7 Link Building Campaign Ideas for 2022

7 Link Building Campaign Ideas for 2022

Ivan Escott
Ivan Escott

Partnerships Manager at Respona

Link building is almost as old as SEO itself. However, many SEOs and webmasters that are just dipping their toes into link building, are struggling to come up with ideas for where to get backlinks from.

There are many ways to generate links online. However, we managed to pick out 7 of the best ways to run link building campaigns in 2022.

In this article, we will be discussing:

  • What is link building and why backlinks are important
  • What’s the difference between a good backlink and a bad backlink
  • 7 of the best ways to secure link building opportunities
  • The exact step-by-step process for running a link building campaign
  • How Respona can speed up your link building campaigns

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of it, we need to answer a set of seemingly simple, yet important questions.

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Link building is the process of acquiring backlinks to your website, from other websites.

There are white-hat and black-hat link building techniques.

Most white-hat techniques involve creating high-quality, link-worthy content, and reaching out to your link building prospects through email, letting them know about it.

Black-hat techniques include PBNs (Private Blog Networks), paid links, and link schemes.

Note: Paying a link building agency on a link-by-link basis is not considered a black-hat technique. “Paid links” is referring to situations where you reach out to a website for a backlink, pay them for it, and they put it up on their site without a “sponsored” tag.

Previously, if Google caught on to you using black-hat link building techniques, your website could be penalized, preventing it from showing up in search results.

Recovering from a Google penalty is possible, but far from easy.

This has led certain marketers to perform “link attacks” on their competitors, spamming them with thousands of spammy links within a very short time period, causing them to receive a Google penalty.

Because of that, Google has stopped issuing penalties for shady link building practices since they have no way of knowing whether it was done as an effort to increase your own rankings, or as an attempt to get you penalized.

And while you can no longer get a penalty, it doesn’t mean that black-hat links can help you either.

Over the years, Google’s algorithm has become exceptionally intelligent, so it’s really good at spotting shady or spammy links.

These get completely de-valued by the algorithm and so do not actually contribute to your website’s rankings in any way.

So, you should always strive for acquiring white-hat backlinks.

Link building can be an extremely time-consuming process, but taking shortcuts is not recommended.

Running a link building campaign typically includes 4 steps (all of which we will discuss in-depth):

  • Prospecting (finding websites that make for good link building opportunities)
  • Preparing your email sequence (both the initial email and the follow-ups)
  • Finding contact information
  • Personalizing your link building pitches for each prospect in the campaign

Doing all of this at scale is just not feasible manually.

This is why we have created Respona, which considerably speeds up every step of the link building outreach process.

You can send hundreds of link building emails before you start to see any results from your outreach.

And to start seeing any SEO results from your link building, you need to consistently secure a number of high-quality backlinks every single week, sometimes for months at a time.

If you run your website on your own, this can take up a huge chunk of your time. And most companies that can afford to hire a link builder, hire a person to manage it full-time.

If people are willing to spend so much money and resources just on link building alone, there must be a really good reason for it.

And there is.

Backlinks remain one of the strongest ranking factors to this day. But if you read any other content about SEO, you have probably heard this one a thousand times before.

To really understand the power that backlinks hold, let’s dive deep into what is known as “PageRank”, also commonly referred to as “link juice”.

What is PageRank?

PageRank was developed by Larry Page and Sergey Brin in 1996 as part of their research.

Sergey’s idea was that the content on the Internet can be organized by “link popularity”.

The more backlinks a website would have, the higher would it show up in search results pages.

Two years later, in 1998, Google first officially launched. The first iteration fo the search engine utilized a very basic version of the PageRank algorithm.

The formula for PageRank of any page can be displayed as follows:

PR (A) = (1 – d) / N + d * (PR(B) / L(B) + PR(C) / L(C) + …)

PR, of course, stands for PageRank.

N is the total number of pages on the web in that moment.

d is the damping factor, usually set to 0.85.

L is the number of outgoing links from that page.

PageRank is passed on from one page to another.

A link from a page with a higher PageRank passes on more value than a link from a page with a lower score.

