Guide for email outreach link building

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Creating content for outreach-logo-large

Chapter 1: Creating Content

The success of an outreach campaign is purely based on the quality of content.

So, let's start with creating good content.


Find out the best articles in your niche and make something better than that - this is Brian Dean's 'Skyscraper Technique'.

Don't worry if you're just starting out in content marketing; I will take you through this, step-by-step.

Let's begin with content ideation. Create a Google sheet (name it as 'content ideation sheet') to collect the best topics for creating content (we will choose the best one from this list).


Choose some topics from your niche and write it down (take at least 10 topics).

Now go to ubersuggest (it's a free tool for keyword research) and put on these keywords in it. It will show the related search keywords along with its CPC (cost per click) details.

Find some relevant keywords matching your niche. Make sure to choose a keyword with medium search volume; keywords with high CPC are harder to rank. Add these keywords in the content ideation sheet.

The next step is to find the best piece of content (with a huge share count and backlinks) in your selected keyword/niche.

To do that, you can use either Ahrefs content explorer or Buzzsumo for finding most shared content on a specific subject.

Using Ahrefs content explorer

Type the selected keywords in the search box and choose Everywhere from the drop-down next to the text box. By default, it is set as Everywhere.

Now you can see a list of articles with their social shares and organic traffic with a couple of author metrics (you don't need to count on that).

Sort this list based on total share count (refer the image above). From this, choose articles with a good organic traffic and share counts.

Do the same for all your keywords and add those article on the Google doc that we created before.

Buzzsumo content analyzer

This process is quite similar to the one used in Ahrefs content explorer.

1From the main page after login, choose Content analyzer (you can get it under Content research menu on the top left corner).

2In the search bar, put the keywords and hit the search button; that would return a list of articles with their share count and backlink details.

This result is sorted according to the total share count, so you don't need to sort it manually.
Choose the best articles on the top and add them to the content sheet (Google sheet).

Finding the content and populating the sheet is up to you, you can choose as much as you can. Find the correct one suits you.

From the articles that we collected, choose an article and apply the 'skyscraper' technique.

Make that article Bigger and Bigger.

Fill it with information. It should stand out from other articles that are competing with us.
Use images/GIFs and videos in it (it can reduce bounce rate). The human brain process images 60000 times faster than text, so it is good for attracting viewers on the article.

Infographic Content

Infographic creation methods are a bit different from normal blogs.
Before starting to search topics for infographic creation, you should know about the people who have the power to link to your infographic.

Infographic creation takes a lot of time and money, so it is important to find the best websites that have already published an infographic that is similar to ours.

Google image search is the best tool for this. I will explain this in Chapter 2 (Prospecting).

To select a suitable topic, just head over to Google Trends and type in the keywords that you chose (compare 2 or 3 topics to know the difference and find the best topic).

You can also use Google search
with advanced filtering options to get
latest topics relevant to our niche.

If you are done with topic selection, start collecting data about the topic.
Start with creating a Google Doc for creating the first draft.

You can make use of websites such as Statista for getting statistical data.
You can also use open source databases like:

Everything that you see on the internet is not true. So dig deeper for more accurate data from the web. Compare with other articles and choose the most recent and genuine data. If you are done with data collection, you can start wireframing the infographic.

Don't get afraid of these new words.

Wireframing is the process of drawing the rough sketch of your infographic (just sketch it using pencil and paper).

Now it's time to meet your graphic designer who will suggest some good design ideas.
Based on those suggestions, you will get an idea of what to include and what to exclude.


Do the necessary modifications in the Google Doc and send the final draft to the designer.
You can do the changes in the infographic if needed.

PS: if you don't have an in-house designer, choose someone from freelancing sites like fiverr, freelancer, upwork, etc.

Check the designer's previous works and rating on the platform (beware of online scammers).

Working with a freelancer is not an easy task. If the communication is not done properly, it will affect the design and deadline of the work. So before starting the project, give them a clear cut document and do a QA session with them.

