A1.6 Reaching Out to Get Backlinks (Skyscraper Method)

In this video I discuss:

  • How to use the “done for you” template tool I linked in Lesson A1.5
  • The premium tools you should use to cut out a lot of the tedious, time-consuming work (if you don’t want to do it manually)
  • Why you should setup a separate Gmail account for outreach efforts
  • How many contacts you should compile if you want to see decent results
  • Discussing whether or not this very time-consuming process is worth it

Please direct all questions and requests for support to the FIMP Facebook group (free for registered members).


A1.6 Reaching Out to Get Backlinks (Skyscraper Method) Transcript Below


So, you’ve put in all the tedious work to gather the list of contacts, and it’s just time to start outreach. I want to show you how to use the done-for-you template that I’ve put together, the spreadsheet, and the Microsoft Word document combined.

There are other ways to do it too, which I’ll show. But it’s important to realize that the trickiest part of this entire process has been taken care of for you.

For whatever reason, while I totally understand why a lot of people really struggle with writing these email templates and figuring out how to outreach correctly, that’s already knocked out for you. You have a professionally-written email template, you’re ready to rock, you’re ready to start getting backlinks.

At this point, of course, you should have your link magnet written, and you should have a list of highly-targeted prospects that you want links from.

It’s just a matter of gathering their name and email address to finish off that information and sending the emails.

When you’re sending the emails, you have 2 options here. I’ve set the system up so that you can do it free for as easily as possible. It’s tedious. My opinion is that: the premium subscriptions, depending on how much you’re spending on them because there’s a broad range, they’re very much worth the money because they save you a lot of tedious work.

I’m going to go over both options here.

I’ve designed this to be a free system for you – with the spreadsheet and the template (the outreach template you have). It will be the most tedious option, but it will also be free, which I know is important for a lot of people.

You would just use the provided Microsoft Word email template that’s already merged with the contacts list. So if you fill out that contacts list correctly, it should all move over. I’ll show you exactly what that looks like with the Microsoft Word template that I’ve created for you.

You would just go through each one of those previews and you would copy it, and you’d paste it over to your email, you’d hit send. Again, I’ll show what that looks like.

The other option is to use something like MailShake.com. I’ve used multiple services like this. I’ve used NinjaOutreach. There’s another one called PitchBox – that’s super expensive now, it’s like $300 a month. It’s an awesome software but it’s way overkill for what we’re doing here. There’s one called BuzzStream, that I want to say, they’re like $100 a month per user.

This changes fairly often. Two years ago, these guys were reasonably priced. I’ve done some research, and at the time I record this video, MailShake.com is only $20 a month per user. It may go up to $30 or $40 a month, then it’s still very much worth it.

Another one that I’ve used is Woodpecker.co. That’s another really good one. Just check those options and find the price point you like. I would say if they are still reasonably priced, MailShake.com or Woodpecker.co are the ones that I would recommend the most – just because they’re reasonably priced and they do what you need to do.

The cool thing about these is that you just import the same spreadsheet that I’ve given you access to, the template I’ve created for you. After you filled it out, you would just upload that spreadsheet and it’s going to do all of the hard work for you.

It’s going to automatically send follow-up emails. It’s also going to automatically send those follow-up emails as replies to the previous message, which is a pretty cool, little feature.

Whenever you’re going through it… I’ve written it so that you can manually do this as well. But if you’re using something like MailShake or Woodpecker, it’s going to automatically do a lot of that work for you and automatically send replies. So it looks much more natural, it looks like you’re replying to your original email. Which the more natural you can make these things look, the better your results are going to be.

One of the coolest things about these premium services is that you’re going to get metrics on how many people are opening your message, how many people have replied, how many of them have just bounced because you don’t have the right email address, etc.

I’d recommend MailShake but, also, you can do it manually. I think you’re going to find when you start doing it manually, that you really want to spend $20 a month to not do it manually anymore, but I wanted to give you the options.

Regardless of whatever method you use, if you’re doing it for free (which what I’m going to show), but also if you get on MailShake, it’s really easy to use their software. They always have really good training videos too.

