Link Building Outreach Strategy (2021 Ultimate Guide)


Andy Cabasso

February 5th

This guide is a massive, thorough walkthrough of how to do link building and digital PR outreach.

If you’ve never done link building or digital PR outreach before, or you are looking for a way to explain it and delegate it to team members or virtual assistants (VAs), this guide is all you’re going to need.

Just by following this guide, you will have everything you need to get up and running your own link building or digital PR outreach campaigns.

As the owner of a digital agency, I have run many link building and digital PR campaigns by following these exact steps in this guide.

We are not just talking about “high level” strategies – this guide will show you – step-by-step – how to run and manage outreach campaigns.

In addition to sharing step-by-step instructions, this guide also shares best practices and practical tips from people experienced in outreach.

To also aid in your link building efforts, accompanying this post will be a downloadable guide, checklist, and video walkthrough (coming soon) that you can use for your link building and digital PR outreach campaigns.

Here’s what this guide covers:

  1. Tools and resources for running and managing link building and digital PR campaigns
  2. How to set up your outreach campaigns – whether it’s for yourself or for clients
  3. Analyzing what types of outreach campaigns are right for your website
  4. How to run the different types of link building and digital PR campaigns
  5. Creating a schedule and routine for running outreach campaigns
  6. Managing your outreach campaigns and tracking results

Without any further ado, let’s dive in.

An Overview – Running Link Building and Digital PR Outreach Campaigns

Real quick:

Let’s stop and think about what we’re about to get into.

Digital PR and Link Building Outreach Campaigns

In case you are not too familiar with link building outreach or digital PR, here’s a quick primer on what they are:

Link Building and Digital PR Outreach

Link building outreach” is a marketing strategy that can help you improve your website’s rankings in Google and other search engines, and ultimately drive more traffic to your website. Link building outreach is a strategy that is generally grouped under the umbrella of search engine optimization (SEO). Link building outreach is also often referred to as “blogger outreach” but it means the same thing. Blogger outreach = link building outreach, but in this article we are going to generally stick with the term link building outreach.

Digital PR outreach” involves strategies to get more online exposure and visibility for your business or brand, helping you to get in front of potential customers and increase your audience size.

Workflows for Digital PR and Link Building Outreach

Whether your interests in outreach are coming from the perspectives of digital PR, link building, or both, they have a nearly identical workflow (which is why we are covering both of them in this guide).

If you’re not too familiar with digital PR or link building outreach, here is the typical process:

  1. You have something that you want to promote (whether it’s a blog post / website you want to build links to, or a brand that you want to get press coverage)
  2. Search for relevant websites and brands to connect with (also known as “prospecting”)
  3. For each of those websites, find the right contact people at those websites
  4. Next, get and validate email addresses for the target contact people
  5. Build and send an email sequence that is tailored to and personalized for your contacts
  6. For any positive responses received, you reply to them and keep the conversation going to get your link, press coverage, etc.

Tools You Need For Outreach

For this process, you will need a few things. Namely, tools to help you prospect, find contacts, find and verify email addresses, and build and send outreach email sequences.

While there are plenty of tools out there that can handle aspects of this process, we find that Postaga is the best-suited tool to handle the entire process.

Postaga homepage - all-in-one link building and email outreach tool to help you get more backlinks and traffic

Postaga was specifically designed for helping digital marketers with link building and digital PR outreach.

In this guide, Postaga is going to be the platform that we use for setting up and managing these outreach campaigns.

Regardless of the tools you use, this step-by-step guide can help you better build and manage your outreach campaigns.

Next, we will get into setting up our outreach tools.

Step 1: Outreach Platform Setup

For the first step of our link building and digital PR outreach campaigns, we need to set up our software. Here are the steps to this stage (and we will break each of them down.

  1. Sign up for a Postaga account
  2. Set up custom email to send outreach emails from
    1. Custom domain if possible
    2. Alternate: SMTP
  3. Review User Profile
    1. Correct sender name and receiving email (where you receive replies)
    2. Set custom email signature
  4. Review Account settings
    1. Company name is correct
    2. Timezone is correct
    3. Address and CANSPAM are set

Sign up for a Postaga account

First step, sign up for a Postaga account.

You can do that here.

Once you are signed up, Postaga will take you through a test campaign to get you acquainted with the platform.

Note: You don’t need to spend too much time thinking about the campaign you are building here – again, it’s just a test campaign. All of the emails in the campaign are going to go to your email address, not to each specific recipient.

Once you complete this test campaign, you have full access to the platform to be able to send out real campaigns to your contacts.

Set up Custom Email

One important aspect of your outreach is setting up your email so you can send emails from the platform using the domain of your choice.

