Being a “internet marketer” necessitates extensive so-called “outreach.”
We reach out to others to share our content, request backlinks, or just to establish a connection.
SPAMmers are another organization that engages in extensive “outreach.”
The red line connecting the two is therefore where? What group would you place yourself in?
A beginner in link building? Look at our
Trivia: Outreach or Spam?
Here is a recent email I received:
Would you refer to it as SPAM or outreach?
Please cast your vote before continuing to read. It would be entertaining if there were
two opposing views.
Top of Form
Bottom of Form
As for me, I deleted it without reading. Hey, I just found your post: http://post1
It links to this post: http://post2
I have a similar post: http://post3
Please link to me too.
“Outreach” is not “Broadcasting”
You recently posted a new article on your site, so you decide to send a mass email to more than 100 influential people in your niche with the justification that “I saw you tweeted a similar item.”
I’m sorry, but their inbox will not be receiving your content.
Otherwise, they’d presumably be on your email list already.
Additionally, sending a generic “outreach template” to a large number of influential people in your niche is plain insulting.
A person receives more of these outreach templates daily the more renowned he is.
In order to treat each category differently, you should divide your list of prospects into four groups:
These are the individuals who have a sizable following and renown accomplishments (think Gary Vaynerchuk, Malcolm Gladwell, Tim Ferriss, etc.).
They don’t have time to read emails from strangers, so your only chance to reach them is by a personal introduction or by doing something really creative and outstanding.
It will take a ton of work (and probably luck) to get on their radar, but these people can send hundreds of customers your way with just a single tweet. The effort was therefore well worth the result.
2. Big Fish
Although these individuals are not as well-known as the Sharks, their audience is sizable enough to have an impact on your own company (think Noah Kagan, Nathan Barry, Glen Allsopp, etc.).
A decent, personalized email has a fair chance of reaching them, but never one that is a template.
You will gain much more value by asking Big Fish to comment on your work or support your ideas than you will by requesting tweets and links, which is ineffective (and ridiculous).
They will tweet it and link to it nonetheless if what you’re doing is noteworthy.
3. Small fish
The audience for these individuals is still small. Their websites are just beginning to get traction, but they are already actively marketing themselves by participating in events, producing guest posts, and participating in niche communities.
They are just getting started in your business, so even if your outreach email is entirely pre-written, they will probably reply to it.
But contacting them doesn’t really make much sense. They don’t have any visitors to send your way, and a link from their recently launched website is scarcely worth anything.
Based on a website’s backlink profile, Ahrefs’ “Domain Rating” measure aids in your comprehension of the “power” of the domain. Links from websites with high domain authority (DR) typically have a higher weight than links from sites with low DR. Read more here.
You should concentrate your outreach efforts on two groups: “Small fish” and “Big fish,” as you could have predicted.
And the method used by Ahrefs’ marketing team to contact these folks and receive responses like this one is as follows:
1. Use the correct email address
Give me a chance to explain because the first piece of advice can sound like a complete no-brainer.
Too many people rely on automatic programs to scrape (or occasionally even assume) the email addresses of their outreach prospects rather than taking the effort to actively conduct research on a person and locate his actual email.
However, some people would rather send their emails to an invalid firstname.lastname@example.org address, which are received by our catchall and, in the vast majority of cases, I disregard.
Someone’s lack of effort in locating my true email tells me he isn’t really interested in contacting me. I therefore have no interest in responding.
Check out our most recent article if you’re looking for a reliable method of locating email addresses:
2. Think what’s in it for them
You desire a link, a tweet, and public recognition before their audience. But what will it yield for THEM?
Your success rate will be quite low if all you do is ask people to do something for you while offering them nothing in return.
Following are some ideas for making your outreach about them:
Show them something new & valuable
Influencers would appreciate a heads-up if you have something truly exceptional and one-of-a-kind.
In addition, those with enormous audiences require a steady stream of excellent content to satisfy their fans, so if you provide them with something useful, they will be appreciative.
Sharks and big fish, on the other hand, are notoriously difficult to impress. The things you think are exceptional and unusual may simply be considered old-fashioned by them.
Before reaching out to influential people in your field, thoroughly research your subject and be honest about the novelty and exclusivity of your offer.
Once you’ve identified what makes your material special, be sure to express it in your email in a way that will grab their attention.
Here is an illustration of one of my personal outreach emails:
Check out my fantastic research on guest blogging, I didn’t just say. In fact, I gave an explanation of what I accomplished and highlighted a few key points from my essay.
This lessens the likelihood that they will waste their time reading an article they merely consider to be “average” and aids the receiver in determining whether your content is worth checking out.
When you are aware that a piece of information is talking about you, it is really difficult to resist checking it out. So why not take advantage of this?
If you can include a famous person (or their company) in your piece, do it and let them know.
