreach email look like?

If you want to use the same template for most of your outreach emails, your efforts might not be successful. Ideally, you should take several minutes to browse through that person’s blog just to see what they’ve written about. 

Then think about what you can provide for them in accordance with the articles they’ve published in the past. 

For example, if you’re a nutritionist and you want to acquire links for your website, you can always pitch to food blogs – because you have the authority, so people are going to accept your proposal a lot easier. 

Here are some tips for writing a good outreach email:

Be professional

Don’t assume that folks are just going to give you links because of your experience. Some bloggers are simply unwilling to accept any link building offer if they don’t get paid for it. 

Be polite, don’t make any demands, and even if someone gets on your nerves, move on and don’t insult them. 

Make it short

These people get dozens, if not hundreds of outreach emails per day. Everyone wants a free link, and everyone is selling links nowadays. 

So you should make a goal out of creating an outreach email that stands out and that’s short enough to be read in as little time as possible. 

Talk about them instead of you

Let’s take an example for this piece of advice. You typically send out 10 outreach emails per day (which is a low number, but if you do it every day, they add up). 

But at one point, you come across a blog that’s in your niche and that you’d like to write a guest post for – but the admin doesn’t have an email like ‘office@blog.com’. Instead, their email is ‘adriannaoranothername@gmail.com’. 

Unless you mention the website you’re doing the pitch for, you have no way of knowing what site you want to get the link for. 

For this reason, you should always start with the website name or URL. Tell that person that you came across their website and that you think that what they’re doing is great. A little flattery never hurt anyone. 

And you get another benefit – when they reply, you’ll see the email you sent, so you’ll know what website they’re talking about. 

Don’t push it

If you send 2-3 emails and you get no reply, you should get the message. 

Otherwise, that admin might mark your email as spam, and if you send your outreach emails the traditional way, meaning using your own email provider (like Gmail), if more people mark your message as spam, it’s going to end up in the spam bin of other future prospects, too. 

No one owes you anything, especially if you don’t really have anything valuable to offer (like money). 

It’s okay to take ‘no’ for an answer

If you’ve gone back and forth with a person and they end up refusing your request, you don’t have to feel that frustrated. So long as you’re acquiring links for yourself, you can always pitch out to other websites. 

There are literally hundreds of thousands of websites out there in your niche, no matter how weird it might be. And even if you can’t find sites that are specifically in your category, you can still get links from sites that are somehow related to it. 

new link

Outreach ideas – Template

We’ve already discussed what you should do, but creating a template that works can take some time and effort – and it always depends on the admin’s personality, the day they’re having, their websites’ DR, and many other factors. 

A short one could look like this (if you’re looking to get a guest post). 

Hi there, (especially if you haven’t found the admin’s name)

Congrats on your work on (website). I found your posts to be (insert appropriate compliment here). 

I know you get lots of such emails per day, so I’ll get straight to the point. I’m (your name) and I specialize in (your domain). I have a (niche) blog (or site) and I’m looking to slowly grow it. 

I would really love to write a guest post for your site, if that’s something you might be interested in. (if you’re lucky enough to have found a page on their site where it clearly says that they do accept guest posts, make sure to mention it here)

Here are several examples of guest posts that I’ve written for other sites in our niche:

Link 1

Link 2

Link 3

I especially enjoy writing about (preferred topic). Unfortunately, I am unable to pay for any guest posts at this time, but I can guarantee that I can write the best article on the topic of your choice – I can also suggest several if your response is favorable. 

Thanks for taking the time to read this email. 

All the best, 

(your name)

What should you avoid?

Successful link building outreach is personal, so you might have to avoid using automation tools for the purpose. If you already have a site, you might have received awful outreach emails before, so you probably know what one looks like. 

Don’t send out hundreds of emails per day, especially if you don’t have a VA that can write the content for you. If you want to write it yourself, you might need to send out just 10 emails per week – especially if this is not your only income source. 

Don’t bombard people with emails if you see that you don’t get a reply, and more importantly, don’t be rude. Ever. 

In the end, persistence and time offer the best results. 

A note about blogger outreach services

You can use a separate service if you have no time to do some research on your own and find the blogs you want to get links on. There are heaps of services out there that can either give you the list or do the outreach for you. 

On the upside, these services will match you with the right bloggers off the bat, also depending on your niche. They can also find good value blogs (DR and DA wise).

But there’s always a caveat, so this solution might not be the best for someone who’s just starting out, and who isn’t willing to pay for such services. 

Also, we’d like to point out that on sites like Fiverr, you can find people selling blog lists in all niches and categories and for as little as $5 or $10. After you get the list with the blogs and contacts, you can do the outreach yourself. 

how to make a link

How to make a link with link building tools

Outreach is nice and all, but how can you know what websites you should send your emails to? Well, for that, you need the right tools. A DR 1 website will bring you no value, at least not at this time, but if it has loads of traffic, it also has a lot of potential. 

And keep in mind that lower DR blogs and websites usually accept guest posts a lot easier and faster than higher DR ones – and they’re probably not going to ask you for money, either. 

Here are some examples of tools you might need for your link building campaign through outreach:

  • Ahrefs
  • SEMrush
  • Buzzstream
  • Pitchbox
  • Hunter.io 

How long does an outreach campaign last?

The answer to this question is that it never truly ends. As you probably know, links come and go, and so do websites, so at one point you might lose a link either because that admin has decided to take it down or because they just haven’t paid for their hosting and the site’s now dead. 

For this reason, you should make a goal of using outreach as a link building technique for your website’s entire life. But if you don’t want to lose your guest posts, use Google Drive to store them just in case they get lost – you might be able to pitch them to another site in the future if something happens. 

What to put in an Outreach Email?

Bibi Lauri Raven who is a good friend of mine does link building all day every day, so who better to ask than Bibi on what works well on her outreach templates and Bibi was kind enough to give me an example of what she finds works well.

I like my outreach to look as customised as possible while still being able to scale. So, my templates are all about tailoring them to the niche you reach out to. This means that, while the same template is used for multiple prospects, they still “feel” less generic.

Here are some examples, per niche:

Diamond sites:

Subject line: Mined over matter – Gems of pitches for <site name>

Hi, <first name>

Hope today’s a prismatic day fused with a potent cup of Joe:)

As a shine-your-light advocate, I’d love to write a guest feature for <site name>,

to remind your audience that the higher the pressure, the brighter the sparkle, no matter the times. 

If I make the cut, here are some gems I had in mind:

  1. Headline 1
  2. Headline 2
  3. Headline 3

Let me know if you loved or hated ’em, and I’d be happy to smooth off any rough edges. 

Thanks! 

Keep shinin’ on,

 

Sites focused at restaurants:

Subject line: Satisfying these quaranteeth | Pitch for <site name>

Hi, <first name>

I know we’re all in a pickle and it’s quite a big dill.

If you’re welcoming writing sous-chefs, I’d love to cook up some content for <site name> and be your audience’s butter half. 

Perhaps one of these?

  1. Headline 1
  2. Headline 2
  3. Headline 3

Which one was palpable? We can always enhance the una-peel-ing. 

Keepin’ it fresh,

Want to buy some guest posts or you just want your outreach done for you? Feel free to get in touch to find out what we have to offer!

seo profile image

Craig Campbell

I am a Glasgow based SEO expert who has been doing SEO for 18 years.

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