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 the content.

The key to creating useful content is to find the best articles in your niche and create something better — aka Brian Dean’s 'Skyscraper technique.'

If you’re new to Content Marketing, don’t worry! I will take you through this, step-by-step.

Let’s begin with content ideation. Create a Google sheet to collect the best topics for content (we will choose the best one from this list). Name it ‘Content Ideation Sheet’.

Choose at least 10 topics from your niche and add them to your sheet. Now go to Ubersuggest (it’s a free tool for keyword research) and search for these topics. It will show the related search keywords along with their 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 the most shared content on a specific topic.

Using Ahrefs content explorer

Type the selected keywords in the search box, 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 the total share count (refer to the image below). From this, choose articles with good organic traffic and share counts.

Do the same for all your keywords and add those articles in the Google sheet 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 find it under the Content research menu on the top left corner).

2In the search bar, input 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 from the top and add them to your Content Ideation Sheet.

Finding the content and populating the sheet is up to you, you can choose to do as much as you want. Create a process that works for you.

From the articles that you collected, choose one and apply the ‘skyscraper’ technique.

Make that article Big, Bigger and Biggest.

Fill it with information. It should stand out from competing blogs. Use images, gif and videos as these can reduce the bounce rate. The human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text, so it is ideal for attracting readers to the content.

Infographic Content

Infographic creation methods are a bit different from regular blogs.
Before searching topics for an infographic, you should be aware of decision makers who have the power to link to your infographic on their site. Infographic creation takes a lot of time and resources, so it is important to find the best websites that have already published an infographic that is similar to yours. Google Image Search is the best tool for this. I will explain this further 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 choose the best topic.

You can also use Google Search with advanced filtering options to get the latest topics relevant to your niche.

If you are done with topic selection, start collecting data on the topic. Start by creating a Google Doc for the first draft of your infographic.

You can use websites like Statista and CB Insights for getting statistical data. You can also use open source databases such as:

Not everything that you read on the internet is 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 be afraid of these new terms!

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

Now it's time to meet with your graphic designer who will suggest design concepts. Based on those suggestions, you will get an idea of what to include and what to exclude. Make the necessary modifications in the Google Doc and send the final draft to the designer. You can make the changes in the infographic if needed.

Note: if you don’t have an in-house graphic designer, you can hire a freelancer using sites like fiverr, Freelancer, and Upwork.

Be sure to review the designer's previous work, their portfolio, and their rating on the platform.

Working with a freelancer can present its challenges. Without effective communication, the final product and timeline can be affected. So, before starting the project, provide them with a document to outline the scope and direction 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 colours 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 searching for people and websites that you want to reach out to in order to share your content. It’s very important to choose the right person to get things done.

A prospector needs to think outside-the-box because they’ll need to know where to find prospects and how to collect their details.

Keep your audience persona in mind and select those who are influential to reach your audience. The method of prospecting for outreach may differ depending on the content or campaign type.

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

Choose niche related keywords about the content, search Google for websites with blogs about those keywords.

Create another Google Sheet for collecting prospects. Name the sheet ‘Prospect Sheet-{{campaign name}}.

Here is a Sheet you can use (make a copy and use): Search queries Cheatsheet

Replace the ’KEYWORD’ text with your keywords or search terms. You can use the Search and Replace function in Google Sheets to do this.

Use the shortcut ‘Ctrl + F’ to access the search box within the sheet. Click on the 3 dots next to the search box, then enter the keywords and the replacement word. It will populate the sheet with your search queries.

Just copy and paste those queries in Google and collect those prospects on our ‘Prospect Sheet’.


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

Just copy all the search queries in this tool and select the number of pages you want to scrape. Click Scrape. It will collect all the URLs in the SERP result into a ‘.csv’ file.

In my personal opinion, manual prospecting yields better results, since scraped data needs to be filtered a lot and it can include fake articles and links.

Prospecting for infographic outreach

Prospecting works on simple logic. Those who link to your competitors 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.

Note: Decide on what information you are going to collect from websites. That data will be used for outreach email personalization.

Process 1:Using Google Reverse Image Search.

  1. Choose keywords related to your graphic (you can include 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 your infographic.
  2. Select the most appropriate images and open them in separate tabs.
  3. Right click on those images and select ‘search Google for images’.
  4. A new tab with websites that had featured those images will appear.
  5. Choose the best websites from that list and add them to the prospect list.

