Today I received what seemed like a fairly generic email from the website Dummies.com. I won’t republish the email (I’m not into that) but it was a fairly generic ‘could you link to our website’ type email asking for a link because they’ve redesigned their site. It even included a suggested link/code.
My reaction was not positive – in fact within a few moments I’d tweeted that I’d had the request and wasn’t overly impressed.
This post is not about Dummies.com – it’s about asking for links.
I have no beef with Dummies – they produce some great books by some amazing authors. This post isn’t about them. It’s about asking for links.
You see I get quite a few emails asking for links like the one from Dummies but they’re not always from big well known brands, they’re more often than not emails from bloggers. In 99% of cases the email ends up in my trash folder in Gmail but occasionally I not only read the emails but I link to the persons site.
Why do some emails generate links and others don’t?
Following are 11 suggestions for those wanting to email a blogger to ask for a link (whether they be big brands or bloggers):
- Write something worth linking to – this is a no brainer but so many people don’t get it. In the same way you wouldn’t successfully pitch a TV news service or newspaper a story like ‘I’ve got a newly designed website – it’s got videos’ you’re not likely to get much success with a blogger. The best way to get the attention of a blogger is to write something useful, entertaining, controversial, helpful, informative, intriguing…. etc. Check out my series on LinkBaiting for more ideas on this (particularly the post 20 Link Baiting Techniques).
- Suggest a Link to a post not your site – don’t ask for a link to your site – suggest that they check out a link to an individual page or post that you’ve written. A blogger is much more likely to run with a story linking to a post about a specific topic relevant to their topic than adding a link to your site.
- Develop a Relationship – cold calling a blogger that you’ve never interacted with before asking for a link is not the best way to start off a relationship. It’s like in real life – would you walk up to a stranger and immediately start asking them for favors? Get to know the blogger, their blog and let the ‘favors’ emerge out of that.
- Demonstrate Knowledge of the Blog and Blogger – building upon the ‘relational’ aspect – use the blogger’s name, show that you know what their blog is about. You don’t need to write an epic introduction that proves your knowledge – but a polite and not overly familiar approach can do you wonders. Also – introduce yourself to the blogger you are pitching to. You might feel like you know them but they could be in contact with many people – a quick reminder of who you are and what you do could help.
- Research – sometimes it can be worthwhile doing 5 minutes of research before you email another blogger. Look back over their last few months of blogging. What is their topic? Do they link to other blogs? What kinds of sites/posts/topics do they link to? Do they interact in other mediums (ie perhaps Twitter could be a better place to contact them)? The more information you gather the more able you are to tailor your pitch to them appropriately.
- Add Value – a blogger is unlikely to link to you unless there’s something in it for them or their blog. I’m not talking exchanging of money or even reciprocal links when I talk about value (although for some bloggers those will be motivating factors) – I mean the page you’re asking for a link for should be something of value that will actually enhance their blog. I can only speak for myself but I know that if someone pitches me a link that I’ll link to it or at least tweet the link in a heart beat if I think it adds value to the lives of my readers or followers.
- Stay on topic – this really is an extension of a couple of the points above but it always amazes me how many emails I get for people asking me to link to their ‘golf’, ‘stock market’, ‘book review’ and ‘kids fashion’ sites (they were just 4 requests that I got today alone). If you’re pitching a blogger to link to something you wrote make sure that the blog you want to appear on has relevancy to your topic. For starters it increases the chances of a link, it increases the chances of a reader clicking the link and it increases the power of the search engine juice that you’ll get from the link.
- Be selective in what you promote – we all like to think that every post we write is worthy of links from thousands of other blogs but the reality is that some are more likely to be linked to than others. Pick your very best posts to promote in this way and keep your requests to a minimum.
