15 Everyday Phrases that Make Your Outreach Read Like a Joke

Stupid outreach phrases

There are endless ways to get links.

OK, I may be exagerrating a little. Then again, the creativity of SEOs is a well known fact. Devalue one method and the industry will quickly come up with another, equally or even more scalable at that.

Many of those share one thing in common though – the need to outreach. It doesn’t matter if you promote content or use any other linkable asset, you need to gain attention of the very people who can promote it and link to it. Email seems to be the most obvious tool for that.

Yet, outreach is becoming increasingly difficult to do. Not only because webmasters are more aware of it now. The bar for the outreach email has gone up too.

The days of sending mass emails, templated to the bone are long gone. So are the times when you could write whatever you wanted and still get your way.

These days your email has to show your competence, strike a cord with your prosepct and, the most difficult part, get them to like you, trust you and then, if you are lucky, believe you.

It feels almost like selling. You are reaching to someone out of the blue, trying to establish rapport in a single sentence to convince them to agree to what you suggest.

And your words might be failing you miserably. Unknowingly or not, phrases or words you are accustomed to in everyday use might instantly be putting your recipients off.

But fear not, we have prepared a list of the most common ones so that you won’t use them again…hopefully.

Phrases That Make You Look Dumb

Can I ask you a question

Starting with the obvious, what else would you ask than a question? The word is redundant.

Beyond that though, that’s a redundant phrase altogether. Most people use it to soften the blow of what they are going to ask about but in reality, it only creates more anxiety about what the question will be.

Remove it from your email and ask your question directly, i.e. “why would you choose XYZ over other solutions” instead of “Can I ask you a question, what would make you choose …”.

Free gift

Well, who doesn’t like free stuff. Sometimes however, you can get too obssessed with announcing it. Used in phrases like “please accept this free gift”, “I wanted to leave you with a free gift” the phrase is supposed to highlight your generosity.

But here’s the catch – a gift is always free. Full stop.

Added bonus

Similarly to the example above, who doesn’t like to get something extra on top of everything else they are getting. The problem with this phrase however is that bonus is already added and using the two once again makes you sound as if you were pushing too hard.


Apparently we live in the times of epic. Posts, videos, ads and whatnot are epic. This word seems to have been adapted as a synonim to useful or memorable but with extra hype added. It doesn’t add anything to your email though. And certainly doesn’t send the right message, especially when you refer to your own content as epic. Use memorable or useful instead, tone your message down and it will bring a much better effect.


Another overhyped word. Sure, you might think of your linkable assets as something new but there is a very little chance that it is innovative. If it is though, back your claim up. Otherwise you are bragging and no one likes that.

Going forward

Going forward is supposed to mean “in the future” and is often used to indicate a next action to be taken by both parties. Urban Dictionary however offers a more accurate definition:

A phrase that business people use to mean someone completely fucked up big time BUT we don’t want to dwell on who’s fault it was

I guess that should be enough to put you off using it, no?


A bit obvious one, isn’t it? Don’t call someone who you have never met before, let alone are friends with, a friend. It will put him or her off doing any business with you at a speed of light.

Phrases That Kill Sales

What Do You Think?

This phrase is used to gain some form of response from the recipient, preferrably an agreement. To most prospects this phrase indicates a push for an answer where there might not be one. In fact, if you send a strong pitch in your outreach, asking it wouldn’t be necessary.

This Will Be Beneficial To Us Both

Another redundant phrase aimed at highlighting that what you are suggesting is going to work well for both parties. In reality, this is something your outreach recipient should know straight away after reading your email. If you have to state that, it means your pitch is wrong.

I Think Your Readers Will…

No you don’t. And most of the time you can’t back up this claim.

I Came Across Your Blog…

Building rapport is a crucial element of any outreach. After all, people are more likely to believe you if you are not a complete stranger. Therefore showing that you have something in common, a common friend, connection, are members of the same organization or anything else is crucial to your success.

The fact that you came across the persons blog on Google sends an opposite message. It only tells them that you have no clue who they are, and that you don’t care. Fail.

It Will Cost You Nothing

Really? How about the persons reputation online? Money is not the only cost we endure online and this line clearly states that you don’t understand it.

Bonus: 3 Phrases That Make Your Follow Up Look Even Dumber

It is rare to get a reply after the first email you reach out to someone. You know very well that you need to follow up and perhaps even provide further points to help them make up their mind or just carry on building rapport.

A follow up is your chance to show your recipient that you are serious about what you are proposing. But you can also get it wrong, very wrong. In the opening sentence.

Most people will start their follow up with one of those three ones:

Just checking in to see…
I wanted to follow up and see if you got…
Did you get a chance to read…

These phrases tell your recipient that you are in a rush to get what you want but pay no attention to the most important fact – what’s in it for them.

Want to fix this? Follow up by re-emphasizing the value of what you are proposing, share additional ideas on what you two could do and continue to educate them about your proposition.

Your Turn

What other phrases you think should never find their way to an outreach email? Share them with us in the comments.

Attribution license photo by Karen OD / Flickr (image not modified)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *