Hunter Van Ry is an Enterprise SEO Manager at Avalaunch Media, focused on custom outreach approaches for brands across every industry. He owns and operates Frenchplanations, the best resource for learning French on the web. Ask him about his broken arms.
Whether you’re a digital marketing agency, an SEO freelancer, or just looking to do some SEO for your website, you’re probably aware that one of the hardest parts of any SEO strategy is outreach. For one reason or another, link building through outreach is looked at as a lot more complicated than it actually is.
A primary difficulty with link outreach is that the people capable of giving you a link are bombarded daily by poor link requests — which means outreach requests can get buried in the deluge. However, all is not lost. There are ways to increase your success rate on your outreach attempts. Best of all, you don’t need fancy outreach tools — but that’s not to say that outreach tools aren’t useful to link-building attempts.
The truth is that the vast majority of people and agencies perform link building outreach the same way — by contacting as many people as possible and then hoping that some of them will be generous enough to give us a link. But true experts know use much better methods.
Let’s examine three simple methods you can use to help increase the success rate of your outreach attempts, and set yourself apart from the others.
Outreach Method #1: Offer Value Before Asking for a Link
Although this may seem a little too simple, you’d be surprised how far it can take you when you do it correctly. If you look at the majority of outreach attempts, the people doing them are basically asking for something (a link) without offering anything in return. The idea behind outreach link building is that if your content is useful enough, the webmaster you are pitching will be happy to link to it based on its value alone. But if your pitch appears too pushy, they may not even consider looking at your content.
In comes this method. The idea here is that you are providing value to the webmaster you are reaching out to, before you ask for anything in return. This way the webmaster is more willing to help you out, because you have already helped them out in some way.
Here is an example — a simple outreach method for my website Frenchplanations, a French-learning website. Adopt this technique for your own niche and website.
In this situation, I quickly went through this person’s website and some broken links they had on some of their resource pages. By taking the time to do this for them, they were much more willing to provide me with a link in return.
The following method takes a little bit more work, but if you stick with it you can land some serious backlinks. There are actually two ways of doing this. See which way works best for you and your website.
Outreach Method #2: Make Multiple Pitches at Once
Just because someone doesn’t like what you are pitching them doesn’t mean that they hate all of the content you create. In many cases, all it takes for you to get the link or mention that you are looking for is to offer up multiple pieces of content at once. The idea here is that hopefully one of them resonates with the webmaster you’re reaching out to. If you pitch one piece of content you have a higher chance of being rejected. All you have to do is look at a few of the pieces of content on your site that are similar, that you feel would be a good fit for the website you’re reaching out to. Include them in your outreach email and chances are, you’ll find more prospects than usual who are willing to provide you with a link.
The other way of approaching this will likely take you longer, but can yield better results. Search Google for all of the websites in your niche that openly accept user submissions. Search for terms like, “guest post + your niche” or “write for us + your keyword”. Take the time to create multiple submissions that could be used for all of the sites you find. That way, when you submit your submission to them they have multiple pieces of content to choose from when looking to publish something on their site. Whatever pieces of content you have left over can be used to pitch to other the other websites you found during your initial search.
Let’s look at an example of pitching multiple pieces of content at once in action.
Outreach Method #3: Make Prior Contact to Build a Relationship and Test Responsiveness
The final method in this post revolves around relationship building — the most powerful link-building strategy. Sometimes the issue with our outreach techniques is that they are just too “cold.” There are plenty of webmasters out there that are more than willing to give you a link (or at least aren’t vehemently against it), but hesitate because they don’t know you. To overcome this, you must make contact with your prospect before you pitch them your content and/or ask them for a link. There is no set rule for the number of contacts you should make before asking for a link, but it’s safe to assume “the more the better”. Such contacts can be made through email, social media, or any other platform that the webmaster you’re looking for a link from has available. Not only can this help you in obtaining a link — it can also help you see who is responsive (responds to emails and messages) and who isn’t. Don’t be in a hurry to obtain your links, and take some time to form mini-relationships with your prospects, and you just might increase your outreach success rate.
After having interacted with this webmaster through social media a few times, I sent them this outreach email.
Link building doesn’t have to be a hard and arduous task reserved for an elite few, or those with a lot of money. With planning, anybody can turn their link outreach strategy around.