In its earliest versions, PageRank was easy to abuse, and marketers caught on to that, building as many links from as many pages as humanly possible.

This has resulted in pages that don’t necessarily deserve the top spots in search results ranking much higher than they should be.

PageRank also used to be publicly visible through Google’s PageRank toolbar, making it even easier to manipulate.

PageRank toolbar
Image source: SEMRush

Because of that, Google have taken down their PageRank toolbar and heavily modified the PageRank algorithm over the years.

It no longer exists in its original form, however, it is still being used all these years after its invention, as confirmed by Google’s Gary Illyes:

Gary Illyes tweet about pagerank
Image source: Twitter

The exact formula is not publicly known, but what is known is that links from relevant, highly authoritative websites have a profound effect on a website’s rankings.

Google has also released numerous algorithm updates (we’re looking at you, Penguin) that were aimed at further reducing the impact of spammy and low-quality backlinks on websites’ rankings.

However, these updates have only served to reinforce the importance of relevant backlinks from highly-authoritative resources.

There exist other, third-party metrics that function similarly (but not exactly) to PageRank.

Namely, Moz’s Domain Authority (and Page Authority), and Ahrefs’ Domain Rating.

The main factor that affects both of these is the number of high-quality backlinks from other authoritative resources.

So, to get more out of your link building campaigns, you should aim for websites with a higher Domain Authority/Domain Rating.

This leads us to the next section.

To get the most out of your link building campaigns, you need to first understand what makes a backlink “good”.

There are several factors, namely:

  • Relevance
  • Anchor text
  • Linking domain’s authority
  • The number of other backlinks leading from that page
  • “rel=” attributes

Let’s break them all down, one by one.

Relevance

First things first, the link needs to make sense.

For example, it would make sense for us to link from this article to another article that covers a single link building strategy in more depth, for example, guest posting.

It would not make sense for us to link from the same piece of content, for example, to a blog post on how to balance your tires.

A person that came to the page with the intention to learn more about link building is likely not interested in changing tires.

Google works in a similar way: the algorithm knows which topics are related to each other, making links in between them relevant, and which ones are not.

If it indexes a backlink and deems it irrelevant or spammy, there is a good chance that it will not actually pass on any ranking signals, therefore not contributing to your SEO in the slightest.

When preparing your link building campaigns, you should always aim for backlinks within your niche – or, at the very least, from content that is on a relevant topic, even if the website as a whole operates within another niche.

The context in which a link is used is also extremely important. In addition to coming from a relevant article, the placement also needs to make sense in the individual paragraph/sentence and not look obviously crammed in for the sake of building a backlink.

Anchor Text

Your links’ anchor texts can be a ranking factor in and of themselves.

Search engines treat your links anchor texts as an indication of how other websites are referring to yours.

So, if you have a lot of links that contain a certain keyword in their anchor texts (even if that keyword isn’t mentioned on your page), you might actually start ranking for that keyword.

There are many different types of anchor texts:

  • Exact match – has your focus keywords in the anchor
  • Partial match – has a variation of your focus keyword in the anchor
  • Related keywords – includes a keyword that is related to your focus keyword but doesn’t match it
  • Branded anchor text – includes your brand name
  • Page title anchor text – includes the whole page title as the anchor text
  • Site name – includes your website name
  • Generic link – terms like “click here”, or “learn more”

A healthy anchor text profile includes a mix of all types of anchor texts.

However, when it comes to link building campaigns, you should strive for exact and partial match anchor texts, as these are the ones that help you rank for your focus keywords.

You should avoid generic anchor texts like “click here” since they do not provide any context for either the reader or the search engine as to the type of page they can expect after following that link.

So, they do not contribute to your rankings for any keyword.

It goes without saying that an anchor text should be relevant to the content it’s in, and make sense for the reader.

Linking Domain’s Authority

We have already mentioned that links from websites with a higher authority are more valuable than lower-quality ones.

For example, a link from Search Engine Journal to this very guide would be tremendously helpful to us in comparison to a link from a smaller blog that has only recently started out online.

