tunnel connection

5 Keys to Building a Successful Outreach List for Link Building

When I first started link building, I would simply take a giant list of websites that I thought would be a good target (like my competitors backlinks) and then just fire away. Email after email. Most often than not, the end result was a few email responses, even fewer links and a lot of my time wasted. Since then, I’ve learned to change my approach a bit. I’d like to share some of what I’ve learned.

This post is going to be focused on creating a list of outreach targets that are going to react to your pitch. It’s not going to cover the actual outreach emails.


My 5 Keys to Creating a Successful Email Outreach List for Link Building

tunnel connection1) Find a Connection

When I build outreach lists, I like to create separate buckets or campaigns for each type of connection I am trying to pursue. There can be all sorts of ways that you connect with a blogger. Each connection type has it’s own set of basic email templates to increase productivity. Some of the connections I utilize are…

  • Recent Blog Post Topic – Hey, I noticed you just wrote about Funny Cats. Did you see my infographic about funny cats?

In this example, you are connecting to the blogger by showing them that you read something they recently wrote. Semi-Pro Tip: Comment on that post before you send the outreach email.

  • Broken Links – Hey, I noticed that your website has a broken link on it. Perhaps you could link to this instead.

In this example, you are connecting with the blogger by telling them something about their website. Semi-Pro Tip: Make sure your replacement content is better than the missing, broken content was.

  • Associated Egobait – Hey, I found your site on this really popular blog that I’ve worked with before.

In this example, you are connecting with a blogger who is influenced by a popular blogger you have previously worked with. Semi-Pro Tip: Read my post about How I Got an 80% Success Rate on My Latest Outreach Campaign using Associated Egobait

  • Location Based – Hey, I noticed that you are a Seattle blogger. I visited Seattle once when…

In this example, you are connecting with the blogger by showing that you have read their blog or about page enough to know where they live and also explaining that you have been there. Semi-Pro Tip: Ask a easy to answer question about their city. This will personalize the email more and increase the chance that they respond.


black and white timepiece2) Take Your Time

Spend more time crafting your list. Quality not quantity. You need targets that have a high chance of responding and being interested in your pitch. Not to mention a high-quality site. Put yourself in their shoes. Is your email going to be worth responding to?





garbage truck at dump

3)  Throw Away the Garbage

There are a lot of qualities that I look for when I build an outreach list. It’s easiest for me just to list the automatic disqualifiers that gets a website removed from the list.

  • Phrases like “PR Friendly”
  • Infrequent posting
  • Low levels of social signals or commenting
  • No author named
  • Too many ads
  • DA below 20
  • Really new blog (I’ll make an exception if it looks great and shows initial signs of social proof)


gathering lint4) Gather Names and Emails

Not much to go into here that hasn’t already been covered. Find out the writers actual name and preferred email address. Websites that you can’t do this for, get to join the others that were ditched in #3 above. Semi-Pro Tip: Facebook fan pages often have a contact email address listed on the about page.


active scene5) Check for Activity

Has the author written a post within the last week? Are they tweeting regularly? Do you have reasonable proof to expect that it is likely they will respond and take action on your outreach request? If not, shelf the email and send it later. Timing is so essential, I can’t state this enough. Catching someone at the wrong time (vacation, blogging break, whatever) is a sure-fire way to have a failed outreach attempt.


Now your list is done. Email away and get some coverage across the web. Branding, Links and Referral traffic FTW.

These are just a few simple things you can incorporate into your next outreach campaign. When writing this post, I tried to look for some similar posts to cite within this post. I thought this post by Paddy Moogan was pretty nice. Check it out if you are looking for more information on blogger outreach.


Put your outreach list building tips in the comments. I want to read some stuff below so I can get better at what I’m doing.