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The 7 Don’ts Of Link Building Outreach

by Maria Lind | 19.10.2020

Driving links to your website is an important factor to ensure you’re ranking high in search results. Link building campaigns can be everything from link reclamation to offering content and resources with the aim to acquire a link. However, link building is difficult. 

You may have a great story and developed engaging assets, and yet you end up with an unsuccessful campaign. One of the reasons may be that you’re not getting your outreach right. Outreach is an important part of link building as it relates to how you promote your link building resources. There are no set rules on how to do perfect outreach.  However, there are a few guidelines to consider which may help increase the responses you receive.

Don’t forget to research your recipients

Make sure you do your homework and get to know your recipients. Researching the opportunity helps you understand their target audience, how their content looks and the topics they are interested in. This helps you recognise whether your story is relevant to the site in question and will inform how to specify your angle to catch their interest. Additionally, it enables you to personalise your outreach and understand how your content will offer value to the site. This will increase the chances of getting a response.

Don’t rely on generic templates

Don’t rely too much on generic templates as you may fail to recognise what will capture the interest of a specific recipient.

This is where your research comes in handy. You’ve already got an understanding of what your recipient is interested in. Utilise this knowledge to adjust your approach and personalise your message. If you’ve recently seen an article they’ve published, mention it and acknowledge why it was interesting.  If you’re contacting them regarding a specific article, recognise the article’s main points and how your resource would add additional value.

Personalising your email includes avoiding generic greetings. Try and identify the person who is in control of adding links on the site as it increases the chances of earning a link. If you’re not able to find specific contact details, make sure to acknowledge who the email is for. If you don’t know their name, ensure you mention their title. Stay away from general greetings such as “Hi Sir/Madam or “Hi there”.

Don’t be selfish

Recognise the value you are offering the recipient and their readers. You might have a great story and want the recipient to acknowledge it. However, link building is about an exchange of value, and it is important you’re the recipient understands how they’ll benefit by including a link.

For example, if you’re following up on a recent campaign and you notice your data is being mentioned in a story, without a link, you can explain that a link will provide a valuable resource alongside the data they’re quoting. It allows the site to be transparent and increase the credibility by including the source of information and enables their readers to read up on it further on the study. Highlighting these points in your email will help your recipient understand the value you’re offering.

Don’t assume everyone likes the same approach

Adjust your outreach approach depending on the site you’re contacting. This means both emailing and picking up the phone.  Most journalists nowadays do not want to be contacted on the phone. However, this might be of preference for other sites.

Picking up the phone enables you to establish closer relationships. It offers an opportunity to clarify what you’re pitching and answer questions they might have. By calling the recipient you add a personal touch to your outreach and increase the chances of acquiring a link. I would recommend trying different approaches to understand what’s receiving the highest response depending on the site you’re contacting.  

Don’t be too wordy

Journalists’ time is precious.  PR Daily spoke to journalists about their main reasons for opening an email pitch, with most of them explaining the need for it to be on point. People do not want to read essay-long emails, so make sure you introduce the story straight away. 

If you’re lucky enough for them to open your email, you want to ensure you catch their attention while you have it. Ensure you’ve done all the work for them. If they have to ask for something, you’ve probably not included all the necessary information. Key things to include:

Don’t be boring (think outside the box)

Be creative when you identify your target sites. It helps you expand on the opportunities you can outreach to and therefore the links you may gain.

The site should be of good quality and relevant to the content you’re offering or the link you’d like to include. Besides this, there are endless sites to outreach to that do not fit into the standard PR target list. Consider who would be interested in linking to the content you’re providing. This doesn’t have to be big publications and newspapers.

Outreaching to sites that are not necessarily news publishers or journalists might increase the chance of building a link, as they don’t get as many requests and pitches as journalists.

Final note: Don’t forget to review your outreach

As with most industries, things constantly change. This includes link building and outreach. Ensure to constantly review your outreach. What is working, and what does not get a response? Industries differ which means that not every client you’re outreaching for will have the same target audience. Therefore, you need to understand who you are contacting and what approach might suit them best. Ensure you’re regularly reviewing and refining your outreach to optimise the number of links you can gain.