Tips for crafting an infographic

  • The information should be precise and easily conveyable to the audience.
  • The design should be simple but attractive.
  • Choose 1 or 2 colors as primary.
  • Use a strong and catchy title.
You can check our infographics here
Prospecting for outreach

Chapter 2: Prospecting

Prospecting is the process of collecting details of people and websites that you want to reach out to. It's very important to choose the right person to get things done.

A prospector needs out of the box thinking because they should know where to find the prospects and how to collect their details. Keep our audience persona in mind and select those who are influential to reach our audience.

The method of prospecting and prospecting places may differ according to the content that we have for outreach or campaign types that we choose.

Let's begin with content (blog) outreach. The best place to find prospects is Google SERP.

Choose niche related keywords about our content, search Google for websites who wrote blogs about that keywords.

Create another Google sheets for collecting prospects. Name the sheet as 'Prospect sheet-{{campaign name}}

Here is a sheet for you (make a copy and use): Search queries Cheatsheet

Just replace the 'KEYWORD' text with your keywords or search terms. You can use search and replace function to do this.

Use the shortcut 'Ctrl + F' and you will get a search box on the right-hand top corner of the sheet. Click on the 3 dots next to the search box, then enter the keywords and the replacing word. It will populate the sheet with your the search queries.

Just copy and paste those queries in Google and collect those prospects on our 'prospect sheet'.

Or

You can use Simple serp scraper to scrape the entire SERP data.

Copy all the search queries in this tool and select the number of pages you want to scrap. Just click on Scrape. It will collect all the URLs in the SERP result in a '.csv' file.

In my personal opinion manual prospecting gives better results, since scraped data need to be filtered a lot, and there will be a lot of fake articles and links in it.

Prospecting for infographic outreach

Prospecting works on a simple logic. Those who link to your competitor websites can link to your page, and websites that feature a similar graphic are a good place for your graphic too.

So let's start prospecting.

One more thing to say: decide on what information are you going to collect from the websites. This data will be used for personalizing outreach emails.

Process 1:Using Google reverse image search

  • Choose keyword related to our graphic (can use suffix search phrases like how to, where, guide, infographic, post) on Google image search. You will get a lot of images and infographics related to our infographic.
  • Select the most appropriate images and open them in separate tabs.
  • Right click on those images and select 'search Google for images'.
  • A new tab with websites that had featured those images will appear.
  • Choose the best websites from that list and add them in the prospect list.

Ps: Avoid social media links and aggregator sites (Pinterest, Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, Visual.ly, Scoop.it).

Process 2:Using Visual.ly

Visual.ly is an unlocked source of traffic for visual assets.

We can use this platform for prospecting as well.

  • Go to visual.ly.
  • Put your keyword on the search bar. A list of images on that category will appear.
  • Do a reverse image search for all these images and collect the data what you want to prospect (site URL, Domain name, author name).
  • Put it on the prospect sheet.

The procedure is the same as Google reverse image search, change is on the platform only.

There is another advantage with visual.ly. We can find the details of a publisher and the author or the graphic in one place.

Guest blog prospecting

Most guest bloggers use the traditional way of using a list of websites that are already accepting guest blogs and hit them with a ton of spammy emails.

By using the two following methods of identifying guest posting opportunities, we won't spam others and we will provide value to our prospect and their audience.

The first one is using our search query sheet, and the other one using Google custom search on websites. This method is good for getting an easy guest post and also it provides value to the site who accept guest post.

Process 1:Using search queries sheet

  • Choose a keyword or topic for guest blogging.
  • Using search and replace option put those keywords in the search queries sheet.
  • Copy and Paste these queries in Google search.
  • Find relevant websites that accept guest blogs.

Process 2:Finding guest post opportunities using website topic search

  • Find a list of websites in our niche which publish good and quality blogs.
  • Use this search string ' site:domain.com "their service keyword"'. This will pull a list of blog posts that wrote about their service keywords.
  • Collect the best articles from that list in our Prospect sheet.
  • Do the same for all websites and populate the prospect sheet with a good list of articles on guest blogging sites.

We can also use the domain name with search keywords like "guest posting", "write for us" "guest contribution", "guest writers needed", etc. More of these keywords are listed in the search query sheet. You will not get good results from all these searches, do these searches for all keywords and you will gradually know which keywords will work well for you.

