Email Anatomy: How To Get Top Tier Links

17 September 2019

Posted in: BSEO

We all aim to get top tier links and coverage from our campaigns, but we don’t always succeed. Alex Cassidy, Head of Outreach at Verve Search, has had years of experience working across a range of brands and achieving links from top tier publications. In his talk, Alex gives us his top tips for a perfect outreach email to use when pitching for top tier links.


Speaker: Alex Cassidy
Company: Verve Search
Position: Head of Outreach
Twitter handle: @alexcass91

What was the talk about?

Alex spoke about how to construct the perfect outreach email in order to get opens, responses and, eventually, coverage. It’s a common misconception that in order to achieve links in top tier publication outlets you have to have a relationship or connection with someone from that outlet, but 90% of emails that were sent in the last year from Verve search were sent to journalists with whom they had no prior relationship.

In order to create a successful outreach email, Alex has come up with the acronym ‘SLLAM’.


  • The first thing that journos see
  • Don’t mislead in your subject line
  • Don’t try and be too clever
  • Don’t be rude
  • Can you replicate the tone of the publication in your message?
  • Have you got a stat you can use?
  • Can you ask a question in the subject line?


  • Explain the campaign in one or two sentences
  • Short summary
  • Get to the point
  • Don’t bury your story
  • Don’t be overly flattering


  • Don’t be afraid to ask for one!
  • Put the link in the body of the email
  • Contact thanking for the coverage and ask for a link


  • Signpost angles and provide a story
  • Give as much data as possible


  • Provide quote and have more ready to go
  • Provide a question and answer with your expert


  • Gives balance to your story
  • Always provide an expert opinion, this gives more weight for coverage

Favourite quote

“Writing is hard, writing something short is harder”

Potential impact on the industry

Writing outreach emails to these journalists can be seen as an art, cutting down content so that it’s short enough to fit in an email but is still interesting and digestible is difficult.

Alex has taught us to focus on the details of our outreach emails, sticking to the story and data, ensuring we can summerise our campaign in a sentence or two. Sticking to the SLLAM technique, journalists should start receiving higher quality pitches and in turn, start linking out to more of our content.

Key takeaways

  1. Don’t be scared! Everyone gets told no sometimes.
  2. Always have multiple quotes ready for when a journalist requests them
  3. Get straight to the point, don’t bury your story
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