Note: Avoid social media and aggregator site links such as Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Linkedin,,

Process 2:Using is an unlocked source of traffic for visual assets. We can use this platform for prospecting as well.

  1. Go to
  2. Put your keyword in the search bar. A list of images in that category will appear.
  3. Do a reverse image search for all these images, collect the data you want to prospect (site URL, Domain name, author name).
  4. Put it in your prospect sheet.

The process is the same as Google Reverse Image Search, the only difference is the platform.

The advantage of searching with, is that it provides publisher and author details or the graphic in one place.

Guest blog prospecting

Most guest bloggers use the traditional method of prospecting–reaching out to a list of websites that are already accepting guest blogs and hit them with a ton of spam emails.

By using the following two methods of identifying guest posting opportunities, you avoid spamming prospects and provide value to your prospect and their audience.

The first method is using the search query sheet, and the other is using Google custom search on websites; this method is good for getting an easy guest post and also provides value to the site who accepts guest posts.

Process 1:Using a Search Queries Sheet

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

Process 2:finding guest post opportunities using website topic search

  1. Find a list of websites in your niche which publish good and quality blogs.
  2. Use this search string ‘ “their service keyword”. This will pull a list of blog posts that they wrote about their service keywords.
  3. Collect the best article link from that list in our Prospect sheet.
  4. 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”. More of these keywords are listed in the search query sheet. You will not get good results from all these searches, so do these searches for all keywords and you will gradually learn which keywords will work well for you.

Value bomb: 'bigguestposting' this website 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 you’ll have to dig out the useful links and delete unwanted links.

You’re looking for quality over quantity, so I suggest sorting the links according to Domain Authority (MOZ) as criteria. It is better to stay away from websites that have a DA of less than 20.

It is a tedious task to put each and every link on Moz Link Explorer and input results in the sheet. You can save time by using tools like URL profiler (14 days trial edition 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 outreach emails depends on the deliverability of emails. For good deliverability, you need the correct email address of the recipient.

You are doing outreach for link building or guest blogging, so corporate email addresses are preferred. Before finding a contact address, you should know who you are contacting.

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

To find an email address, you first need to know who to send the email to. So let's start with finding the contact name.

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

Or to find a contact person from a company, use the following search term on Google “company name” + “”.

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

It is hard to check every page on LinkedIn. If the employee count is more than 100, use the filter option and enter 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 the Prospect sheet.

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

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

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

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 can be used in two ways: using their website, or Chrome extension.

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

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 the Hunter Chrome extension, go to the website that you want to collect an email address from, 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 leads per account.

Method 3:Using VoilaNorbert

VoilaNorbert works just like Hunter–the difference is the quality of the emails generated. Voila, finds more accurate email addresses by using better verification algorithms (SMTP verification) to get the correct email.

Note: You will get 50 free leads per account/month

Method 4:Using Findthatlead

FindThatLead is a similar tool to Hunter and VoilaNorbert. The only difference being that it can collect email addresses and other details from a Linkedin profile. It also has a Chrome extension that can find the email addresses and company details from a website.

Note: You will get 50 free leads per account/month

Finding an Editor’s Email Address

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

Here is the script that you can use to find their details. + “[keyword]” + “[Domain/site name]”

For finding editors in a specific category

Site: + “[site/domain name]” + [category name] + editor

Other than using Twitter, you can use journalist
databases like:

  1. 1. MuckRack

  2. 2. RocketReach

  3. 3. Haro

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

Scrape article title

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

Google Sheets has the power to import website XML data directly to sheets.

This is how it works:

  1. Put this code in the column next to the article column.
    =importxml([article column number],"/html/head/title)
  2. Click enter. It will pull the title of that article.
  3. Just click on the corner of that column and scroll down to get the article names of all URLs
  4. Some URLs may have different HTML structure and cause an error. (Manually scrape 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 them using the following Search queries:

  1. “Name” + Facebook + location(if available)
  2. “Name” + Twitter
  3. “Name” + Linkedin + Company name/Domain name
Using comments for enrichment

Blog commenting can be done in two ways: before outreach and after outreach.
You can use it as a warm-up before the outreach email is sent and can even be mentioned within the outreach email itself. It will help to break the ice between the prospect and outreach profile/person..

Or you can use blog commenting to nurture the prospect after the first email hits their inbox.

A tool called ScrapeBoxcan automate the process. Just put the list of URLs that need to commenting 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 was provided.