The more outgoing links a page has, the less PageRank each individual link is able to pass on.

example of a page with too many links

As you can see just from the sheer amount of blue on the screenshot, the depicted page is way too saturated with links.

To get more “link juice” from your link building campaigns, you should skip pages like this and aim for ones that only have a couple of outgoing links instead.

A “rel=” attribute is a tiny snippet of HTML code that gives a link a certain attribute.

There are dozens of different link attributes, but for link building purposes, you only need to know about four:

  • rel=dofollow (or rel=follow)
  • rel=nofollow
  • rel=ugc
  • rel=sponsored

You can check the attributes a link has by clicking the right mouse button > Inspect, and then typing the URL of the link or its anchor text in the search bar.

link with follow tag example

The difference between these link attributes is very simple.

Dofollow links are followed by search engines, and so pass on ranking signals. Nofollow links are not followed by search engines, and do not pass on ranking signals.

According to Google’s guidelines, any user-generated links (such as links in your comment section), and paid links need to be marked with the UGC and sponsored link tags accordingly.

UGC and sponsored links typically do not pass on ranking signals, however this may vary on a link-by-link basis.

If a link does not have either the dofollow or nofollow attribute, it is set to dofollow by default.

Since dofollow links are the ones that pass on ranking signals, they should be your priority when running link building campaigns.

However, a healthy backlink profile consists of a mix of all different types of links.

So, to sum it up, a good link is relevant to your (and the linking page’s content), has a descriptive and keyword anchor text, comes from an authoritative website that doesn’t have a dozen of other links on the page, and has the dofollow attribute.

Now, let’s move on and learn more about how you can secure these link building opportunities.

Step 1 – Discovery

The discovery, or the prospecting phase of a link building campaign is the one that typically takes up the most time during the whole process.

In this section, we will discuss 7 ideas for finding high-quality link building prospects, most of which can be automated with Respona.

Anchor Text Strategy

The first link building campaign idea on our list is the anchor text strategy.

We put it on the first spot because it’s one of the most effective link building strategies out there, and is a great way to start building backlinks, even if you have zero previous experience with it.

As the name suggests, the premise of this strategy is to find articles that mention your target anchor text somewhere in the content.

The trick is to find articles that are on similar topics, but not competing with your content.

They have to only mention your focus keyword briefly, but not have the whole blog post about it.

This way, you will be helping people expand their own content with yours, and securing valuable backlinks along the way.

The advantage of the broken links strategy is that, provided you have a good pitch, it has a higher conversion rate than some other strategies.

The downside of the anchor text strategy is that the prospecting phase can be very time-consuming.

This is precisely why we have developed the keyword search automation at Respona.

It works much like a regular search engine – but it saves you from the trouble of manually checking every opportunity and adding them into a campaign.

All you have to do is feed it your search query (or multiple queries at the same time), set the filters to whichever DR and traffic values you’re looking for, and wait.

Let us show you exactly how it works.

respona keyword search

As you can see, Respona can run several queries at the same time, making your link building campaigns even more time-efficient.

The anchor text strategy requires you to find very specific pieces of content, so we’ll turn to the help of advanced search operators.

Note: depending on the search source you’ll choose, the advanced search operators you can use will be different. We’ll use Google search operators since our preferred search source is Google.

The three most useful advanced search operators for the anchor text strategy are:

  • “Intitle:” – only returns results that mention a specific keyword/phrase in the title
  • “Intext:” – only returns results that mention a specific keyword/phrase in the body of the content
  • “-” – can be placed in front of another search operator to reverse its function. For example, “-intitle:” only returns results that DON’T include a specific keyword/prase in the title

On the screenshot, we have used the following queries:

intitle:”seo” -intitle:”link building” intext:”link building”

intitle:”outreach” intext:”link building” -intitle:”link building”

This tells Respona to only pull articles that mention SEO and outreach in the titles, DON’T mention link building in the titles (and therefore wouldn’t be competing) but do mention it somewhere in the content.

This hypothetical search would work perfectly for a link building campaign for this article.

There are also several additional settings you can use:

respona advanced settings

You may choose how many search results to analyze per query (Google provides 100 by default), or change the search location and language.

