Citation Labs Valentine's Day CampaignAt Citation Labs, we believe in the link-building power of newsletters, and we also believe in holiday-focused outreach. Never did we think these two beliefs could converge in such a powerful way, but they did and the results led to a bit of a fairy-tale ending…for us anyway.

Where We Started

Like many great fairy tales this one begins in troubling times. We had identified what we felt was a gem of a link-building opportunity–newsletters. We had prospected and performed outreach within verticals where we had had previous success with publishers, everything from small business to mental health. But our newsletter results were mediocre at best. And in fact, along the way we learned a few reasons why newsletters might not be the most viable link-building prospects:

  • Newsletter publishers were often not familiar with including hyperlinked content. In some cases, we spent time showing them how to add our links. In others, they simply chose not to.
  • Many online newsletter publishers use external sites such as to distribute their newsletters rather than publishing on their own domains.
  • Newsletters have stricter publishing calendars than websites/blogs. If you miss their newsletter publishing deadline for a given month, quarter, etc., the content you’ve pitched may no longer be relevant when it’s time for their next issue.

But for us, these trials and tribulations weren’t deal breakers. We just couldn’t quit newsletters. And then along came Valentine’s Day.

An Unexpected Match: Valentine’s Day + Single Parents

We’ve outreached around holidays in the past. But primarily we’ve focused on that time of year known as “the holidays.” That way, we’d have a crudely defined, but defined none the less, span of time in which we could produce content and see that content go up. That range gave us some wiggle room because if, for example, a piece of content about avoiding family conflicts during holiday meals didn’t go up before Thanksgiving, then it would still be relevant for placement after Thanksgiving because it was about “the holidays” and “the holidays” never seem to end.

But when you aim to outreach and link build around a one-day holiday, you could end up in a bit of a pickle. You might spend time producing content that never gets placed. So, you’re out a link or two and you’re stuck with that content until the holiday rolls around the next year. For this reason, we had largely avoided one-offers like Valentine’s Day and the Fourth of July.

However, this year we had some bright, shiny single parent publisher prospects. And we thought to ourselves, what would these world weary single parents love to hear about? You guessed it…Valentine’s Day.

Our pitch to these single parents was simple: We offered to write content for them with advice on how to enjoy Valentine’s Day when you’re flying solo or spending the day with your children.

Our response rate was 1 out of 26, and we built 26 links through this outreach. The placement rate was on par with what we regularly see with our non-newsletter publisher outreach, but was double the number of placements we’d seen with other newsletter outreach.

While these results were exciting for us, we couldn’t definitively know what the real element of success was. Are single parent newsletter publishers simply more open to receiving content than newsletter publishers in other verticals? Was it the Valentine’s Day/holiday focus that led to these better results? We’ll be doing more outreach and testing to find out what the success driving element is, but our Valentine’s Day outreach showed us that there are definitely signs of life in newsletter link building.

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1 thought on “Heart-Shaped Surprise: How a Valentine’s Day Link-Building Campaign Helped Us Break Into Newsletters”

  1. Thanks for the post Lindsay. I think the success rate of the campaign was a combination of both the single parent newsletter publishers/Valentine’s day. I could be wrong but it seems like that’s the only explanation there. I would be looking further to your updates on new testings.


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