This can be anything really:
A quote from their article, podcast or talk
Some feedback about the things you’ve learned from them
A positive experience with their product, service or company
If you make them look good, they’ll want to tell their audience about it:
3. Only use your best work
Although the majority of the 300+ articles on the Ahrefs Blog are excellent, we only do outreach for a select few of the top ones (most of them are featured on our blog homepage).
This fits well with the advice I just gave, “Show them something fresh & cool,” above.
Making a solid first impression on the influential people in your field is a chance you only get once. Are you really going to send them your “average” article and blow it? Hopefully not.
However, the majority of people actually believe that every article they post is a masterpiece. Because of this, the mailboxes of influencers are overrun with generic content.
So how can you be sure that your excellent post won’t be lost in the sea of “average”?
Provide social proof
Do you have any evidence that others besides yourself also find your content to be cool?
Did it generate 100+ comments?
Did it get tons of upvotes on Reddit?
Did someone famous tweet it?
Did you get cited by authority website in your niche?
Your outreach email will stick out significantly if it contains anything similar.
Look at my illustration:
When reaching out to others, try to gain some initial traction for your piece and then use it as social proof.
4. Re-think your outreach excuse
Here are the top three justifications I hear for outreach:
I created a similar piece after you tweeted this one.
When you posted this, I wrote a similar one.
I wrote an identical one, and you linked to this one.
Why would anyone want to read a similar post to the one they just read?
“Similar article” is a terrible justification and demonstrates that you didn’t research the person you’re contacting.
An acceptable defense would resemble this:
I thought you might be interested in reading a different viewpoint on the subject since you tweeted this post. Briefly, it’s about XXX, and you can read more about it here.
You wrote this article, but you left out a crucial detail. In this essay, I’ve described what I’m referring to as XXX.
I felt I should provide you a far better resource on the topic since you linked to this page. It’s better due to XXX…
I’m confident that the distinction is obvious.
To make an excuse like that, though, you’ll need to actually read the item they authored, linked to on Twitter, or tweeted and determine how your own piece differs from it.
The majority of people never take the time to research their outreach chances, which is how they end up being used as poor outreach examples:
It may seem like a lot of work to read every item before you contact out and come up with a good justification.
However, that only applies when your article lacks sufficient originality.
In a recent piece, we exposed SEO experts for giving the term “long tail keywords” a bad definition and provided the correct one.
Identify the justification we utilize in our outreach template for that piece.
Hello, %First Name%
I saw that in your most recent post on “post topic,” you discussed the idea of “long tail keywords.”
The definition of “long tail keywords” in 2017 has to be updated, according to Ahrefs. Additionally, the actual plan for obtaining traffic from them.
For further information, kindly see our most recent post: https://ahrefs.com/blog/long-tail-keywords/
Given your depth of knowledge in the SEO industry, it would be intriguing to hear your opinion on the matter.
I appreciate it.
In other words, it won’t be too difficult to come up with a solid outreach justification if your material offers something truly distinctive.
5. Throw away your outreach templates
There is no way to scale your outreach while keeping the quality, as you can undoubtedly tell by this point.
Your recipients will likely dismiss your email if they can tell it was generated automatically.
When I delete automated outreach emails, I don’t feel bad about it. I’m aware that hundreds of others also received the exact same email, and the majority of them chose not to respond.
Don’t misunderstand, I’m not against templates—you can’t email more than 100 people about the same thing and compose each email from scratch.
I’m merely attempting to suggest that you take more time creating a template that doesn’t resemble one and give some room for customization.
Here are some ideas to think about:
Don’t use generic subject lines
Let’s return to the email’s subject line from before.
This immediately seems sleazy, don’t you think? I haven’t even opened the email yet, but I have my doubts.
My preferred method for writing email subjects is to make them brief and subtle.
That this topic has anything to do with link building and Ahrefs is obvious.
But what exactly?
Is there some problem with their backlink profile?
Am I offering them some link building advice?
Am I asking them for link building advice?
If you don’t open the email, you won’t know that I’m requesting that you look at our fantastic Noob-Friendly Guide To Link Building.
People who use outreach automation tools frequently behave in a predictable way.
Typically, it goes as follows:
I recently discovered your article: %URL of their article%
I learned a lot from this excellent piece of content.
I saw that you referenced this article: %URL where they link to%
Although I produced a better piece on the same subject, this is still a fantastic post.
Look at it here: %URL of my article%
I’d appreciate it if you could tweet or put a link to my post in your story.
I recognize that there is some automation at work whenever I see an email formatted in a similar way, therefore I have the moral authority to disregard it.
Here is an illustration of a template that Ahrefs employs:
I recently came upon your essay on “what their article is about.”
