Outreach: My Success, My Failures

skull-682973_640Shit…Outreach eh, what a scary task!

Well kind of, but I am here to tell you that it really isn’t as bad as it sounds. I have been concentrating on some outreach for my newest niche website and it has been a mixture of good and bad.

In this post, I will tell you how I went about it and give you an example of the good and an example of one that kind of took the wind out of my sails a bit, (don’t worry, I got over it with the help of whiskey).

So let me first begin by giving you a quick background…

What Is Outreach?

I understand that Harry Vs Internet has many readers that are just starting out and some of the vocab can seem a bit alien. Don’t worry about it, I will briefly explain what I mean by outreach anyway and hopefully you will gain an understanding that you didn’t have before.

What I mean when I talk about outreach, is essentially trying to create a kind of relationship with other bloggers – usually in a similar niche – in order to hopefully get something back from them in the form of a link via guest post/ resource page etc, social media share to their followers or even a mention on their very own email list.

Now, before I go any further, I want to make it clear that this isn’t a 1 way street.

In fact you have to give much more than you might receive and this is not only the right thing to do, but also necessary if you want to nurture a relationship that will benefit you in the years ahead.

I also want to make clear that whilst I am slowly moving towards a purely outreach based, long term business model type of online adventure; I still use my own PBN and will do for some time.

They work. They work well and more importantly, they work very well for simple affiliate based websites that you just want to rank and make some money.

As I always say, I am not any kind of expert but I do love to test things out and tweak them.

However outreach is certainly part of my technique and will be for a while for several reasons:

  1. Creating a relationship with other bloggers just makes your life easier, plain & simple!
  2. You can get real referral traffic if you play your cards right and get a good link from a similar site
  3. It really diversifies your link profile making it less likely to be hot with either a manual or algorithmic penalty

My Own Experience

So as the title suggests, I have had some great experiences and some really depressing and not nice outreach attempts.

I will go over 2 examples; 1 good and 1 bad and then explain the process I went through to get the best one and what I did after getting knocked back from the other.

Let's Start With The Bad...

If you are following along with me and my making a brand new Amazon affiliate website, you will be aware that it is in the food/ kitchen niche, and I have gone all out with creating the proper social media channels, (and keeping them updated which is an important but often overlooked aspect).

I created a pretty spiffy infographic about meat, well I say I, what actually happened is that I paid a company to make it or me and it turned out amazing!

Anyway back to the story here; I was promoting it pretty heavily on Facebook & Twitter when I got a Twitter like from a hot sauce company. Not a big company; but a sizeable one which made me sit up and take notice.

So I contacted them via Twitter and after a bit of back & forthing, they finally asked me if I wanted to write a review of their hot sauce in return for a large supply.

Well, I live in Laos so apart the logistical challenges of getting tons of hot sauce through the Laos customs office; there is also the small fact that all the food here is so hot that it could melt Captain America’s Vibranium shield in a matter of seconds…so didn’t really need any of the stuff to be honest.

So I asked them instead, if I could write them a post for their blog in return for a links.

It all started out great with their social media guy, (or gal), being quite receptive to this idea. Also their blog was in dire need of an update and looked severely underutilized for a medium sized company.

Boom, they said yes!

So I got about writing an interesting piece about how I could see anecdotal evidence of chilli’s good effect on health by observing how Lao people loved to punish their tongues, but seemed to have no incidence of joint issues into old age, I backed this up with a few links to some real authority sites showing some correlation between chilli and arthritis.

I sent it over and then something kind of depressing happened. You when you accidently get cc’d into an email where the writer basically says that they think you’re a pure dickhead? No!? Well that must just be me then, but anyway it happened again, but this time regarding my guest post and not quite as aggressive, but still kind of a punch in the stomach.

I got an email with this exact message, verbatim:

This guy is putting each sentence on a new line. It’s weird. I don’t see any reason to put this on our blog.

That is all that it said!

I was slightly disappointed when I read that, not necessarily because of being rejected for a post I spent an hour writing. But because I thought I was doing all the right things!

Anyway, I reconciled myself that the guy didn’t know what he was on about. I was going to write him back an email about how times have changed and this is how you have to write for the internet.

Lots of sentences, paragraphs and lots of whitespace.

What Happened Next?

I decided against doing that and just carried on and forgot about it, until one day I received a Twitter direct message from the social media person saying this:

Didn’t forget about you. Been slammed. The English needs some work. Hope to fix it this week

Now it was nice of them to message me back and I really appreciate that they did that, but it was another slap in the face just after I had forgotten about it!

Guess what I did when I got that message…

I wish I could say that I was super sensible and did what they asked for and got a nice link.

However I can’t say that because I was pretty drunk at the time and not really thinking straight.

What occurred over the course of the next 10 minutes or so, was me trying to make friends with the hot sauce social media persona and getting awkwardly broken off!

So essentially nothing came of this outreach, apart from a post which I used on my site, and a whole load of experience.

Remember folks, you never lose anything if you consider it learning!

Harry, You're Being Way Too Sensitive, man!

Yeah you’re probably right and thanks for pointing out my thin skin and horrible flaws…thanks a lot. I thought we were friends.

Nah, just kidding.

It is true that I was being a tad over the top sensitive about this, but it kind of burns a bit when someone criticizes you after you think you are on a roll.

So from this bad experience, I’ll move onto the good one:

The Good

For this outreach story, I was using Brian Dean’s video course that he sent out via email, about how to do outreach the right way.

I wish I could link to it, but I can’t remember the actual URL so instead I will just give you his blog which is full of useful info: backlinko.com/blog/. You will probably find it somewhere in there.

It basically involves finding influencers in your niche and sending out an email, the template of which he gives, then following up with them.

I chose one of my non affiliate posts about a certain type of green tea, and went about following his method.

After lots of nothing, I finally got a reply from a very nice chap who has a website purely based on this type of green tea asking for more info.

SO I sent it to him and he replied back with this:

Excellent. Thank you.

Is it OK for me to use the information in your post on my site or in my newsletter?

Boom, punch the air moment 😀

Obviously I said yes to him and got a very nice link on a DA 27 TF 41 website, as well as a mention in his newsletter, (number of subscribers unknown).

What did I learn?

Well I am always learn, just as you should be too, but from this particular story, I learnt 2 things:

  1. Don’t be afraid to just get out there and email folks
  2. Don’t let others get you down
  3. Grow thicker skin

OK so that is 3 points, but the last point is kind of related to the 2nd point…so shut up.

Really though, there is something that I learnt and will keep me in a generally happy state for a while…outreach is still just 1 part of ranking websites.

There is a massive thing nowadays online, about how we should all stop using any kind of “blackhat” technique to rank our sites, and only focus on acquiring “whitehat” links.

Well to that I say, shut it!

Just from the very fact of reaching out to someone in the hope of getting a link back is considered “blackhat” to Google.

They hate it whenever anyone gets a link that hasn’t come about from completely arbitrary methods, so even those super “whitehat” folks are breaking the rules themselves!

I also hate this whole “whitehat” / “blackhat” labeling…as a very clever man puts it; there is only MoneyHat!

Sorry about that, rant over now I swear!

SO if there is anything you want to ask, just use the comments section below and I will try my best to answer you back 🙂

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