You Ask, I Answer: Link Building Cold Outreach?

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You Ask, I Answer: Link Building Cold Outreach?

Michael asks, “I get dozens of cold outreach link requests a day that are clearly templates or automated. Does this tactic actually work?”

Cold outreach requests work in the same way that spam works – you only need a small percentage of people to respond positively. As a whole, it’s efficient but not particularly effective, it tends to work on low quality content, and it does cost your organization some reputation, especially if it’s done poorly. What works better is creating amazing content that people want to link to, and investing in the relationships first.

You Ask, I Answer: Link Building Cold Outreach?

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Christopher Penn In today’s episode, Michael asks, I get dozens of cold outreach link requests a day that are clearly templates or automated does this tactic actually work? Yeah, we all do cold outreach, Link requests in their templates to say like, hey, owner of Christopher, I noticed that you write about marketing, please link to my marketing article 44 ways to ruin your reputation with cold outreach link requests, right? We’ve all if you have a blog, you’ve gotten at least one request like this.

And the more popular your blog is, the more you get of these, I would imagine someone like Michael his site gets millions of visitors a year and of course, he’s probably getting thousands of these a day.

They work sort of, they have most definitely not a best practice.

They work in the same way that spam works.

A small percentage of people do respond positively, typically lower quality sites.

And the companies that do these by and large, just shotgun blast these things everywhere, they’ll send out a million emails.

Or they’ll use bots to spam comments on blogs.

As a whole, the technique is efficient, it is not particularly effective.

The links that you do earn from it are mediocre at best, random WordPress bloggers and stuff.

I’m wordpress.

com or medium or essentially people who don’t know better than to take these link requests and put them exactly where they belong, which is in the bin.

And it does the technique and this is one of the reasons why you really shouldn’t use it is the technique and cause you cost your organization some reputation the same way as spamming with a lot of the companies that do this sort of thing, outsource it.

They outsource it to the lowest cost possibilities and whether it’s full automation or inexpensive labor offshore.

And it’s almost never done well, there is a way to do link building Well, number one, make content people want to link to that certainly helps that if you have original research or unique data of some kind, you can absolutely earn links the easy way easy by creating stuff that is unbelievable.

That would be the best practice choice by far.

And you can do individual outreach to people.

But you have to do two things.

First, number one, you have to do your homework.

If you’re going to ask someone to link to your blog, Post show that you read their blog post in its entirety and you understand the context of your question, the context of your questions is appropriate.

If you are reaching out to a marketing blog and saying, Hey, would you link to my, you know, body wash website.

Now, there’s no fit there.

There’s no relationship.

There’s no context, it’s just clearly a random commercial pitch.

And that’s going to get disposed of, and to build the relationship first.

This is something that drives me nuts about a lot of public relations folks as well.

We’re also sending out random cold pitches.

There’s no relationship.

And if you don’t invest the time and the time is measured in months or years.

If you don’t invest the time in the relationship, then you’re not going to get a good outcome.

When someone who’s a legitimate friend asks me, Hey, can you share my thing? Generally speaking, I’m probably going to say yes, as long as the things worth sharing I had somebody who reached out to me, he reached out a couple days ago, but I’ve known him for a decade.

And he’s like, Hey, would you be willing to contribute to this thing on someone and I read it and I gave him some some feedback and said, Yeah, when it’s time, let me know and I’ll, I’ll share it for you.

He has invested the time in, in building that relationship so that the ask is not cold.

This is what separates a good link builder from bad one, a good PR person from a bad would want a good influencer marketing person from bad one.

They invest the time to build those relationships.

And they do it over a long period of time so that there’s an actual human connection.

And then it’s like banking, I hesitate to use the analogy because it is kind of tacky to think of these kinds of professional relationships as a keeping score, but it’s good analogy in that if you Don’t deposit money in the bank, there is nothing to withdraw from it.

Right? You cannot withdraw from an empty bank account.

In the same way or relationship if you don’t invest in the relationship you cannot withdraw from it, you cannot ask anything of it because you didn’t give anything to it.

And this concept I think, from Vienna, I originally called givers gain, you give first without expectation, just to build the relationship.

And then at some point, you know, you will have to ask for something at some point.

But at some point down the road, you earn the right to make that ask, and that’s true with outreach as well.

So this begs the question, well, how can you invest in you know thousands of relationships you can’t.

What you need to do is do some strong analytics to identify in the network of people who are in your space in your vertical industry, do an actual influencer map and influencer graph using data to identify the two or three or four super nodes within your network that The hubs of every conversation with the majority of conversations, a great way to do this would be to take, for example, social media content from like, a five or 10 conferences in your industry.

Or look at the academic papers published in your industry, and create a network map that says, These are the people who everybody talks about everybody references and those five people.

That’s where you start your relationship building, right? So that you’re focusing on the hub because once the hub gets a piece of information, it can then spread it to its network of first and secondary connections.

And you will get exponential returns on your effort from that if you approach it smartly that way.

That’s how you do it.


When somebody like in our industry, like Jay Baer, when he publishes a blog post with our content, and it we see it show up everywhere, we see links show up everywhere.

He is a super node within the network.

And so that’s somebody that You know, we would we would, we would want to maintain a relationship for professional reasons is nice personal reasons to he’s an amazing human being.

But that’s how you do it.

So cold outreach links link is not the best practice do warm outreach link requests and the very best of all is do a collaboration with somebody that you have that relationship with.

And again, you will create amazing stuff.

I did a some work with Agoura pulse recently we did a the social success summit.

It was one of the biggest prospects and lead generators of the year I did a piece with Talkwalker without Alban format or a Talkwalker.

And it again did some tremendous stuff, they have some things coming soon, all relationship based, so that’s the way to do it.

build a relationship build together and you will build the links and the links will be high quality from reputable places that will boost your SEO.

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I’ll talk to you soon take care.

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