Basically, you’ll just upload the spreadsheets and you say: “okay, this column is the email address, this column is the name.” And then you can also specify the custom columns that are in this template and say: “okay, in the email template, swap out here for the value in this column.” It functions the exact same way – the free set up I’ve given you, except it’s all automated, it all sends automatically, etc.

Regardless of whether you’re using free method or you’re using a premium service like MailShake or Woodpecker, set up a separate Gmail account. For the love of God, set up a separate Gmail account. Because what you can do if you’re not careful, it doesn’t happen if you’re not being really spammy, but you’re risking this Gmail account getting shut down.

If it’s not a Gmail account and it were on your own domain, you would be risking that your domain gets too much spam associated with the domain, and you start going in this people’s spam inbox.

When it comes to Gmail, you can just swap out to a different Gmail account if and when that ever happens. But in my experience, if you’re sending really well-written outreach templates, this isn’t really going to be an issue unless you’re just blasting way too much.

You really don’t want to send more than probably 25 or 30 of these emails everyday. Again, because if you start doing, like, 500 in a day, or even if you start doing 100 in a day, it starts to leave a pattern that can get you flagged for spam more quickly and lower your deliverability.

But again, the nice thing about a service like MailShake or Woodpecker is it automatically does that for you and it will stop sending those emails if your account gets limited because you’ve sent too many emails.

Again, it just cuts out a lot of the annoying fine details of doing it manually. But any way around it, whether you’re doing it manually or automatically, set up a separate Gmail account. Absolutely.

The other thing to remember is remember that the template is only as good as the information you put into it. If you’re just putting in a bunch of links that you look at the site and you’re just quickly pulling them and the site is a kind of site… you know like I looked at FeedBurner, I was like: “it’s going to be hard to get a link from these.” Even a couple that I’ve put on the list, it’s going to be hard to get a link from them. The most likely links that you’re going to get are individual bloggers, not companies.

That’s the majority the data you want in your spreadsheet. Of course, you still want it to be relevant, you still want them to be as high authority as possible, but the template is only as good as the information that you’re putting into it. That’s very important to remember.

You want to compile a list of at least 100 to 150 contacts, like I said, you can go more. If you get really sick and tired at 50 and you just say: “this is burning me out”, you can go less. But if you want to get a substantial amount of links, if you want to get at least 5 or 10 high-authority links – which there’s a lot to be said for that from this campaign, you probably want to compile at least 100 to 150 contacts.

Let’s take a quick look at this and then we’ll tie off this entire lesson here.

If we come in here, I wanted to show what this would look like if you just copied from the template that I’ve provided.

If we come in here, of course the first thing we need to do here really quickly is we need to come in and finish filling out this spreadsheet because we are missing the first name and email for the contact for a handful of these. We want to complete that really quickly.

You’re not always going to get good results out of this but we can put in the domain that we put in the spreadsheet, so we would just take this over to hunter.io. Again, with hunter.io, I think you get 100 free searches per month. So it’s limited unless you’re paying.

There are several different options here. For the sake of this video, I don’t want to bore you. What would probably be best if you were doing this yourself is to look some of these guys up and figure out who would be the best contact. Because it’s probably not Neil Patel, himself, he’s probably got a team member handling a lot of his content, and marketing efforts, and stuff like that – so that would be the right person to link out to.

hunter.io gives some really cool information here and just shows where they’ve pulled this information from.

I will say, again for the sake of this video and to not bore you, I’m just going to drop in Neil’s here. It looks like Neil’s is probably np@neilpatel.com. It looks like there’s also neil@neilpatel.com (20+ sources), we’ll pull this one instead. We’ll just pull this one over really quick so it’s neil@neilpatel.com.

Same thing with Brian Dean at Backlinko. We’ll just put in backlinko.com. It looks like brian@backlinko.com. Again, I would probably research if I were going to start sending these emails from this spreadsheet. This is just for teaching purposes. I would research who dmarc is. I would find out whether or not that’s the better contact, and I would reach out to him if I needed to.

We’ll come over here and do copy CopyBlogger. I would need to find out which one of these guys is the right contact for CopyBlogger. For now, we’ll just say it’s jerod@copyblogger.com. We would fill in the first name. I’m not going to keep doing these because it’s boring (I know), it’s monotonous (I know), but it’s what you have to do.

