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Email Anatomy: How to Get Top Tier Links



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Verve Search’s Outreach team sent over 100,000 emails last year, earning linked coverage on sites like CNN, BBC, The Guardian & more. Crucially, there was no black book of contacts: in fact there was no prior relationship with at least 90% of the journalists they got links from.

In this talk Alex will deconstruct examples of emails his team have sent, in order to demonstrate that getting top-tier links is possible for anyone with a gmail account and a story worth sharing.

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Email Anatomy: How to Get Top Tier Links

  1. 1. SLIDESHARE.NET/AlexCassidy Email Anatomy: How to Get Top Tier Links Alex Cassidy // Verve Search // @alexcass91
  2. 2. ‘What relationship do you have with journalists that guarantees you this coverage?’
  3. 3. None.
  4. 4. Having prior relationships with journalists doesn’t guarantee repeat coverage
  5. 5. Verve Search’s Outreach team sent over 100,000 emails last year
  6. 6. About 90% of them were ‘cold’ contacts
  7. 7. Resulted in over 5,000 links
  8. 8. I want to explain how we make our cold pitches so successful
  9. 9. & give you the tools to do it yourself
  10. 10. The ‘Art’ of Emails
  11. 11. Writing is hard* (*Writing something short is harder)
  12. 12. Cutting down the content to something interesting and digestible is difficult
  13. 13. 5 things to consider for every email: Subject Lede Links Angles Methodology
  14. 14. Don’t Be Scared!
  15. 15. I’ve trained dozens of people in outreach
  16. 16. & the first thing people are worried about is getting a bad response - or worse - a bad Twitter share
  17. 17. It happens.
  18. 18. Other times, you get great responses:
  19. 19. Subject Lede Links Angles Methodology
  20. 20. Subject
  21. 21. There are some important things to remember when you’re writing subject lines
  22. 22. Don’t mislead Don’t try to be too clever Don’t be rude
  23. 23. Where are you taking this content? & how do they write their headlines?
  24. 24. Then write down 20* versions *As many as it takes
  25. 25. This is a volume game, (you need to get the bad ones out)
  26. 26. Ask a question (that you answer in the email) Use standout numbers & ‘Top 10s’ Summarize your concept in just one line
  27. 27.
  28. 28.
  29. 29. If you’ve tried a subject line 25 times and got nothing back and very few opens, try something else
  30. 30. If you get this right, it ends up being the headline
  31. 31. Subject Lede Link Angles Methodology
  32. 32. Lede
  33. 33. The aim of the Lede is to explain what you’ve done in just one or two sentences
  34. 34.
  35. 35. “When in doubt, begin with the version of the story you would tell a friend if you ran to meet them at the top of a hill, and only had one breath”
  36. 36. Get to the point Don’t bury your story Avoid fluff
  37. 37. If you’ve had coverage from them before, feel free to mention it, but don’t be disingenuous
  38. 38. It’s often easier to pitch a second piece in the same thread as the old one, which increases open rates
  39. 39.
  40. 40. Subject Lede Link Angles Methodology
  41. 41. Link
  42. 42. Ask for links upfront; it’s why you’re emailing
  43. 43. All you’re going to end up doing is chasing
  44. 44. I encourage the team to always ask for the link in the first email
  45. 45. BUT if you feel uncomfortable doing that
  46. 46. This is how you ask for links to be added…
  47. 47. Be polite React quickly Have a reason
  48. 48. Some people will say no, and some might ask for money
  50. 50. Getting homepage links is a lot more difficult
  51. 51. We only request when our data has been used, and we always try to get the content hosted on the client site
  52. 52. Subject Lede Link Angles Methodology
  53. 53. Angles
  54. 54. Angles are everything
  55. 55. If there isn’t a story there you’re in trouble
  56. 56. Make sure to signpost your angles & provide different opportunities for stories
  57. 57. Relevant to the journalist Will work for their KPIs Surprising for the readership
  58. 58.
  59. 59. Don’t confuse a themed day as an angle
  60. 60.
  61. 61. “Quotes Quotes Quotes”
  62. 62. Remember you want to give them everything they need in the initial email
  63. 63. Journalists are in a hurry, if you already have quotes prepared ahead of time, it saves them asking a question and gets them writing up pieces faster
  64. 64. Quotes fill up space on the page
  65. 65. We got asked this so much that we made it standard to have expert comment on all pieces
  66. 66. Subject Lede Link Angles Methodology
  67. 67. Methodology
  68. 68. You can’t pretend you have a good methodology if you don’t
  69. 69.
  70. 70. Methodologies give ballast to your story
  71. 71. But also mean that journalists have something to fill up lines with
  72. 72. A methodology from an expert third party can help circumvent the fact that its branded content
  73. 73.
  74. 74. Subject Lede Link Angles Methodology
  75. 75. Conclusions
  76. 76. The fact a journalist is willing to write up a story means they should be targeted again
  77. 77. But these relationships don’t predicate coverage
  78. 78. & shouldn’t be considered a prerequisite to contacting a journalist with a story
  79. 79. Subject Lede Link Angles Methodology
  80. 80.
  81. 81. Subject Lede Links
  82. 82. Angles Angles
  83. 83. Methodology
  84. 84. Thank you!
  85. 85. SLIDESHARE.NET/AlexCassidy Email Anatomy: How to Get Top Tier Links Alex Cassidy // Verve Search // @alexcass91

Editor's Notes

  • Make a list of publications that you think will be interested in this. Look at how they write their subject lines. How do they phrase them? What is the point of a subject. Journalists and subeditors have to write a lot more headlines than you, so they know what they are doing. Just look to them for your advice.
  • Brackets explaining what kind of topic you are pitching
    Can be Data, Gallery, Case study
    Ask a question that you
  • A really common mistake people make is not thinking to check that the place theyre going to is American, and changing pounds to dollars and ‘trainers’ to sneakers.
  • Kinetic Athletics looked at how much energy sports stars and travel locations would generate if the regular ground was replaced with tiles that generate electricity with each step, so Andy Murray generates enough to power his own game on a laptop.
  • This was far too long. I did get a good link for that in the end, but it’s insane. I was lucky that somebody spent the time reading through this.
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