Email Outreach Tips: How to Write an Outreach Email

Email outreach and link building. 

Most people hate it… yet we all know how important it is for growing a website.

8 years ago I got started in SEO. 

Well, technically, I got started in digital marketing 8 years ago. 

I was in charge of running the Instagram account for an e-commerce brand.

It became very, very clear within 3-6 months that Instagram and visuals were not my cup of tea. 

I was quickly moved to link building.

Since then, I have written more outreach emails than I can count.

If you put the number of outreach emails I’ve written vs. the number of times Hunter S. Thompson ever snorted cocaine, I think my emails have him beat. 

All that being said, let’s chat about how we’re doing link-building and some quick tips I also learned at CMSEO.

Email Outreach Tips

You’re never going to build a link if you never send an email.

Whenever someone comes to me and says they have a link-building problem, I generally find that they simply aren’t sending enough emails. 

They are overrun with too many factors such as:

1/ Outreach software

2/ Finding email address

3/ Lookalike domains

4/ DKIM, DMARC, SPF, etc

If this is you, just start. 

Get a free Gmail or Microsoft account and a spreadsheet going and start sending

Don’t overthink it. 

I recommend starting with these three link-building strategies:

  1. HARO
  2. Guest Post
  3. Skyscraper (yes, this shit still works amazing)

That said, below are a couple of other tips to help out.

I guess you could say this is ~advanced~ ? 

Email Templates

Email templates are where the majority of people go wrong and where I want to focus the majority of this email. 

People are still sending emails that say:

“Hi Alex, 

I recently came across your article on the CMSEO Recap. It’s truly amazing and you are too. 

Anywho, can I write on your blog?”

This sort of email is why people hate link builders. 

Site owners get 100s of these each week and seriously never read them. 

Please note how I haven’t read half of these emails. 

I don’t need to open up the emails. 

I just hit delete.

Tip - if you get a lot of these a day, set up a filter in your inbox so that anytime an email contains “guest post” it automatically gets sent to trash. Will save you some headaches. 

Before going on, I do think it’s worth noting one caveat here…

As much as I hate these emails, THEY STILL WORK BETTER THAN SENDING NONE AT ALL.

That said, I don’t want you sending this crap.

Here are some quick tips:

  1. Put the recipient's name in the subject line

The first step to getting a link is getting people to read your email. If you put their first name in the subject line, this increases the probability they open the email.

  1. Don’t ever, ever, ever put “guest post” in the email. 

I don’t think I have to break this down but in short, people delete you automatically. 

Good article: I Just Deleted Your Outreach Email Without Reading. And NO, I Don’t Feel Sorry.

  1. Be informal. Stop sounding like ChatGPT wrote your outreach email. 

I personally always avoid “Dear John” or “Hi John” - I’m not a fan. 

“Hey John” is a lot more informal and natural.

  1. Act as a freelance writer.

Don’t mention your website. Don’t mention a guest post. Don’t mention anything about links.

Once you actually write for the website then try and naturally put a link back to your site. 

Here is a good outreach email if I were reaching out to myself.

--

“Hey Alex,

First and foremost, I’ve been following you on LinkedIn for a few months now and I just wanted to say thank you.

Thank you for providing so much value each and everyday to us SEOs and affiliate marketers. 

I tried the whole LinkedIn grind after going through Justin Welsh’s course but I just couldn’t stick with it. 

It’s cool to see that you have. 

Anywho, to be upfront and transparent, the reason I'm writing to you today is because I'm wondering if you need some help with your blog on AlexHorsman.com.

Let me be clear here, I'm not looking for a one-time "guest article" but rather becoming a regular contributor to your site.

I have written for other digital marketing sites in the past such as Aherfs, SEMRush, and Authority Hacker.

While I like writing for these big publications, I find working with solo creators to be more fulfilling and exciting. 

If you’d like to see my work, just let me know and I’ll send some examples. 

With all that being said, if you have content that you need to be written, please send it my way and I'll be happy to do one pro bono to see if we're a good fit for one another.

All the best,

P.S. I would send my writing samples in this initial email but don’t want to freak the inbox Gods out and get sent to purgatory. But again, happy to send them if you hit “Reply” 🙂”

– 

I can promise you that if someone sent me this email, I would 100% reply and see what they are all about. 