Once you you’ve filled out all this information, you have all of the contacts in here and you’ve filled it out fully, you want to save it.

If you’re doing this the free way, you want to open up the template. You’re going to get some notifications. You’ll get different notifications based on what form of Office you’re using, or all different kinds of things.

But you just want to click through the messages. I always get this message, I just click OK. And then it will pop this little dialog up here. This is already preset for you, so you don’t have to adjust anything. You just have to hit OK.

I have 2 messages in here. I have one message, and then another message that’s written to be sent 5 or 7 days later, maybe 3 or 5. You would play around with it, figure out what works for you.

What I’ve done here is I’ve done a mail merge in Microsoft Word that’s tied to that Excel spreadsheet where all the contacts are. If you want to see what this looks like, we can hit preview results and I can go right here. You can see now it reads:

Hello, Neil!

I was researching increasing traffic without SEO about an hour ago, and your article about increasing traffic without SEO was incredibly helpful!

I just wanted to take a minute to say thank you very much for putting it together…

You want to fill out your name here, and you want to fill out your resource here. You would not only do it in this message, but you also would do it if you’re using this free and you’re just copy-pasting over and over again, you would not only do it over here but you would also do it over here because we have the pasted reply over here.

My resource is right over here. 60 Ways to Promote Your Blog. So I’m going to label this 60 Free Ways to Promote Your Blog, and I could change that to website, whatever I wanted to do. Then I would insert the link.

Now this first message is ready to go, it’s all synced up with the mail merge. You’ll notice that these fields change depending on who it is. That’s the idea – is it’s a template.

You could just click through here and you’d say: “okay, this is the email to go to Ian.” So, you would copy, you’d come over to whatever mail client you were using, you’d paste in the message – it’s formatted in a way that it should paste over really, really well. We would pull the email from this spreadsheet. Like I said, it’s tedious, especially if you’re doing it for free.

We would pull the subject, which again is dynamic. This is dynamically updated, it’s part of the template. Pop that in there, and boom! You would just hit send. This is going to me, so I’ll hit send.

That’s it. You would do that over and over and over again.

Again, the better way to do it is definitely using a software to help you out. That takes a lot of this burden out and it will save you, literally, hours upon hours from this process. So it’s worth $20 to $40 a month, depending on who you’re working with, what site you’re working with.

I can’t recommend that highly enough. You can watch the demo here on MailShake’s site to see what they do.

You upload the same spreadsheets, and they’ll say: “okay, where is the name field? Where is the email field?” And you’d upload that spreadsheet, and then you would take this template in to MailShake and this template as well. You would just paste it in there and say: “okay, the article description field, I want it to be placed at this point in the email, here is the column in the spreadsheet”. And you would just match it up to this column in the spreadsheet.

For article topic, you would just match it up to that part of the spreadsheet. You can see them clearly labeled in the template. Article topic is article topic. Article description is in here a couple of times, but it’s article description. Article URL, I actually don’t have in here, but I have that information for reference and in case you wanted to work it in to your own template.

You can just adjust these for what works for you. You can tweak any of this. It’s a really good starting point. I think it gives you a really good head start, and that was my intention.

So, whether you’re doing it manually, which is tedious and time consuming, or you’re paying 20 or 40 bucks a month for the outreach software… and if you’re not using it, like if you’re just doing one round, just subscribe for a month and cancel and then come back a couple of months later when you want to go through this process. It’s not like you need to keep that subscription recurring.

That’s how you do it. That’s how you do that. Hopefully, it’s all really clear in your mind. Once you start doing this, it is totally, totally, totally worth it.

I want to tie off here and conclude this section. You’re probably seeing this and going: “Holy crap! That’s a lot of work!” It seems really tedious it seems really time consuming.

Gathering the information is tedious enough. And then, if you’re not paying for a premium subscription, just send each one of those emails individually. And then a few days later, just send each one of those follow ups individually.

Even just doing 25 of them or 30 of them a day, it gets really tedious and you’ve got to be asking yourself: “Is all of this worth it?!”

