14 Dec 2017

How to Write Effective Link Building Outreach

December 14, 2017Link Building

The primary component of every link building strategy is outreach. Why? Because you can’t earn links without placing your content in front of the right webmasters. Crafting an effective outreach email is crucial for acquiring links, and the difference between a positive and a negative response is the difference between a good and an excellent email.

For this article, let’s think of email outreach like an ice cream sundae – because who doesn’t love ice cream?

Jump to our Outreach Email Template!

Crafting a Link Building Email Like It’s a Delicious Ice Cream Sundae

You can’t make an ice cream sundae without a bowl, a spoon, ice cream, and toppings. The foundation of the sundae is the bowl that holds it all together. The bowl is like the piece of content you are pitching – it’s the most important element of any link request and lays the groundwork for your link development campaign.

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Here are a few must-have ingredients to help you write an effective outreach email for link development:

The Bowl: Pitch Quality Content in the Email

An outreach email is only as good as the piece of content you’re pitching. To increase your chances of acquiring a link, it’s essential to create content that webmasters want to link on their website. People are attracted to beneficial, in-depth, non-branded, evergreen content that’s relevant to the information on their site.

Infographics, resource centers, and interactive content are all examples of linkable assets that have a higher likelihood of being shared. Your content is the groundwork for all outreach. You can’t enjoy the cherry on top without ice cream for it to sit on.

Ice Cream: Grab the Webmaster’s Attention

Let’s be honest, webmasters are bombarded with link requests every day, and most of them don’t have the time to read through every email that appears in their inbox.

The first challenge is to get the webmaster to actually open your email. This can be achieved by constructing an attention-grabbing, personalized subject line. Test different subject lines to see which works best for your link building campaign and the types of sites you are reaching out to.

The second challenge is to get the webmaster to read the content (or ice cream) of your email. The last thing you want is a webmaster to open the email and then lose his/her attention within the first few sentences. When designing the body copy of the email, be creative; be memorable and differentiate your pitch from the twenty others that might be waiting in the webmaster’s inbox.

Sweet Tip: Avoid sounding like a sales pitch, rather, use the subject to provide a brief overview of the email. A quality subject line states the name of the targeted site and the offer or resource that’s being pitched.

Spoon: Introduce Yourself

Emails that come from random contacts feel spammy to webmasters and can get overlooked and dumped in the trash quickly.

It’s important to introduce yourself in the opening lines of your email. Build credibility by stating your position and briefly describing the business you are working for. Establish a comfortable environment and gain the webmaster’s trust. If the online contact trusts you, the more likely they are to share your content with their readers.

Hot Fudge: Keep the Message Simple

We’re all busy people. Be sure to respect a webmaster’s time and keep the email simple and concise. Avoid jargon and organize your email clearly for webmasters to easily understand what you’re proposing. There is no standard word count for an outreach email, however, it’s better to be concise rather than too long.

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Keep in mind, webmasters receive multiple link requests every day and probably don’t have time to read through each one. A pitch that’s succinct and straight to the point will boost your chances of a response.

Sprinkles: Customize Each Email

Mass emails are fruitless – they look spammy, impersonal and are often ignored. We understand that crafting hundreds of outreach emails daily can get lengthy and tedious. Outreach templates are unavoidable when you have an extensive list of quality research and numerous webmasters to contact.

Sweet Tip: If templates are a necessity for your link building campaign, go the extra mile to customize each email. When possible, address the names of the webmasters in the salutation, and always personalize the subject line.

Chocolate Chips: Do Your Research

Before constructing outreach for a targeted website, do your research. Take the time to assess the site and learn the information provided. Researching the site beforehand will allow you to:

  • Discover any broken links on the prospective page, which you could potentially use as a broken link building outreach tactic.
  • Flatter the webmaster (while remaining authentic) by complementing their work or insight.

In your email, be sure to state a detail or snippet of information from the site, displaying that you have thoroughly reviewed the content and have a genuine interest in it.

Sweet Tip: Contact the right person. When possible, avoid contact forms and general “info” email addresses. The most effective individuals to reach out to are webmasters, site owners, staff members, editors, or communication and marketing representatives.

Peanuts: Add Value Proposition

When contemplating whether an individual should do something for somebody else, most people immediately search for the benefits that they will receive from completing that favor. When a site owner receives an email asking for a link, amidst the many other link requests they receive, how do they decide which resource to link to?

Ultimately, webmasters will add the link that will provide the most value to themselves and their readers. Link building outreach must comprise of an exchange of value. Within your email, clearly communicate the value of your resource and how the webmasters and their site visitors will benefit from it.

Whipped Cream: Make It Easy on the Webmaster

When earning links, providing convenience is key. Make it easy for webmasters to review your resource by adding a hyperlink within the email. It’s also helpful to include a link to the web page that you’re targeting. You may consider using bold or highlight text features to emphasize specific elements in your email, like your piece of content or specific value-adds.

Sweet Tip: Avoid sending outreach at the end of the workweek. Fridays are when most professionals are winding down for the weekend, and it is likely that online contacts will overlook your email during or after the weekend. Conducting outreach during the beginning or middle of the week could increase your chances of visibility.

When concluding the email, evidently state a call to action. Spell out exactly what you are asking for, and do your best not to leave any room for confusion or questions.

Go Back for Seconds: Remember to Follow Up

Your email could be the wittiest, most creative and personalized link building outreach in the world that highlights top-notch content, but there’s still a possibility of it getting lost in a webmaster’s inbox. After one to two weeks, it’s appropriate to send a follow-up email to the site owner reinforcing your initial link request.

Sweet Tip: Streamline your link building outreach processes using tools like BuzzStream. At Vertical Measures, we use BuzzStream to manage our link development campaigns and conduct outreach efficiently.

Be persistent, but don’t overload them with emails. After two follow-ups with no response, it’s recommended to keep the opportunity on the backburner for later. After all, going back for ice cream sundae seconds is never regrettable, but going back for thirds and fourths is almost always a mistake.

So, you’re telling me, ice cream sundaes are good for me?

Yes! According to Search Engine Land, link building is one of the eight major Google ranking signals in 2017. Building strong backlink profiles continue to play an integral part in improving search engine rankings and driving qualified traffic to a business’ website – and effective link building outreach (ice cream sundaes) are the key!

Sweet Tip: There is not a “correct” way to craft outreach. Just as there’s no single way to build an ice cream sundae. Don’t give up. You will receive negative responses and you will face rejection often. For every few negative responses, there is a positive response – keep going!

**Use the email template below as a starting point for your next link building outreach email. Remember to research your opportunity and customize the copy for an added personal touch.

Outreach Email Template

Good Morning,

I hope your day is going well. My name is [Insert Name] and I’m reaching out on behalf of [Business Name], [Business Description].

I came across the [Title of resources] resources on the [Website Domain] website, located here: [Linking From URL]

I found the web page to be a highly notable compilation of resources. I wanted to quickly reach out and see if you are open to an additional resource for your visitors to refer to on the page?

If so, [Business Name] has published a [Title of the resource that you are pitching]. [Description of resource that you are pitching]. This resource allows readers to [value proposition].

Below is the URL to the resource, if you find that it will be valuable to you and your readers:

[Linking to URL]

Would you be open to this addition to the web page?

Thank you for your consideration! Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or would like additional information. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Kind Regards,

[Name]

Using generic templates and sending out mass emails may be the quickest and easiest route, but successful link building takes more effort than just quick and easy. Take the time to craft unique, customized and effective outreach just as you would take the time to build that perfect ice cream sundae and soon, the cherries will start stacking up.

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