December 6, 2015

Ninja Outreach – Using Social Skills For Link Building

ninja outreach

How much you trust when I say link building happens mostly at the inbox? The new-age strategist may have the capability to ignite the spark, but the magic is really there in the subject and signature lines of your outreached emails. All the other phases of link building are vital for sure, but most of the times if you win a link, it’s because of a mail.

This is why I have prepared this excerpt dedicatedly discussing about ‘The Outreacher’ – one who takes time out for qualifying, prospecting, and content making to try and convert these into successful links.

‘The Outreacher – A Winner at the Inbox’.

1. The Outreacher’s relation to The Linker

As content creator is related to audience, the Outreacher is related to the linker. The Outreacher needs to clarify what benefits linker gain through the item you are pitching. For resource page and link curators, what you can offer is just the content benefit, but for blogs and press, there is more value addition by putting forth many pitchable benefits as stories, concepts, offers which all have a tinge of exclusivity. For those who accept advertising and sponsorships, further benefits include cross-promotion, social acceptability, and even the personal support you can offer.

The Outreacher should be like one among the public with skills to grease the social wheels. With the right sense of humour, empathetic listening, and counselling capabilities, an Outreacher should be capable of engaging strangers in open conversation, virtual or direct. With this “social savvy” outlook being there, the entire link-building team will get benefited. If it is not there, you may miss real opportunities.

2. Building Trust

‘Relationship building’, seems to be an overused term by now, and I may refer to it as ‘trust building.’ It’s good if you have renowned figures as your buddies, but this is not mandatory as there are more ways for the Outreachers to build trust through email conversations, let’s explore.

  1. Adding social proofs – As a rule of thumb, “human trusts another human who is trusted by humans they trust”. Your approach should be:
  • Having a significant count of followers
  • Being able to feature write-ups from renowned authors or having popular blogs feature the write-ups of an author
  • Forming association with industry relevant partners and clients.
  • Having people subscribe to the newsletters you publish.

II.      Being connected

Giving off your phone number so that they can easily reach out to you is an ideal way to prospect the content ideas. Offering your openness to have a phone conversation in the outreach mail is a tactical approach to reassure the recipient that you are truly human.

III.    Being human

Unlike the link builders and SEOs, the Outreacher does like to organize a good pivot table. Outreachers try to take time out to treat people as they are and never try to over-templatize. Answer their queries, empathize with them, but always make sure you are well versed with the content shared on their portals.

3. Outreachers do experimentation

Email outreach is not the dead-end technique, but it needs constant trial and error and refreshments each time. While considering the best practices on templates, the hitch is that there is nothing called a perfect or ultimate template. Even if such a thing comes up, it will soon get overused in matter of days.

It is unfortunate that many of the Outreachers still stick to the practice of copy and paste of templates from the successful blogs instead of trying to work in their own ways by finding apt templates for their campaigns.

For example:

  • Divide the e-mail list into half.
  • Mail to the first half with your fresh idea.
  • Mail the ‘not modified’ mailer to other half.
  • Now count the positive responses versus negative responses if any, and check the number of links accepted for both the halves.
  • Repeat the experimentation; don’t take the result of a single trial to derive a hard and fast rule.

The entities you can try changing over these experimentations include;

  • Subject line
  • Tone as formal / informal
  • Order of content
  • Details in the intro
  • Degree of personalization
  •  Include or exclude anecdotes and mission details

These are just some ideas, the possibilities are endless. Try out every random thing coming into your mind, thinking of something crazy, great!!

4. Look at the Inbox too

If the above task is a success, then the next best move is to do inbox monitoring. Your respondents will have many queries that an Outreacher needs to reply to. Some may also be complaining, as they don’t like to hear from you again, treat all well. While handling replies, an Outreacher also knows how to convert confusions into “yes.” This doesn’t mean you have to keep on badgering someone who doesn’t want to hear from you, but there are chances that a polite “no” can be re-linked to a possible “yes” for a more welcoming content. Experiment with the ‘No’ as:

  • What type of “no” people used to say?
  • Is there something untoward about your content?
  • Whether a qualifier mislabelled the website as potential outreach target?

Maintain a spreadsheet to keep all the response statistics and analyze.

5. Template checklist

Below are some major items The Outreacher should consider while preparing request mails;

a. Clarify what – If you do guest blogging, there is no need for a URL ahead of time to which links to be built. If you are trying to reach out a linker, then the need may be to ensure that the template copy goes in line with the creator’s content. On trying to reach out to a press person, need to double-check the previous press mentions etc.

b. Determining who – Sometimes the Outreacher do good by reaching out to the linker as a client team member. However, need to make sure that you are well acquainted with the outreach style of that particular brand. The Outreacher can also represent his or her own agency. In this case also ensure whether the client can be mentioned in the mail? Whether the need is to look over pitches before sending? How to get email responses? etc.

c. Make a couple of good tester subject lines – However these should always be;

  • Conveying the benefits.
  • Make them feel open.
  • Prepare the reader for the full message.
  • Rightly represent the e-mail on subject line. Misleading subject is breaching trust.

d. Topic introduction – Make it an interesting story, consider;

  • Is it related to a hot current event?
  • Whether it is seasonal?
  • Is it a brand mission?
  • Any relevant personal details of Outreacher make sense?
  • What to mention and what not about client?

e. What to add for trust building?

  • Social proof.
  • Phone number and invitation to call.
  • Personalized statement as “I read your post on ………..”

f. Explain the content benefits in brief – Consider your linker is a busy fellow and make things easier for him or her to say ‘yes’ to you. If you win it over a good subject line, well done!

g. Follow all rules – Ensure that all of your branding, legal, and PR guidelines are followed. The normal standard guidelines include tone and personality, extent of offerings, and formatting.

h. Gather internal feedback – Get internal support for editing or tweaks here and there with inputs from an editor. Involve the content creator if the content is getting benefited and if the benefit is PR boost, get PR manager’s thoughts on what you prepared.

All in all, when you go and get out there, it is all about being innovative and adventurous to make internet a more gracious place than how a normal person find it through ‘The Outreacher’ eye.

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