The answer to that question is absolutely! This is going to take somewhere between 2 and 4 weeks for you to do all of this. If you’re working 15 or 20 hours a week, it’s understandable that it’s going to take you some time. Set that expectation.

This isn’t something you’re going to knock out in a whole week. Even if you were working 40 hours a week, this might take you towards a full week, if not bleeding into the second week for you to do all of this.

You have to think about the payoff. If you email 100 or 150 people, and even if you only get 4 or 5 really high-authority links, we’re talking about something done in the span of a couple of weeks or a month that would typically take (especially in new website) a year, a year and a half.

I mean, you were cutting out a dramatic part of your growth cycle. It is a very good way to fast track and a way to growth hack authority quicker than you ever would have, otherwise.

The other thing to keep in mind is after you’ve done this link building campaign, and you’ve gotten the links from these guys, don’t forget to go back into that article that now has… it should have a decent amount of authority even if it has only gotten 5, or, 7, or 10 really high-authority backlinks.

Add some internal links to other articles in your site that you want to boost the rankings for because once that page on your site has high-authority, you can then… in the industry, it’s called “passing the link juice”.

It’s got all of this link juice coming to it from high-authority websites, then you want to sprinkle in maybe 2 or 3 links throughout that article to other pages on your site, which will help that link juice, that authority trickle down to those pages as well – which is why internal linking is important.

Don’t forget to do that because it’s the way you get the most ROI out of your efforts here. You may be saying there’s no way I can continue writing 2 or 3 articles per week, or even 1 really high-quality article per week if I’m taking on these efforts too.

Once you’ve gotten your site to the point where it’s established, it doesn’t look bare anymore, it’s totally okay to produce less content and spend more time promoting and getting backlinks like this. It’s still a very effective, I would say an even more effective strategy.

Yes, it’s tedious. Yes, it’s frustrating. Ideally, again, as quickly as possible, you would hand this off to a virtual assistant that’s going to do a lot of the link gathering and stuff like that.

Because at the end of the day, that’s something you can train someone to do really easily. It’s not really what we would consider “skilled labor”. Anyone can go and find these pages with the tools, as long as you teach them how to do it.

You want to get those things off your plate as quickly as possible, so you can focus on the things that only you do and that have really, really high ROI. But it’s okay, in the mean time, to take a step back from creating content to do this.

It may feel slow going at first, but the payoff is huge. Again, you’re getting high-authority links that would take months, if not years to come across otherwise, and you’re spurring that quicker, you’re shortcutting your way to getting those links.

Just like anything else, stick with it. Try it for a while. You’re going to get better over time. You’re probably not going to kill it the first time around, you’re not going to do incredibly well even with the done-for-you templates, but you should see results.

As long as you stick with it, you’ll start to see tremendous results from something like this.

That concludes the Skyscraper technique. Again, there are other backlinking strategies that work very similarly. You could even use the same link magnet that you’ve already created, you would just do research and compile the list of people you want to reach out to, you would also edit the template.

As far as I’m concerned, this is the most powerful link building technique to build really highly relevant and really high-authority backlinks. By far, it’s the most powerful white hat backlinking strategy.

I strongly recommend you leverage it if at all possible. Like I said, I know it can be intimidating, I know it can be tedious, but once you do it one time, or you do it a second time, you’re going to notice: “okay, I’m getting really good at this. I’m settling into a flow”, and the return on investment can be tremendous.

In time, we’ll dig into some of the other methods, but even if this is all you did, as far as building white hat backlinks, it should be enough. This is really, really powerful stuff. I don’t want to belabor the point too much, but I also want to really emphasize how valuable and how powerful this technique is.

If you’re interested in getting results twice as quick, or three times as quickly as you would have if you were just pumping out content non-stop, this is how you do it, this is where you should be focusing your efforts.

That’s that. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to post them to the Facebook group. Thank you so much for being a FIMP supporter. I can’t tell you how much I sincerely appreciate that.

If you have any questions, I’ll keep an eye out for them in the Facebook group, or I’ll just see you in the next training series!

Talk to you soon!