Postaga has two methods for doing this: 1) Setting up a custom domain; and 2) SMTP sending, connecting to an existing email address you have

Our preferred method is using the custom domain option.

Custom Domain Email Setup

Here is a help doc on the entire process for setting up a custom domain

How this works:

1. You will choose a domain you want to send from

In general, we recommend using either a subdomain on your main domain (so if your domain is “website.com” you would choose something like “m.website.com” or “mail.website.com”) or a different domain you own that is related to your brand (so, instead of “website.com” something like “website.co” or “websiteapp.com”). 

The reason we recommend using a subdomain or alternate domain name is for a few reasons. First, there’s security. In a worst-case scenario, your domain gets blacklisted as a spammer and any emails coming from that domain end up in recipients’ spam folders. That’s not good. While it shouldn’t happen if you follow best practices with email outreach, nonetheless, we want to protect against that. This way, we do not put your main domain at risk.

We also recommend using a custom domain because it better helps manage your outreach campaigns. This way you are not getting outreach emails commingled with regular, non-outreach-related emails.

So, to keep it simple – I would recommend choosing something like “m.[your-domain]” as the subdomain for your new sending email address.

In Postaga, you can set this in the APIs section under your Settings, and selecting Custom Domain button.

custom dns records in postaga

2. Set up DNS records

Once you choose your domain, this next step is a bit technical.

For this, you will need access to be able to edit your domain’s DNS records.

If you know what this is, you can skip this next explainer:

What Are DNS Records?

If you have no idea what DNS records are:

These are records that basically tell the whole Internet where your website is and who is hosting your email.

When you purchase a domain, as a default, your DNS records will live in that platform where you bought your domain. If you change your NS records (also called nameserver records), your DNS records will live wherever your NS records are pointing to.

As an example, if you buy your domain with Namecheap and don’t change your NS records, you will edit your DNS records in your Namecheap account.

But, if you buy your domain with Namecheap, and then have your NS records pointing to an account you have with a service like Cloudflare, you will need to edit your DNS records in your Cloudflare account.

If you are not sure where your DNS records live, I recommend a free tool, MXToolbox.

Just enter your website and it will tell you where your nameserver records are.

how to find your dns records - using a tool like mxtoolbox

So, next, you will need to add the DNS records to your account that Postaga needs.

These will include a few TXT records, CNAME records, and MX records.

Once you add them and save, you can click “Recheck DNS records” in Postaga and your records will verify.

If any of the records do not verify, I would recommend trying to add that record either with or without the full domain (so for example, doing “m.yourwebsite.com” if you previously tried “m”, and vice-versa). Some DNS editors are finicky, so that’s why.

And with that, your DNS records are set up and you can now send emails from Postaga on behalf of your domain.

Alternate Email Setup Option: SMTP Email Setup

If you do not have DNS access (and this is sometimes the case if you have clients that you are working with and they cannot set up a subdomain or alternative domain for you), you can connect your email account to Postaga via SMTP.

Here is a help doc on how to get that set up

This in effect connects to and lets you send emails on behalf of your email address.

If you have clients that you are doing digital marketing for, as an example, and you want to send emails from their domain, they may create a user account for you to use. With SMTP, you can send outreach emails using Postaga, sending from the user account they give you.

To send via SMTP, you will need to go to your profile page.

Then, you will need to click Use SMTP.

And then you will need to authenticate your email login to connect it to Postaga.

SMTP sending configuration

To be able to do this, your email provider must have SMTP email sending enabled, otherwise it will not authenticate.

Once you go through the SMTP setup, you should be good to go.

And with that, you can now send emails from the Postaga platform, coming from your email address.

Review Your User Profile

Next up, we are going to review your user profile to make sure we are happy with it.

You can check your user profile here. This is the same page where you would connect to SMTP if you are sending via that method.

Postaga user profile page

Set your first name and last name for your account. Your outreach emails will use this as your sender first name / last name.

Make sure you are happy with the “receiving email” address. This is the email address to where any replies received from your outreach emails will get forwarded to.

Also, review your “outreach email,” which is the email address you will be sending from.

And also, you can set a personalized email signature.

You can use either plain text or HTML for your signature. 

When you’re all done, make sure to click the Save button on the bottom of the page.

Review Account Settings

Next up, go to your Account Settings page.

Postaga your account

Here, make sure your company name is correct.

Ensure that your timezone is correct as well. This is important because this is the clock that your emails will send based on. So, if you choose America/New_York and schedule a campaign for 10am, it will start sending at 10 AM ET.

Next, set your physical address (this is important for CANSPAM compliance if you are sending to any U.S. based contacts) as well as enabling CANSPAM compliance, so that people know how they can easily opt-out of receiving more messages from you if they do not want to.

