Outreach is exceptional. It gives you a great head start when you most need one – it teaches you what people in your niche best respond to and it makes you more popular. There are endless benefits to it. And while these are widely discussed, we’re going to go through some poignant examples of outreach (with their dos and don’ts) and their results.
The key takeout is being able to make a comparison between the different types of situations the following people found themselves in, and then make an informed decision on how it’s best to proceed.
1. Twitter Outreach
In his article, 15 Ways to Get Backlinks that Won’t Kill Your Search Traffic, Will Blunt made public one of his outreach endeavors, raising awareness about the importance of being dynamic. While most of us out there would try the classic emails (and for good reason, they still work!), he decided to give enthusiasm a chance.
He gave Twitter a chance, and further explained how being highly devoted to your professional interests raises engagement in others – including influencers in the niche. Approaching everybody on Twitter was, in the first place, very out there. A bold move and a public one, that’s also dynamic and says a lot about his adaptability in the niche. Maybe that’s why many influencers replied.
Quality content is the slow burn of building links. The theory is that the more useful, in-depth and engaging your content is, the more people will want to link back to that content in the long-term.
2. Significant Relationship Building
Venchito Tampon shares 7 lessons learned from real life examples of blogger outreach, explaining the way he managed them and the exact steps and thought process behind his strategy. Instead of sending tons of impersonal emails, he sent a handful of very personal ones – and 3 of the influencers replied.
After sending 10 personalized emails, I got three responses (30% conversion rate) with one that is interested to ask me questions for the interview.
3. Target Influencers Who Are Already Interested in Your Content
This guest post published by Kissmetrics walks you through the process of finding the most appropriate people who’d be interested in reading what you’ve written. The premises – which you shouldn’t let discourage you – is that people with exposure will always be ahead of you. No matter how much work and time you put into it, the odds of you being nearly as popular are not in your favor. However, everybody’s been there and we all had to start from somewhere. Mark Trueman, ZenSpill founder, further advises:
Keep these emails as short as possible, and give the blogger a reason to share the post. The reason should be simple, such as: it answers a question they asked in the post, it makes the same argument as their post, it adds something they might’ve missed, etc.
4.The Steps to Build Relationships & Links Using UGC Content
Because we believe in guest posting, we also practice it once in a while. Knowing that people already talk about you out there is a great reassurance as long as you can monitor what they’re saying and be quick with a witty reply. However, it’s not enough. The article is based on personal experiences and gives insight on the relationship building process.
Once you’ve identified the fresh new mentions, you could easily use LinkedIn for the outreach part. Simply identify the author on LinkedIn and add him/her to your network using a quick thank you message.
5. Email Webmasters for Broken Links
As this post from 2011 shows, outreaching to people who once linked to you to tell them they’ve got broken links is an evergreen technique of link building.
It’s a highly beneficial outreach approach, as some of the webmasters may forget who they link to – especially if you’re not in their immediate network. Aside from starting relationships from scratch, renewing old ones is a great complementary resource for your marketing strategy.
A good search operator for finding prospects involves doing a search for “NICHE + inurl:links“. You now have a list of websites that likely are in your niche and have a links page. Alternatively you can include resources in the search query. Once you get your results start going through each site to determine which ones will be worth your time to contact the webmaster.
6. Use Egobait in Your Campaign
It seems like we’ve heard of it a thousand times. You’d expect people not to react anymore to these types of flattery. But you’d be wrong. It’s in our very human nature to respond positively to an inspired use of egobait. The technique relies on how we naturally tend to react positively to positive associations or attributions: you come to me as an expert in the domain and I’ll be glad to help you with advice. It worked in 2012, when this post was written, and it works now – 4 years later.
Put it on the account of Maslow’s pyramid of needs, but this method still rocks if it’s used properly. Anthony D. Nelson, the author of this post, explains how he had an 80% success rate on his outreach campaign using just this. And smarts.
I had great success on my last outreach campaign. I contacted 31 bloggers. 25 have replied with a yes. 3 no. I’m still hoping to hear back from a few. I attribute the success of this campaign by carefully crafting my outreach list and because of my use of associated egobait.
7. Timing in Outreach and Relationship Building
There are several reasons to resort to outreach.
This (other) post from Venchito Tampon, written in 2013, gives us insight on an outreach campaign that had an 82% conversion rate in guest blogging (and it’s a guest post!). There’s never a good time to start trying, but clearly there are some unwritten ground rules that you’ve got to take into account for your campaign to be as successful.
Conversion in guest blogging goes with receiving a positive response from a guest blog prospect and having your content published on your prospect’s site/blog. This should result into marketing opportunities like links, mentions and brand awareness as you go along with the process of guest blogging.
8. Don’t Automate Blog Outreach. View from the Other Side
Tom Ewer gives us an example from the other side of things. We’ve been talking about trying to outreach to influencers. But what’s in their mind?
The biggest turn-off for someone who’s been trying hard to make a name for himself on the web is automated outreach. It’s not personal and it doesn’t show the slightest determination. The blog post, written in January 2015, documents an unhappy story.
Here are the emails he’s got from a blogger who Tom’s constantly changed emails with.
A quick Gmail search shows that we have exchanged well over a 100 emails since February 2013. So it’s fair to say that we have a bit of history.
After this bitter story, he also shares a positive example, written by himself on Twitter.
First of all,only tweet out articles that you actually like. Secondly, only tweet out articles that you have something to say about. Don’t just tweet out the article’s headline – tweet out your opinion. Add value and demonstrate that you care about or are interested in what the blogger has written.
9. Knowledge Base Is Crucial in the Process
Wayne Barker explains how an effective outreach technique always starts from the human psychology – where everything lies, ultimately, from a perfectly pedagogical point of view.
