How to write a killer outreach subject line

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Running an effective outreach campaign is one of the cornerstones of any successful SEO campaign. Whether you are outreaching to promote new content, undertake some gifting or are just asking for links, email is usually the most efficient and scalable means of communicating with site owners.

However, with each person receiving an average of over 100 business related emails a day, competition for open and response rates is extremely fierce. Even if the email is to a personal inbox, you are still fighting for attention against all their existing contacts and subscriptions. Remember this as well – 99% of outreach emails are probably unsolicited – e.g the person you are emailing has not communicated with you before – which underlines the need to really stand out from the crowd.

That said, if they are a key influencer then it will be worth doing some initial prep work such as commenting on their blog, sharing their content or contacting them on social media before sending them an email. However for everyone else, the initial email will be their first interaction with you. Furthermore, if you are emailing a popular and reputable blog owner/author, they are likely to receive lots of other unsolicited blogger requests. With this is mind the question really is…

How do you make your outreach email stand out above everyone else’s?

Well the first step to getting a response is to get the actual email you send opened, so you should consider carefully what you write in the subject line . Using mundane subject lines such as “Collaboration Opportunity” etc will work for some bloggers who will no doubt respond to you. However I would contend that the most influential ones are likely to ignore you. So, for your most important, higher authority link targets it pays to think very carefully about what subject line you use. There are several reasons why this is important….

  • The recipient is likely to receive lots of outreach emails
  • Many of these are likely to be spammy, so you need to stand out from the crowd
  • They may have email fatigue from endless requests, so make your’s worth opening

There are a multitude of ways to approach your subject line choice, for example using humour, intrigue, cheekiness, directness etc. However knowing in advance whether these will work is not something you can forecast with any degree of certainty. One thing which is vitally important to do is to ensure you have thoroughly browsed the site in question to get a feel for the person behind the site. In addition to this, you should check out their social media profile, see what kind of personality they have and what tone of voice they are using.

You will find by getting this insight you will gain a greater understanding of what type of subject line you should use. For example, a 65 year old science professor is unlikely to have the same personality/tone of voice as a 21 year old fashion blogger. Below are some example subject lines which illustrate the different tactics you can deploy….

Examples

Hey [BLOGGER NAME], here’s another crappy guest post request… :o)” – Humour, playing on their irritation of receiving lots of poorly written unsolicited outreach emails

I really think you’ll like this….” – Intrigue, create some mystery, without making it obvious what the content of the email is about

Top notch content your followers will love…” – Directness, make it clear you have something that will benefit their site and readership

I would love your feedback on this….” – A softer approach where you get the recipient engaged at first, rather than requesting publication/link upfront

Some other things to consider…

Timing

If you are emailing a US blogger, don’t send the email at 8am Monday morning UK time, as you will either wake them up OR they will read it first thing in the morning (and perhaps be less likely to reply). Also think about what day to send your email, Friday night is probably not the best time for example.

Whichever option you choose, make sure the content of the email matches the tone of the subject line. The key is to stand out, get your email read rather than be deleted/ignored.

Brevity

Keep your subject line succinct as overly long subject lines will get cut off so half your message could be missing. Also think about opens on mobile devices, where there is even less room for a subject line.

Puns

These tend to stand out and gain attention. “A bit of all white...” etc

Research

Include something that shows you have researched the prospect. For example, “[Blogger Name], your 13,400 twitter followers will love this…”

Personalisation

Include the person’s name in the subject line as this has proven to improve open rates.

Using the above techniques coupled with some A/B testing should help you get past that vital first step of getting your emailed opened.

If you want to find out about our outreach services, contact us now.

Simon
Simon Rattray About the author

<p>Simon has over ten years of digital marketing experience, having worked both agency and client side across a number of different verticals. He has extensive expertise across a range of channels but predominantly focusses on SEO, content marketing and PPC for clients both large and small.</p>

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