Don’t Do These Things In Your Outreach Emails
I hope people who send outreach emails read this. If few people respond or the responses you get are rarely favourable, chances are you’re doing some of what is described below. But there are a couple of tips to help you out towards the end.
If fellow blogmasters and blog editors read it, I feel your pain. Please leave a comment about things that annoy you or make you burst out laughing. And by all means, please comment if you’ve stumbled on a way of stopping any of the behavior I describe below.
For those who want to skip to the bit telling them what they should do in an outreach, click here.
I’ve written about this subject twice before, with special attention to Guest Blogger outreach emails:
Guest Blogger Outreach: Here’s What Not To Do (And Some Tips)
The article you’re (maybe) about to read is more general, also touching on link requests.
Here Are Some Of The More Common Outreach Email Annoyances
The frustrations blogmasters and blog editors must endure due to poor outreach emails are many. Some are so bad, you wonder what people could possibly be thinking, or if they’re thinking at all!
Here are some of the worst types:
- Brash, unbacked claims of expertise or high-quality writing. (Hint: let others decide if you’re an expert or great at what you do – unless you can really back up your claim! 2nd hint: People who really are good, don’t need to boast!)
- People insisting that they need to post their sponsored content on our site and are willing to pay us a whole $10! (Whoopee! I’m gonna be rich! And someone really values me and my time!). Oh, yes. While I’m getting rich, I can also fall foul of Google. What the hey, right?
- People making vomit-inducing compliments while proving they’ve never looked at our site
- People who expect us to plug them but who offer nothing in return
- Requests for collaboration with no hint of what the writer is offering to do for us!
For those who don’t know the meaning of the word, here’s the Oxford English Dictionary definition:
To work together with somebody in order to produce or achieve something
Note that it doesn’t say “you do this for me and I’ll do nothing for you in return!”
“We Wrote This Great Article. Please Link To It”
In fairness, only some of these types of emails are annoying. I get why people send them.
In any given week, we get 15-25 requests for us to add links to articles. With shocking frequency, the article they would like us to ‘enrich’ is either 5+ years old or a really lousy fit for their suggested link. Sometimes, they want us to add mention of a tool in a numbered tools article (as in, 12 tools that…)
Of course, writing about any tools requires us to try them out. And we really don’t have the bandwidth for that. But the bottom line is, they’re really just asking for a free plug!
Maybe 20% of such requests come with an offer such as a free license. I thank those people while typically admitting that I simply don’t have time to try out anything new. I do genuinely appreciate that though.
Broken Link outreach emails are welcome, though! More on them, below.
Source: James Stevenson, New York Times
Why do people think I’ll fall for obviously fake, and in some cases, nonsensical compliments? Who told people that disingenuousness is a way of creating a good first impression? We get at least two or three of these every day, and sometimes I just want to get in their face and yell at them! Failing that, just once, it would do me so much good to curse someone out! I have been known to swear at my laptop screen when reading these. It helps!
This one came in on the day I completed this article:
“I loved the content on your site, each of the writeups is too awesome.”
How about this from a month ago:
“I came across your awesome site (curatti.com) and got impressed with the frequently updated info & sensations on your site.”
These are far from the most obnoxious or poorly written. Honestly, how stupid do people think we are?
Read Forms Before You Fill Them In…
…And Spend at Least a Couple of Minutes Looking at Websites Before You Contact Them
This appears on our Contact Us form, just before the data entry portion.
Larger font than the rest of the text, all caps, in a box. Not particularly ambiguous, and should surely stop people, right? Well, you’d think it would. But you’d think wrong, as I did.
I was wrong about other things, also. For example, I thought that putting the following in the top menu would result in people reading our guidelines before contacting us.
(We’ll be changing the “Guest Blogging Guidelines” link to “Write For Us” at some point)
In the months since that menu item has been there – surely unmissable for anyone viewing from a laptop/desktop, maybe a couple of dozen people have claimed they read the guidelines when first contacting us. And perhaps all but 3 of those went on to prove that those words were a lie. Hint: “I read your guidelines” really shouldn’t mean “I clicked on the link and spent a couple of seconds skimming.
My Number One Frequent Pet Hate?
People who want us to publish their sponsored posts with do-follow links. I get that most people may not know that Google frowns on this and warns people that at any time in the future, perhaps even years, companies that do this may face censure. But those who claim to be SEO Agencies are either lying about their expertise or absolutely don’t give a damn about what happens to the companies they contact, just as long as they get their link. To say it like it is, those who know better but do it anyway, are complete scum. (I left out the swear word but it’s always there when I think of these people!)
Sometimes, I call these sharks out. A few of them have responded to me by arguing.
What makes some people think that the world and everything in it owes them, and if some of those who help them pay a price later, it’s nothing to them? No conscience at all? I love people. But some really suck!
I wrote an article specifically on the subject of do-follow links in sponsored posts about 3 years ago. It’s an important one, aimed at blog owners rather than would-be article sponsors.
I called it “Follow Links in Sponsored Posts: Why You Should Resist The Money”. I can only imagine that there are any number of blog owners who accept these posts. Please don’t! Ultimately, is it really worth it to risk your business?
It’s Not All Bad Though!
That’s enough bitching on my part. A far smaller number of people ‘do outreach right’, and each of those people is truly appreciated. This might sound like a small thing, but when I wake up to a great outreach email, it starts my workday off on a happy note.
Also appreciated are those who respond to my tips on how to tweak their original article suggestions by really getting what I said.
Broken Link Outreach Emails Are Good!
No blog should be comfortable with broken links but they’re inevitable. Some websites simply disappear. What is surprising is when authoritative and well-known blogs update articles, changing the URL but forgetting to do a 301 redirect.
So please send this particular type of outreach. But make sure to include the following or you probably won’t get your link-back:
- URL of the article with the broken link (Not just the title!)
- Anchor text of the broken link, and preferably about where it is in the article
- The link to your proposed replacement article
- If it isn’t a direct replacement, send along a sentence or two to replace the current text.
The above points are even more important if the article with the broken link is old. When people tell me that a link in a 5-year-old article is broken but make me work to replace it, I’ll be more likely to just get rid of the URL altogether.
Do You Want Your Outreach Email To Be In The Best 5 Or 10% (Or Are You Happy To Remain Bad At What You Do)?
It’s easy to send rubbish outreach emails. But the good news is, it isn’t difficult to send out good ones.
Of course there’s more to it than this, but here are the high-level tips on how to do it right:
- Send links to 3 published articles. Preferably, you should make sure they are relevant to the site you’re reaching out to
- Don’t be one of the people who sends a super-long list and expect people to sift through it for what is relevant.
- Make 3 article suggestions. Again, these should be relevant to the site you are contacting
- See above!
- Cut out the fake compliments! PLEASE!
We’ll be offering a class on all facets on content writing in May. Stay tuned for more details.
For bloggers having a hard time organizing their workday, please read Anna Hoffman’s recent article:
How to Create Your Writing Routine to Boost Your Productivity
You may also want to read: If You Want To Be A Guest Blogger, Stand Out From The Crowd
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Featured image: Probably Forbes
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