The article underlines how it’s no exception on the web, among influencers, once you’ve understood their general behavior: their interests, their passions, their devotions and maybe their most appreciated reads. So knowledge would be a great friend on this journey.
I’ve always thought that being good at outreach is not necessarily something that you can teach. Sure, you can point people in the right direction; you can give them the materials that will help them become better at it. But can you actually teach outreach success?
10. How Many Outreach Emails Are Deleted Without Being Read?
Well, not-at-all-shockingly, most of them. So says Tim Soulo as well, in an Ahrefs blog post. It’s not recommended to use templates. And if you ever even take into consideration doing it, think of the influencers’ inbox. Just for a second.
It hurts reading every email 20 times a day, with the only difference being the addresser. Do something outstanding. Make important people in your niche like you. Take it as a test – because so do the influencers you’re reaching out to.
You just published a new article on your blog and now you want to send a mass email to 100+ influencers, with an excuse: “I saw you tweeted a similar post”. I’m sorry to say that, but your content is not welcome in their inbox. Otherwise they would probably sign up to your email list beforehand.
11. Techniques for Marketing Newbies
Dave Schneider goes through steps and techniques for successful blog outreach endeavors, starting from a unfortunate case of a client who never used to succeed in this type of action. After properly enunciating the steps, he gives us an example that’s properly formulated – starting from very simple truths.
The fact is, few of us really have a thriving audience in our back pocket waiting with their wallets wide open. After all, we’re creators first, and marketers second. Luckily, even if you haven’t already unleashed your inner marketer into the wild, there are many channels you can pursue.
12. Be Personal. Learn from Mistakes
It seems like however up the marketing chain we are, we’re still prone to making mistakes. Human nature’s perhaps to blame (again!).
This doesn’t mean that there isn’t plenty to learn from them. Take Luke Jordan, for instance. Sometimes we forget to follow our own advice, as he documents in his blogpost about epic email success.
Everyone will make mistakes during outreach, and trust me – you’ll feel like a massive fool when you do. Sometimes, you’ll mess up an email to one of the biggest blogging sites out there, and you’ll want the world to swallow you whole.
13. Outreach Tips from Gmail Merge
Supposing for a second that you’d like to outreach to hundreds of people at once (maybe it’s something urgent!), there are ways of doing it! Gmail can be improved with its tools to make your job easier. You should at least know about its existence. We found from here.
You want to sell something. Promote something. Ask something. To a total stranger. Sending a generic email is just asking to get ignore, deleted and possibly ridiculed. Why would someone bother to respond to a request when you can’t even take the time to write them an unique email?
14. Be Personal! Learn from Your Mistakes
Jeff Bullas writes a case study about his first approach on email outreach. His blogging expertise doesn’t recommend him necessarily as a pro, but he’s got plenty of other talents so you’d think there was nothing wrong with it all. He did, he learned and he decided to share the knowledge.
Each email I wrote was personal, non-templated and reasonably quickly established its purpose. Because I was asking each essentially the same thing, there were of course elements I didn’t need to change – but that’s different from using a template or a canned response. Here’s an example of what I wrote.
15. Quick Tips Before Hitting Send
Relevance, Timing, Creativity, Credibility and Personalization. These are the 5 best tips we get from this hubspot blog post. There’s never a recipe that works wonders no matter what you’re trying to achieve. But there are sustainable ways of promotion and superficial ones.
The pitch was simple. Aware that I had both shared and professed my admiration for his link strategy, The Skyscraper Technique, Dean thought it would be worthwhile to let me know that he had a new, related case study coming out.
And a positive example we’re offered:
16. Twitter and Facebook Work Too!
I’ve been going on and on about email outreach – but it’s not the only way. A more dynamic alternative is the social media, where you can contact (virtually) anyone and tell them (politely and friendly) anything. In his article about real examples of social media outreach, Petter Attia reminds us that it’s never a good time to be ignorant or naive about your pursuits.
It’s damn near impossible to get a response if you pitch to the blogs standard email. The issue with this, is that their profiles typically don’t have their email address. You usually get their social profiles and then have to do a little research to see if you can dig up their email.
17. How You’re Doing It Wrong
The fact that you’ve been doing something for a long time isn’t proof that you’re doing it right. Not necessarily, anyway.
While there’s nothing to be ashamed of if you’re at your gazillionth outreach try and it still doesn’t seem to work, maybe it’s time to ask yourself why. Pam Sallegue does it for you in her article on link building outreach mistakes.
And in the process, I saw that the ‘outreaching’ part is actually the hardest amongst all the others (yes, harder than prospecting, and writing a guest post), and that’s where I’m failing.
18. Aim Big!
Why trying to humbly reach someone who seems to be an influencer, but isn’t quite there yet? You don’t have to settle for ordinary. Aim big, miss small!
We all understand the value of guest blogging. It gains you new exposure, positions you as an influencer, and connects you to new publications and sites that are in your industry. It’s a quick and very smart way to bolster your brand and outreach efforts online. So how do you go about doing it?
Here’s another example he gave, leveraging stats.
I’m pretty active with other users when they comment, and I’m especially active with Twitter users. My main goal is to try and be helpful, so I try my best to reach out to folks as often as I can when they have questions.
This isn’t a spam email or an UpWorthy article, don’t start by telling them what they think, how they feel, or using that emotional clickbait-y language that everyone loves these days. Start with facts, context, and the meat of your message, rather than some out of place generalization.
Don’t sound desperate and cheap. And whomever you’re targeting, do your homework impeccably. Research is of the upmost importance and you should use it, because it’s available for anyone, and not being properly documented is not only a shame, but inexcusable – especially in a mature, developed niche like this one.Instead, be natural and honest. Do the best you can, and if it isn’t enough…well. That would mean you didn’t do the best you could have.
So, who did you agree with the most?