The SEO Project

The “Shoulder Niche” Approach

Joshua HardwickJoshua Hardwick

“[A “Shoulder Niche” is] a niche that is closely related to your sites main topic. “

— Brian Dean (Backlinko)

If you’re struggling to get links from those in your industry – which can often happen if many of them see themselves as your competitors – it’s worth exploring a “shoulder niche” for content outreach.

For example, here’s the example Brian himself gives: if you were in the “pest control” niche, these would be a few possible shoulder niches:

pest-control-backlinko

Note: Here’s a great case study of this exact example from Brian Dean and Mike Bonadio (it’s well worth a read).

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Brainstorm shoulder niches
  2. Incorporate them into your content outreach

Brainstorming shoulder niches is pretty straightforward; simply sit down and create a mind-map of other similar industries/niches that may be interested in your content.

Here’s what one might look like if I was trying to build links to my list of link building techniques (sorry Brian, stole lovingly-borrowed your image):

link-building-shoulder-niches

It’s then just a case of finding bloggers in your chosen shoulder niches and reaching out to them (note: you can use a tool like Followerwonk to find bloggers).

Here’s a basic outreach template to use:

“Hello [NAME],

I’m [YOUR NAME], [POSITION] at [WEBSITE].

I really enjoyed your article about [INSERT SHOULDER NICHE RELATED SUBJECT]; I’ve never heard of [MENTION SOMETHING FROM THE ARTICLE] before.

I just wanted to reach out to you as I’ve just put-together an article entitled: [INSERT TITLE] that I thought might interest you.

Fancy taking a look?

[YOUR NAME]”

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