Note: It will only work if all the websites are using the same CMS (e.g., WordPress)

The only challenge is most websites use third-party spam filters, so once a profile is labelled as spam in their database, all comments will be removed from the site.

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

Creating email template for the outreach

Chapter 6: Crafting an Email template

The email template you use is of personal preference. On the first look itself, the prospect will decide whether to start a conversation or to ignore it. You should craft an email that gives value to the prospect and respects their time.

Always begin your email with the prospect’s name. Generalized salutations such as ‘Hi there’ or ‘Hi editor’ almost always guarantee that your email will be deleted. Any sort of personalization softens a cold email.

In your message, add another layer of personalization with greetings based on the weekday (Happy Monday) or on their location.

Include how you found them and what you like most about their article or social profile. Use personalization-the average blogger or editor gets 100s of email pitches daily. They can identify a templated email miles away, and personalization is the only way to overcome this.

Now it’s time to tell them why you contacted them and introduce your article or infographic (a short description). Use a list to highlight the features from your content.

Don’t create a lengthy email. According to a survey from HubSpot, an email with 50-125 words will get the highest response rate. Keep in mind that you have to keep it short, and within that limit, add personalization. You need to convey that you have done your research on the person you are contacting.

After describing your content, you can now include your Call to Action (a link building pitch or lead generation pitch).

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.

You can appeal to them by way of how your blog/infographic will help their website and audience, and what you can offer in return. But I prefer this step in the form of a second email. Ask them if they are interested in looking 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 your asset.

If your blog/infographic was published on popular sites, you could also include their name in the first email as 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. However, the personalization part I described in Chapter: 2 is the same.

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

Chapter 7: Creating Follow-up Emails

Follow-up emails are the crux of the outreach process. In most cases, there are 1 or 2 follow-up emails. If you don't get a response, it's best to move on. But research says that the magic happens after this. So try to follow-up 2 to 4 times in the case of a link building pitch (you send up to 6 follow-ups for sales/lead generation pitches).

In most cases, follow-ups emails simply consist of 'just following up in case you missed my previous email' or 'waiting for your response.'

If a prospect read your email and did not respond, it means:

  1. They are not interested.
  2. They might be busy to reply at that time.
  3. They don't understand your pitch.

These are the main challenges that you have to overcome in our follow-up emails. Avoid using follow-up emails with 'for more details, please refer to my previous email.'

Your follow-up should simplify the process. Link to the relevant pages that you want the prospect to view.

And show respect by valuing their time.

Meme follow-ups

Some of the most successful messages for outreach will include a gif, meme, or picture. Visuals are eye-catching, and they are an easy way to humanize you. The prospect is likely to see you as a regular person rather than a sales-y robot! Tie in your content into a relevant meme or find a gif that the prospect will respond to based on their social media posts.

Using a visual can also be used to connect with a lost prospect.

Setting up email outreach

Chapter 8: Setting up an Outreach Campaign

Before queuing up your outreach emails, you should have an understanding of where the majority of your prospects live and adjust the time of dispatch according to their time zone.

The best time to send emails is between 11 AM and 12 PM (from my experience, it will be different for everyone). Most people will spend their morning planning out their day, so there is a good chance of getting ignored if you send an email during at 9–11 AM.

What you need for outreach
  • Prospect sheet
  • Email template
  • Follow-up email
  • Email outreach tool
  1. First, set up your email outreach tool (I'm using Mailshake as the example since it is the tool I use). Connect the email address that you want to use for outreach.
  2. Select ''Create Campaign'. It will take you to the starting window. Name your campaign and select the email address.
  3. Click Next. In the next window, upload the Prospect sheet saved as a .csv file.
  4. A compose email box will appear. Add a subject line. Copy the outreach template and follow-up templates.
  5. Next, preview the email. Review the messaging for grammar and spelling.
  6. Click next once you are done with the preview.
  7. In the options, schedule a time to send and choose the appropriate time zone. Select Send The Campaign..

The outreach process I have described is manual (and free) but does require more effort hours. It is worth noting that the process can be easier and less time consuming with the use of paid tools.

NinjaOutreach is an automation tool for outreach. While it takes much less time to create a campaign and to send it, manual prospecting will get you more results than automated outreach.

Guide for email outreach link building

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1 Comment

  • avatar

    This comprehensive guide is very easy to follow! I commend your efforts in making this visually appealing reference and for providing tips with real value. Keep it up!



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