The Most Effective Approach to Contacting Link Partners for Authoritative Links

Jan 31, 2010   //   by Mark Thompson   //   link building, SEO, SEO Blog  //  32 Comments

There are hundreds, if not thousands of different ways you can acquire links. Every link buildling tactic comes with pros and cons. I have found that the most effective way to build links is by taking the time to build relationships with experts in your industry, than to just dropping a link in a directory or forum. I understand this is a time intensive process and it requires a lot more work, but the end result are highly relevant, authoritative links. Below is a step by step process to effectively approach potential link partners.

Follow this 4 step process:

1. Make a Potential Link Partner List

If you read industry blogs, than you probably have a pretty good idea who the major influencers are in the industry. Start by generating a list of potential experts/bloggers you would like to contact. Take note of their blog (if they have one), what sites they contribute to, and any social media sites they engage in.

2. Start Following Them

Before you even begin contacting anyone, start following them. If they are on Twitter, start following them. Pay attention to what they tweet about, who they tweet about, who they are tweeting with, and pay attention to their style/personality.

If they manage or contribute to a blog, sign up for their RSS feed and being reading recent and upcoming posts. Start to understand their style of writing, how often they blog, and what topics they cover.

If they use social bookmarking sites like StumbleUpon, Digg, Reddit, start following their bookmarks. See what type of sites interest them. Find out if they have other types of passions besides just the industry you are in. You may be able to connect with someone on a deeper level (similar intersts, location, background, experience).

3. Join their Discussions

Start by retweeting some of your potential link partners tweets. This can help you to indirectly get in front of them and start building the foundation for a relationship. Find recent blog post they have written and start writing comments of value. If you have a relevant link to a resource on your personal site or blog, then provide that as well. This may encourage the person to visit your site and again helps in building the relationship.

4. Contact Them By E-mail

Once you have joined in the discussions, you are ready to contact them personally. By now you should have a pretty good idea of their interests, their online personality, and where they engage online.

When e-mailing them keep it short and to the point. Odds are the person you are contacting gets lots of e-mail pitches a day so don’t waste their time. Hopefully by engaging with them indirectly (tweets, comments, etc..) they will make a connection when they see your e-mail request.

In your e-mail you want to relate to them on a professional or personal level. It may be as simple as telling them how you have been a loyal reader of their blog and hope much you enjoy it. I think this is a good time to say that you should be honest with the people you are contacting. If you geniuenly want to build relationships and make friends in the industry, it will show!

When writing your e-mail, do not just send a generic e-mail template, they will be able to tell right away and will not want to read the rest. Take the time to mention their website, blog, a recent tweet, a speaking engagement, an award they won, a book they wrote, etc…

Keep Components of the E-Mail:

  • Be Geniune & Honest
  • Compliment them on their Site/Blog
  • Mention Something Specific You Like
  • Briefly Explain Your Expertise and Site (include URL)
  • Offer Something of Value to Them
  • Thank Them for their Time

Example:

Dear ‘First Name’,

My name is ‘insert name here’. I am contacting you to tell you what a huge fan and avid reader I am of your ‘Blog Name’ blog. Your ‘specific post name’ post was exteremly helpful in successfully growing my ‘site/blog’.

The reason I am contacting you is because I am interested in building relationships with ‘bloggers/professionals’ in the ‘industry name’ industry. I have been working on promoting my ‘site/blog’ and want to connect with professionals that have the same passions and interests. My blog covers ‘insert topics’.

I would love to share my expertise by having the opportunity to write a guest post for your blog. Also, I thought you may be interested in an ‘ebook/whitepaper/article’ I wrote ‘Insert link here’ that normally I charge for, but would like to offer you a free copy.

If interested, I would love to talk more about how I could help provide valuable content for your blog and readership, while also helping to spread the word about my ‘site/blog’. Thanks for your time and I hope to hear back soon.

Feel free to contact me via email, phone, or twitter.

‘Insert Name’

‘Insert Twitter Handle’

‘Insert Blog URL’

‘Insert Phone #’

Of course you may need to customize the email based on who you are contacting. Instead of offering a free ebook, you may be able to give them a free trial of your product or offer a discount on your product to the persons readers.

Even if you do not end up receiving a link from their site or the opportunity to contribute to their site/blog, at least you made them aware of who you are. At a minimum they may sign up for your RSS feed or start following you on Twitter. Down the road they may remember that you contacted them a while back and they may contacting you to ask if you are still interested in writing a guest post.

