If you’ve been following my blog posts, you’ll know that outreach is my favorite way of building high quality backlinks to a site.
It’s the most effective way to get powerful links from REAL websites with REAL traffic.
Over the years, I’ve acquired links from EDU sites, popular blogs, and company websites all through using various forms of outreach.
And recently, I’ve been using guest posting strategies to build links on the blogs of big corporations with huge domain authority.
A single link from sources like these can really impact your rankings. And these are all links that I never would have gotten if it weren’t for the outreach campaigns that I ran.
It’s still surprising to me, that even after countless blog posts, case studies, discussions, and news articles… so many people still revert to buying spammy link packages.
So what is outreach?
I’ve written about the basics of how outreach works in the past.
There are a lot of different outreach strategies you can follow, but the most basic one goes as follows:
EMAIL ONE: Connect
Reach out and say hello. Praise their work, and ask a question. Don’t ask for anything.
EMAIL TWO: Pitch
When they respond to you, say thanks, pitch your article, and subtly ask for a link or share.
It’s simple, and it works. And it doesn’t take a ton of time to do.
You can easily get through 100 prospects in a day without outreach software if you use some Gmail hacks like Canned Responses.
Now you might be thinking: This is such a common link building strategy for anybody who knows SEO, so does it still work? What if the person you’re reaching out to is aware of what you’re doing, would it still work then?
Yes, and yes.
And I want to show you the perfect example.
Recently, a reader of RankXL used the same strategy on me, and I didn’t even know it was happening until he sent the second email 🙂
I do outreach link building on a weekly basis for my niche sites, but this is the first time that someone’s used the strategy on me.
And being on the other side of the email conversation, I was able to see just how effective the method is.
Impressed, I asked him if I could use our email conversation in a blog post and he agreed.
So here it is: A perfect example of outreach at its most simplest form.
How Thiam got a link from RankXL using outreach
A few weeks ago, I published a blog post titled, The 7 Most Common Mistakes People Make When Starting A New Niche Site.
I received quite a few emails after posting it, and one of them was this one from Thiam.
If it’s hard to read, here’s what it says:
Just want to shout out and say hello.
Stumbled upon your blog post on 7 common mistakes in building a new niche site. Great work!
Anyway, I have recently started my business in providing content marketing and writing services. I have a little trouble promoting the content that I have written.
So just wondering how do you promote your content when you have no huge following, email list, or connections with influencers?
Hope to see your take on this.
He just recently started a new inbound marketing agency, and was looking for some tips on how to promote his content for a new blog.
I get a lot of emails like this one so nothing really caught my attention at the time.
But there are some things to note here that I really like:
1. It’s short and to the point.
2. He shows me right off the bat that he knows me, and that this isn’t some automated spam blast to a bunch of bloggers.
3. He praises my work, and asks me a question asking for advice.
Keeping your emails short encourages faster response times.
If someone emails me a lengthy email that reads like an essay, I usually mark it to reply later on when I have more time to read through it.
But shorter emails like this one I’ll usually try to just reply to it when I see it.
LESSON: Keep your outreach emails short. You don’t need to tell them your life story. Read your emails before hitting send, and erase parts that don’t really need to be there.
Getting personal just means you should show your prospect that you know them.
I’ll often just ignore and not think much about emails that read generically.
Which one would you care to reply to?
We are a company called XYZ Trackers, and we have a new rankings tracking software we feel would be a perfect fit for your brand and audience.
We would love it if you sign up for our affiliate program here: URL.
We offer 35% lifetime commissions!
Let us know if you have any questions.
Love what you’re doing on RankXL. Your post about monitoring rankings in particular really resonated with us here at XYZ Trackers.
We recently released an update on our software that recommends new keywords and content ideas based on their current rankings.
I’d really love for you to check it out when you get a chance. I think it’s something that might help you keep track and increase traffic to your niche sites.
Let me know anytime you have some free time on your hands, and I’ll set you up with a test account.
Keep up the great work! Looking forward to your next blog post!
Don’t rush. It’s the easiest way to leave a bad impression and be ignored.
The second outreach email is way better, and I’d feel bad not to reply them back.
At the very least, I would check out what they were offering.
LESSON: It doesn’t take much longer to get to know a little bit about the prospect you’re reaching out to, but it makes a huge difference in your response rate.
Praise their work, and ask a question
The first part of the first email needs to be all about them. Thank them for their work, and if it has helped you in any way, mention it.
Nobody gets annoyed that too many people are emailing them to tell them they’re awesome 🙂
And at the end, always elicit a response by asking a question.
But don’t be generic.
Thiam asked me: Anyway, I have recently started my business in providing content marketing and writing services. I have a little trouble promoting the content that I have written. So just wondering how do you promote your content when you have no huge following, email list, or connections with influencers?”
It was the perfect question.
He didn’t say something like: “I have a new business. How do I get more traffic?”
He asked a smart, detailed question that I could relate to.
RankXL is only a year old now, so it’s something that I just recently went through when I first launched the blog and had no traffic myself.