There are other areas on the Account page, such as merge fields, domain blacklists, and other settings, but they are not important for setting up your account. They may be relevant later.

With that, your account is now all set up. You are ready to start sending outreach emails!

Next, we will need to analyze your website (or your client’s website) for link building and digital PR opportunities.

Step 2: Evaluate your/your client’s website for link building and digital PR opportunities

looking with a magnifying glass

This is the part where we need to strategize and research. 

First, we need to determine what are your goals for your outreach campaigns. What is it you are looking to do?

Do you want to get press coverage for your app or business from other websites or podcasts to increase your audience?

Do you want to build links to your blog articles to up your Google search rankings and get more traffic?

All of the above?

Next up, I have a handy workflow / checklist that is going to help you break down what type of link building or digital PR outreach campaigns you can run in Postaga based on your website and content.

Review your website and its pages and content while looking at this workflow / checklist below.

Take notes.

Note which campaign types could be a good fit for the website.

After we are done evaluating the website, we can move on to actually creating outreach campaigns.

I will also link to guides on how to run each of these campaign types.

Outreach Campaign Types Workflow / Checklist

  1. Are there blog posts on your website?
    1. If Yes, you can run these types of outreach campaigns for these blog posts
      1. If there are any outbound links to other articles on your blog post
        1. Mention campaign
      2. If the content in your article is relatively recent and high-quality
        1. Multiscraper (if you have an Ahrefs account)
        2. Skyscraper
        3. Roundup
      3. If the article is decent quality, but does not have to be recently published
        1. Resources
        2. Broken Link Building
      4. If the articles are not very good, they won’t get many links, so I would advise skipping doing outreach for them unless you are ready to pay for links (because the replies that you get, people will ask you to pay for a link insertion). If you are OK paying for links, try any and all of these outreach campaign types
    2. If the website does not have any blog posts, move on to next step
  2. Is this website a business?
    1. If yes, you can run these types of campaigns depending on what type of business it is to get press coverage for the business and/or find partners and affiliates
      1. For any type of business
        1. Guest post outreach
      2. If the business is an app or software
        1. Reviews outreach
        2. Tools outreach
        3. Vs. outreach
      3. If the business is a product
        1. Reviews outreach
        2. Vs. outreach
      4. If the business is a book
        1. Reviews outreach
      5. If the business is a B2C business
        1. Custom Search campaign for cold email outreach to find partners and affiliates
        2. Custom Search to find relevant articles in your industry on blogs, and pitch a review of your product
      6. If the business is a B2B business
        1. Custom Search campaign for cold email outreach for partners, affiliates, customers
        2. Custom Search to find relevant articles in your industry on blogs, and pitch a review of your product
        3. Reverse Mention campaign to find customers
    2. If the website is not a business, move on to next step
  3. Is the owner or someone else at the company open to getting featured as a guest on podcasts to talk about their business / industry?
    1. If yes – Podcast outreach
    2. If No, move on to next step
  4. Is the owner or someone else at the company open to getting featured in articles?
    1. If yes – Expertise outreach
    2. If No, move on to next step

But, I don’t want to just give you a checklist. I also want to share some of the science behind this – the “why,” if you will.

Different Link Building and Digital PR Outreach Campaigns

Here are some details about the different types of campaigns and when you would run them.

For Building Links to Blog Posts

If a goal of yours is to improve your search engine rankings, there are a few campaigns in Postaga that can help with that, by getting other websites to link to your blog posts when it’s appropriate.

These campaign types are designed to increase your inbound links (aka links to your website) from quality, relevant websites. The more inbound links you have from high-quality and relevant websites, generally speaking, the better your chances of ranking higher in Google search results.

Resources – An article with a title like “101 resources on email marketing” would presumably link to other sites’ content on email marketing. So, for this campaign, you have a blog post that is a helpful resource on a topic, we are going to find other articles that link to resource articles like yours, and ask them to link to your content.

Multiscraper – This campaign type is a more advanced link building tactic that leverages Postaga’s integration with Ahrefs. With this, you can find many other websites’ blog articles on your target topic, find all the websites that link to them, and then reach out to those websites to ask them to link to your article instead of the article they are currently linking to. This campaign can be very successful when your content is especially good and current, and the articles for whose links you are trying to replace are outdated and not as helpful as your content.

Skyscraper – This is essentially a Multiscraper campaign without using Postaga’s Ahrefs integration. (If you have an Ahrefs account, I would recommend linking it to Postaga and just using the Multiscraper campaign type; if not, use this campaign type) The “Skyscraper Technique” is a very popular link building strategy. If you use another research tool other than Ahrefs, you can import the list of URLS you want to reach out to in your campaign to get the websites to link to your content instead of the articles they are currently linking to.

