Cold Email: My #1 Secret to Get a Response Every Time

Cold email tips

The Number One Secret to Perfect Outreach

Getting featured on a big site sure isn’t easy. Hell, it’s tough enough these days to get a mention on a tiny, insignificant mommy blog without paying an extortionate fee. [/dig]

Sometimes, even your old boss will completely ignore your outreach attempt.

But wouldn’t it be great if you had the secret to give yourself the best possible chance of landing your content on Mashable, Engadget or the The NY Times?

Jackpot! It’s your lucky day. I’ve got the secrets* for you that will provide the platform for your content to flourish.

Before I start, I’m assuming you have some knowledge of outreach; what it is and what it entails. If you don’t then welcome to 2014, I hope you’re ready to evolve from your ancient ways.

*Widely available techniques that you could read elsewhere but instead you’re going to give me a chance because I’m a cool guy, right? Let’s face it; it’s more boring elsewhere anyway.

**You know what, you seem nice. Do you come here often?


Enough of the small talk

Look, there was a time when an email that started with a bit of complimentary small talk was acceptable. You know the type…

“Hey, I just stumbled across your website and I really loved your post about [most boring subject ever]. It was fascinating so I shared it on my Facebook!”

Unless you are working within a high quality SEO company in the Far East, make sure you banish this technique to the deepest, darkest depths of Satan’s bedroom.

Do you have any idea how many people randomly stumble upon these authors’ posts each day? The reason they’re writing for a big site is because they’re evidently quite smart, so don’t treat them like they’re stupid.


How to become a stalker

Create a reasonably-sized outreach list (50+ websites). Take the most reputable/highest Domain Authority (DA) websites out and focus on these. These are the sorts of sites which will have quite a few writers who you will be able to stalk almost to the extent of following them home after work each night.

It’s important to remember the things you won’t need when stalking purely for outreach; binoculars, camera, trench coat, cunning disguise. However, grab your shovel because you’re going to need to do some digging.

Take the highest ranked website on your list and find a post or category on the site that is in a similar vein to the content you’re outreaching for. It doesn’t have to be an exact match, but something within the right ballpark. If you’ve just read a review of the new Hunger Games film then you probably shouldn’t be stalking them with the plan to share your post about gardening tips, ya dig?

Once you’ve found a suitable post, find the author of it. Chances are these are going to be a regular contributor to the site at the very minimum, but you’re still going to need to take a look at their post history. Do they write regularly enough for the site? Good.

The next step you need to take is to find out their status with the website. Are they hired by the website, or are they a guest writer/contributor? If they are an employee, they’re likely to have an @domain email address. If they aren’t hired by the website, have a browse on Google; freelance people commonly have their own website.

Put their first and last name, along with the domain name most likely to be associated with this person, into Voila Norbert and see if it can find ’em – it usually can.

Do you feel weird yet? Creepy maybe? You need to learn to get used to this feeling, my friend. Do you think real life stalkers are concerned about their behaviour?

Once you’ve got the email address of the person you’re contacting you need to do a few more bits of essential stalking, ensuring to be extra weird. Skim read a couple more posts of theirs, look over their author bio, see if they write for any other websites you’re a fan of, browse their social media profiles – can you smell them yet? – make a note of some of their interests; seriously, this is one of the best tips I could give you.

Remember, you are absolutely not looking to get yourself arrested during this process so please FOR THE LOVE OF GOD stop spying on them through their windows.

Man with binoculars

Make their interests your priority

I know I touched upon this briefly earlier in the post, but do you have any idea how many unsolicited emails these people get every single day? They get a lot. An absolute f@!* load. How many of these do they delete within 10-15 seconds of reading? Upwards of 90%, without a shadow of a doubt.

If you can find out their interests and mention them within the opening lines of your outreach email, you’re immediately standing out from the majority of people that contact them each day.

Contrary to what you’ve read back in 2010 and to what most people will be telling you online, you don’t even have to be nice to them. Stop with the fake niceties because people can see right through it – “I noticed you love rabbits, I love rabbits too! I love rabbits so much that I wish I had a thousand of them all cuddled up to me every night”…you get the point.


I delete your emails, they’ll delete yours too

I actually have a YouTube channel out there somewhere which has racked up a few million views. I get emails all the time telling me how great my videos are from people that want stuff reviewing. This would be all well and good; if they were telling the truth.

My videos are shit. I knew when I was making them that they were shit, I knew when I posted them that they were shit, and I still know it now. However, they earn me a little bit of money and have done since I launched them so I don’t see it as a problem; I’m pretty much anonymous on there anyway.

Back to the point, why are these companies telling me my videos are great? I’d rather they be honest and just say “I just watched some of your videos and to be honest they sucked, but as you could get me some decent exposure I’d quite like a review doing.” It’s not the nicest thing they could come out with but at least I’d know they genuinely watched them and therefore I’d be much more likely to reply.

Showing someone that you’ve gone the extra mile to find out specific details about them – for some unknown reason – doesn’t appear massively creepy online. I literally have no idea why, because some of the things I’ve came out with in the past are questionable to say the least, although I’m yet to be a pervert. Still, there’s plenty of time for that.

I’ve mocked the favourite sports team of an author before and got featured on a big site with content that wasn’t out of the ordinary. You don’t have to be nice, just be unique. As funny as it would be for me to tell you to do this, I’d probably shy away from personal insults.


But does this even work?

One thing you’re going to have to account for when doing this is the extra time you’ll be dedicating to researching your victim. You’re probably looking at 2-3 minutes per site that you plan on contacting, rather than just firing off a mass email to them all.

However, what you can do is find less sites to contact because – as long as your content isn’t terrible, racist or both – they’re going to be more likely to share it.

When you consider the size of the websites your contacting, if you manage to get featured by them then you’re going to pick up more referral traffic, a powerful backlink (and likely more as a result of other sites noticing it) and you’ll instantly appear 40% more attractive to the opposite sex.

Sometimes, you’re going to fail with this. If this is the case then it’s highly likely you would have also failed without putting the extra work in. So what, you’ve lost a bit of time on this occasion.

Think of the bigger picture; one backlink from a huge site can be the catalyst for future success.


In conclusion

1) Stand out from other outreachers by being excessively creepy.

2) Win backlinks.

3) Get mad rich and bed the girl of your dreams.


Flickr Creative Commons images via i k o & gerlos

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About Luke Jordan
I craft posts to help you get more traffic - both through SEO & through the quality of your content. Founder of Intergeek, influencer of the future, idiot of the present. My Google+


  1. Awesome post, first i even saw on the site and aready made a comment, that is something i never do.
    Keep it up o/

  2. I know your Reddit username and I did a reverse ip lookup to see other websites under your server… nice work, until next time.

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