Ben’s Note: Ryan was one of the first people I met at SEER Interactive and has always impressed me with how he finds ways to get things done in less time and effort. He continues to teach me a lot and am excited that he was willing to share these tips. He is a great online marketer and am glad that for his guest post.
Outreach is a balancing act between delivering quality pitches and maximizing your time. High caliber link builders send out a lot of emails and are always looking for ways to speed up the process. Here are a few techniques to help you save time during your next link building campaign.
Tip #1 How to get contact information
We’ve all been there, you strike gold and find the perfect blog but then you can’t find their email address on the site. Here are a couple tricks I have used.
- Look them up on whois.com
- Do a Google in site search
- For bulk uploads check out SEO gadgets new tool that scrapes the site and finds all the information for you.
Tip #2 Speeding up the actual outreach
Once you get all the contact information then it’s time to do the actual outreach. Here is a great mail merge Google doc that lets you use variables when sending an email. So you can use one email template and have it fill in the names and everything else from a data base.
Once you open it make a copy
Read the instructions on the tab labeled “Instructions and Settings” then add the message in the 2nd tab use <<name of variable>> to signify the variables. Just remember to not use any spaces. In the third tab you list the variables that you are going to be referencing in the email text tab.
Tip #3 Mass outreach that doesn’t sound canned
When you’re writing an outreach message that will be sent to multiple prospects at once you really need to go out of your way to make it feel natural and not like the canned pitch that it is. I was recently doing outreach for a campaign related to football. This was a perfect fit with my interests since the first thing I do every day after work is check NFL betting lines & odds and fantasy stats.
Instead of doing the kind of outreach I feel is standard and often see:
“I represent company X who’s known for Y and Z. I am a huge fan of your blog and wanted to see if I could contribute. I’ve written the following topics before (topic 1, 2 and 3) and know I could write something great for your site. Let me know if that works for you”
Most bloggers have been pitched endlessly and can spot a canned message a mile away. My personal approach is to “bro” out my messages as much as I can. That’s because, most professional bloggers got into their profession because they didn’t want a standard day job and relate more to a conversational tone.
I’ve been checking out (site-name) and digging it. Once football season starts I end up spending hours a day reading everything I can get my hands on (so thanks for helping me with my addiction). I am actually running a giveaway (info on my football giveaway). We’d love to give one away on (site-name), do you think your readers would dig that?
If that wouldn’t work, we’d love to work something out with (site-name) so let me know what would best help your site because we’d love to get involved and collaborate.
Cheers to football being back!”
Sometimes you can’t find an author’s name so I end up trying to lean on repeating the site name. I’m not claiming this is the greatest outreach e-mail but I got a high response rate due to a few things.
- I keep the focus on their site and their readers.
- I compliment them (albeit in a vague way) in a believable and conversational tone in a similar way I’d talk to my friends.
- I offer a way for them to tell me something else they’d like to collaborate on if my giveaway isn’t up their ally.
- I don’t specifically go over what I want in return or put the focus on me or my client.
Tip #4 Following up with Canned Responses
Once you start getting the responses back you need to answer them quickly and if the answers are all similar why rewrite the same thing over and over again.
Use canned responses in Google Labs to follow quickly or even do a couple outreaches.
It basically holds a block of formatted text that you can easily insert into any section of an email. It’s perfect for have written sentences that you don’t want to keep typing over and over again. For instance, if you we’re doing NFL related outreach
I find that no matter what you do, a % of outreach prospects will never get back to you for a large variety of reasons. That’s why it’s important to find a good and personable angle that you can scale.
What’s your most successful approach to outreach?
Any good tools you use that I didn’t go over?