Roundup – This campaign type can be effective, but is very hit-or-miss depending on your blog’s industry. Some websites regularly publish “link roundup” articles related to a particular industry. You can reach out to them to ask them to link to your latest article in their next roundup publication. The caveat here is that not every industry has websites that publish roundups. So, you may end up skipping this campaign type if you cannot find any websites in your space publishing roundups.

Mention – This campaign type can be run for any blog post that has outbound links from your article to other websites. For this campaign, you are going to reach out to all the websites that you link out to in your article, let them know that you mentioned their website or article in your article, and ask them to return the favor in some way.

Broken Link Building – Here, the strategy is to find other articles written on your topic that have dead URLs, but other websites have linked to, and then reach out to those websites to let them know they’re linking to a dead page, suggesting they link to your article instead. For broken link building outreach, you will need a third-party tool like Ahrefs to discover broken links.

For Getting Press Coverage From Other Blogs and Bloggers

If a goal of yours is to get press coverage for your business from blogs, bloggers, or websites, there are a few campaigns in Postaga that can help with that,via pitching these different outlets.

Reviews Outreach – This campaign is geared towards getting bloggers to write up articles reviewing your product, app, or business. It’s easier to pitch if you have a web-based app that can be easily reviewed or if you have a product where you can offer to ship the reviewer a free sample to evaluate. In this campaign, you can find blogs that have reviewed your product’s competitors, or other related products in your industry, and pitch them to see if they’d like to review your product as well.

Tools Outreach – This campaign is good where your business is an app or web-based tool. With this campaign type, you can find blog articles that recommend different software in your particular niche or industry, and pitch them to add a mention of your product in their article.

Vs. Outreach – This is a variant on the reviews or tools campaign types. If you have some well-known competitor products in your space, this campaign type finds articles that compare different products, and pitch those websites to add your product to the comparison lineup.

Custom Search – This campaign type has limitless opportunities. Essentially, with a Custom Search campaign you can search for a particular keyword, find relevant blog articles or websites on that topic and connect with them. To use this campaign type to get press coverage, I would recommend using the Custom Search to search for popular blog article topics in your industry, seeing the blogs that show up, and then pitch them to review your product.

For Building Your Brand

These “building your brand” campaign types are perfect for businesses where a team member at the company, like the CEO or CTO, wants to get featured in media to promote their business or their own personal brand.

Podcast Outreach – Being a guest on a podcast can be a great way to expose your business or brand to a new audience. In this type of outreach, we find relevant podcasts on your target topic and reach out to them with a pitch to have you on the podcast as a guest.

Expertise Outreach – Some blogs feature expert opinions or guest columnists on a topic area. In this outreach campaign type, we find those blogs, and pitch those websites to include your opinion in one of their upcoming articles.

Guest Post Outreach – “Guest posts” are blog posts on websites written by outside contributors. If you write guest posts about your area of expertise on other blogs and websites, you can not only build links to your website to improve your Google search rankings, you can also better connect with your target audience. 

For Connecting with Customers, Partners, or Affiliates  (cold email outreach)

Besides promoting your brand or business, Postaga also has outreach campaigns that can help you build relationships with potential customers, partners, or affiliates.

Custom Search – As mentioned earlier – this campaign type has limitless opportunities. In the context of finding customers, partners or affiliates, this campaign is very much akin to a “cold outreach” pitch. Using the Custom Search campaign, you can search for a particular keyword, find relevant websites or businesses on that topic or in a specific location, and connect with them. As an example: if you are trying to market your product to or partner up with accountants, you could search for the keyword “accountants”, and set a Custom Location for a specific city so you find accountants in that area. Then, you can reach out to them with your pitch.

Reverse Mention – This campaign type leverages the research that other websites have already done for you. If you are looking to connect with businesses in a particular industry and you search for them, you might find a search result like “Top 50 [business type] businesses” and that result will lead you to an article or directory that lists many different businesses. You can then run a Mention campaign on that, extracting all of the URLs on that page, and then reach out to those businesses.

Step 3: Create a List of Outreach Campaigns to Run

taking notes and making a list

Before starting to build your campaigns, I would recommend using your notes from Step 2 to create a list of the different types of campaigns you are going to run, with the different keywords to use for the campaigns.

This way, each week when I am building campaigns, I do not need to think, “Hmm… What campaign should I run next?”

Instead, you can just go down your list of campaigns to run and try other campaigns.

Let’s take an example:

If my client makes a CRM and they want to get websites to write up articles about their CRM, I might want to run several different review campaigns targeting keywords like other CRM companies such as:

  • Salesforce
  • Pipedrive
  • Hubspot
  • Oracle
  • Zoho

And, each of those CRM companies should have their own dedicated review outreach campaign. 