- Reciprocate – I want to be clear here that I’m not talking about reciprocal links. ‘Link to me and I’ll link to you’ doesn’t really hold a lot of value in SEO any more from what I can see. What I am talking about here is being willing to be generous TO the blogger and not just expecting them to be generous to you. Shane Gibson described these emails on Twitter yesterday as “we Win you Lose invitations” – I think that sums it up nicely. See the relationship as being like a bank. You’ve got to put in to get something out. If you take too much out the relationship will be bankrupt. I’m not just talking about giving the blogger links – you can reciprocate in many ways including by writing them guest posts, sending them small gifts, sponsoring a project that they’re running, promoting them to your own network…. etc
- Build on the Experience – no matter what the bloggers response is – you can learn from and build upon the experience. If they do link then there may be opportunity to deepen the relationship in some way. If they respond angrily, you probably don’t want to send them links again. If you get silence, don’t take it personally and continue to find ways to build relationships with the blogger.
- Be Link Worthy – let me emphasize this again. The best way to get linked to by a blogger is to produce a page or post that is link worthy of the link.
I think exposure matters the most. Quality content followed up with exposure helps me get links. And I get the most exposure through social networking.
Geoserv – sorry you feel that way. Happy to take the critique on board. As I DM’d you on Twitter, I do respond to quite a few of the direct questions I get here in comments but do a lot of them via email (it’s just part of the workflow that I have to help me manage the 200-300 comments a day I get on my blogs). Many do slip through though as it’s hard to keep up some weeks (for example this last week I was traveling half the week, had sick kids the other half and had a hard drive crash in the middle of it all). In the end though – I try to respond to direct questions where I can, particularly via email.
In the end though – I’m far from perfect and would love to have the ability to respond to every comment but there’s only so many hours in the day for this blogger, father and business owner.
Yeah this is true.Why people link back? If there is nothing for them?
Every person want back links.
Tit for Tat.
Just like a Boy friend and Girl Friend.
I will for you.But I hope you will be for me.
Yes, the theme looks to be very polite and will surely fetch some links from the blogger. But do you think this trading of links would be efficacious in the longer run?
I too am a father of 2 and a blogger plus I run a couple of other sites as well, so I know what it’s like to be busy. Definitely not as busy as you though.
My point was that so many bloggers big and small give advice, and one of the biggest tips from them is that you need to interact with your users via comments.
There is nothing more frustrating than hearing that advice and then looking at blogs like this one, which is definitely one of the better ones, and seeing no interaction publicly. One than starts to wonder how does a blog that doesn’t show public interaction grow to be so big.
While quality content is a must, it is not the only factor in attracting and keeping users coming back.
While I understand your position and perhaps my original comment here and on Twitter was a bit harsh in retrospect, the frustration is still there.
Anyways, thanks for the response and I apologize for my original comment and Tweets and will make a statement on Twitter about it.
BTW…I will still be a loyal reader.
Great Ideas. Thank you very much. Will consider everything you pointed out here in all my blogs. And will keep a checklist of all your points so I can use it right away.
It is important that a newbie blogger should understand all these to be able to draw a following.
Wow. This is my first day reading your blog and I am already learning so much. I had no idea that people asked other people to link to their blogs. I guess it’s because a link from me really wouldn’t benefit anybody, lol!
On my blog, I link to video from YouTube, Metacafe and LiveLeak.
I always link to the person or organization who originally posted the video.
I think this is the best way to start a two-way relationship.
@Geoserv – thanks for the followup comment. I do appreciate it. No stress, I know that frustration and while perhaps your comments were a little ‘rantish’ on Twitter I think there’s some valid critique there that I do need to hear and continue to grapple with. thanks for your readership.
As someone who runs different ecommerce sites, this is some good info! Of course, this is a little different strategy than asking to get a blog linked too, but it’s nice to know your thoughts.
Done the elevator pitch, done the list post but this one had me thinking more in-depth. My blog is a niche about a massive mountain bike ride I am about to undertake so seems only relevant to a small group of people but there may be a wider audience that might be interested. So linking to others is something to consider more seriously.
Enjoying the hints and tips so far.
