You might be reading this and know me as the ‘outreach guy’. While I have scaled up a multiple six-figure per year link building company, I wasn’t always a self-proclaimed outreach god.
Well bragging over for this one.
How did I become good at outreach?
I’ll tell you one thing, I definitely wasn’t born with the skill, I just spent time that most people wouldn’t trying and failing to become good at it.
The truth is, outreach is easy, anyone who’s willing to take action and who implements the right strategies will win every single time. There’s so much bu****it that I see flying about which makes outreach link building sound harder than it is.
I’m going to keep this guide super simple so that even if you’re a newbie SEO with absolutely NO experience or you’re an advanced SEO Ninja, you’ll be able to follow along without any stress.
In this blog post I’m going to break things down for you, but I’m also going to back up what I’m saying with 3 over the shoulder videos that you can follow. In these videos I’m going to build an outreach link from complete scratch and show you everything in that process. First of all to get started, here’s what you will need:
- A New Gmail Account: Sign up here.
- Placement Content (minimum 500 words) with your target anchors placed. Either write this yourself or hire a writer.
- OPTIONAL: An Ahrefs Subscription: Grab one here (not an affiliate link) I know this isn’t free, but if you want to analyse the authority of the links that you are trying to build then you’ll need a tool like Ahrefs to tell you about the metrics of the links that you are trying to build.
Let’s get started…!
Part 1 – Prospecting / Emailing
The very first thing you need to do is take a look at what you’re trying to rank and how many links you need to build.
In the example that I’ll use for this guide, I’m trying to build 1 single link for the following site: Site URL Site Anchor My favourite way to get contacts when I’m prospecting is to scrape Google.
The manual approach to doing this involves Googling keyword-based terms and looking at who’s there.
When I’m doing this, I make sure I have the Ahrefs Toolbar installed so that I can see the metrics of every site and decide which ones I want to outreach to off the bat.
The biggest part that’s important to remember when prospecting is that you need to think outside the box with your keyword research.
You’re looking to hit the right ‘audience’ of websites that would have a high chance of bringing a wide range of suitable results for your target site.
Audience is the important word. In my video example, I’m outreaching for a website called lifegoalsmag.com (just a random website I picked), so I should look for keywords around that website or article topic, most likely things in relation to “goals”, “better lifestyle” or “personal development” etc…
To help me with the process of picking niche keywords I make use of a tool called AnswerThePublic.com.
In this tool, you can enter a root keyword and it will give you other longer tail topics to search within that. Here’s an example of how Answer the Public looks when you enter a root keyword:
One of the most important things to remember is that you want to target informational-based keywords rather than targeting money keywords. The reason for this is that we don’t want to target and outreach to websites that are commercially selling products. Our goal is to target high authority blogs that perhaps make their money from other streams such as advertising or through remarketing.
A lot of outreachers use advanced search operators to find their target websites and while this works very well, to find precise targets. However, I don’t like to do this myself as it tends to give you the same results that every other outreach service is placing articles on. I like to find sites that other people don’t find easily by using the keyword scraping method like I mentioned. If you’re struggling to get started, you can use search the search operators below to find better targets:
- “Guest Post” + keyword
- “Write for Us” + keyword
- “Submit Content” + keyword Etc…
Doing things with search operators is by far the easiest way of prospecting, but just be aware that you’re not going to get the best target websites that way, that’s why I do things by searching for niche relevant keywords.
From here, I start to build my list. Again, for this example I’m only building 1 link, so I’d maybe grab around 20 contacts to make my initial outreach to. I don’t want to give you precise numbers as to how many outreach emails will get you X links as my numbers are going to vary to yours. Factors such as your outreach email or how well you negotiate will make a massive difference on your conversion rate. It’s up to you to test your own systems and see how many emails you’ll need to send to get X back.
I create a simple list like this – target URL on one side and email on the other:
Once I’ve got enough outreach contacts, I’ll begin to send emails. I don’t feel that the email account that you use makes a massive difference, but I’d use something separate from your standard everyday emails as you’ll probably be getting a lot of spam through this account as time goes on.
It’s time to make initial outreach!
This is one of the most standard emails that I use when outreaching. Here is is:
Subject: Article placement for [target website name]
Hi [target name or ‘there’],
I heard that you accepted guest posts and I was just checking in to see if you were still accepting them?