So, here is an example of a list of campaigns I could run for that client, and refer to whenever I need to create new campaigns:

  • Review outreach
    • Salesforce
    • Oracle
    • Pipedrive
    • Hubspot
    • Zoho
  • Tools outreach
    • CRM
  • Podcast outreach
    • Sales
    • CRM
    • Sales enablement
    • SDR
  • Custom search
    • Best CRM software
    • Best sales CRM
    • Best marketing CRM
    • How to use a CRM
    • Top customer relationship management software
  • Custom search (cold outreach to companies that might use a CRM)
    • Web Design Agency [City] (with location filter)
  • Guest post outreach

Step 4: Create or Edit Email Templates and Sequences for Your Campaigns

cat typing on a keyboard

After you’ve done your research and know what types of campaigns you will be running, you’ll need to figure out your email templates and sequences for these campaigns.

Postaga does have email templates and sequences that you can work with, but you may want to further customize them for your unique campaigns. 

In particular, if you’re running campaigns like the Podcast, Expertise, or Custom Search campaigns, you’ll want to have pitches that are relevant to your business or brand.

Here’s an article that can help with crafting your outreach emails.

If you are doing outreach on behalf of a client, I would recommend drafting the outreach emails for their approval before sending the campaigns, so they’re aware of how you are reaching out on their behalf.

Step 5: Scheduling for Building Campaigns

let me check my schedule

One of the rules of outreach is that it’s a numbers game.

The more emails you send, the more wins you will get.

You will need to send many campaigns to get results.

Outreach is not going to be a one-and-done thing.

If you are regularly publishing content, every time you write an article, you should send outreach campaigns to build links to that content.

If your business is seeking press coverage, outreach campaigns are going to be an ongoing process.

And if you are looking to do outreach to get new customers, you could be running outreach campaigns around-the-clock.

So, what I would recommend doing is to set a schedule for building and sending your outreach campaigns.

Block out time for certain days and hours each week to do outreach, just like you would block off time for other marketing activities. 

Once you have the templates ready and you know what campaigns you are going to run, they should not take too much time to build. 

The first outreach campaign you ever build will probably take the longest, as you get acquainted with the process.

But, over time your campaigns will get much quicker to build.

Here are some questions to think about with building your outreach campaigns:

  1. How many campaign types do you have that you can run?
  2. Will there be more content added so you will have additional campaigns to run beyond what you have today?
  3. What is the goal for each week?

Step 6: Determine Campaign Lead Management

From your outreach campaigns, you will receive responses – positive, negative, or neutral – that may require further action from you. 

Before launching your first campaign, you should determine how you want your team to handle these responses, manage these leads, and track your campaign success.

When you receive a reply from someone who has received your outreach email, that reply will automatically get sent to your receiving email address that you set earlier in Step 1.

How you manage and track those replies and also reply to the contacts will depend on what you and your team want to do.

For example:

If you are doing digital PR outreach on behalf of a client and trying to book them on podcasts or get their products reviewed, you may want to forward the replies to the client.

But, if you are doing link building outreach / blogger outreach for a client, you may not need the client’s input, and you can reply directly to any outreach replies received.

And, if you are doing digital PR or link building outreach for your company, you will probably want to reply yourself, or forward the positive responses to a manager who may be in charge of moving the conversation forward.

Here is what I would recommend you do:

Choose a point person to receive all campaign replies

Regardless of whether you are running outreach campaigns for a client or your own company, I would recommend that a single person on your team be responsible for receiving and reviewing all received campaign replies.

This is for a few reasons:

  1. That person can filter replies, determining what warrants a response, and then either reply or forward the message to the client or the appropriate person on the team
  2. The point person can keep track of the campaign to know how the kinds of leads the client is getting
  3. The point person can unsubscribe or remove any contacts that request that you do not follow up with them (Postaga has an option to stop a campaign automatically upon reply)
  4. That point person can know how effective your campaigns are, know the kinds of responses you are getting, and make any adjustments to campaigns as needed in the future
  5. The point person can best track leads and wins in the CRM.

Do not automatically send all leads and replies to the client or manager.

I know this was mentioned before, but it bears repeating:

You should never automatically have the client receive your outreach responses. 

Some replies will be negative, or ask you to “unsubscribe” them – and that’s not something the client needs to see or address. That’s for you to handle.

The client or higher-up at your company should only receive leads that require action on their part.

So, designate a specific person on your team to be responsible for managing, tracking, filtering, and forwarding leads to the appropriate people.

Set up a CRM to manage your leads and wins (like Postaga’s built in CRM) 

Using a CRM to track your leads is a must.

A CRM helps you manage your campaigns and leads, to stay on top of any open opportunities, and track your wins so you can see how you are performing.

