Skyscraper Technique is DEAD: If You Want Authority Links, Do This Instead

Yep, I said it.

Brian Dean’s “Skyscraper Technique” is dead. If you want to build powerful, authority backlinks in 2020, The Skyscraper Technique won’t help you. Nobody wants to respond to the same outreach template that offers zero value.

On the other hand, my cold email link outreach strategy has consistently received a response rate of above 20% for both myself and my clients. More importantly, it’s helped me secure links from authority websites time and time again.

Creating content that’s better than anything else in your industry is a great idea, but promoting it with spammy outreach emails isn’t going to land you authority links. The only thing it’s going to land you is a ton of emails in the trash can.

Although Brian Dean is a genius marketer, his old and outdated link building tactic from 2015 doesn’t work 5 years later. Aside from everyone and their mother using this tactic, The Skyscraper Technique doesn’t provide any value to your outreach recipients, which is why 99% of your outreach emails go in the trash.

Great outreach emails — those that not only get opened, but actually gets responses — are all about the recipient, not you.

In this post, I’m going to explain why The Skyscraper Technique doesn’t work anymore, and I’m going to show you the strategy that’s helped me secure links from authority blogs using my Relationship First Approach to Link Building. 

The Problem with The Skyscraper Technique

If you own a website, you’ve probably received dozens of emails like this:

Hey {name},

Love your blog! Just came across {blog name} while searching on Google and found your post titled {insert random post name here}. Good stuff!

I noticed you linked to a guide about {irrelevant topic}. I actually just wrote a longer, better version of that same guide. Would you mind checking it out? It might make a good fit for your readers, and you may even want to consider replacing the link to my content.

Either way, keep up the good work! Thanks!


I like having my emails end up in the trash can

Notice how your eyes glaze over this email as you’re thinking “I want to press delete”?

Yeah, me too. That’s why I changed my agency’s outreach approach entirely.

Here are the problems with this outreach template:

  1. Not personalized – this email is totally generic and obviously sent to 100 other people at once
  2. No value – the recipient has nothing to gain from this email
  3. Overused – this is the same email everyone else is sending

Anyone who owns a big website doesn’t have the time to do this, and quite frankly, probably doesn’t care about your “new, better resource” in the first place.

Moreover, they receive tons of these emails all the time, and ignore every single one of them. You won’t stand out from the crowd if you copy what everyone else is doing.

Sure, this strategy may score you a few links here and there, but they won’t be from any authoritative blogs. Anyone who’d actually take the time to make the switch probably runs a small blog, meaning a link won’t be worth much anyway.

You can cast a huge net and hope to score a few links from mediocre websites, or send targeted, personalized outreach emails that are packed full of value to the owners of authority blogs in your niche.

And even if you only get one backlink with this technique, it’ll be worth way more than a bunch of links from low-quality websites.

Stop Using a “Me First” Approach to Link Building

You need to make your outreach emails all about your target, not all about you.

Here’s why:

Most people care more about a pimple on their forehead more than a tsunami across the world.

Of course, a natural disaster is terrible and of course, we don’t want bad things to happen to good people. But we hear about disaster so much, we’ve become numb to it.

When you check the news and hear about another terrible story, you say “wow, that’s horrible” and move on with your day.

When you wake up with a pimple, on the other hand, it sucks. You have to walk around with it on your face for everyone to see. It’s embarrassing. Nobody likes having a pimple on their forehead.

People are self-conscious because they don’t want others to judge them poorly — but the ironic thing is everyone is too busy worrying about themselves and their own problems to care about a pimple on your face!

Once you understand that people care more about themselves than anything else, you’re in good shape.

That said, if you want to get a response from someone — that is, if you want them to like you — you have to make it all about them.

When you send a Skyscraper outreach email, your recipient will treat it like another disaster on the news — they’ll ignore it since it’s nothing out of the ordinary.

On the other hand, when you send an outreach email all about the recipient, they’ll treat it like a pimple on their forehead. Since it’s all about them, they’ll actually pay attention and take action.

Play to their ego and make them feel good with a nice, genuine compliment. Let them know about a problem they’re having, and position yourself as the solution. This works even if they didn’t know about the problem beforehand!

When you make it about them, you get results. When you make it about you, well, you get nothing.

Build Relationships, Not Links

Here’s my number one piece of advice for you:

Don’t build links. Build relationships.

A lot of authority blog owners get dozens of pitches a day for guest posts, broken links, etc.

All of the traditional link building tactics don’t work when it comes to authority blogger outreach.

Most link building agencies and gurus on the web use bad email outreach templates that look similar to the example above.

Instead, send an outreach email that’s highly personalized and hand-crafted for your recipient.

Make sure you:

  • Give them a real, genuine compliment
  • Let them know about a problem they’re having, or something they’re missing out on
  • Offer them help (a solution)

If your outreach email contains the three elements above, you’ll see a dramatically higher response rate. Don’t ask for anything from them in the initial email, only offer value. 

This way, you’ll build a relationship with the blog owner which you can leverage later on. When you do someone a favor, especially one that wasn’t asked of you, they’ll feel indebted to you.

Relationship First Outreach Email Examples

Here’s an outreach email I sent that helped me land a guest post on an authority website with links from Brian Dean, Neil Patel, Ahrefs, Moz, Search Engine Land, and more:

Hey {name},
Enjoyed reading about your experience getting 15,861 visits in 30 days. Your breakdowns are specific and your technical process/results backs up your statement of being the best in the game.
Emailing you because I noticed a few technical issues with your website that are slowing it down. Love what you do so happy to send over some tips for free 🙂
Mind if I send over a few suggestions?
Thanks for your time {name},
{email signature}

The result?

A guest post with a link for not only myself, but my client as well. I also got featured on a huge website which was nice, too! The guy even gave me access to his WordPress account so I could post it for him.

That’s some serious trust given to a guy sending a cold email. (Yeah, it was just an author account, but still.)

When you send outreach emails that are all about the recipient and not about yourself, you’re going to get WAY more responses. That’s a fact. And if you try to use the same technique as everyone else who’s desperate for links, you’re not going to get jack squat.

Rather than trying to build a link in the first email, instead try to build a relationship and offer value first.

Trust me, the links will come later.

My agency offers managed search engine marketing services and authority link outreach services. We specialize in building relationships with blog owners at scale. Hopefully you can use this tactic to your benefit in your next link outreach campaign!

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