The settings on the right are meant to be safety filters that prevent you from reaching out to the same people over and over again.

After clicking “Continue”, you will also be able to set additional Ahrefs filters to narrow down your search results even further.

setting additional ahrefs filters in respona

Note: The Domain Rating filter is available for all Respona users. However, in order to use the other Ahrefs filters, you will need to connect your Ahrefs account to Respona.

When you click “Run Automation”, Respona will run all of your queries and automatically add all opportunities that match your criteria into your link building campaign.

respona keyword search in progress

The next link building campaign idea on our list is the competitor backlinks strategy.

As you may have guessed, it involves finding websites that link to your competitor’s content and reaching out to them with a link building pitch.

Internally, this is our favorite link building strategy because it only takes a few minutes to find hundreds of high-quality prospects.

Our niche is highly saturated and we even compete with SEO giants like Moz and Ahrefs for some keywords, so there is usually no shortage of link building prospects.

Depending on how competitive your niche is, you may or may not see the same level of success with the competitor backlinks strategy.

If you were to run a competitor link building campaign manually, you would require access to backlink monitoring software, such as SEMRush or Ahrefs.

However, if you choose Respona to speed up your link building campaigns, you don’t even need those tools – Respona is integrated with Ahrefs and lets you extract competitors’ backlinks even if you do not have an Ahrefs account.

respona backlink search

All you have to do is click over to Backlink search at Step 1 – Find Content and paste your competitor’s URL (or URLs) in the search bar.

Just like with the keyword search automation, you can also set additional settings as well as Ahrefs filters so that Respona only pulls relevant opportunities that fit your SEO criteria.

If you choose Respona as the search source, it will pull the data from Ahrefs even if you do not have an Ahrefs account – you will be charged Respona credits instead.

However, if you do already have an Ahrefs account, you can also connect it to Respona and use your Ahrefs searches instead of credits.

Guest Posting

Guest posting is one of the oldest tricks in the link building book. However, it is still one of the most widely-used link building tactics, and for a good reason.

After all these years, it still works like a charm. Writing a guest post for a highly-authoritative website isn’t just a reliable way to source quality backlinks, but also an amazing way to start building a name for yourself, and establishing yourself as an authority within your field.

Finding websites to write for usually isn’t a challenge either. All of these factors contribute to the reason why guest posting is still going strong in 2022.

There are three main ways to secure guest posting opportunities for your link building campaigns.

The first one is to look for websites that have a “Write for Us” page.

You can automate the search with Respona. A good query to look for these pages has the following structure:

[your niche] + “write for us”

searching for guest post opportunities in respona

These sites are practically asking you to submit your content to them, so they may be a worthwhile place to start prospecting.

However, there are several downsides to pitching your guest posts to “Write for Us” sites.

  • Such websites receive a large amount of submissions, so it may take them a long time to get your guest post published
  • Often, these sites only accept submissions through their contact form, which may cause your submission to never even be considered
  • These sites might ask you for an “editorial fee” to get your post published or skip to the front of the queue

The good news is that most websites actually accept guest submissions, even if they don’t have an explicit “Write for Us” page.

So, simply picking a list of websites that you like and reaching out to them with a guest post pitch is a perfectly viable strategy.

However, you need to make your pitch stand out from the rest – remember, webmasters and content managers receive dozens, if not hundreds of similar pitches on a daily basis, especially if the website has a high authority.

How can you do that?

By providing value in your pitch.

But how can you provide value with a guest post?

For example, you could find keywords that your prospect is not ranking for, but their competitors are, and offer to write a post that helps close that keyword gap for them.

For this, you will need to open Ahrefs in two tabs and paste your prospects’ URL in both.

In the first tab, navigate to Overview > Organic Search and scroll down to the part with the Top 10 Competitors.

ahrefs organic search

Select two competitors.

In the second tab, navigate to Content Gap.

ahrefs content gap

Paste the two competitors that you’ve chosen into the content gap.

pasting competitors into ahrefs content gap

Click “Show keywords”.

ahrefs content gap keywords

In the “All intersections” filter, select “2 targets” and hit Apply.