Value bomb: 'bigguestposting' has a massive database of guest posting sites categorized along with their niche and domain details.

Sorting the collected outreach prospects

Chapter 3: Sorting

Prospecting is just copy and paste. The end result will be a Google Sheet full of junk, with some valuable links hidden inside. So we'll have to dig out the useful links and delete unwanted links.

We need quality over quantity, so I would suggest sorting the links according to domain authority (MOZ) as a criteria, and it is better to move away from websites which have a DA of less than 20.

It is a tedious task to put each and every link on Moz open site explorer (now link explorer) and get the results on the sheets. So it is better to use tools like URLprofiler (you will get 14 days trial for free) or Netpeak checker to collect the DA details in Mass volume.

In the case of guest blogging, I used to look at the website traffic details along with domain authority. Because we are using guest blogging for brand building and reputation management, not for the sole purpose of link building alone. You can use similarweb or SEMrush plugins (Chrome) for this.

Collecting emails for outreach

Chapter 4:
Contact Email Collection

The success of email outreach depends on the deliverability of emails. For a good deliverability, we need the correct email address of the recipient.

We are doing outreach for link building or guest blogging, so we prefer corporate email addresses. Before finding a contact address we should know whom we are going to send the email.

The person who we reach out to should have the power to link to our content or include our post in their website. So you should consider people like website administrators, editors (online magazines and publications), content managers, blog authors, website owners (for small websites), etc.

To find an email address we first need to know who to send the email to.

So let's start with finding the contact name.

Most of the blogs provide the author's name, and a short bio below the article. You can use this information and contact the person.

Or to find a contact person from a company, use the following search term on Google.
"Company name" + "linkedin.com"

This will direct you to the company profile on Linkedin. From there you can see the employees working at that company.

It is hard to check every page on LinkedIn if the employee count is more than 100, so use the filter option and give the job description as 'editor' or "content manager". It will display the exact match profiles with that job description. Copy that name and domain name into our prospect sheet.

Now you have the name of the prospect. There are many tools that can provide you the email address of a person. I will show you the cost-effective way of finding an email address.

Method 1:You need to Install Name2 Email and FullContact Chrome extension for this.

On your Gmail account, click on the compose mail button and type the name and domain that you collected in the following format.
[First name] [Second Name] @ [domain.com]. Then press the space bar on your keyboard.

It will display a bunch of email address combinations related to that name and domain name. Just hover the mouse pointer over those emails. The Full contact extension will show the correct email with a valid profile. On the right side of your Gmail console.

Method 2:Using Hunter.io

We can use Hunter.io in two ways: using their website, or using the Chrome extension.

Using their website: Type the name (first name and last name) and domain name on the concerned fields, then click on ‘Find email address’ button. It will find an email address with high relevance.

And there is a broad search option for finding all email addresses related to a website. Just type in the domain name, and it will show all relevant email addresses connected to that website.

Using their extension: Install Hunter extension from Chrome store. Go to the website that we want to collect email address.
Select the name of the person from that website and click on the extension. It will find the email
address.

Note: You can use free 100 contacts per account.

Method 3:Using VoilaNorbert

VoilaNorbert is just like Hunter, the working procedure is the same but the only thing is the quality of the emails generated. Voila find more accurate email addresses than Hunter.

It uses much better verification algorithms (SMTP verification) to get the correct email.

Note: You will get 50 free contacts per account/month.

Method 4:Using Findthatlead

Find that lead is also a tool like Hunter and Voila Norbert. The working procedure is just the same as the above with the only difference being that it can collect email address and other details from a LinkedIn profile. It also has a chrome extension that can find the email address and company details from a website.

Note: You will get 50 free contacts per account/month.

To find the editor's email address of online magazine or news sites

Twitter is the best way to find the contact details of editors of huge PR sites because most of them will put their title in their Twitter profile description.

Here is the script that you can use to find their details.

Site:twitter.com + "[keyword]" + "[Domain/site name]"

For finding editors in a specific category.