I had a lot of fresh advice to give on this point, and was more than happy to help.
LESSON: Ask a question that the prospect would want to answer.
Timing and recency
Rather than email me about a post I wrote a year ago, Thiam emailed me about my newest blog post that I had just recently released.
Although this isn’t something that will make or break your outreach success rate, it still helps quite a bit to focus on a recent blog post rather than an old one buried in the archives.
Right after publishing a new blog post is when the memory is clearest in my mind. It’s also when the blog post has the most activity. The few days after posting it is when I’m busiest responding to comments and emails about it.
It’s also the time period where I’ll be most likely to make any edits to improve it based on the feedback I receive.
So, I replied to him with:
If it’s hard to read, here’s what it says:
Thanks for reaching out. The way I connected was by just reaching out to bloggers, just like you did here 🙂
Also, I wrote guest posts on some big blogs which helped, and also posting in forums.
It’s slow at the beginning. I think since you’re offering writing services, it’s best to write a lot of guest posts to build up a portfolio. People pay attention when you mention you’ve been featured on some big sites.
It’s the email he sent next that really impressed me:
If it’s hard to read, here’s what it says:
Thanks for the reply and the advice on guest posting.
I will be sourcing out for blogs for guest posting opportunities from today onwards.
Anyway, in the article, you have mentioned that quality is more important than quantity in publishing. Having a 1-2 piece of great content is better than a site with many crappy content. I can totally resonate with you on this.
In fact, I have just published my first (and only) post on creating high-quality content. It is a step-by-step guide featuring 17 techniques that bloggers can use to increase the quality of their content. I believe it will benefits your readers greatly. The link to the article is:
This article is more than 7000 words long. I would love it if you could give me your feedback on it? It will be great if you decided to share it with your readers.
I would appreciate your help.
There’s a lot of things he did well in this email.
First, before anything else, he acknowledges the advice I gave him, and mentions how he will be putting it into practice.
Next, he makes the transition into pitching his own article.
But instead of just jumping in and telling me about his awesome new article, he mentions a point that I made in my own article first.
And then he transitions into mentioning his own article.
Even adding in that it will be helpful for my readers (hint, hint – share it!)
And at the end, he goes in for the ask.
He did a few things well here.
First, he mentions that the article is 7000 words long. That immediately catches my attention.
Next, he asks for my feedback instead of just asking me to link to it.
This makes me want to read it thoroughly and give it a careful look so that I could say something insightful about it.
Finally, he asks if I could share it with my readers.
This is something I wrote about before.
You’ll usually get better results if you ask for a share.
Don’t do this: “Could you please link to it from your blog? Please consider adding it to your latest article. It will make a great fit!”
I’ve gotten quite a few emails that read like that, and it’s a major turn off.
No need to sound needy or desperate.
Just subtly ask them to share it with their readers. They’ll decide if a link or share is best.
In this case, it was a perfect addition to my article so I added in a link.
And even if I didn’t, the next time I write about content quality, I would think of his site.
I added in a link and told him about it:
Here’s what it says:
Really impressed with your outreach skill 🙂 This is a lot of what I teach in The Niche Site Course.
I checked out your massive guide, and it’s awesome. I’ve added in a link to it in the article: https://www.rankxl.com/common-mistakes-building-new-niche-site/ under point #2.
Keep up the great work!
You can see the link here: https://www.rankxl.com/common-mistakes-building-new-niche-site/ under point #2.
Then, he finished off the conversation perfectly with his closing email:
Here’s what it says:
Thank you so much for including the link. Really appreciate it.
Great that you think the guide is awesome.
I do not mind you use our conversation as an example.
P.S. I am reading rankxl.com from the first post onwards at the moment. I think it is a shame for me that I only found your blog yesterday. It is a great blog!
Not every outreach email you send will have results like this.
But reaching out to the right prospects, and following these basic outreach principles ensures a high rate of success.
Of course, you need to have a link-worthy piece of content to begin with.
Thiam’s article was link-worthy. It was lengthy, extremely in-depth and gave a lot of great advice on how to create high quality content.
If you want to take a look at it, here’s the link: http://team3pal.com/high-quality-content/.
The lesson here? Spend the time and effort on creating something that’s actually worth linking to. If you’re doing outreach and trying to ask for links to a page that even you wouldn’t link to yourself, that’s when you’ll run into roadblocks.
Outreach link building is and will continue to be an effective way to build links and get your content shared.
It isn’t easy to scale.
But a single link can make a big impact, so it’s not something that requires hundreds or thousands of links before you see results.
Even just building a couple of links per week can make a big difference in your search rankings and traffic.
Would it have been easier for Thiam to just leave a comment and place his URL inside the comment box?
But it wouldn’t be the same link.
Comment links are weak, and they’re nofollow. They don’t impact rankings.
But by using an effective outreach strategy, he was able to get a do-follow, editorial link from a relevant blog.
Not only that, but it’s going to drive him a good amount of traffic from an audience interested in what his business offers.