You will be left only with keywords that the two competitors you’ve chosen are ranking for but your prospects isn’t.

Select a couple of keywords and come up with guest post topics that you’ll pitch.

In your pitch, also be sure to mention how you found these keywords through research – this will show the person you’re pitching that you’ve actually spent the time to learn about their site, increasing the likelihood of them accepting your offer.

You can also include the screenshot of the keywords from Ahrefs.

The last way to secure guest posting opportunities is to utilize your existing link building connections.

For example, if there is already someone who you’ve built links with, you can just reach out to them with a Keyword Gap pitch and ask if they accept guest posts.

Since you have already collaborated, they will be much more likely to accept your offer.

The same logic also applies to any fresh collaborations – if you’re already doing link building outreach for some other strategy, say, competitor backlinks, you can simply send a Keyword Gap pitch after your other collaboration.

This will both save you time on actual guest posting outreach, and increase your chances of landing guest posts.

We actually don’t run any separate outreach campaigns for guest posts – and if you’re already practicing some other form of link building outreach, you don’t really need to either.

Listicle Posts

Listicle posts, also known as “top 10” articles, also make for lucrative link building opportunities – especially if you have a product or service that fits right into those posts.

Provided that you have a decent value proposition, the owners of such content are usually pretty open to featuring new things in their articles – after all, that’s what the purpose of a listicle is.

In addition, “Top 11” always sounds better than “Top 10”, doesn’t it?

A good value proposition in your link building pitch can be a few things:

  • An indirect link back (for example, from one of your upcoming guest posts)
  • A free trial of your tool if you have one
  • Social shares
  • A review of your prospect’s company on a listing site like G2
  • Sharing your prospect’s content in your newsletter
  • Cash

Paying money for listicle mentions can be a little controversial. However, there is nothing wrong with it if your mention is labeled as “sponsored” – just be prepared that your link will not pass any PageRank.

If the article in question is getting a considerable amount of traffic and is hosted on a reputable website within your niche, paying for getting listed there might be worth the money.

However, it is generally advised to stay away from any kind of monetary transactions for backlinks or listicle mentions.

Finding listicle posts is very simple. For example, this is how we search for listicles to get Respona mentioned:

finding listicle posts with respona

Experiment with your query and explore the different keywords that may be relevant to your keyword/service.

Unlinked Mentions

Unlinked mentions are arguably some of the lowest-hanging fruit when it comes to link building.

As the name suggests, an unnamed mention happens when somebody mentions your brand or website, but does not actually link to you.

Turning unlinked mentions into links is very simple – if the person has already mentioned you, there are practically zero reasons for them to turn down your link building pitch, especially if they’re getting something in return as well.

Finding unlinked mentions is easy, but you will need a tool like Ahrefs to do it quickly/

First, type into Ahrefs’ Content Explorer:

ahrefs content explorer

Then, Scroll down, find the “Highlight Unlinked” filter, and paste your domain name into it.

highlighting unlinked mentions in ahrefs

You will then be left with pages that mention your brand, but don’t link to it.

unlinked mentions results

You can export these pages into a .CSV and import them into Respona for outreach.

importing a .CSV into respona

Images get stolen all the time online.

Even if somebody quotes you on an image they have taken from your site, they don’t always do so with an actual link back to your original page attached.

So, every once in a while it may be worth running a reverse image search to check if anybody has “borrowed” your images.

Especially if you publish a lot of infographics.

Running a reverse image search is very simple.

In fact, all you need is your image (or its URL), and Google Images.

Let’s take Backlinko’s graph about the relationship between the total number of backlinks a site has and its rankings as an example.

backlinko graph about number of backlinks and rankings
Image source: Backlinko

Right click on it and select “Copy image address”.

Paste its URL into Google Image Search and run the search.

running a reverse image search with google

You will see websites that have used this exact image in the search results:

google reverse image search results

If you find the actual image in the page, you will notice that a lot of the time it doesn’t have the link:

image with no credit found

You can then collect all of the URLs  into a .CSV, import it into Respona and run the campaign following the process described below – it is the same for all types of link building campaigns.