Thankfully, Postaga has a built-in CRM that tracks all initial replies to your campaigns so you don’t even need to leave the platform to manage your leads and outreach wins.

Postaga link building and PR outreach CRM for tracking outreach leads and their progress, this screen shows the CRM dashboard with the user clicking to edit a specific lead and edit its status in the CRM

When a contact replies to your campaign, that contact’s message along with their contact info automatically creates a new lead in the Postaga CRM.

The CRM has many different fields, statuses, and stages so you can organize your leads, track your wins, and know what requires your attention.

When a lead first gets added to your CRM, you can categorize it based on the type of reply they gave. 

If the lead is a “lost” opportunity (like if they say “not interested”) you can mark that as Lost.

If the lead responds with something like, “Thanks for reaching out. I have added a link to your article in our blog post.” You can categorize that as a “backlink” type of lead, note the URL where they linked to your content, and mark that as Won, which will close out the lead.

If the lead has a follow-up question or requires further action, you can mark that lead as Open.

There are many different fields and stages to help you categorize your leads, such as if a lead is asking for payment for a link, has a guest posting opportunity for you, if they’ll share your article on social media, or are a potential sales opportunity. 

When your campaigns are active – use the CRM regularly.

CRMs help you stay on top of leads, staying in touch and following-up with them then you need to, and ensuring that no leads “fall through the cracks” or don’t get a reply when they should.

There’s nothing sadder to me than a great lead that ends up lost  because you forgot about them or lost track of them in your inbox.

So, use your CRM!

And now that you have that all set, it’s time to run your campaigns!

Step 7: Run your Outreach Campaigns!

rocket ship

Next up, it’s time to build and send your outreach campaigns. 

In this section we are going to share walkthroughs of different outreach campaign types, as well as overall best practices for running outreach campaigns.

Outreach Campaign Walkthroughs

Here are campaign creation walkthroughs for each of these outreach campaign types using Postaga’s platform:

  1. Mention
  2. Resources
  3. Multiscraper
  4. Skyscraper
  5. Roundup
  6. Tools
  7. Reviews
  8. Podcast
  9. Expertise
  10. Custom Search
  11. Reverse Mention
  12. Vs. (guide coming soon)
  13. Broken link (guide coming soon)
  14. Guest post (guide coming soon)

Pre-Launch Checklist – What to Do Before You Launch Your Campaign

Before you launch your campaign and send out your emails to different contacts, you should review the campaign to make sure it meets all outreach best practices.

Here are the criteria:

  1. The chosen campaign type is aligned with your content
  2. Opportunities search – the opportunities found are relevant to your campaign and content
  3. Contacts – review contacts to ensure they’re the right people, emails and names match
  4. Emails – the chosen email sequence is relevant to the campaign
  5. Email preview – email looks good / relevant for contacts
  6. Email preview – look at all emails in a sequence, not just the 1st one
  7. Email preview – there are no red merge fields (if there are, the relevant merge field needs to be filled – help doc)
  8. Email preview – send a test email
  9. Rules/Scheduling – Campaign is not in testing mode
  10. Rules/Scheduling – Check settings, make sure that send on weekends is off, stop on reply is on
  11. Rules/Scheduling – scheduled send day / time is correct

Last Steps Before Launch

OK, this is it. Your moment of glory!

You have reviewed your campaign and it looks ready to go.

When you are ready, hit the launch / schedule button and your campaign will schedule out.

What’s going to happen next?

At your designated campaign launch time, your campaign will start sending. The emails will not send all at once, but rather send staggered, with emails going out to contacts at different time intervals. This is intentional. Postaga does this so that when the platform is sending out emails on your behalf, the behavior looks natural, human, like it’s a person sending out emails over the course of the day, and not like a marketing automation platform sending an email blast. This helps ensure that your emails end up in your recipients’ inboxes rather than their spam folders.

After your first emails all go out, then the follow-ups will be sent at the appropriate day and time. You should absolutely have follow-up emails because they increase the likelihood you get a reply. We recommend an email sequence with at least 3, and up to 5, emails.

Once a contact replies to your email, they will not receive future scheduled follow-up emails in the campaign. So, you don’t have to worry that they will get any more emails sent from Postaga.

When contacts reply to your emails, this is good. This is what we want, obviously. The next step is all about how we manage these replies.

Step 8: Managing Your Replies

email replies

Now that your campaigns are sending, you are going to get replies.

As we mentioned before in Step 5, you should know who on your team is going to be responsible for managing and reviewing leads, forwarding appropriate responses to clients, and taking action where needed.

For this, you should be actively using your CRM to keep track of the campaigns, replying to what needs a reply, and noting your wins.

With all this data you get in your CRM, you can show your team or your client what your outreach campaigns were able to achieve for them.