Came to this from the 31DBBB “promote a post” page and enjoyed these tips. I’m so over timidity. Who cares? I emailed my favorite blogger in my niche and intro’ed myself. Go me. :)
I agreed these tips! In my opinion, peoples are more likely to link a “list post” instead of normal post, as long as it’s useful, then people will link it. I’m still in the learning process in this section. :)
Developing a relationship and adding something of value to the conversation should be top points! If you’re willing to put in the time and slowly develop a digital friendship with a blogger, they are much more likely to respond and link to your content. Don’t just be another spammer filling up their inbox or tweet stream. Relevant and valuable posts are almost as important. If you have a tight connection with another blogger they might be willing to link to weaker content.
Thanks for the info. Always a challenge to get someone to link in to a post. But I think I shall offer to add others links to my blog… give before get… let’s see if it works.
Thanks for sharing.. Another good piece to remember!
I think networking with other bloggers is a cool thing. Your blog should be worthwhile & not just a junk blog. Why wouldn’t someone want to link to someone’s blog if it has some great info or even unusual wit!
That’s what makes Twitter so interesting. You get to meet & connect with some of the most interesting people on the planet.
Of course one wouldn’t want to link to a boring stupid blog. But I read many extraordinary & beautifully designed blogs it makes me excited!
I would add a link on my blogs to other savvy blogs I admire.
I find your tips very useful. However, as I am targeting a Spanish-speaking audience and focusing on literature at that, I fear that most of my readership will need to be built around a different range of social network sites. What do you all think?
Of course facebook, twitter and delicious are also big in Spanish, but for instance there are a number of very influential, Spanish-language only, sites like tuenti (www.tuenti.com), for teenagers under twenty years old and by strict invitation only, that I feel I am missing out – and perhaps their niche is easier to reach than the Big Ones.
Thanks for the Blog Challenge, I am enjoying and following it as best as I can (being quite the blog newbie!).
Really a nice post darren.It showed me different ways which i never thought of.Keep going
Thanks for the great post. I have only linked to others occasionally in the past; albeit, that will be an additional consideration in future.
Thank you for sharing your great tips. Linking to others is easy but getting backlinks is quite hard. I am putting your tips to good use. Thanks to you! looking forward for more internet marketing tips!
Thank you for your information and knowledge! I am new to blogging and to get good information is very helpful. Plus I just started reading your book “Secret to blogging your way to a six figure income”.
This is good and helpful advice. I would never even think of asking for someone a link without a relationship. That is pretty bold! Networking takes common sense just as in the real world, you wouldn’t walk up a stranger at a party and just hand him your card. Maybe I just have common social sense. :)
I will keep this in mind if I ever am looking to ask someone for a link…
Link juice can be as complicated or simple as you make it. Lots of new blogs start off hot, but it’s sustaining that level of interest that’s hard.
I just wrote a comment on a blog that I’d really like a link to, but at the last minute, couldn’t do the ‘ask’. I felt it was too forward, even though my post is strongly relevant to her blog.
Is it better to email? (Except no contact details are given in this case).
I didn’t realise until I read your Day 3 post that it isn’t done to send your url in a comment!
I don’t ask for links in posts because there are sometimes large gaps between my posts and those gaps tend to cause me to lose readers. (so it wouldn’t be fair for me to ask for a link when I might not be available to follow it myself)
I have asked if I can post a link in the comments section of various friend’s blogs. If they say yes, I do it sparingly and thank them in the comment that has the link.
I did post 2 bulletins, a twitter tweet and a link in your forum for my list blog… so I do feel like I’ve made good progress.
I’ve promoted my post on Twitter, Facebook, my blog and through my Yahoo Group. We’ll see soon how much traffic it generates.
I am trying to catch up with the 31 days. I am stumped though. I need help in learning how to link. I am not sure how to do this. If someone can help with simple step by step instructions I would love it. Thanks
This goes great with what we’re learning in my Message Development class. Relationships are built on trust, and to be trustworthy, you have to be credible, and to be credible, you have to research. I’m sure that sending out a batch of generic blog requests or news releases is a sure way to frustrate the recipient.
this post is very useful for me. I always link to somebody blog, not their post. Thx darren!
I am guilty of this. a lot of times i tried or attempted to ask for links and to linkback to them. thanks for the correction. I’ll focus on making each post link worthy moving forward.