About The Author

Mark is the Internet Marketing Manager for Atlantic BT, a full-service Web Design & Marketing company, located in Raleigh, North Carolina. He also is the creator of StayOnSearch, a search marketing blog dedicated to SEO’s and Internet Marketing professionals.

Follow Mark on Twitter (@m_thompson)

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Mark Thompson

Mark is the creator of the SEO Blog, StayOnSearch and president of Search Creatively, a full-service Internet Marketing Company located in Raleigh, North Carolina. He also contributes to many industry related blogs including Search Engine Journal and is active on Facebook and Twitter. Follow Mark on Twitter

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Comment Policy

  • David Leonhardt
    Twitter:
    says:

    Great step-by-step blueprint. This demonstrates the social aspect of social media quite well, and the steps on should take online (not all that different from the steps one should take offline) to build the trust required for a partnership.
    .-= David Leonhardt´s last blog ..The Newest Oldest SEO Tool =-.

  • David Leonhardt
    Twitter:
    says:

    Great step-by-step blueprint. This demonstrates the social aspect of social media quite well, and the steps on should take online (not all that different from the steps one should take offline) to build the trust required for a partnership.
    .-= David Leonhardt´s last blog ..The Newest Oldest SEO Tool =-.

  • Gerald Weber
    Twitter:
    says:

    Mark,

    Thanks for taking the time to put together this guest post. :-)

    The interesting thing is I have unintentionally followed this exact process. Being active and genuine in social media as well as building real relationships, definitely goes a long way. Many times the links will come even without asking.

  • Gerald Weber
    Twitter:
    says:

    Mark,

    Thanks for taking the time to put together this guest post. :-)

    The interesting thing is I have unintentionally followed this exact process. Being active and genuine in social media as well as building real relationships, definitely goes a long way. Many times the links will come even without asking.

  • Ann Smarty
    Twitter:
    says:

    Yeah, also offer to guest blog on their sites – works almost all the time :)

    Great read, Mark!
    .-= Ann Smarty´s last blog ..The Roast of the Silver Surfers =-.

  • Ann Smarty
    Twitter:
    says:

    Yeah, also offer to guest blog on their sites – works almost all the time :)

    Great read, Mark!
    .-= Ann Smarty´s last blog ..The Roast of the Silver Surfers =-.

  • Ritu says:

    Thanks for laying it out like that for us. It's true the better things in life worth having tend to take a little more work and planning and that is of course true when it comes to link building as well.

  • Ritu says:

    Thanks for laying it out like that for us. It’s true the better things in life worth having tend to take a little more work and planning and that is of course true when it comes to link building as well.

  • Cynthia says:

    I wish all those "link builders", who daily pollute my inbox with all those requests for "link partnership" would really take the time to read and follow this guide.

    There is no "easy button" in Social Media. No amount of email solicitation will replace the actual "leg work" involved in building a relevant network.

  • Nice post :)

    Link building takes time and great effort and you often only have one chance to make it or break it with a site. Unfortunately, many people aren't prepared for that.

    Therefore *definitely* take the time to tweak your template and even have a follow up template ready as many links are acquired on the follow up email.
    .-= Melanie Nathan´s last blog ..Data Girl! An Experiment in Paid Link Building Tools =-.

  • Nice post :)

    Link building takes time and great effort and you often only have one chance to make it or break it with a site. Unfortunately, many people aren't prepared for that.

    Therefore *definitely* take the time to tweak your template and even have a follow up template ready as many links are acquired on the follow up email.
    .-= Melanie Nathan´s last blog ..Data Girl! An Experiment in Paid Link Building Tools =-.

  • Great advice. I've been focusing on offering guest posts for dermatology/skin care content and have made some nice relationships. The links are the lagniappe. It will be nice to see them pay off someday.

    Skin care is so crowded on the web that I expect it will take time. My main strategy is to product really good dermatology content and share it. I'm also covering local topics like my most recent post. Hopefully my mix of strategies will create a small place for me on the web.

    Cynthia Bailey MD, http://www.otbskincare.com
    .-= cynthia bailey md´s last blog ..Places I Love To Shop in Sebastopol-North Main Street =-.

  • Great advice. I’ve been focusing on offering guest posts for dermatology/skin care content and have made some nice relationships. The links are the lagniappe. It will be nice to see them pay off someday.

    Skin care is so crowded on the web that I expect it will take time. My main strategy is to product really good dermatology content and share it. I’m also covering local topics like my most recent post. Hopefully my mix of strategies will create a small place for me on the web.