Site: twitter.com + "[site/domain name]"
+ [category name] + editor

Other than using Twitter you can use journalist
databases like:

You can also use public relation tools to reach out to media editors.

Data enrichment for email outreach

Chapter 5: Enrichment

Enrichment is the process of collecting more personal data to personalize the email.

Before starting enrichment, understand what are the personalization fields that you need in your email template.

We already have the 'name of blogger/editor' and the article URL.

I will show you how to get the details like the article title, location, social profiles, etc.

You can use personalization field as much as you want. It is better to add some notes (or suggestions) about the article that we are mentioning (we cannot scale that. It consumes a lot of time).

Scrape article title

You already have the article Url in the prospect sheet, we can scrape the article details without any hassle.

Google sheets have the power to import website XML data directly to sheets.

This is how it works:

  • Put this code in the column next to the article column.
    =importxml([article column number],"/html/head/title)
  • Press enter. It will pull the title of that article.
  • Just click on the corner of that column and scroll down to get the article names of all URLs.
  • Only on some URL, the HTML structure will be different and it will through some error on these URLs (do the manual scraping for these URLs).
Finding location data

Twitter is also good for finding the location of a person.

You can use: '[name] + twitter' on Google to find a person's profile and then copy the location details from the profile page (this is the most basic and no-cost method).

It can be simpler if you can spend some money on Data enrichment tools like Fullcontact or clearbit (both can be directly used in Google sheets using Zapier integration.)

Collecting social profile details

You can use Full contact person enrichment excel sheet to get social details (Twitter bio, followers, Facebook profile URL, Linkedin profile, youtube profile, Klout score).

In some cases the corporate email addresses are not connected with their social profiles, in that case, we have to find it manually.

We can find that using the following Search queries.

  • "Name" + Facebook + location (if available)
  • "Name" + Twitter
  • "Name" + Linkedin + Company name/Domain name
Using comments for enrichment

Commenting on an article is the best way to get recognized easily, but it takes a lot of time to do this.

Blog commenting can be done in two ways, before outreach and after outreach.
We can use it as a warm-up channel before the email blast and can mention about the comment on the email itself. It will help to break the ice between the prospect and the outreach profile/person.

Or we can use blog commenting to nurture the prospect after the first email had hit their inbox.

The process can be automated by a tool called ScrapeBox. Just put the list of URL's that we need to comment and fill in the text and variables used in the text on that tool. It will visit each URL and post comments using the profile info that we have given.

Note: it will only work if all the websites are using the same CMS (eg: WordPress).

The only problem: most websites use third-party spam filters to get rid of spammers, once our profile is labeled as spam in their database all our comments will be removed from the website.

So it is better to do it manually, even though time is a major concern.

Creating email template for the outreach

Chapter 6: Crafting Template

An email template is the decision maker of an outreach. On the first look itself, the prospect will decide whether to start the conversation or to keep you away.

So we have to craft an email that gives value to the prospect and should respect their valuable time.

Always start the email with the prospect's name. If you start with opening lines like 'Hi there' or 'Hi editor' you have just opened the first way to the trash.

In the second line, you should greet the prospect. You can set the greetings based on weekdays (like Happy Monday, Happy weekend). You can also use location details of the prospect to greet them.

Then say how you find them and what you like most about their article or social profile. Use personalization on this part (a normal blogger or editor gets 100 of email pitches daily, so they can identify a templated email miles away, personalization is the only way to overcome this).

Now it's time to tell them why you emailed them, introduce about your article or infographic (a short description of it). Also, mention the authenticity of the content that you included in it (you can use bullet points or numbering to list the features).

Don't create a too lengthy article. An email with 50-125 words will get the highest response rate (hubspot survey). Keep in mind that you have to keep it short and within that limit, you can add personalization. Show them you are not one of those spammers and you have done enough research about the prospect.

After describing your product, you can ask them what you want from their side (it might be link building pitch or lead generation pitch).

In the next sentence, tell them about how our article/infographic will help their website and audience, and what you can offer to promote their site. But I would prefer doing this step on the second email. Ask them if they are interested to look at your article or infographic on the first email. Send them the pitch and 'what you can do for them' only if they show interest in our asset.

