Crafting effective outreach takes practice, persistence, and creativity. Outreach is a skill that you must continue to hone and develop. By mastering the basics of outreach you can establish a foundation from which you can build upon.

Compile a Refined Outreach List

In the last post we learned how to apply the “smell test” to properly vet your link prospects. Now that you have filtered out the irrelevant link opportunities, you can begin to compile a refined outreach list.

Compiling a detailed outreach list will help keep you organized as you work through your outreach initiative. Some key information that you should contain in your outreach list includes:

  • Name of contact
  • Email address
  • Person’s site/company
  • Position at site/company
  • Existing Social Profiles
  • Previous contact/relationship
  • Date contacted

Working from this list during outreach will keep everything organized and help you track who you’ve contacted and how. Organization is vital to outreach success, and maintaining a well-ordered outreach list will make things easier in the long run.

Crafting Effective Outreach

Due to the fact that outreach inherently involves person-to-person communication, your outreach messages will typically be unique. However, there are some basic best practices you can follow to improve your chances of success.

These best practices include:

  • Personalize your message
  • Be polite and professional
  • Adhere to website guidelines
  • Be persistent

Another important aspect of crafting your outreach is to ensure you are using the most appropriate channel of communication. Some of the various options available are:

  • Email
  • Social media
  • Blog/forum comments
  • Offline (telephone, snail mail, real life interaction)

Among these options, email is typically the most common form of outreach. There are some specific best practices for email outreach as well. Some basic considerations should be:

  • Clear subject line
  • Accurate and appropriate email address
  • Clear and concise message
  • Initial Call-to-Action (i.e. link request)
  • Secondary Call-to-Action (e.g. email for more information)
  • Descriptive signature (name, title, multiple forms of contact, etc.)

For more information on the elements of an effective outreach email – check out Jon Ball’s article on Search Engine Journal.

Again, every person you contact will be different and you should adjust your outreach accordingly. However, keeping these guiding principles in mind will provide you with a decent framework for your outreach.

Build Relationships

Finally, you should consider how you’re building relationships with your outreach.

Outreach is as much about building positive relationships as it is about building worthwhile links. Your relationships should always come first – building a link is your end goal, but building links shouldn’t come at the expense of the connections you’ve created. Links will often come as a result of these affiliations so it’s not worth pursuing a link if it could jeopardize your relationship.

Also, you should try to further your connections wherever possible during outreach. For example, after someone links to your content you could suggest some sort of collaboration effort on a new piece of content to further develop your rapport. Always be looking for ways to further your existing relationships and foster even stronger bonds within your niche.


Outreach is an important and difficult part of link building. Mastering the basics of outreach is essential to link building success, because it is impossible to build real, worthwhile links without outreach. The basics of outreach include:

  • Compiling a refined and organized outreach list
  • Craft efficient outreach (follow best practices)
  • Foster and further develop positive online relationships