Backlinks are awesome!
But forget them. Banish them from your mind because an insatiable desire for backlinks corrupts, turning you into a monster who forgets all about value, relationships, and treating people well. Your family doesn’t even recognize you anymore!
Dramatic much? Maybe.
Look, everyone tells us how important backlinks are. Backlinks boost our SEO efforts, making us more visible on Google. We all know this, and it’s no wonder so many of us are chasing them via outreach marketing, which is a great way of getting our content and brand in front of more eyes. It boosts our prestige, increases people’s trust in us, and ultimately it increases our conversions and sales.
However, if backlinks are the main focus of your outreach strategy, they can become your only focus, which is one of the biggest mistakes of influencer marketing. When this happens, you might lose sight of the value of building a relationship with the influencers you’re trying to secure backlinks from.
Worse still, a relentless focus on backlinks can create a “backlinks at all costs” attitude, which could see you churn out spam emails and average-to-poor content which harms your reputation. Those backlinks then won’t come because no one wants to work with you.
Instead, you need to focus on providing value and building relationships with people. Everything else — backlinks included — will then sort itself out.
Let’s take a look at how to shift focus from backlinks to offering value so that you can boost your outreach strategy.
Outreach Strategy – Take the Time to Learn About the Authors
First things first, you’re writing for authors as opposed to any old editorial staff. Authors have names, likes and dislikes, temperaments, preferred topics, and so on.
It’s key that you take the time to get to know an author so that you can tailor your outreach email to them specifically. If you can show that you’ve taken the time to research them properly, not only will you improve the chances of you generating relevant content ideas that fit their blog, you’ll also find that it’s easier to catch their eye.
Find out these things about any author you want to reach out to. You can use any of the social media networks to find out:
- Who they are
- Where they’re from
- Where they write
- What topics they prefer
- What interests they have
- What brands they like and dislike
Once you know this information, you can include a few personalized touches in your email. For example, you could write:
“Hey, I noticed you like to cover this topic a lot. I’ve got a great idea for a related blog and wonder if you’d be interested.”
It’s possible to dig deeper and learn more about an author’s metrics. BuzzSumo is a great tool that allows you to check the metrics for content by specific authors. Using this tool you can check the performance of their past posts, both socially and organically. Once you’ve got this information you can then compose an email that looks a bit like this:
“Hey, I noticed this post performed super well organically and across your social media channels. I recently wrote a post on a related topic and wondered if you might be interested?”
By doing your research, you’re improving the chances of your outreach strategy being a success.
Also, there’s nothing wrong with a little flattery. Try this:
“Hey, I know you love to post seriously epic content. I recently wrote an epic post too if you care to check it out?”
Ultimately, if you show influencers that you know them and care about them, you’ve got a better chance of working with higher DA sites. And once you start getting links from higher DA sites, your own sites’ prestige and ability to climb the SERPs increases.
Outreach Strategy – Rethink the Reason You’re Reaching Out
It’s lazy to write an email to an influencer that goes like this:
“Hey, I saw you published this post. I wrote a similar one that …”
This kind of line doesn’t often work, but it’s not unusual for influencers to receive pitches that are exactly like this. Ask yourself: Why would anyone want to post something similar to what’s already been posted?
Rethink your excuse for getting in touch. A good example would be something like this:
“Hey, I noticed you published a post on this topic recently. I’ve written a piece that offers a contrary view which might be of value to your readers. If you care to take a read, I’ve attached it in this email.”
A different approach would be this:
“Hey, I noticed you published a post about this topic recently. However, upon reading it I noticed some glaring omissions. If you care to take a look at my article on the subject here …”
That kind of line gets people interested because, at the end of the day, influencers want to offer their audience as much value and information as possible. If you’ve got information no one else has, there’s a strong chance your article will be accepted.
Another excuse to use for getting in touch is that you’ve gone and written a skyscraper article that’s better than anything else they’ve got. Your article has more facts, more links, has more credible sources, more data, and way more words. It’s epic on every conceivable level.
Skyscraper articles perform well. If you can take the time to put one together, there’s every chance your outreach efforts will go well.
Outreach Strategy – What’s in This for Them?
You know what you want out of this. But do you know what they want?
Influencers don’t have to work with you. And if they can see that you’re only here for the backlinks and a tweet, they’re not going to work with you.
So what do they want? Valuable information.
Influencers need to know more about their topic than anyone else. This is something Gary Vaynerchuk covers in his book. Experts are experts because they know things others don’t.
As such, if you can offer an influencer something unique and thought-provoking that will woo their audience, you’re already onto a winner. It’s all about value.
The best way to show an influencer that your article is going to provide their site with an insane amount of value is to use numbers in your email. Here is an example:
“Hey, I saw your post about this topic recently and thought I’d get in touch as I’ve got new info to add to this subject. As it turns out, black hat SEO as effective as people like to think it is. In fact, check these numbers out …”
Influencers are hard to impress. Unless you show them hard evidence in the form of numbers, your “my new post is fabulous” line won’t cut it.
Outreach Strategy – Work on Making Your Relationship Warm
Outreach marketing is in some ways a fancy way of saying “cold emailing.”
Essentially, all your influencers are cold until you email them. And unless you take the time to build a relationship with them, your outreach strategy might flop.
Moreover, if your focus is on building lasting relationships and not backlinks, there’s every chance that influencers will want to work with you again and again.
Warming those cold relationships up is fairly easy. It’s just a matter of taking the time to comment on their blog posts, sharing them and promoting them on social media.
When you message them, don’t just talk business with them all the time. Discuss other topics you both like. Hey, they do have other interests than just business!
If possible, meet influencers in real life. There’s nothing quite as powerful as networking face-to-face.
Outreach Strategy – Add Them to Your Article
Lastly, I refer to this quote by Dale Carnegie a lot in life because it’s so timeless:
“Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”
Influencers don’t really care about your backlinks, but they do care when you feature them in an incredibly positive light in your article.
There’s no need to make the whole article about them, but a quote is awesome and a review is even better.
Featuring them in your article will make them want to crow about it to their audience.
All in all, then, adding value needs to be the main focus of your outreach campaign. Make sure that any content you produce is awesome, make sure you’ve researched the influencer, and take the time to build relationships. Sure, this will take effort and time. But a strong relationship with an influencer is worth so much to you over the long term.
There’s probably more to be said but it’s nearly holidays. If you enjoyed the content, don’t forget to share!
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