Recently I got yet another one of those link-begging emails. You know the ones.
“Hey [insert name] I want a link to my website because you wrote about [paste link here] k, bye”– Some stranger
The problem is, THIS spammy email was sent by someone on behalf of someone I care about. What to do?
Of course I wrote back and asked if they wanted to know why their outreach sucks, and sucks super hard. Like, incredibly bad. Up there with orange presidents bad. Tough love and all that.
I sent a crappy annotated screenshot and apparently it had no effect so I am going to share what I said here but not as a crappy screenshot to protect the offending party.
1. Personal Beats Impersonal.
If you are going to send someone a pitch at the very least know who you are sending it to. Automating or copy and paste is an insult but when you make it obvious that you copied and pasted, you are doubling down on the insult.
Show you know the person, and personalize the outreach. Preferably, show the person knows you.
2. Do the Research.
Now, yes, it is a numbers game when your pitch is so bad, so the fewer minutes spent per the better. What, though, if you made a good pitch? Then you have time to craft each email properly! WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT!
If you can do some research beforehand, dig into the person’s website and where they are going, you can tailor your message to actually be helpful. I don’t mean “hey there is a typo on this page” necessarily but that is better than a zero value pitch.
Answer what’s in it for them.
3. Tell the Truth.
Automated/copypasta flattery is bad enough, but obvious lies? It’s almost like you want to damage your brand.
This should be obvious but apparently it isn’t. Lies don’t strengthen your pitch, they damage it along with your reputation. Tell the truth.
4. A Bad Outreach Damages a Good relationship.
The worst thing about all this is the person with the relationship could have just said “Hey Chris, can you link to this please?” and I would have. Getting someone else, a complete stranger, to send a bad pitch? What’s that all about? What does that say about us as friends?
“Please tell Chris we enjoy his [insert domain] content and especially [insert a random link here]”– A friend at some point
That’s what people on sitcoms do when they are not speaking to each other.
How do friends behave? How do you make friends?
Do you walk up to strangers and ask for money? Obviously asking strangers for money works otherwise desperate people wouldn’t do it, but as a business tactic I wouldn’t place it highly as a go-to …
Remember up there where I said he could have just asked. Why could he just ask? What is the difference?
Part of it is our shared history, but a big part of it is his name is in a list in my brain labelled “awesome people”.
When you send an email to someone, what list are you placed under?
Recently I have written articles for top websites in my non-marketing niches and been invited to write a traditionally published print book. For money.
The articles even had links back to my websites. Not a crappy outreach involved either.
One of the articles came at a perfect time, I had started to be really negative and doubting my programming abilities. For them to host my article on their website was a terrific boost to my confidence.
5 More Reasons:
- Admitting your outreach sucks doesn’t endear you, or make you seem more honest, it is acknowledging that you know it is bad but you don’t care enough to do it properly.
- Saying if you create a link for me I will share your post in social media is not a fair exchange of value …
- … and in fact is admitting that you only share other people when there is a direct value to you!
- “This is my personal email” conflicts with the fact that your email is obviously boilerplate.
- Don’t call my website or articles “content”, that is not how friends talk.
The person who sparked all this is still awesome. They just need to learn how to outreach. Hopefully these tips will help you.