You might be interested in reading our Ahrefs “Noob Guide” on link building, which is available here:
You are obviously not a novice, thus it is unlikely that you will discover anything novel there.
However, I’m fairly certain that you occasionally receive “noob” queries concerning link building; therefore, perhaps you’ll find our guide to be helpful enough to share it with these individuals rather than attempting to explain everything on your own.
We’ve covered all the main link-building techniques in this article, and we even conducted an industry study to identify the most often used and most successful ones.
Oh, and if you find that our guide needs any revisions, please let us know.
So yeah, eagerly awaiting your comments.
Thank you in advance!
Even while it still uses a template, there is a lot of space for customization, and there is no clear pattern.
Other than this one:
Mention which article of theirs made you reach out.
Give feedback about that article (if any).
Plug your own article.
Explain what makes your article unique and why they should care to check it out.
Ask for feedback.
If you stick to this formula, you’ll develop a special outreach template for each fresh piece of information.
I wouldn’t dare to remove an outreach email like this, if you ask me.
Quit stupid flattery
Everyone enjoys receiving praise, right? Because of this, every template for outreach that you see will begin with some kind words.
I just read your essay, and it is really cool. And it’s typically as ugly as hell.
I’ve been reading your blog for a while, and I think the information is just fantastic.
I appreciate you for your excellent essay on %subject%; I learned a lot from it.
In your outreach emails, you should never employ this kind of pre-written flattery.
Either say something important, or say nothing at all.
Here are a few excellent examples:
I adored your guidance on how to achieve XXX. This month, I will definitely put it into practice.
Your experience with XXX is truly inspirational. Just recently, I told a few of my friends about it.
Your interpretation of XXX is awesome! I never considered it in this manner!
The word “XXX” was emphasized for a specific reason. By providing context, you can convince them that your compliments are genuine and that you have genuinely taken the time to consider their work.
6. Show them you know them
Your chances of getting a response from the individual you’re reaching out to will soar if you take the time to discover more about them.
I mean, if you were interested in learning more about me and demonstrated that interest in your outreach email, I’d feel like a complete jerk if I didn’t respond.
Review the email illustration I provided earlier:
Jimmy recently released a “epic handbook to email marketing,” so I knew he was a fan of huge tomes. I was able to send him a personalized outreach email as a result of this.
7. Timing is your friend
Someone may not still care about something just because they wrote an essay on it a few years ago.
Furthermore, the likelihood that they will update that outdated post and include a link to you is very slim.
But the inverse is also accurate.
If the piece was just yesterday, the author is a prime candidate for outreach.
Immediately following its publication on Inbound.org, Brian Dean updated his recently released essay with 22 additional tools, as seen in the following screenshot:
This is due to the fact that shortly after releasing his article, he received a ton of outreach emails with tool recommendations.
If you email him right away, do you think you can convince him to add your tool to the list?
The likelihood is extremely low.
He won’t be returning to that piece any time soon because he has already moved on to something else.
When people produce articles on your topic (or link to your competitors), use Ahrefs Alerts to keep track of it and get in touch as soon as possible.
8. Ask wisely
Requesting favors is an art. However, the majority of individuals act as though everyone owes them something and never stop to think about it.
When contacting people, Ahrefs adheres to the following principles:
Don’t ask for tweets
It is clear from your message that you are attempting to spread word of your essay. Both you and your intended receiver are aware of it.
But as soon as you ask for it directly, two things happen:
Your email is no longer about giving value to them. It’s about asking for a favour to you.
If they don’t want to tweet your article, you’re putting them in a difficult situation.
I detest having to say “No, I won’t tweet your article” to people. I’d prefer to ignore their email entirely.
But even if you didn’t ask me to, if I enjoy your stuff, I’ll tweet it:
Ask for links
People do need a little prod, unlike with tweets, if you want them to connect to you.
However, you must be sure to provide them with a simple escape route in case they decide against participating.
Simply phrase your request as follows:
Please share your thoughts on the article. Perhaps you should mention it in your post or future ones?
I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on that article. Please think about linking to it from that post if you find it helpful, or you might mention it in some of your future work.
Even though you are still explicitly asking for a link, you are making it simple for someone to refuse your request.
9. Follow up, once
People frequently fail to answer because they simply forgot to, not because they don’t want to.
A brief, polite follow-up can resolve this:
Just a little update in case you didn’t receive my email.
Do not worry if you are currently pressed for time. I won’t bother you about it once more.
I’m done now.
Please stop sending follow-up emails.
Don’t be that man, please.
Level up your outreach game
I genuinely hope that this post prompts you to reevaluate your outreach plans.
Don’t put yourself in danger. Be sincere and offer the individual you’re contacting genuine value.
On the other side of the screen is a person that looks like you. Always keep that in mind.
And if you receive a terrible outreach email, simply reply with a link to this article.