Most people hate blogger outreach. It makes them feel like a jerk. But it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s possible to do outreach, at scale, without feeling like a spammer.
You did a thing on the internet.
You think it’s good, but nobody knows it exists.
You wish there were more buzz about it—more tweets, links, all that good stuff.
Not one to be defeated, you head to Google in search of a solution. That’s when you come across this blogger outreach services thing.
It sounds like hell. Sending templated emails, en masse, to strangers, who will probably definitely hate you and confirm your worst fear: your content sucks… that’s why nobody cares about it.
The response I expect every time I send an outreach email.
But still, you have nothing to lose, so you decide to give it a go.
Now you’re here… hoping to learn how to do this thing without feeling like an annoying door-to-door salesperson.
Luckily, that’s exactly what I’m going to teach you. 🙂
What is blogger outreach?
Blogger outreach is a process of putting your product or content in front of relevant bloggers and journalists by sending them personalized emails. The primary objective of the blogger outreach agency is to convince those with large targeted audiences to talk about you and link to your website.
How is that different from SPAM, you ask?
Let’s play a quick game.
Below are two emails I received recently. All you need to do is tell me whether you see them as outreach or spam.
Outreach email #1.
Outreach email #2.
Which of these two emails is SPAM?
Leave your vote before you read any further. I’m curious to see the results.
My verdict? The first email is spam; the second email isn’t.
It’s clear that both emails are templates, but only the second one makes any attempt whatsoever to be relevant, personable, charming, and engaging.
The first is literally just some guy broadcasting the fact that he’s written an article.
Which brings me to another point:
Outreach != broadcasting
Nobody wants to receive emails like that first example in their inbox. If they did, they’d sign up to your email list.
To assume otherwise is just plain disrespectful.
People aren’t stupid. They can spot a generic outreach template a mile off, and when they do, they’ll know three things about you:
- You’re selfish.
- You’re lazy.
- You don’t give a damn about them or their business.
Wow. What a great first impression. 🙄
But here’s the thing: nearly all outreach emails look like this, which can lead to two somewhat contradictory thoughts:
These outreach emails are terrible. Surely nobody ever replies to these things, right!?
These outreach emails are terrible. But everyone seems to be sending them, so they must work, right!?
Weirdly, both of those statements are kind of true…
The two outreach approaches
There are two main trains of thought (approaches) in the world of blogger outreach:
- The sniper approach.
- The shotgun approach.
Let’s briefly cover what these are.
The sniper approach
Advocates of the sniper approach choose their “targets” carefully and send highly-personalized outreach emails to each of them.
They believe that effective outreach is all about giving some kind of value to a relatively small list of targeted prospects and expecting something positive in return.
This is the approach we use and advocate at Ahrefs.
The shotgun approach
Advocates of the shotgun approach send lots of outreach emails to a broader list of “targets” and spend little or no time personalizing those emails.
They believe that effective outreach is all about “scale”—more emails equals more links.
The reason bad blogger outreach still exists is that so many opt for the shotgun approach.
It’s easy to see why, too:
- It takes less time.
- It requires less effort.
- It feels like you’re making tracks… even if you aren’t.
Now, in the interest of being totally honest and transparent, here’s the truth:
If you’re playing a short-term game, and couldn’t care less about burning bridges, the shotgun approach makes a lot of sense.
I mean, from a pure link building perspective, there’s no difference between sending 100 personalized emails and convincing 10% of them to link to you, and sending 1,000 non-personalized emails and convincing only 1% to link to you.
So, personal preference and contempt for spammy emails aside, why don’t we recommend the shotgun approach?
- Link prospects aren’t infinite. No matter what niche you’re in, there are only a finite number of websites from which a backlink is likely to move the needle. If you burn through and alienate 99% of these prospects, the ceiling for your link building efforts is going to be pretty low.
- Deliverability issues. Have you ever seen that button in Gmail that marks emails as spam? The more people that click this, the less Google is going to trust your emails. And if that happens, your emails may end up in your recipients’ spam folders.
- Lower quality links. Because bad outreach is so prevalent, anyone with a half-decent website has likely received shotgun-style emails before. So, it’s probable that this approach is more likely to work on those with newer or weaker sites who don’t get so many bad pitches.