If your article/infographic was already published on famous sites you can also include their name in the first email. It will help to gain the prospect's trust and authority for your asset.

Guest blog email template

For guest blogging requests, the email template is totally different.

The personalization part is same (I have described it in the Chapter: 2).

Type 1:Choosing a single topic and pitching in detail:
  • Choose a website and a good topic that hasn't been featured on their site.
  • Explain the reason why you are writing this article (the genuine situation behind writing this article).
  • Explain how it will be useful for their audience.
  • Tell them how you can promote their website through your social and email channels.
  • Ask them for their suggestions on the topic.
Type 2:Selecting 3 to 4 topic and pitching to choose one:
  • Select a set of websites within the same niche.
  • Outreach them with 3 to 4 article topics with details.
  • Tell them about your expertise and experience in this area.
  • Your previous article links.
  • Add a note as you are open to writing on their topic suggestions.
Creating email follow-up sequence for cold outreach

Chapter 7: Creating Follow-up

Follow-up emails are the tiebreakers of outreach process. In most cases, we do 1 or 2 follow-ups. If you won't get any response you will drop the connection. But the magic happens after this. So try to follow-up at least 2 to 4 times in case of link building outreach (you can go up to 6 follow-ups for sales and lead generation).

In most cases, the follow-ups are like 'just following up in case if you missed my previous mail', 'Waiting for your response', etc.

People are fed up with this kind of follow-up emails. But still, we can use this along with some other interesting content.

If someone saw your email and did not respond to it means:

  • They are not interested in it.
  • They might be busy to reply at that time.
  • They don't understand your proposal.

So these are the main constraints that we have to overcome in our follow-ups.

I have seen "for more details please refer my previous email" in some follow-ups that I got. This is like it is the prospect's need to check your email. Please avoid this kind of sentences.

Your follow-up should simplify the process. So please link to the relevant pages that you want to check by the prospect. Give value for their time and give them respect.

Meme follow-ups

Don't estimate someone based on their job profile or the power of their position. Every prospect is a human being with flesh and blood. Don't feed them like a robot (with preset follow up templates).

Everyone likes time to smile on their hectic job schedules. Here is the importance of meme comes in. Follow up with meme images gets more replies than other follow up emails.

Meme follow-up can also be used to regain connection with a lost prospect.

Setting up email outreach

Chapter 8: Setting up Outreach

Setting up an outreach campaign is an easy process. The only thing which affects the reply rate is the time we choose to send the email.

Before sending an outreach batch, you should understand where the majority of prospects are residing, and adjust the time zone according to that.

The best time to hit the official inbox is 11 AM to 12 PM (from my experience, it will be different for everyone).

In the morning time, everyone is busy with their daily tasks, there is a good chance of getting ignored if we send at 9-11 AM.

What you need for outreach
  • Prospect sheet
  • Follow-up email
  • Email template
  • Email outreach tool
  • First set up the email outreach tool (I use Mailshake so I'm explaining the process based on it). First connect the email id that you want to outreach.
  • Select 'create campaign'. It will take you to the starting window. Give a title and select the email address.
  • Click next On the next window add the Prospect sheet saved as a .csv file.
  • A compose email box will appear. Copy the outreach template and follow up templates in it. Also, add a subject line to it. It will take you to the email preview. Verify the content of the email and make it error free.
  • Click next if you are done with cross verification.
  • In the options, choose to send later and give the selected time zone. Once the process is complete just click send campaign.

The outreach can be done much easier with more paid tools. The process I explained is manual and it will take more time.

Ninja Outreach is an automation tool for outreach. From prospecting to enrichment and outreach, it can do everything automatically. It takes less time to create a campaign and to send it out. But manual prospecting will get you more results than automated outreach.

Guide for email outreach link building

Want to Download a PDFVersion of this email outreach guide?

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Cibin is the Content Marketer and Outreach nerd at TechWyse. He loves to create growth hacking strategies and spending time on researching on the internet. When he is not doing this you can find him with the nature exploration and trekking teams

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