For each lead received:

  1. Categorize it in the CRM
  2. Actions with leads:
    1. If it needs a response: Reply directly or forward the lead to the right person
    2. If it does not need a response or action: close it out
    3. If it is an unsubscribe request: make sure to unsubscribe them
  3. Keep track of whether it will need a further response or action, and check in on it regularly if so

Common responses and what to do

There are going to be different types of responses you get, and different things you should probably do depending on the responses. Here are some common responses to outreach campaigns and what you should do:

“I have added a link for you”

You did it, you got a link! This is a basic, straight-up win! You should reply positively, acknowledging them and thanking them for doing that for you. Also, it doesn’t hurt to throw in something like, “We’ve shared your article on our social media channels,” provided that you can do that. You may end up reaching out to that person or website again in the future, so make sure the relationship is good.

“I am interested. Tell me more about this”

Great! If you are pitching as part of a digital PR campaign like a review or podcast, or a partnership or affiliate opportunity, you might get a response that is one of interest from your recipient asking for more information. For these, I would forward this response to either the right person on your team to answer and continue the conversation, or forward it to the client if you are sending the campaign on behalf of the client.

“Unsubscribe”, “Stop”, or “Remove me from your list”

Not everyone is going to want what you’re selling. That’s fine though. If someone asks you to stop messaging them or unsubscribe, you need to honor that request. You can unsubscribe contacts or domains from future campaigns in your Account page. Also, you can look up the contact and, if they have any open campaigns, stop them from receiving future follow-up messages (though, generally if someone replies to a campaign, the campaign will stop for them at that point and not send them follow-up messages). I would simply not respond to these messages, but take action to ensure they will not receive follow-up messages, and that their contact email or domain is blacklisted so they would not receive future campaigns.

“Link insertions cost $X”

If you are doing outreach for link building or digital PR, you are bound to eventually encounter a website that is happy to link to your content or feature a review of your product… in exchange for money. Now, from a practical standpoint, this is a call your team has to make. Is it worth it? Would getting a product review from that blog be a win? That’s a discussion for you and your team. You could also use this to try and counter-offer, with a response like, “Hey, thanks for the response. Unfortunately we are not in a position to pay for links or reviews, but in exchange we can offer you [something else, like a free user account]”

“Not interested”

If a contact just says they are not interested, you do not necessarily need to add them to a blacklist like you would for someone who wants to unsubscribe, but you will still want to ensure that they do not receive any follow-up messages from this campaign.

“We will follow up if interested”

Treat this as a polite version of “not interested”.

“I don’t have time right now. Follow up with me in 1 month”

This is a common response from digital PR campaigns like review or podcast outreach. Your contact is interested, but busy right now. Treat this like an open lead; it’s not going to be a win right away. For this, you should send it to the client or right team member, and let them know to set a calendar reminder in 1 month or whenever the contact says to get back to them. Other variants on this are when a lead may say something like, “I’m swamped right now but get back to me in a few months / next quarter.”

“Are you open to other partnership opportunities?”

The contact thinks there might be other opportunities for you to work together besides what you pitched them. That’s a good open opportunity that should be forwarded to the right person on the team / client to reply.

Following Up

For the contact person on your team, whether that is you, a client, or someone else, it is important that they follow up with the lead as soon as possible.

Try to treat leads from outreach like a salesperson would treat a sales lead.

Time is of the essence.

If someone has expressed interest in working with you, featuring you as a guest, or reviewing your product, you need to get back to them as soon as possible. 

The more time that passes without a response – the more momentum that is lost with the lead.

If too much time has passed by the time you respond to them, the lead might lose interest and not get back to you.

Step 9: Review

5 star service review

On a monthly basis, you should be reviewing everything.

You should know how many earned backlinks, reviews, press mentions, podcast guest spots, and other wins from your outreach campaigns you’ve received.

Before talking with the rest of your team, I would recommend compiling your own review. You should know things like:

  1. How many campaigns did we create?
  2. What were the open and reply rates?
  3. How many leads did we get?
  4. How many wins?

With this information, you can show your team or your client how the campaigns have gone so far, and strategize for the next month.

You should also try to get feedback from them regarding any leads that you forwarded to them for their response.

By the end of your review, you should have enough data points to know for the next month things like:

What campaign types are the most successful and should be continued?

What campaigns are not performing well and need tweaking?

Do your email templates, subject lines, or sequences need changing?

Are there enough campaigns to run in the next month, or do we need to go back to Step 2 and Step 3 of this process and come up with some new campaign ideas?

And at the end of this review process, you should have all the insights you need so you can be ready for the next month of outreach!

Conclusion

And that is basically it.

We’ve dissected the entire process for doing outreach campaigns for link building and digital PR.

