Posted by Julia Wisniewski, SEO Analyst Even if your website has compelling, fresh content, that’s not enough. Even if your target audience finds relevant enough to share, link and interact on social media, you still need to reach out to them. Participants want to interact with your brand; you just need to remind them! Due to the increasing competition online, amazing content is gradually becoming insufficient. You have to be able to reach into your target market and ask them to link to your content. After all, links are the building blocks of the web. And a successful website is founded in successful link building. As Google, other search engines and SEO as a whole evolve and shift, so does link building. It takes increasing finesse to be successful at interacting with the people you want to link to your website. I find that the first step to being successful in your link building efforts is to stretch your Public Relations “muscles” a little bit. Spend time reflecting on your brand and website perception. How do you want to mold and shape these perceptions? Once you begin thinking about your link building outreach in this way, you’ll realize that link building is less about the end goal of a link and more about relationships with participants. Alright, after quite a bit of waxing on about the subject of link building, how do you drill down to the actual writing of an outreach email that will, hopefully, result in a link? There’s no magic formula to the perfect outreach template, but here are a few things to keep in mind in order to be as successful as possible. 1. Spend some time understanding your target market. Are you targeting men, women or both? What age is your average participant? How much time are they spending online? Are you broaching serious subjects that require a delicate touch? Or is it more of a fleeting brand relationship like that with a consumer packaged good? 2. Create and maintain a brand voice. Once you have your audience nailed down, mirror your target market in your approach. Speak to them on their level. Ask someone in that target market what they think about and how they respond to branded messaging. 3. Prioritize. Not all targets are created equal. Keep that in mind when evaluating the websites that you are asking to link. Will their link pass along a lot of equity? How many links are on this page already? How authoritative and relevant is this site? This step is the hardest to quantify and, quite honestly, requires practice. 4. Personalize. It doesn’t matter who your target market it is. Each interaction you have with a blogger or publisher should be personalized and unique. If you are trying to reach a blogger, read some of their posts and let them know what you think. If you are contacting an institution, make sure they know that you know what kind of services they provide or their mission statement or any other piece of unique information. 5. Strike a good balance. Don’t get crazy with the personalization. Some targets like to be complimented and have their egos massaged; others would prefer you get to the point quickly. Know which camp you’re interacting with and act accordingly. 6. Be Genuine. Nothing inspires more ill-will towards a brand than the perception that you are spamming users. Period. You’ll find that a standardized template doesn’t work for a personalized approach such as the one I’m suggesting, however, the relationship you build will mean more than just a link in the long run. It will establish a line of communication from the brand to the participant that will be invaluable.