Quick and Dirty Link Building Part 3: How to Get Contact Information and Craft a Great Link Outreach Email

April 3, 2015

Thus far in our Quick and Dirty Link Building series we've covered two crucial stages in the link prospecting and outreach stages:

  1. Getting Lots of Link Prospect URLs FAST
  2. Prioritizing Your Link Building Efforts

Now we have to actually take the URLs that we've deemed outreach-worthy and make them outreach-ready. This means appending contact information to the URLs, and coming up with an approach for outreach. If you're a novice at link building, please head forward to our link building how to.

How to Get Contact Information for Your Link Prospects

Before you can reach out to people you need to actually have an email address and contact information to reach them at. The first step in this process is to target a specific type or types of contact information. Here we'll look to get the emails of the potential linkers we've identified and filtered. There are a few ways to do this:

  • Software - There are some software solutions that will append contact information to URLs based on the contents of the pages they are scanning. Many of the leading link building and link management software vendors offer some type of solution here including Ontolo, Buzzstream, and Raven SEO Tools.
  • Manual Data Mining - You and your team can go and ferret out the email addresses yourselves. This is particularly effective if you have a lot of resources for a project, or if you are only targeting a short list of prospects and can assign a really high value to each link -- then going the extra mile to find a personal email address can have tremendous value.
  • Outsourced Data Gathering - You can leverage services and platforms like ODesk and Mechanical Turk to get relatively inexpensive help in unearthing contact information. Here it's worth pointing you to a really nice, quick tutorial on using ODesk for Link Building and to the Ontolo post on leveraging Mechanical Turk for this very purpose. We'll also drop Ben Willis's excellent video on the subject below; the second half of the video focuses specifically on getting contact info.

Through one of these methods, you should be able to take your list of qualified link prospects and associate an email with many of them. Now all you need is the email copy to send to the prospect.

Creating a Great Link Building Email

Crafting a great old-fashioned link building email is really akin to any type of email marketing: it takes a certain amount of unique talent and in many cases you're likely to get out of an email request what you put into it.

We'll list off a ton of great link building outreach resources below, but here we'll include an example of an effective link building template. The thing to keep in mind here is that you can definitely take multiple approaches here and find success -- with a fairly similar email template you can either:

  1. Work off of a template and do some additional leg work to learn more about the person's site and personalize the note
  2. Use some dynamic parameters in a mail merge to make a templated email feel more personal.

In the case of our keyword competition example from the first two installments of this series, we might use an email like this: 

Hello {name},

I noticed your site has a lot of great resources for {topic} -- my company has put together a really comprehensive guide on Keyword Competition that helps website owners determine the competitiveness of a keyword. The guide features a lot of the most prominent thought leaders in the search engine marketing space, such as:

  • Rand Fishkin

  • Aaron Wall

  • Michael Gray

  • David Harry

And many others. The guide offers all kinds of great tips on how to tell how competitive a keyword is and where the best opportunities with the least competition are. It could really save your site's visitors a lot of time and money.

If you have a minute please take a look at the guide -- I really think you'll find it a terrific resource -- and if you agree, we'd greatly appreciate that you link to the page. You or your webmaster could just add a simple link where you think it's appropriate with the following snippet of code:

<a href="http://www.wordstream.com/articles/ultimate-guide-to-keyword-competition">The Ultimate Guide to Keyword Competition</a>

Thanks so much for your consideration!



Visit Our Site: http://www.wordstream.com

Follow Us on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/wordstream

There are a lot of different ways to write a great link request, and in many instances it depends on your audience, but some of the things to note about this one include:

  • Some Dynamic Elements - You can leverage things like Mechanical Turk to get to this data and then dynamically insert it in a mail merge, or have your human resources plug those holes for every email.
  • Professional Tone
  • Offers Social Proof  - Well-known article participants
  • Emphasizes Benefits for the Site Owner's Audience
  • Signature Included in Email

For some outstanding tips on writing a great link request email you can check out any (or all) of the links below (link list via this excellent five-step outline for link building campaigns):

Bonus Tip: Turbo Charge Your Link Outreach

If you're engaging in more in-depth link outreach campaigns and are looking to get more out of the list of link prospects you've created, you can accelerate your link building campaigns with a series of multi-touch and social interactions. In this series we focused more on building a killer link prospect list and getting emails off to the prospects, but here are seventeen tips from the Search Engine People article linked to above that can help you execute against a deeper link building campaign where you want to really aggressively targeted a collection of the link opportunities you've identified:

  1. Link out from the linkbait to known, relevant linkers
  2. Mention content in your email newsletter/blog/press release
  3. Promote linkable content with Twitter
  4. Bookmark it
  5. Promote in outgoing email taglines
  6. Interview the experts, let them know it's live
  7. Forum participation
  8. Blog comment thread participation
  9. Request links through email
  10. Work your personal network
  11. Social content distribution (Digg, SU, etc.)
  12. StumbleUpon Ads
  13. Pay-per-click ads
  14. Participate/answer questions in niche communities
  15. Buy banner ads
  16. Google alerts for related keywords – comment or reach out to relvant articles
  17. Get links from sites that already link to similar content

Old-School Link Outreach Can Still Be Effective

Some of the more tried and true link building tactics tend to get less play in the SEO community nowadays, but a good old-fashioned, well-targeted, carefully considered link request can still be very effective in generating high-quality, targeted links.

Tom Demers

Tom Demers

Tom Demers is Co-Founder & Managing Partner at Measured SEM and Cornerstone Content.

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