A1.1 Introduction to White-Hat Backlinks

In this video I discuss:

  • What backlinks are and why they’re so important
  • Dispelling backlinks myths
  • Pre-requisites for building white-hat backlinks

Please direct all questions and requests for support to the FIMP Facebook group (free for registered members).


Introduction to White-Hat Backlinks Transcript Below

What’s going on, everyone?

We’re about to dive in to some really cool stuff – if I’m censoring myself.

Today, we’re going to start talking about backlinks – white-hat backlinks, specifically. The kind that aren’t going to damage your website if you have some reservations about that stuff, you’ve heard about that in the past. We’re going to talk about that. We’re going to address it head on.

I don’t want to dilly-dally. I don’t want to dance around. I just want to jump right into it and get straight into the meat and potatoes.

What we’re going to talk about first is what backlinks are. I know it’s basic and a lot of you probably know what they are, but a lot of people start training like this and they go: “what are backlinks?” So, I’m going to do a quick recap.

Backlinks are the most important part of off-page SEO. Off-page search engine optimization – it may be a term you’ve heard of, maybe not.

But when you optimize your meta title, your meta description, how many times you use your keyword throughout your post, all that stuff – that is on-page SEO.

Off-page SEO pretty much always refers to backlinks.

A backlink is when one site, that’s not your own site, links to a page on your site. If you created YouTube link or someone else creates a link from YouTube that links to a page on your website, they have created a backlink to your site.

Basically, a backlink is an off-site link, where someone links from their site or from another site to your site. That’s what a backlink is.

In case there’s any confusion (just in case), a link – when you hear the word link, it’s what you click on the internet and it takes you to another page. I think we all understand that, but you’d be surprised how many times, over the years, I’ve heard that question too.

So, just in case you’re watching, I’m not trying to make anyone feel like dumb, or behind, or anything like that. But it’s really basic stuff and I just want to make sure I cover that.

In search engine optimization, the best place for you to focus your efforts outside of content creation is backlinks. And you have to be careful.

I want to talk really quickly about why you have to be careful. But first I want to dispel some of the backlink myths that if you’ve read stuff over the years, if you’ve digested link information from other sources, you’ve probably heard some mixed signals because it’s kind of a controversial topic in search engine optimization.

Some people say that Google no longer looks at backlinks, backlinks no longer matter, backlinks are dead – total BS! There’s no other way of putting it.

If you’re tuned in to the SEO community, if you’re watching the studies that people are doing, if you’re reading the interviews that Google engineers are providing themselves, every single indication is that Google is still heavily dependent on backlinks. And as I record this training, they anticipate being heavily dependent on backlinks for years to come. So, that’s just total BS.

It’s frustrating every time someone writes me and they say: “oh well, that so-and-so said that backlinks no longer matter, Google doesn’t use backlinks anymore.” That’s their ultimate vision but they still, as far as I know, are very far away from achieving it, and I’m not even sure they’re really certain about how to go about it yet. It’s aggravating to hear that because it’s just not founded in anything that’s factual.

Backlinks will get your website punished – you hear that a lot. If you do it right, they won’t. That’s all there is to it. There are ways to build backlinks that will get you punished. If you build backlinks the old ways, which we’ll talk about later in this section, you will get your website punished. And that’s not something you want.

But if you follow this training very closely, you’re not doing anything wrong, you’re not gaming Google’s algorithm, you’re just essentially getting plugged in to your community really well, there’s no reason for you to get punished when you do that – as long as you stick very closely to this training.

Another thing that you hear a lot is: you’ll get just as many backlinks if you just focus on high-quality content. You will, over time, see traction and get links if you focus on high-quality content.

You can accelerate the process dramatically by shifting, I’d say at least half of your time, once your site’s a little bit established – which, again, I’ll give a clear benchmark on that later.

You can really fast track your website’s success and growth hack your way to authority in half the time, a third of the time, a quarter of the time as if you just focused on content.

So, just focusing on content, I referred to it in the foundational FIMP training as the “post and pray” method. It works, it’s very effective. There’s a lot to be said for just focusing on one thing, doing it really well, keeping your focus there, and just cranking out really high-quality content. It’s very effective, don’t get me wrong.