The downside to this link building strategy is that if your website isn’t quite up there yet, or you don’t have many “stealable” images, you might not find a lot of results.

Moving on to the next link building campaign idea – broken link building.

Broken links are terrible for your SEO.

They can prevent pages from being crawled and indexed properly, and generally make for a terrible user experience.

But that only applies to broken links on your own website.

Broken links on other websites, on the other hand, can make for great link building opportunities.

Nobody wants a broken link on their site, so if you find one, reach out to the owner, let them know about it, and offer to switch out the link to yours, it’s very likely that they will actually do it.

The broken link building process consists of 4 steps:

  1. Finding broken pages that still have backlinks
  2. Exporting and cleaning up the link list
  3. Creating content that can replace the broken page
  4. Reaching out to your prospects

The obvious downside to this process is that producing content just to run broken link building campaigns can be overly time-consuming.

Still, you may be able to start ranking for some new keywords and generate a little extra traffic along the way, which never hurts.

You can start looking for broken link building opportunities by finding your competitors’ dead pages.

To do that, first, paste their domain into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer.

ahrefs site explorer

Then, navigate to Best By Links, and in the HTTP Code filter, select “404 not found”.

404 pages in ahrefs

On this page, you can see the URL slugs of any 404 pages your competitors have as well as their number of referring domains/backlinks.

There is no way to know exactly what the contents of these pages used to be, but you can at least know the pages’ focus keywords as they are commonly included in the URL slugs.

When you find a page with a relevant URL slug and a decent number of backlinks, click on the number in the backlinks column.

From this page, you can export the links into a .CSV file.

exporting a .CSV from ahrefs

Before importing the .CSV into Respona, we recommend opening it with Google Sheets or Excel and removing any low-quality backlinks, for example, with a Domain Rating less than 30.

Running an email outreach campaign for link building is a lot of work.

Even with Respona to help speed up the process, you’re still looking at at least a couple of hours of work for finding prospects, waiting for the tool to find their contact information, and personalizing the pitches.

If you’re short on time and are just looking for quick ways to build links, you can try your luck in the various link building groups and communities that have formed over the years.

A good example of such a community is the Link Building HQ by uSERP

link building HQ web page
Image source: uSERP

You can join most of these communities free of charge, and instantly connect with hundreds of like-minded people.

Collaborating within a community isn’t going to replace full-blown link building campaigns for you, but can be a great way to quickly get a few links and start up long-term collaborations with other members.

The biggest downside to these communities is that, in comparison to your total pool of prospects within your niche, there are very few members: only a few hundred at a time.

Step 2 – Preparing Your Sequence

Once you have collected your list of link building prospects, the next step in your link building campaign is to prepare your email sequence.

The most important part of any link building pitch is its value proposition.

How will the other person benefit from linking to you?

Will they also get an indirect link to their website (from one of your upcoming guest posts, for example)?

Will you share their content on your social media or newsletter, or will you provide them with a free trial of your tool?

In this section, we will take a look at link building email templates for each link building strategy we have described above.

Note: these templates are meant to serve as an inspiration for you to come up with your own templates, not be used word-for-word.

This is a common template used for the anchor text strategy.

A big portion of why it works is its subject line: it’s all about your prospect.

It also has to personalized sections, which will give your recipients a solid impression that you actually spent the time to go through their article.

Some love for {organization}’s blog

Hi, {first_name}!

I’m {your name and position}. How is your {day_of_week} going?

Just read your {url_title}, really liked how you said that [personalization]!

I have an idea of how we can make the article even better.

You mentioned {your keyword} in the section about {personalization 2} but didn’t really elaborate too much on it.

We actually have our own article [explain in a couple sentences what the article is about and why it would be useful for them to link to you].

We can return the favor in a few ways {your value proposition}.

Looking forward to hearing from you,

{signature}

Again, the subject line of this template is all about the prospect.

In fact, the whole value proposition is immediately visible to your recipient – both in the subject line and the beginning of the template.

We have found this template to work quite well because it offers first, asks second.

