Totally agree. Some industries are hackneyed and some are not. Fortunately I'm in an industry where it is more of a novelty to receive a request for a link. I'm guessing the guys at the top of the ranks in whatever industry are still going to receive more requests.
If the content is valuable enough and sells itself - just the fact that you are drawing 'awareness' to the right person at the right time could be enough to trigger a positive response. Even if that means a very simple email - highlighting your value proposition... and site content for example "Advice on" "Common problems" "Myths dispelled"
Unfortunately as with any awareness campaign - it requires numbers. I am currently manually hand picking prospects and segmenting them in Excel - by how I will approach them: phone prospects/ email prospects/ forums and recording the source: how I found the link. Always interesting to see if a pattern emerges with what types of sites go for what types of pages.