As content marketing and link building become about building relationships, the ability to identify and connect with individuals, organizations and influencers relevant to your industry plays an important role in increasing the awareness and visibility of your brand.
I wanted to share the “essentials” that cover the components of my outreach process which will help you build relationships and keep your response rates high.
Social Research & Analysis
Before sending any outreach emails, I like to use social analysis tools like Topsy to get a feel for the social sharing, discussions and types of content being published on a website.
If you’ve identified a prospect, researching a website’s community and the conversations happening around existing content is important as social signals and sharing can greatly influence the visibility and reach of a post. Finding link partners with an established, active community should be a top consideration when prospecting and qualifying websites for guest post placement opportunities.
Customize Your Emails
Every outreach email needs to be specifically tailored to the prospect.
For guest post opportunities, try including a few links to other articles you’ve written for the same or similar audience. For link requests, try sharing a few related websites that are already linking back to the pages you’re suggesting. Add credibility to your message by making yourself available to answer questions by including a phone number and links to your personal social profiles.
For guest post outreach, it’s beneficial to mention a recently published article on the prospect’s website that you feel was well written or to include one or two points about why you like the website. Prospects will be much more receptive to your message if they see you understand their website’s purpose and audience.
Efficiently Communicate Value
I view outreach emails as being similar to a cold call: you’ve got a limited amount of time to prove you’re worth someone’s attention. Clearly explaining why linking to your website or allowing you to contribute content will provide value to their visitors should be the main focus of your message. In a few sentences, tell the prospect why you’re a good fit and make your case as to why a relationship will be mutually beneficial.
In an effort to provide immediate value, I like to scan pages of a prospect’s website for any broken links (404 Not Found) using the Check My Links Chrome extension. Finding a broken link and suggesting a relevant replacement for one is a great way to start a relationship.
Tip – Find Additional Opportunities
Any broken links on a prospect’s website that are relevant to your products or services should be researched using Moz’s Open Site Explorer to find other sites (and more outreach opportunities) that are linking to the broken page.
Templates Save Time
Customizable templates are an effective way to ensure that your brand voice and messaging remain consistent and also allow for the personalization needed in every outreach email.
Using relationship management tools like BuzzStream can make testing multiple email templates simple and effective by showing you the response rates for each template. Using this information will allow you to be strategic with the templates you create.
Persistence Pays Off
It’s important to follow-up with a prospect as it can significantly improve the success rate of your outreach – just consider it part of the process. In a study performed by the search marketing agency iAcquire, the team discovered that they received 60% more responses by sending a second and third email to the same prospect. BuzzStream’s new follow-up reminders feature allows you to schedule notifications so you always remember to send a follow-up.
Social media has changed the way we connect, share and consume information. It’s important to remember that many relationships and connections are established on social networks making social outreach an effective way to engage with prospects and influencers. With more organizations utilizing content marketing and strategic guest posting, authoritative websites are seeing an influx of outreach emails. It can be difficult to get noticed in a flooded email inbox filled with similar requests. You can cut through the noise of an active inbox by making social outreach part of your strategy.
Followerwonk is a Twitter analytics tool designed to help you maximize your sharing on the network and identify prospects, users and influencers who are relevant to your industry.
Once you’ve identified Twitter users you’d like to build relationships with, it’s time to connect your Twitter account in BuzzStream which will keep track of your social outreach and conversations with prospects and link partners.
Building relationships is fun but takes time, research and perseverance to make your efforts effective. By incorporating these outreach essentials into your strategy, you should have everything you need to increase your email response and success rates.