Can I include {organization} in my post?

How is your {day_of_week} going?

I’m currently writing a couple of guest posts (for sites like {example website}) and am looking for valuable links to include in them.

May I share the drafts with you so you can see if there’s a good spot for your site in there?

I also wanted to ask you about your post. {link to post}

We have recently released a super-extensive blog on {topic}. It covers everything – from {x} to {y} and {z}.

You’re currently linking to {competitor} from the section about [personalization], so I was wondering if you’d be open to mentioning {your site} as well.

What do you think?

We have already gone in-depth on why this approach works so well – here is the exact template you can use to secure your own guest posting opportunities.

Re: (Initial pitch subject line)

Thank you, {first_name}!

Would love to collaborate more in the future!

By the way, I was playing around in Ahrefs and noticed that your competitors {list 2 competitors are ranking for {keyword} but you aren’t.

{screenshot of the keyword gap in Ahrefs}

I actually happen to have a writer in house who is a {keyword} nerd and would love to write a high-quality piece of content covering that topic for you.

Let me know if you’re interested?

{sign-off}

This template is short and straight to the point.

With the listicle strategy, you don’t really need much more besides “hey, we would fit right in your listicle, we can give you {x} if you include us.”

Your {General Topic} listicle post

Hello {first_name},

I wanted to quickly show my appreciation for your {url_title} listicle post: {url}

Thought you’d be interested in including {Your Post/ Company/ Product}?

{One Sentence or Two About the Differentiating Factors of Your Pitch}.

I’d be happy to share your post with our # of followers} followers on social to drive traffic to the article.

Looking forward to your reply!

Signature}

Unlinked Mention Template

This template works because it implies that you have already sent the prospects’ article to your social team, and they are going to share it on your socials.

So, since once again, you’re providing value before actually asking them for anything, your prospects are going to be much more receptive to your pitch.

{Your Company} mention in your post

Hi {first_name},

{Your Name} here with {Your Company Name}.

I wanted to quickly send over a huge thank you for mentioning us in your post “{url_title}”.

Sent the article over to our social team to share with our # of Followers} following but they’re wondering if you can make the text where you mention us clickable to {Your Company Website}?

Hopefully this would help your readers find {Your Company Name} much easier if they’d like to go more in-depth with the reference.

Thank you.

{Signature}

Reverse Image Search Template

Even if someone straight-up steals an infographic that you were working so hard on creating, you shouldn’t be rude or pushy to them.

Simply asking to link back to your original source is usually enough.

Crediting {Your Company Name} in your post

Hi {first_name},

{Your Name} here with {Your Company Name}.

I came across your post today on “{topic}”

I’ve noticed you’ve used our {Custom Variable: Title of Image} image without crediting {Your Company Name}. I was wondering whether you can link back to the original source?

Here’s the source: {URL to Original Source}

Thank you!

{Signature}

Nobody wants a broken link on their page, so simply pointing out the fact (and offering a solution, i.e. replacing the link with your own) is a good way of at least capturing the attention of your recipient.

{first name}, you’ve got a broken link

Hey {first name},

Happy {day of week}!

Just finished reading through your post, {url title}.

It was such a good read, I had to share some thoughts.

It really stuck with me when you pointed out that {article summary snippet}.

I noticed, however, that {broken link URL} doesn’t seem to work anymore (the link goes to a 404 page).

In case you’re still updating the content, we recently released a guide that, honestly, I think will be a good replacement.

Want to take a look? I got you: {article url}.

Keep it up with the stellar content :)

Thanks,

{Name}

Follow-Up Template

If your value proposition is an indirect backlink from one of your upcoming guest posts, than a great strategy would be to create a sense of urgency by mentioning that you’re going to be submitting the guest post soon, and if they would like to get a link from there, they should get back to you.

Even if you’re not really submitting that guest post tomorrow – but we didn’t tell you that.

Re: (initial pitch subject)

Hey there,

I’m going to submit the guest post for {website} tomorrow. If you’d like to get a link from there, please let me know today.

Cheers,

Step 3 – Confirm Contacts

Finding the contact information of your link building prospects might seem like a daunting task at first, but it really doesn’t have to be.