With this guide and using outreach software like Postaga, you can effectively build an outreach team or hire virtual assistant outreach specialists for your business or agency.

But, we’re not done yet.

Next up, here’s a checklist for running link building and digital PR outreach campaigns.

Bonus: Link Building and Digital PR Outreach Checklist

Here is the breakdown of the whole outreach checklist (downloadable version coming soon!):

  1. Configure and test Postaga account
    1. Set up custom email
      1. Custom domain if possible
      2. Alternate: SMTP
      3. Verify email setup
    2. Review User Profile
      1. Correct sender name and receiving email
      2. Set custom email signature
    3. Review Account settings
      1. Company name is correct
      2. Timezone is correct
      3. Address and CANSPAM are set
  2. Evaluate your/your client’s website for link building opportunities
    1. Are there blog posts?
      1. If Yes, you can run these types of outreach campaigns for these blog posts
        1. If there are any outbound links
          1. Mention campaign
        2. If the content is relatively recent and high-quality
          1. Skyscraper
          2. Roundup
        3. If any decent article
          1. Resources
          2. Broken Link Building
        4. If the articles are not very good, they won’t get many links, so I would advise skipping promoting them unless you are ready to pay for links
      2. If No, move on to next step
    2. Is this a business?
      1. If yes, you can run these types of campaigns depending on what type of business it is 
        1. No matter the type of business or brand
          1. Guest post outreach
        2. If it is an app or software
          1. Reviews outreach
          2. Tools outreach
          3. Vs. outreach
        3. If it is a product
          1. Reviews outreach
          2. Vs. outreach
        4. If it is a book
          1. Reviews outreach
        5. Is it a b2c business?
          1. Custom Search campaign for cold email outreach to find partners and affiliates
        6. Is it a b2b business?
          1. If yes: 
            1. Custom Search campaign for cold email outreach for partners, affiliates, customers
            2. Reverse Mention campaign to find customers
          2. If No, move on to next step
        7. Is the owner or someone else at the company open to getting featured as a guest on podcasts to talk about their business / industry?
          1. If yes – Podcast outreach
          2. If No, move on to next step
        8. Is the owner or someone else at the company open to getting featured in articles?
          1. If yes – Expertise outreach
          2. If No, move on to next step
      2. If it’s not a business, you can still do these outreach
        1. Guest post outreach
  3. Create a list of link building campaigns to run
    1. Write down the blog posts URLs you wish to promote
    2. Write down the different campaign types you would run
    3. Write down the keywords you would use for the different campaign types
  4. Create or edit email templates
    1. Create at least one email sequence for each campaign type you plan to run
  5. Set a schedule for building campaigns
    1. Questions to ask yourself
      1. How many campaign types do you have that you can run?
      2. Will there be more content added so you will have additional campaigns to run beyond what you have today?
      3. What is the goal for each week?
    2. Come up with a schedule of days to run campaigns and how many to run
  6. Determine how to manage responses
    1. Set a point person to receive all replies
    2. Determine who, if anyone else, certain replies will get forwarded to for further action
  7. Build campaigns
    1. Campaign Walkthroughs
      1. Mention
      2. Resources
      3. Multiscraper
      4. Skyscraper
      5. Roundup
      6. Tools
      7. Reviews
      8. Podcast
      9. Expertise
      10. Custom Search
      11. Reverse Mention
      12. Vs. (guide coming soon)
      13. Broken link (guide coming soon)
      14. Guest post (guide coming soon)
    2. Review before launching
      1. Campaign type is aligned with your content
      2. Sites found are relevant
      3. Contacts – review contacts to ensure they’re the right people, emails and names match
      4. Emails – sequence is relevant to campaign
      5. Email preview – email looks good / relevant for contacts
      6. Email preview – look at all emails in a sequence, not just the 1st one
      7. Email preview – no red merge fields
      8. Email preview – send test email
      9. Rules/Scheduling – Campaign is not in testing mode
      10. Rules/Scheduling – Check settings, make sure that send on weekends is off, stop on reply is on
      11. Rules/Scheduling – scheduled send day / time is correct
    3. When ready, hit schedule
    4. Review replies as they come to your inbox
    5. Review CRM
  8. Manage replies
    1. For each lead:
      1. Categorize it in the CRM
      2. Actions with leads:
        1. If it needs a response: Reply directly or forward the lead to the right person
        2. If it does not need a response or action: close it out
        3. If it is an unsubscribe request: make sure to unsubscribe them
      3. Keep track of whether it will need a further response or action, and check in on it regularly if so
  9. Monthly review
    1. How many total leads and wins?
    2. How many campaigns were created?
    3. Emails sent?
    4. Open rate?
    5. Reply rate?
    6. Feedback and analysis on campaigns and what we would change for the future?
    7. What campaigns to run next month?

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