I’m a writer that writes about a range of topics in the [your niche] space. I’m looking to expand my name in this area and Guest Posting has been a great way for me to do that.
Do you still accept them?
Here’s some of the content that I’ve written in the past:
[2-3x Previously Well Written article URLs]
If so, I’d be interested in hearing what your requirements are.
It’s also important to follow up, we’ve found that we get a whopping 60% of our responses just from the follow up! In this case, you’ll need to do this manually, but eventually you can begin to use tools such as Mailshake or Pitch Box to automate this process for you:
Subject: FWD: Article placement for [target website name]
Hi [target name or ‘there’],
I totally understand if you’re busy but I just wanted to see if you had received my previous email regarding a guest placement for your website.
I look forward to hearing from you.
I send this email as a forwarded message. I’ve found much better results from doing this and it can sometimes help you get out of spam boxes when you land in there from your initial email. It’s now time to wait on your responses… If you don’t get any – don’t complain. Just outreach to more websites.
Part 2 – Negotiating Outreach Link Deals
Negotiating well is going to be one of the biggest differentiation factors between good and bad link builders.
Here’s what you need to remember, be this guy:
Do you think you’d be able to negotiate this guy down $50? Nope.
Do you think he’d mess about with people that are not going to buy his sh*t? Nope.
Outreach responding should be an extremely ‘churn and burn’ negotiation task, you don’t want to spend hours discussing deals with individual sites or arguing with them to attempt getting your ideal result. Sit and talk with the candidates that matter and don’t bother with the rest. Just ignore them, you don’t need to be polite.
Here’s some of the most common responses and how I deal with them that you’ll get:
“We will accept guest posts in the future”
With this response, sites are most commonly passing you off. If it’s a link that you really want to get then you might want to follow up, but generally I don’t bother.
“We charge X for a placement”
This is down to the individual outreacher as to whether they want to pay the site, but if you’re looking for purely free placements then it’s worth ignoring these sites as it’ll be very hard to get them to give you a free placement after they mention a cost.
“Feel free to upload your placement here”
Uploading placements can be good, but very often you’re going to get this kind of response on a link farm style site. I discuss one of these kinds of placements within my video and I tend to keep away from these.
“You need to apply to become a writer with us”
These kinds of replies can be good, it can be some hard work to become a writer on some good sites as you’ll sometimes need to pass application processes etc.. However, it can pay off into being a great site to work with long term that many others won’t get access to.
“Speak to so-and-so about this, I’ll cc them in”
Generally if you get cc’d in, you’re not going to have good luck. You’ve probably got in touch with an inexperienced office worker that didn’t know how to handle your email properly, so they’ve sent it to their boss who will more than likely ignore your email.
Ultimately, your best candidate is going to be someone that replies to you willing to take your article completely free of charge and put it live for you in a matter of days. If you’re smart, you’ll look to seek out the easiest to deal with people that give you the result that you’re looking for, for the least time spent.
Part 3 – Landing Links & Scaling
In the OTS video series I landed the following link completely free of charge except from our cost of getting the content produced, here’s the placement we got:
//trans4mind.com/counterpoint/index-creativity-career/validation-tool-to-learn.html (not hyperlinked for obvious reasons)
The process of outreaching successfully requires vast amounts of trial and error and a strive to fight through negative and draining negotiations. If you’re able to fight through that, focus on your goals and figure out the areas that makes you better at outreach than other people, then I think anyone can be a successful outreach expert.
Thank you for reading. If you have any questions or you have something that you’d like to share, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly.
1 thought on “The No Bullshit Guide to Outreach Link Building”
This is EPIC Gary, thank you!
Sent out 25 emails in my niche yesterday following this guide, not even 24 hours passed, but I already landed 3 links from 100+ RD sites. None of them even asked for payment! probably due to because we’re reaching out as a freelance writer. In my previous outreach campaigns, we would mention the website/company we’re building links for, sure it adds some authority, makes you look more professional, but also makes bloggers wanna charge you a lot of $$$ for a do-follow link.
One thing I’d suggest you guys do differently is that, show your previously published articles in your second email. Gmail marked my emails as pishing and sent them to spam in my test runs that included 3 links to some random articles on good sites. I didn’t have that problem when I linked them in my second follow up email after they agreed to a guest post. It was a brand new Gmail account with no email history tho. So you might get better delivery results with trusted accounts, or different email services.
Thanks again Gary, and good luck to everyone!