In fact, Respona completely automates this process – all you really have to do is tell the tool the exact team members to look for, and it will do the rest.

setting up the contact search automation in respona

Respona consolidates data from over 24 different providers and validates the emails it finds in real-time to ensure a 98% average deliverability rate.

However, if you already have a account with a tool like Hunter, Snovio, or RocketReach, you may choose to connect it to Respona and use it as the search source.

Respona’s email finder has three algorithm modes specifically designed for three different purposes: link building, PR, and journalist outreach.

The first mode is best suited for link building:

  • Find the writer of the article only if they work for the company, otherwise, find X person(s) at the company

We recommend setting it to two people – this way, if one contact within a company doesn’t reply to your pitch, Respona will move on to the next one.

contact search automation advanced settings

Next, you need to fill in the Position and Seniority fields with the titles of the desired employees within your target companies.

For link building, some relevant positions are:

  • SEO
  • Content
  • Marketing
  • Partnerships
  • Writer
  • Creative

There are also two advanced settings: one enabling Respona to assign catch-all emails, and one allowing generic emails like “[email protected]” to be assigned to your opportunities.

We recommend turning the first one off as catch-all emails are not fully verified, so reaching out to them may negatively impact your deliverability.

However, the second one can stay on – acting as a failsafe of sorts, assigning generic emails to opportunities in case the tool isn’t able to find a real person’s email.

Once you click “Find contacts”, Respona will start searching.

This is done completely in the cloud and may take from a few minutes to several hours, depending on the size of your campaign.

While it’s searching for contacts, you’re free to close the tool.

You can also enable the “Email me when the automation is complete” toggle at the bottom of the settings to get notified as soon as the automation is done.

respona contact search results

In addition to emails, Respona also pulls prospects’ LinkedIn profiles – once the automation is done, you can click on the “in” icon next to their name to connect.

You may also re-assign contacts if you feel that you found a more relevant person to reach out to than Respona, or add contacts manually.

Once all contacts are assigned, the only thing left to do before launching your link building campaign is to personalize your pitches for each opportunity.

Step 4 – Personalization

Respona also helps speed up the personalization process.

It does so by pulling five quotes from your prospect’s article that you can simply copy and paste into your pitch.

You can find these quotes on the right side of the email editor.

personalizing pitches in respona

Once all of your pitches are personalized and the campaign is launched, Respona will start sending your link building campaign according to the sending schedule that you have selected for it.

Another good way to make your outreach feel personal is by connecting with your prospect on social media before sending your pitch.

As we mentioned, Respona also pulls people’s LinkedIn profiles – so sending your prospects a connection request shouldn’t take you much time at all.

The point of this is to make your prospect go “Hey, I remember them!” when they see your name pop up in their inbox with a link building pitch.

And, if they remember you, they’re much more likely to actually reply, even if they ignored your connection request on LinkedIn.

Another great way to personalize pitches is to attach a screenshot, for example, highlighting the section where your prospect is linking to a competitor’s article, or where you think would be a good place for your backlink.

These can’t be automated, so it implies that somebody actually spent the time on grabbing a screenshot and drawing the box/arrow pointing to that spot.

It only takes a moment, but everybody knows that these moments stack up if you have hundreds of prospects to reach out to.  

Link building cheat sheet

Link building cheat sheet

Gain access to the 3-step strategy we use to earn over 86 high-quality backlinks each month.

Download for free

Now over to you

We mentioned sever link building campaign ideas, but these strategies may not bring you an equal amount of success.

Our personal favorite link building strategies are the anchor text strategy, competitor backlinks, and guest posting.

Running a link building campaign by yourself can seem like a lot of work, but with Respona, you can save up to 90% of time that you would spend on it otherwise.

Excited to start?

Don’t hesitate to register and start your 7-day free trial today.

Ivan Escott

Article by

Ivan Escott

Ivan is the partnerships manager at Respona, the all-in-one PR and link building tool that combines personalization with productivity. Along with creating content, he looks for unique ways to build meaningful relationships with other bloggers.

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