I got two unusual emails in the last 24 hours. Both were from other bloggers who had read one of my posts and asked me to include a link to a similar article or post an Infographic they had created on my page.
The Infographic was well done and fit perfectly with my article. The link from the other blogger was a good article that had a nice link to a Google spreadsheet that tied in perfectly with my post.
I felt that the content they provided was beneficial to my articles, so I created a link to the Google spreadsheet and posted the Infographic.
I’ve read about people who use this as a tool for creating backlinks but had always been rather hesitant to try it out.
- I didn’t want to be a nuisance or annoy other bloggers.
- I wasn’t sure I had anything to add to the discussion.
- It took too much time and effort.
I had all kinds of excuses for why I didn’t reach out.
After receiving my first realistic requests I realized that they were actually helping the quality of my post. They were providing value to what I had already created and doing it with a twist that I hadn’t considered.
I wasn’t offended. I was thankful that they liked my article enough to read it, comment and add something to the discussion.
Yes, I know they wanted a backlink, but I’m a new blogger and I doubt my little bit of link juice is going to make a significant difference in their credibility with Google.
For additional information on backlinks and why they are important I recommend, this article by Dim Apostolovski – What Are Backlinks And Why Are They Important To SEO
After reading their emails and corresponding with them I genuinely felt that they were both legitimately trying to help our shared audience.
On a side note, I’ve gotten similar requests in the past, but ignored them.
So what set these request apart and why did I choose to provide a backlink?
It all begins with the email. It is your only chance to make a first impression. Take the time to make a great first impression!
This isn’t an inclusive list but provides a guideline to utilize when emailing another blogger with a backlink request. Your email to a fellow blogger should include the following:
1. Brief introduction of who you are and how you found their article.
Your email should start with a brief introduction.
I want to know who I’m going to be working with. You don’t need to share a life history, but a quick introduction goes a long way.
I want to know if you are a regular reader or if you found me through an organic search or social media.
Is this information necessary, no but it provides valuable insight and gives me feedback on how my content is being found?
This is also a great time to explain why the article interested you. I want to know why my article drew your attention.
2. Is your content relevant? Does it provide a twist that adds to my article?
I’m not sure why people email asking for backlinks when their content doesn’t match, but it definitely happens. I’ve gotten some crazy link requests over the last couple of month.
My articles aren’t perfect, but I try and provide in-depth information that resonates with my audience. If your article repeats the same points I’m not going to provide a link.
I want to know the twist that sets your article apart from mine. I don’t want to waste my time searching for it.
I want you to explain why I should take the time to read your post and reference it in my blog post.
3. Explain how it will benefit my audience
This is directly related to the 2nd point. I want to know what additional benefit my audience will get from your article.
As I mentioned before, I’ve gotten similar requests. Without fail, they were quick emails with a link. I get hundreds of emails a day, if you don’t give me a reason for reading your article, I’m not going to waste my time.
Your email should have 2-3 points that explain how your article adds to the discussion and will benefit my audience.
4. Provide a link to your site and explain why I would want to link to your site
One of the link requests I received a few weeks ago was a horribly written article that was on a very substandard website. I did not want my name and brand to be associated with this particular site.
It is important to explain the premise behind your website and your target market. If we share a common audience it makes more sense to provide a link.
Explain what makes your site unique and what you offer to our common audience. I’ve found that most niche readers have a few go-to blogs that they visit frequently. By providing readers with additional resources you are increasing your credibility as a thought leader.
5. Reciprocity is nice, but not necessary
When I link to someone’s article, share a post or otherwise give them referral juice, I do it with absolutely no expectation. My goal as a blogger is to provide valuable content to anyone that reads my posts or follows me on social media.
When I added the extra content to my blog posts I didn’t turn around and ask them to link to my article. Would it be a nice gesture, yes, but completely unnecessary? They are increasing the value of my post by adding additional comments.
I may be giving them validation through a link, but as previously mentioned I’m a young blogger, I doubt my link is giving them any additional credibility. Both writers had an extensive social media presence and based on Alexa ratings were most likely getting more traffic.
I didn’t ask them to do anything for me in return. Ironically enough, later in the week, I got an email from one of them who had noticed a design flaw in my website. I would never have noticed this issue.
He took a screen shot and gave me detailed information about the error. I may not have gotten a return link, but he definitely helped me in other ways.
How to ask for a link
There is not set formula to asking for a backlink, but by using the guidelines above I believe you will have much better luck when reaching out to fellow bloggers.
I probably wouldn’t waste your time on the big guys in your industry, but by steadily reaching out to other small bloggers I personally believe that you will achieve results like my two bloggers did.
Below is a sample letter you can use for your back linking efforts. Good luck!
My name is (insert name). I write for (insert blog or company). We provide expertise in (list subject) and have a shared audience.
I was researching (subject) and came across your blog post (insert title). I loved your article, particularly (specify a specific point). I have written on this subject as well and recently posted an article (insert title), which covers a similar topic. I noticed that you had referenced (name 1-2 articles they linked) and was wondering if you would be willing to include my article as well.
My article covers (list the high points of the articles). My article also included (list additional resources or points that set your article apart). Because of (list resources or points), I feel that my article would be a valuable resource for your audience.
Please let me know if you have any additional questions.
Depending on your ability to provide a reciprocal link, I would incorporate the link on your website and add a paragraph to the letter stating:
I felt that your article provided valuable insight to my audience and have already incorporated it into my post. You are welcome to view it at (title of post)
Photo Credit – Tom Bech