But if you have the bandwidth and it doesn’t totally mess you up to pursue backlinks as part of your strategy as well, it’s going to get you there a lot quicker. And that’s what I want this advanced training to be. I want this advanced training to be the thing that gets you there faster.

There are some pre-requisites before you begin white-hat linkbuilding – and that’s what this section is going to cover.

A website that doesn’t look “bare”, it has at least 6-8 high-quality articles already – that’s pre-requisite #1. I’m not going to teach that in-depth because all of the training you need to do that is in the foundational core FIMP training that’s available for free.

Once you’ve gotten through that and you’ve produced at least 6, or, 8. or 10 high-quality articles, then you can start shifting your focus to knocking out the things that are in this section.

The reason is: when you start doing this backlink outreach, you don’t want people to come and see a totally bare, unestablished website because it’s going to be hard to get links if that’s what they see.

You need to have a little bit of background… I don’t want to get really into the weeds here. It’s easy to, but I want to give you a foundational understanding of the search engine algorithms – how they’ve changed over the years, and how you can build backlinks now without getting punished, and give you some confidence to know: “hey, this is why Google was punishing people. I’m not building links like that at all, according to the FIMP training.” So there’s no reason you would get punished.

We’ll go over that really quickly, I won’t get in the weeds there.

I also want to talk about the first step in this process after you have an established website is: creating a “link magnet”. You’ve probably heard of a lead magnet – that gets people opt in to your email list. This is similar concept but different application.

A link magnet is a piece of content on your site that is just glorious. It’s, hands down, the best thing anyone has ever seen regarding that topic. We’re going to talk specifically about how to get inspired to do that, how to research that, how to come up with your topic, and how to come up with that. We’re going to have a video on that here.

An understanding of which links you should be going for – we’ll talk about that in detail as well because it’s important. Not all links are created equal, that’s a very important thing. You could get that tattooed on your forearm and it would probably not be a totally bad thing. All links are not created equal.

We’re going to talk about the links that you want, the types of link that you should be pursuing and where you can find them, how to compile that list of people that you want linking to you, and then, how to reach out to them.

I’m providing all of that as part of your advanced membership because that’s, I think, the best thing I could do to set you up for success.

A lot of people struggle with writing templates like that. Over the years, I’ve kind of gotten a knack for it.

If you want to write your own email templates, it just comes down to it shouldn’t look like an email template, it should look like a real message. And so, the template I’m providing will, and that will give you a rock solid outreach strategy. It’s just very, very straightforward from there.

The final two points that I just discussed: which links you should be going for (how to compile sites) and rock solid outreach strategy and template – those are going to change depending on the types of links you’re going for.

So, you’re going to need a different template, obviously. You’re going to be reaching out to different websites and choosing different pages depending on whether you’re using the Skyscraper technique, which is something that I learned from Bryan Dean of Backlinko.com – has a lot of really good resources on white-hat linkbuilding. I’m not sure if he’s the one that started it or if he’s even the one that coins Skyscraper technique, but that’s where I learned it and, I think, he’s the one most famous for it. That’s what we’re going to start with.

If you’re going for broken linkbuilding, which is where you’re looking for pages on the internet that have broken links, and you’re trying to email them and say: “hey, you got some broken links here, I think that my resource would go really well on there if you want to swap them out.”

If you’re just looking for resource pages, pages that have link after link after link after link for any given topic.

Who your emailing, your templates, stuff are going to change depending on what your objective is, as far as your backlinks you’re building. But we’re going to start with the Skyscraper technique and then, in time, we’ll get into the others.

I say we’ll start with the Skyscraper technique because it is, by far, the most effective and just really, really powerful, really potent. I think it’s where we’re going to see you best return on investment, as far as the time you put in, by far, especially with the template that I’m providing you.

With all that being said, that’s the introduction.

Welcome to linkbuilding! We’re going to get deep, we’re going to go through it quickly. I want to try to get through this efficiently and respect your time, but also make sure that it’s really thorough and doesn’t leave any gaps.

As always, if you have any questions, feel free to write them down, post them in the Facebook group. I’ll see you there, and I’ll see you in the next lesson.