Link-building’s an important exercise for anyone doing business online. Reaching out to link to prominent websites or influencers to which you can backlink is important for optimizing your website for search engines.
As a businessperson, you also want to use your time efficiently. I get that. That’s why it’s important to develop templates that work. They save time.
In all my business e-mail writing – those thousands and thousands of e-mails I’ve written – I’ve often developed templates. I use those that work and discard those that don’t. Whether I’m writing to an agent or publisher to market my novels, propositioning a potential client for a writing gig, informing customers about our hospitality business in an e-mail campaign, or actually writing to help build links to a website, I’ve often utilized e-mail templates.
I even touched on this in an e-book about SEO for small businesses that I ghostwrote earlier this year.
Some Rules About Outreach
But before you go spam everyone you know and their friends, and their friends’ friends’ and so on to try to achieve your inbound marketing goals, please think first about who’s going to see these e-mails.
It’s absolutely critical that you personalize and craft e-mails for each potential publisher. Before you send off dozens of outreach e-mails to people, asking them to link to your new website, first investigate who they are and what type of content they content they’re producing.
Does it match yours? Or does it somehow correlate to what you’re currently doing? Then approach them personally.
But make sure first that what you’re offering for them to link to is quality content, and that it’s relevant to them. With quality content, you’re much more apt to achieve a better search ranking.
9 Link-Building Outreach Methods
Look at clever ways to pique their interest. Try to think outside the box.
Here are nine ways you can do just that:
Teaser: If you’re trying to pitch to someone with whom you have no connections, offer them a teaser, or sample of your work. Most of my approaches to book agents were teasers. And when they asked to see it, normally I’d get a good response back. The trick is personalizing your e-mail, showing what you’ve got in common to connect with them, and then enticing them to take a look.
Social influence: This is essentially the idea that when you know that other people are already doing something, it will encourage others to do the same. For example, think of a video on YouTube that’s seen a billion shares. You’re much more likely to watch that than one with only a couple hundred. So if you’ve just produced some brilliant content that others are responding well to, mention it. You’re more likely to get a backlink from that.
Reaction: Reacting to someone else’s content by posting an opinion is sure to get you noticed, even when you’re disagreeing with the creator. You could also create content about taking an author’s advice, or make a vlog utilizing a similar subject to a blog post.
Personalize: As much as possible, personalizing what you write should enter into every business e-mail you write, including requests for backlinks. It’s not just making sure you’re addressing the right person and spelling their name correctly. It’s about showing you know who this person is and what they’re into. If you come across as genuine, they might conceivably look at you as a partner rather than someone looking for a marketing opportunity. Take the time to research what sorts of things they normally cover, and drop a casual mention.
Offer: When you offer to do work for someone, and they see you as competent enough to do it, they’ll likely take you upon it. Pitching an intriguing idea for a guest post, for example, will likely win you some kudos. Just make sure your pitch is something they haven’t done recently, however, otherwise you’re likely to be ignored.
Mentions: Who doesn’t like to see their name in print? Mentioning someone’s name publicly in a positive way then sharing it with that person for feedback is a clever way for them to link to your site all on their own.
Lesson: Did you know that people are more likely to read after you pose a question? People are generally curious and love learning fun facts. Drawing someone into your writing this way subtly makes the reader want to continue reading if only to discover the answer.
Jokes: Humor’s a great way to catch someone’s attention. Most people appreciate a good joke. Just avoid controversial subject matter, like politics and religion.
Exclusivity: Everyone likes exclusivity. Getting inside information – something their competitors don’t yet have access to – will garner interest. If you’ve been working on a project that relates to their primary focus, then make that the primary part of your pitch. But remember, when you’re trying to connect with a top industry blogger, or a well-known journalist, keep your e-mails short and to the point, especially in the subject line. And use your words sparingly.
Best Practices for Backlinking E-mails
When writing any business e-mail, here are a few other things to keep in mind:
- Be concise. Ensure that what you need to say is done clearly and with the fewest words possible. Think, is that word or phrase necessary?
- Don’t be fake. And don’t flatter. Seriously, even through e-mail people can tell.
- Don’t follow up more than once, twice tops. Whoever you’re trying to contact is busy, and probably a lot busier than you.
- Edit extensively. Make sure there aren’t grammatical errors or typos, especially in the subject line.
- Know what you’re talking about before you send out an e-mail. Do your research.
- Subject lines should be short and sweet. Avoid making them into complete sentences. Think of it as the headline of your e-mail. You want it to attract their attention.
You may have noticed I haven’t actually included any templates, but rather just gave you suggestions on what and how to write e-mails to request what you need. There’s a reason for that. Whenever you write something, you’ve got to find your own voice. Don’t just copy someone else’s style or wording.
Personalizing what you say and how you say it is what will get you noticed.