How to Earn Your First Link From A Major Blogger (or Major Media Outlet)

by Derek Halpern · 24 comments

All it takes is one link from a top blog or social media influencer, and you’re set…

That one link can flood your website with thousands of leads, and if you’re lucky customers.

Question is how can you get just that one link?

Keep reading.

The Drafting Technique

What I call “the drafting technique” is the most effective way to land your first link from a major media outlet, blog, or social media influencer.

Sound hard to believe?

I’ll explain.

Before I tell you about the technique, first let me tell you all about drafting.

When you’re racing at high speeds, like with cars or cycling, there’s wind resistance that slows you down.

However, you can eliminate that resistance by drafting, which is a fancy word for aligning in formation behind the person ahead of you.

Hows that work?

You see, the person in front breaks the wind resistance, and the people behind him can maintain their speed while expending less energy because they take advantage of the “slipstream.”

Makes sense, right?


How Drafting Helps You Score More Links

Like with racing, top bloggers also have a slipstream, or better yet, a “link slipstream.”

What’s a “link slipstream?”

Well, there’s two types of link requests. First, you can ask a blogger to link to something they’ve never linked to before.

As you might have guessed, that’s a hard-sell because there’s a lot of friction in convincing them to link.

Or, the much better option is to ask a top blogger to link to something they have a history of linking to.

In other words, instead of leading the pack and breaking the friction, you slip in behind the leader—every other link—and take advantage of a frictionless environment.

Two Examples of the Drafting Technique

Nothing sells a story like a good example, so I’ve got two of them:

Example #1:

Let’s say you want me to link your blog from DIYthemes. How can you pull it off?

Well, as you know, I often run link round up articles where I feature Thesis designs, Thesis tutorials, and other helpful articles for bloggers.

(As an example, check this out).

What’s the best way to get included in that roundup?

Write something worth linking to and tell me about it.

(Naturally you should make it Thesis related, since this is the Thesis blog, after all).

You’re not guaranteed a link, but if it’s a fit, why wouldn’t I share it?


Example #2

Now let’s say you want my blog Social Triggers to link you. What would you do?

First, you’d have to figure out my “link slipstream.”

After careful analysis, you’d realize that Social Triggers often links to psychology studies because my site focuses on teaching entrepreneurs how to use psychology to score leads and sales.

So, if you wanted to hop into my “link slipstream,” how would you do it?

If you thought about writing an article that quotes some new research I have never heard of, that would be a sure-fire way to get my attention.

Or if you didn’t want to write the article, sending me an email with a link to the research is another way to get my attention.

(That’s PERFECT because you’d make my life 100x easier. And why wouldn’t I want to reward that?)

But the question remains…

How Do You Grab The Attention In The First Place?

You’ve got three options, and each of these options works splendidly.

Remember, you’re drafting. You’re asking top bloggers to link things they already have a history of linking to. There’s no friction.

So, here’s how you reach out to them:

1. Give them credit in the blog post

If you want a blogger to link you, the best way to do that is to link them first.

Look—I won’t lie to you. When you link a top blogger, there’s no guarantee that they’ll link you back.

However, when everyone else is begging them on Twitter, a link helps you stand out from everyone else.

Plus, a link is sort of like a gift… and people feel the need to reciprocate gifts. It’s human nature.

One more thing: there’s an incoming link section in the WordPress dashboard. Chances are they’ll see your blog post there if you link them. Added benefit :-).

2. Email the blogger directly

This is the most under-used tactic for getting attention because people assume it doesn’t work.


This remains one of the best ways to get in touch with people… as long as you do it right.

Remember, you’re drafting. So, when you’re emailing someone, you’re emailing them exactly what they want.

How do you word that email?

Say something like this:

Hey Name,

I know you wrote about this [insert topic here] on this date [insert date here].

Given that, I think you’ll find this [insert topic here] interesting. [insert link].

Let me know what you think.

[insert your name here]

And now… the final step.

3. Send them an @ reply on Twitter

This is the least effective way to get a blogger’s attention, but if you’re using Twitter, as is the blogger, it’s worth a shot…

…And if you time it right, you’re golden.

Here’s what you’ll want to do:

Wait until you know the person is active on Twitter.

How do you know this?

Wait until you see them tweet something.

And then you can simply send them an @ reply shortly thereafter.

What do you say?

“I saw you wrote about [topic], and I think you’ll like this [link]”

You shouldn’t use that template word for word, but you get the idea.

Bonus Tip!

If you really want to grab someones attention, this is what you need to do:

Step 1: Write a blog post that cites some new information. Make sure you’re drafting behind a link with no friction.

Step 2: Find the blogger that you’d like to get attention from, and link them in that blog post.

Step 3: Email that blogger and tell them about your new article that you think they’ll like. Note: DO NOT ask for a link.

Step 4: When you see that blogger on Twitter, tell them that you just sent them an email with something they may be interested in.

And bam.

You’re done.

Now go get your links.

About the Author: Derek Halpern ran marketing at DIYthemes, and is the founder of Social Triggers. To get more tips on how to be confident, sign up to his list here.

If you enjoyed this article, enter your email below to get free updates!


Erik v/d Ven

Thank you for the useful tips! I will definitely try them. I think those tips a far more usefull then writing blogposts on other websites with links to your own, in my opinion.


This is invaluable information for someone who is about to start a blog, Derek. I’ve been sitting on the fence for too long and I’m finally ready to let the fun begin to launch it in five days…at last!

I love how willing you are to share your content-rich posts with us fortunate readers so that we can learn from your expertise (and even more importantly, apply what you teach). Thank you. I particularly enjoyed the visual of the slipstream.

