Are you giving enough time and attention to your outreach efforts?
The truth is, for many businesses, this task takes a backseat to other digital marketing priorities.
Which is a real shame.
An effective email outreach campaign remains one of your most powerful tools for earning high-quality backlinks, building thought leadership, increasing trust and improving SEO.
But successful outreach is challenging.
To get the most out of backlinks, you want to reach out to reputable websites that have healthy traffic, and that will link to your content within well-written and relevant posts.
But, these sites tend to have plenty of bloggers and website owners reaching out to them asking for backlinks every day.
So what's the answer?
You need to become a content pitching machine, and you need to stand out.
You can start by creating a library of email outreach templates that you can use in a variety of scenarios.
I'm going to share with you six of my own, for you to take, tweak and use as you like!
A Few Guidelines for Email Outreach
Emails outreach isn't the only way to engage in link building, but it's the most common and efficient.
However, it takes more than simply mass mailing people and requesting they use your content. Before you start sending emails, keep the following in mind:
Here’s a good rule of thumb: Imagine that a well-known blogger happens to stumble across an article you’ve written.
Would they decide to link to it without an "ask?" If the answer is no, go back to the drawing board.
- Only request links when your content is relevant to the reader.
Sending out emails to every website owner, blogger or online publication that's in any way related to your niche isn’t the way to go. That’s how you end up in spam folders.
Instead, you want to target those that have audiences who will be interested in the content that you're specifically producing right now.
Pay close attention to the keywords they're trending on and the content that's getting them the most engagement. You want to offer something that's a great fit.
- Don’t request backlinks from strangers.
No, this doesn’t mean you have to be friends or even super-familiar to the person you’re sending an email to.
It just means that when they look you up (and they will), they should be able to see that you’ve been following them, engaging with their posts on social media, and perhaps linking to their content as well.
- Never send blanket outreach pitches.
Take the time to find the name and email address of the relevant contact person.
Once you’ve done your research, you should know who to reach and how. To make the process as efficient as possible, you might consider creating a few simple, flexible templates.
Here are six of my own that I use to target a range of different link building scenarios. You can adapt them to suit your needs!
1. Offer an Exclusive
This email allows you to give your target the gift of exclusivity. That’s a great way to earn reciprocity.
You give them exclusive access to write about your content, and they get to scoop their competitors. In return, you get a backlink, and move an important relationship forward.
Your email could look something like this:
I really enjoyed reading the piece you wrote about onboarding freelancers. As I bring more contract workers onto my team, that information will come in really handy.
On a related note, I've just finished a study on how to recruit the best freelancing talent, and we’ve made a great infographic. It features some really interesting data from three freelancing sites, PeoplePerHour, Upwork and Citatior.
I’d be happy to give you a first look if you think you’d like to cover that this week!
Have a great weekend!
2. Make the Entire Process Effortless for Them
Sometimes, time and understanding are real roadblocks.
A prospect may be perfectly willing to give you a backlink. The issue is that they don’t have enough time, or they don’t have the subject matter understanding to write on your topic.
If you can convince them that their audience will be interested, they might be receptive to you writing a guest blog.
You get the backlink that you want, and they get to serve up great content to their readers without having to do any extra work.
Here’s an example of what you could say:
My name’s Jeremy and I’m the social media manager at ABC Leather Goods. We were both speakers at the textiles expo last year.
I’ve noticed you’ve been writing about the specific challenges faced by e-commerce businesses in the textiles industry lately. Do you think some of your audience might be ready to take a deeper dive?
I’d like to write a really in-depth piece for you on the impact the latest tax and tariff regulations have had on us. If you’re interested, let me know! I can send you the bullet points.
3. Show a Personal Interest
If you send any outreach email to someone you don’t know personally, it always helps to include a note letting them know how you're connected to them in some way.
Even something as simple as letting them know that you follow them on social media, or attended the same conference.
Sometimes it’s a good deal to emphasize the personal by showing you truly understand the recipient’s goals.
Check out this example:
Your weekly posts on the potential of the blockchain in the manufacturing industry have been on my must-read list for over a month. It’s really great stuff!
Have you seen the latest barrage of directives coming out of SEA regarding cryptocurrencies? Considering that so many of us source materials over there, it'll be interesting to see what the impact will be.
Anyway, I’ve just published an interview with a major venture capitalist in Singapore. Maybe you’d like to take a look. I think it might dovetail nicely into your work.
Have a great weekend,
4. Offer a Sneak Peak Without Further Obligation
What do you do when you find an outreach target who's entirely new to you? You can’t show that you’ve established a relationship with them or their brand.
Ideally, you step back and build that relationship, then come back with a pitch.
According to James Daily, a content pro at FlashEssay:
“The only problem is that sometimes the opportunity is just too great. You’ve got something that you know would be perfect for their audience, and that would fit into their content like a glove. Now what?”
Your best move may be to simply offer them a sneak peek at something you’ve done without including a direct ask. It might look something like this:
My name is Jarrod and I’m the owner of Educational Resources, a mail order company for educational toys.
I’ve been catching up on your blog, and noticed that your readers often ask which toys are age-appropriate for their children. I just wanted to let you know that I’ve actually written a guidebook on that very topic.
If you’re interested in checking it out, let me know. I'll send it over right away.
5. Subtly Ask for Reciprocation
The obligation to reciprocate is a strong one.
In fact, it’s so powerful that you don’t often need to make a direct request. Sometimes, all it takes is simply mentioning that you’ve done something for someone, and they'll want to do likewise in turn.
This can work beautifully if you’ve already gifted someone with a backlink or two of their own.
Try something like this:
Just wanted to thank you for that amazing infographic you published last month. I used it in a post I published last week to really drive home some important concepts regarding personal finance. I have a lot of readers who are just now exploring the concept of retirement planning.
Anyway, I’m linking the piece below if you’d like read it. I’d also love for you to check out my blog. Maybe we could work on something together in the future?
6. Demonstrate the Social Value of Your Content
Sometimes it’s okay to brag. After all, smart bloggers and publishers want to know the value of your content before they offer up those valuable backlinks.
Don’t be afraid to come forward with that proof.
Here's an example:
Thanks for the great webinar on digital marketing for sole proprietors. It helped me immensely.
I followed your advice and created an e-book on the topic of nurturing leads in a tight economy. I’m happy to say that it’s been downloaded more than 10K times. It’s also been in Amazon’s top ten list in its category for the past month.
Anyway, I've ungated a few excerpts from it and published them on my blog. Maybe they'd be a good fit for your audience? Let me know!
Did You Notice It?
These pitch emails offer the recipient a sneak peak, give them an opportunity that's exclusive to them, show a personal interest in them, and create a sense of obligation via reciprocation.
If you have a sales and marketing background, you'll understand that these are all smart sales techniques.
To earn the best possible backlinks, it’s key that you actively reach out to others.
Passively waiting for people to link your content is a recipe for failure.
Instead, be proactive and use these email outreach templates to improve your SEO strategy, expose your content to new audiences and establish powerful thought leadership in your niche.
Amanda Sparks is a freelance writer who is a regular blogger at EssaySupply. Her writing can be seen elsewhere on the web as well. She has a real passion for the impact that quality content can have on both personal and business growth. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys kayaking, eating Indian food, and volunteering at her local animal shelter.