    Cynthia Bailey MD, http://www.otbskincare.com
    .-= cynthia bailey md´s last blog ..Places I Love To Shop in Sebastopol-North Main Street =-.

  • Great detailed steps – thanks so much. You've shown yet another way to use social media to initiate a relationship, then move it forward.

    This is why link building is so slow…done right, it's all about customizing the approach. Like everyone, I get the cookie cutter request that doesn't even include my name. I love the "Delete" key. :)

  • Great detailed steps – thanks so much. You’ve shown yet another way to use social media to initiate a relationship, then move it forward.

    This is why link building is so slow…done right, it’s all about customizing the approach. Like everyone, I get the cookie cutter request that doesn’t even include my name. I love the “Delete” key. :)

  • Nick says:

    Excellent information, I plan on passing this on to my team to read as they build trust and authority factors for our clients.

    In my experience, it takes a good amount of time to build true industry trust, through knowledge, hard work and just being around a while also helps too! :)

  • Nick says:

    Excellent information, I plan on passing this on to my team to read as they build trust and authority factors for our clients.

    In my experience, it takes a good amount of time to build true industry trust, through knowledge, hard work and just being around a while also helps too! :)

  • Jane says:

    Thank you very much for these detailed instructions. My adviser was trying to explain something similar, but didn't include the importance of the social networking tools. He is just better at explaining data recovery and computer repairs more than link building. I'm guessing this is just the tip of iceberg, too.

  • Jane says:

    Thank you very much for these detailed instructions. My adviser was trying to explain something similar, but didn’t include the importance of the social networking tools. He is just better at explaining data recovery and computer repairs more than link building. I’m guessing this is just the tip of iceberg, too.

  • Sean Hecking says:

    Great article Mark. Lots of novice link builders struggle when they fail to create a dialog. Building authoritative links takes time and you have provided some excellent steps.

    -Sean
    .-= Sean Hecking´s last blog ..5 Common Sense SEO Tips =-.

  • Sean Hecking says:

    Great article Mark. Lots of novice link builders struggle when they fail to create a dialog. Building authoritative links takes time and you have provided some excellent steps.

    -Sean
    .-= Sean Hecking´s last blog ..5 Common Sense SEO Tips =-.

  • Arnie K says:

    Hi Mark,

    Good post. We follow a pretty similar process for our clients, although you never know what precise path you are going to head down.

    They only thing I would add is "don't give up!". Link building is a lot like sales, you have to go through a lot of no responses and rejection to get a good link.

    Arnie
    .-= Arnie K´s last blog ..Poetry Contest: Ode to SEO =-.

  • Arnie K says:

    Hi Mark,

    Good post. We follow a pretty similar process for our clients, although you never know what precise path you are going to head down.

    They only thing I would add is "don't give up!". Link building is a lot like sales, you have to go through a lot of no responses and rejection to get a good link.

    Arnie
    .-= Arnie K´s last blog ..Poetry Contest: Ode to SEO =-.

  • idietcola says:

    Great step by step beginer guid – i would add – be wary of putting you're an 'avid reader' as sometimes the IP addresses are logged and thus the webmaster sees the urls of the site you vists – i tend to try and find a problem on the site – an image not rendering etc – inform them of this.

    i like the idea of putting your twitter in -interesting indeed!

    Great place to start indeed!
    .-= idietcola´s last undefined ..Response cached until Thu 20 @ 10:34 GMT (Refreshes in 23.96 Hours) =-.

  • idietcola says:

    Great step by step beginer guid – i would add – be wary of putting you're an 'avid reader' as sometimes the IP addresses are logged and thus the webmaster sees the urls of the site you vists – i tend to try and find a problem on the site – an image not rendering etc – inform them of this.

    i like the idea of putting your twitter in -interesting indeed!

    Great place to start indeed!
    .-= idietcola´s last undefined ..Response cached until Thu 20 @ 10:34 GMT (Refreshes in 23.96 Hours) =-.

  • marius says:

    Good site. Congratulations.

  • Sanalika Hileleri says:

    Thanks for sharing…

  • Sanalika Hileleri says:

    Thanks for sharing…

  • David E says:

    “Even if you do not end up receiving a link from their site or the opportunity to contribute to their site/blog, at least you made them aware of who you are.”

    If they were as popular as they are, having high PR and all, then the email I just sent them might end up like all low priority email. Some site owners with high PR are often too picky.

  • Jocuri C says:

    Thank you for sharing with us common people. I'm a SEO and SEM beginner and I find your articles very helpful.