Phil Turner

This actually looks very do-able. The Bonus Tip on its own makes it worthwhile subscribing to these blog updates. Thanks


Thanks Derek for your wisdom. I will use that with my next blog.

Be Awesome!

Dave Collins

Gday and thank you Derek 🙂

I think I just realised why I am getting inundated with requests to post guest articles…….. they are slip streaming me!!!!!! They are much smarter than I had given them credit for! On that, I have often wondered if posting guest articles was a good idea???? – I know there is mutual benefit in that I get content and they get a link. I only publish quality articles but is it doing my site more harm than good? BTW, I’ve set a up a quite few blogs for friends lately and, having tried heaps of free and not so free themes, Thesis is the only one I will ever use – Thanks heaps


Love this post Derek. I’m definitely going to implement it this week. After all, if our information can help someone with their project or goal then it’s imperative we reach out to as many people as possible 🙂


Thanks for this. I’ve been afraid to approach bigger blogs but will give it a go.

Tarun Gehani

Hi Derek,

This is a good, proven strategy and you highhlight some important points: I think most significant is keeping it simple. Most bloggers, I’m sure, have enough emails to sift through – the shorter and more concise your message, the more likely they are to read it (and therefore take action).

This had worked for me in getting some influencial bloggers to tweet out my articles, and I’ll try your strategy in hopes of getting some links.



Interesting, there is no replacement for quality content, that with uniqueness will mostly get you the link.

Rob @ Atlanta Real Estate

Good stuff and get ready for a swarm of requests, all following your format suggs. Ha ha!


This gave me an instant MarioKart visual. You know when you’re driving immediately behind another character, and suddenly you see those greenish whooshing lines? Slipstream, baby!

Great post, Derek. 🙂

Debra Torres

Hi Derek,
Maybe I missed it, but I’m still not sure how they would make the connection that I want them to link to my info if I don’t ask. Just trying to cover all my bases here. Is it an offense to ask now?

Ellie@Fit for the Soul

haha, well I guess it does feel a bit awkward for some people 😛

Jonathan Smith

Awesome tips from an AWESOME blogger.

Jonathan Smith


Great post as always Derek!

The only thing I have to add is to give some basic insight about the article you want a link to in the subject of your email.

When I receive emails with a subject of ‘Link Request’ I often delete it, as the majority of those emails are from spammers and sites completely unrelated to Themespotter (which has a specific focus of WordPress business themes).

Sergio Felix

Well I saw a friend’s blog who wrote about two blog posts highly focused on what Pat Flynn was doing over at his blog.

Not only I believe he got at least one link to his site -from Pat- but also got Pat himself to reply on the comments thread at my friend’s blog and then interacted on twitter as well.

So yeah, this definitely works. Nice way of doing it though, loved the “non-invasive” approach for contacting big bloggers and excellent example on the law of reciprocity.

Loved the article Derek, thanks!


Robert David Strong

Hey Derek,

What great ideas, I have been really testing/tweaking and playing with my Thesis theme that I recently set up and have used this site for a lot of guidance. There are a few different plugins that make the Thesis theme rock even more for ME….may not be for everyone but I love it.

There are a great deal of people that have a hard time with Thesis because of how many different customizations that can be done, but like anything else, going in and playing will get you familiar with the settings.

I should really make some “Keep It Simple Stupid” videos for people on the different settings and plugins I use with Thesis.

Thank you for the great post ! This site is my latest bookmarked site! I greatly appreciate the info! Rock On!

Ruan | HighTechNovation

Hi Derek,

I have been using the “drafting technique” for quite some time now since I made the discovery of it on Social Triggers quite some time ago. And…the results of course are beyond expectations.

Gosh, I am busy with an interview with Bamidele Onibalusi right now (will be my very first YouTube production after being inspired by Pat Flynn) and well, guess what? The post will surely contain a link back to him and the best part is, HE himself have asked me to send him the link once it’s up. My good guess is, he’ll go have a look and well, even if I have to say so myself, I’m sure he’ll link to it after seeing the quality.

I have just done the same thing on Twitter using Twitterfeed! I went and added my favourite blogs in my Twitterfeed account. Now for those that don’t know what it is…

You can add any amount of RSS feeds into your account and then as soon as the feed is updated, it tweets the post to your followers automatically! How cool is that! A feature I like best is you can add default prefixes and suffixes to your tweet, and of course I used the twitter handle of the person who’s content that is. So they’ll be “notified” as soon as a new tweet gets tweeted.

Pretty cool huh?

Thanks man, keep rocking!


Agree that these are the very awesome tips and are highly effective… would love to learn if you can provide a backlink..?. :::::)::::::

Great tips Derek…time to put them into action. Action beats inaction as they say!

Arafin Shaon

I think your idea 1 make sense but it doesn’t mean didn’t like your other ideas but overall good tips as@Neil said “its time to put them into action” 🙂
Tnx 4 the tips


Thank you for the great tips, Derek.

Can you give me a link from Thesis Blog?

😀 Just kidding.

I mean how about asking a link through a comment?

I occasionally get few comments on one of my blogs asking for links and I find them most irritating.

Justin Caron

Great article Derek, concise and to the point, I like that.

Another way I`ve found to be useful in getting people`s attention (and build links) is to comment on blogs that are related to your website. And when I say comment, I mean add some value to the article, being insightful, not just that generic crap most people post.

When notice you are consistently commenting on their articles they start to notice your name, and I`ve found that to be a very good first contact. You`re adding legitimate value to their posts and you aren`t asking for anything in return(yet) 🙂

Klixindia Classifieds

Step 1 and 3 are major role players to get link on major sites. Step 2 isn’t work due to most of people ignore such mails