If you don’t have an email outreach campaign as part of your online marketing toolset then you’re missing a very effective strategy.
Email outreach is such a fundamental part of SEO that it’s the thing my company and team focus on almost entirely – and we’ve got very happy clients with very impressive site performance metrics.
The most interesting thing is, we don’t have “one weird trick” that will send your conversions through the roof – we’ve got 6, and they’re not tricks, they’re just solid foundations that all our campaigns are built on.
Allow me to share them with you:
Establish where your voice is coming from
“Hi, I’m here to tell you about some awesome content we have”
“Great! Who are you?”
“I’m a company that’s being paid to tell you we’ve got some awesome content!”
There’s probably not going to be a reply to that last email or tweet – but a lot of people fail to see why.
The internet is opening everyone’s eyes to honesty. If you’d been living under a rock and were under the impression the web is full of wholesome and honest folk then the #fakenews theme that ran through 2017 will have dragged you into reality.
Influencers aren’t interested in dealing with salespeople, no matter how good the product, site or service is – so you’ve got to consider the brand image of the company you’re working for an approach with that at the core of your communication. Can you use a branded email? Can you set up a mailbox on domain that’s close? I’m not suggesting that you lie – simply that you electronically ‘turn up’ to sites wearing the same uniform as the company you’re representing.
Get an understanding of where the site is right now
This next point is particularly key if you’re working on a site that someone else has been involved with from an SEO point of view prior to you.
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There’s a shocking amount of bad practice that’s there for anyone to see with a quick site audit relating to SEO. I’m not talking about a full on technical audit – just start by looking for any over-optimized content and associated penalties.
Don’t forget, over-optimized today was best practice a few years/Google algorithm changes ago – but it could be hindering the site now. You should also be aware of any low quality links coming in from spammy anchor text too.
Write the very best content
I know, it’s tempting to buy content from the person who’s selling it at $5 for 1000 words – but it’s not likely to be of a high standard if you do – and low-quality content is going to see your proposal for link building thrown out, even if you’re paying.
A decent authority site hasn’t got there by publishing or linking to poor material – and they’re not going to get into that habit because you’ve emailed them. So, write some great material – and if you can’t write it yourself or have the company you’re working for produce it, then find a good content writer who can.
There are great freelancers out there – and some are versatile enough to jump from style to style, subject to subject with no issues.
Find the right sites
Now, you’re not going to know whether a site is the right one until you’ve done a little research – but you are going to want a good size list of possibilities.
First, think about your angle of approach. Are you looking for reviews? Are you asking people to link to your authority content? Or are you producing custom content that they can publish?
Based on your answer to that you should start a systematic search using Google. For example:
You’re working in the health industry, so a search like – Health “Write for us” – would return a huge number of blogs that accept guest content. Then, Health “Contribute to our blog” will bring up another selection. Keep going – you’ll build a massive spreadsheet of possibilities doing this.
Run your process like a well-oiled machine
Being organized and working in a methodical manner is an absolute must if you’re going to run an outreach campaign of any kind – well, any kind that’s going to effective.
Spreadsheets are your new best friend – especially when it comes to listing the potential sites or opportunities you find. Scheduling work is important too – and not just your work, but every single thing you need to do between searching for the possible sites and getting the link back.
Set yourself deadlines – and by planning and recording every single thing you do you’ll start to understand where processes could be faster, where your time is best spent, what can be outsourced – and much more.
Make your influencer communication meaningful
There are plenty of guides to running an outreach campaign that gives you some template emails with the idea that these are going to be good enough to bag you every opportunity you come across. In reality, they’re really not – in fact, they could be losing you opportunities you were really close to getting.
When you reach out to a site owner of influencer make sure you do the following:
- Find out their name
- Read a little bit about their site or blog and what they stand for
- Pitch content or products that you genuinely feel will appeal to them – and give them your reasons why
- Offer some examples of other sites similar to theirs that have accepted your content or products
And that’s a minimum.
Realistically you should be engaging with them on social media a little too – making your face known for a little while before you hit them with a pitch. Don’t waffle when you talk to them, keep your communication snappy and to the point – they haven’t got where they are today by reading 1000 words about how you developed your product or site!
Oh and if they don’t get back to you – don’t be disheartened. Keep chasing – and don’t write the opportunity off until they’ve very definitely said they’re not interested. Keeping track of the opportunities you can keep following up on can be another tab on that spreadsheet!
About the author
Tom Buckland is the owner of Ghostmarketing.co.uk – a specialist link building agency from the UK. Tom and his team have placed thousands of high quality links for their wide range of clients, using a process that’s been perfected over tens of thousands of site and influencer approach emails.
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