In the SEO world, there is nothing more valuable than getting high authority sites to link back to your website. Google considers backlinks to be a strong factor in determining page ranks – more number of powerful backlinks, better the page rank.
The most effective way to obtain backlinks is by running an outreach campaign. So, what is an outreach campaign? The process of reaching out to websites or influencers that speak to a similar target audience and have them include a link to your website in their content is referred to as outreach.
Popular outreach campaign strategies include guest blogging, collaborating with bloggers/influencers, writing sponsored posts, adding links to an existing article and product reviews.
Link building comes with several benefits such as increased visibility, more organic traffic and improved credibility – all of which leads to an increase in awareness and sales.
Here are 8 tips to run a successful outreach campaign and build quality backlinks
Identify Linkable Assets
The first step of an outreach campaign is to put your assets together – what is it that you want to promote through this campaign?
Whether it is getting leads, directing people to a blog post or an interesting infographic – you need to make a list of strong linkable assets which will have takers and at the same time, be in line with your business objectives. A linkable asset is one which imparts value while supporting or elaborating on a topic mentioned in the existing article you are inserting your link in.
Choosing the right kind of asset makes your pitch stronger and makes it easier to get a green flag from web masters.
Decide your Target Audience
Before you jump to the list of websites you want to reach out to, you need to identify the audience your content or business is catering to. After all, you need to narrow down on sites that speak to a similar audience, such as yours.
Figure out who is likely to benefit from your products or services in order to target those who will actually derive value from your website.
For instance, if you are a digital marketing agency, you need to target websites that cater to marketeers, CMOs and entrepreneurs.
Build an Outreach List
Now that you know who your target audience is, the next important question is which sites should you target for building backlinks? This is what will form your outreach list.
These sites you pitch to need to be interested in what you’re offering – the idea is for it to be a win-win situation for both the parties. Secondly, don’t focus on the quantity of websites, look at accumulating high-quality websites which have a high domain authority rank instead. When you are browsing websites, play close attention to their ‘About Us’ page and their existing blog posts to understand what their website is about and the kind of content they carry.
You should leverage social media to find the relevant industry contacts or influencers. Apart from doing a manual search on Twitter or LinkedIn, you can also use Twitter directories such as WeFollow to search for people talking about similar topics. LinkedIn Groups is another great place to find leads. For example, if your genre is health, join the relevant groups, connect with people on LinkedIn and pitch your idea.
Another way to build your outreach list is by doing a competitor analysis. You can use Ahrefs for finding out which websites are linking to your competitors. This makes for a good starting point.
As you grow your outreach list, make sure you plug in the contact details of the right person – someone who has the authority to take decisions, so you are more likely to get a response.
Send Personalized Pitches
Coming to the most important step, which can make or break your prospects of earning backlinks – the pitch.
These webmasters get multiple e-mails every day, how do you ensure your stands out and compels them to take note of your pitch?
Begin with a catchy subject that catches their attention. Don’t be that person whose e-mails seem like a template. Personalize your pitch – take the effort to know who you are writing to and direct the mail to them. It is also a good idea to see their social media channels and observe what they speak about, so you can take cues from there.
Spammy, mass e-mails are never appreciated so if you want to increase your chances of getting a positive response, spend time in crafting the perfect pitch that appeals to the reader.
As stated earlier, this whole process is an exchange of value. You offer something that benefits other websites while they give you visibility on their content or page. Thus, you need to give them a strong reason to backlink to you which needs to be articulated in the body of the e-mail.
List down what makes your linkable asset stand out and how it will strengthen their content. Make sure you are pushing relevant, updated assets which are well-written. You can explore different content formats such as listicles, interviews, infographics, how-to articles, case studies and more. Whatever you do, ensure your content is not published elsewhere, is meaningful and as per their guest blogging guidelines.
From maintaining the list of websites to the contact details and the statuses of each – by now you may have realized the amount of information you will be dealing with while conducting an outreach campaign. They key is to be organized and have all the information in one place to avoid losing track.
Google spreadsheets is a great way to organize all these details. You can maintain a comprehensive list of websites you plan to reach out to, the contact person’s details, the date of submission, respective assets, statuses and finally the analysis.
This is the easiest way to be on top of your game and be updated with the progress of each outreach e-mail.
Let’s face it – everyone you pitch to won’t write back immediately. Sometimes people get busy or your e-mail gets lost in the sea of e-mails, so it is absolutely fine to follow up if you don’t hear from them for a week.
You can’t be repeating your initial pitch in your follow up e-mail. This one needs to be succinct wherein you remind them of your e-mail. Be polite and patient to avoid ticking people off. It is also a good idea to leave them a tweet or message on LinkedIn, sending them a reminder.
If you still don’t hear from them, it is best to let go and move on – you don’t want to appear spammy.
Last but not the least, your campaign needs to end with measuring the success of all the backlinks you have generated. This helps to get a better idea of how your links are performing and the effect it has had on your website ranking.
Take into consideration metrics such as the domain authority rank, number of backlinks, number of referring IPs, website traffic and the keywords that are ranking well on your site.