Let’s break it down: 

  1. Used my name in the very beginning, so at least they did some basic research.

  2. They did even more research about me and were able to gather that I’m trying to grow my LinkedIn and that I’m writing on that platform everyday.

  3. Built trust with me by saying “to be upfront and transparent” and told me they aren’t just looking to post and ghost one time.

  4. Built more trust by stating other websites they have written for within the same niche.

  5. Offered to do the first one for free to see how we work together.

  6. No mention of link building or anything of that nature

Again, don’t mention link building or that you own a site.

Simply act as a freelance writer who is looking to get their name out there. 

If you want to go balls to the walls with this strategy, create a personal website which showcases your writings.

And create an email address underneath the personal website as well.

Johnsmith.com - freelance writer website. 

me@johnsmith.com - email address tied to the writer’s website and the email that you do outreach with. 

Now, whether you’re doing the “Freelancer” strategy, guest post strategy, skyscraper, etc. 

I think the most important part is point #2 mentioned above:



2. They did even more research about me and were able to gather that I’m trying to grow my LinkedIn and that I’m writing on that platform everyday.

If you want to be taken seriously, you need to add in personalization to each email.

Add in more than what you think is necessary. 

Read this below section 10 times if you have to. 

It’s the 80/20.

Put in 80% of your efforts into personalizing each email. 

Know who you are reaching out to and really tailor the email to them.

The personalization doesn’t need to be 500 words.

In fact, I recommend you keep it to 2-3 sentences.

But it needs to showcase you’ve done your research on them and know who they are. 

Let’s do a few examples.

Let’s assume I’m reaching out to Kevin Indig who runs the newsletter Growth Memo: https://www.growth-memo.com/

“Hey Kevin, 

First and foremost, it’s a pleasure to e-meet you. My name is Alex Horsman and like you, I’m a SEO nerd :) 

I also used to compete in powerlifting and it’s super cool to meet a fellow SEO & gym-lover! 

Saw that you competed a few years back and hit a 1,000+ total, nice! Have you competed recently?

I competed back when I was 18 but haven’t gotten back into since then. Still going to the gym, just not powerlifting.

Anywho, to be upfront and transparent…” 

– 

Alright, so why tf did I mention powerlifting?

Because this is something Kevin is personally interested in and it’s his hobby.

I guarantee that vast majority of people don’t mention this yet this is something he for sure loves and thus wants to talk about.

Videos of him lifting are all over his Instagram.

Took me 5 minutes to find this. 

Let’s do it for Nick LeRoy now. 

He owns SEO Jobs and is an SEO consultant as well. 

“Hey Nick, 

First and foremost, it’s a pleasure to e-meet you. My name is Alex Horsman and like you, I’m a SEO nerd!

Also, I’m guessing you saw the Vikings game last weekend - that was rough. Really thought they had it in the bag and can’t believe Blackmon let the Broncos score with a minute left.. 

I’m hoping the Vikings beat the Bears this Monday and get into the playoffs! At least for your sake ;) 

Anywho, to be upfront and transparent…” 

As you can guess, spending 5 minutes on Nick’s social media showed me he’s a huge Vikings fan.

So, I quickly Google’d the last Viking’s game to see the score.

Saw that they lost 21 - 20 to the Broncos. 

Then I searched for “Vikings vs. Broncos highlights” 

Found a YouTube video and watched about two minutes of it and saw that #5 on the Vikings let the Broncos score in the last minute.

Searched “Who is #5 on the Vikings”

Which led me to “Mekhi Blackmon”

And within 5 - 10 minutes, I have all the information I need for a highly personalized email that is speaking to something Nick loves, the Vikings.

If this articles does nothing else, please let it serve as a reminder that personalization is key to success in outreach.

Yes, taking action is the first step. 

But I beg you to spend time on each opportunity and spend 5-10 minutes doing basic research on them so you can craft a highly personalized email. 

No, this isn’t as scalable as blasting 10,000 “Dear Sir” outreach emails. 

But you’ll build relationships with people in your industry and not just bug the hell out of them.

Plus, this will get you links on big-boy sites (High DR) that your competitors wish they could get.

Last mini-tip is put “Sent from iPhone” at the bottom of your email.

Makes it looks like you typed the email up on your phone and that you’re not blasting this out to 100 people.

Can’t get better than that.