Blogger Outreach: An Effective Strategy to Getting What You Want
Whether you want traffic to your blog posts, traffic to your offers, or simply want to network and build relationships with experts and influential people, blogger outreach can help you with that.
How? By tapping into your targets' audiences.
If you're interested in learning more, you're in the right place. Here's what I'm about to show you:
Let's get started.
What is Blogger Outreach?
Basically, blogger outreach is the process of helping out influencers and then reaching out to see if they could do the same.
For B2C companies, blogger outreach is a whole different program. They use it to attract new leads and customers with the help of influential bloggers.
Us, bloggers, we use it to mainly grow our brands and blogs.
Take me for instance. If I were doing blogger outreach right now, I'd be targeting bloggers with a larger reach/audience than me, help them out, and then reach out to try and get them to hook me up.
Please note that blogger outreach is like making new friends. It takes some time. But when you get there, you can become so tight that they'll do anything for you.
What Blogger Outreach Can Do For You
As I mentioned earlier, there are a lot of benefits to successful outreach. You can:
All you have to do is choose what you want achieve and go out and get your outreach on.
Why Most Blogger Outreach Campaigns FAIL
There are many mistakes you could make that can cost you your whole blogger outreach campaign.
Being too pushy.
Asking too early.
These are all the most common reasons why most bloggers fail outreach.
Email templates might have been the thing back when bloggers weren't doing outreach that often.
Today, influencers will spot an email template from a mile away. And you know...they'll hit the trash button and your email will be gone forever. Leaving you with a bad first impression and no chance of ever becoming tight with the people you've reached out to.
The same goes for not personalizing your email.
"Hey man...." "Dear Sir/Madam..." "To whomever it may concern..."
9 times out of 10, your email will go straight to the trash bin if you don't use their first name. I'm serious.
Bloggers and influencers are busy people. They're not going to waste their precious time on someone who hasn't taken the time to learn their first name.
I mean, would you?
If you're too pushy, you can expect zero replies from your outreach campaign. Same thing if you ask for something right away.
Nobody likes pushy people.
And certainly, no influencer is going to hook you up without knowing who you are. Or, if you haven't helped them with something.
How to Do Blogger Outreach
Our 7-step blogger outreach strategy at a glance:
Alright...Ready to get sh*t done? Then let's do this!
Disclaimer: Not everyone you reach out to will reply to you. Even if you follow up a dozen times. If this happens, simply move on from them. There are more people out there.
Step #1: Have an Endgame
This step is simple. You'll need to figure out what you want from your outreach efforts. Your goal.
Is it a social media share to your article gain some exposure? A backlink to improve your search rankings? A guest post on their site (or perhaps them on yours).
Or maybe, you just want to network and become friends with the pros?
Another good reason you'd get into blogger outreach is if you have a product, both digital or physical, and you want to get it out there. You could ask influencers to review it and/or promote it to their audiences.
But whatever it is you want out of your outreach campaign, write it down.
A share from an influencer with a large social media following can get you some traffic.
A backlink can get you better search rankings.
A guest post can get you targeted traffic, email subscribers, a quality backlink, and even some authority.
You know, you could even get it all. How? By building relationships with these influential bloggers and marketers. People are much more likely to say yes when a friend asks them for favours. It's natural.
Step #2: Make Your "Hit-list"
Now that you know what you want, it's time to make your list of influential people.
To do this, you will first need to open up a word doc. Preferably an Excel sheet or Google spreadsheet.
You can copy the one in the screenshot above. It will only take you 2 seconds to make.
Now, depending on your goal, you'll have to carefully choose the people you want on your outreach list.
If your goal is to get shares for your epic post, you'll want influencers who have large numbers of social media followers.
If your goal is to build links, you'll want websites with decent Domain Authority (DA).
If your goal is to get guest posts, you'll want blogs that accept contributors and have a pretty decent readership.
If your goal is to get participants for an expert roundup, then you'll want people who really experts on your roundup's topic. For instance, for roundup on how to get more Twitter followers, you'll want people with thousands of followers. You know what I mean?
But if you want to just build relationships, you'll simply want people who are either on the rise, or people who are already considered pros and have great audiences.
How do you find these type of people?
It's actually not that hard. They're practically everywhere.
You can start with searching for blogger roundups, like this one - 101 Top Blogs That Will Help You Become a Better Blogging
You can find these types of posts via Google search. Here are few search terms you can use:
Here's an example. I Googled "top marketing blogs" and came up with these:
Another way to find influencers is with Buzzsumo.
Simply head over to their homepage and enter a topic or keyword. You don't have to be specific here. Just make sure it's relevant to the people you are trying to find.
Next, click on the Influencers link on the top menu and hit search again.
You can filter your search if you want. If you do, the only one I'd filter out is "Regular People" since they wouldn't really be interested in what you are doing.
When you're done, the tool will give you a list of influencers on Twitter.
Now, let me show you how to choose people for your list based on your goal (endgame).
> Goal = Shares
If your goal is to get shares, you'll want influencers who have a good-sized and engaged following. A couple thousand is alright. But like with everything, the bigger the better.
To find out if their social media posts get some engagement (likes and comments), simply go to their recent posts and look.
If they do get a lot of engagement, great. You can have a good chance at getting re-shares and click-throughs from them.
> Goal = Links
If your goal is to get links, you'll have to target blogs with a good Domain Authority (DA).
Domain Authority is a metric by Moz that measures the likelihood of a website obtaining high search rankings. It is scored from 1 to 100. The higher the score, the more likely it is for the website to rank high in the SERPs.
A good Domain Authority is usually anything above 25 or 30. But of course, the higher the DA, the better the quality of the backlink.
To find a website's DA you can use Moz's Link Explorer. It's a premium tool. But they're offering a 30-day free trial right now.
You can also use Small SEO Tools' DA Checker. It allows you up to 50 seaches at once.
> Goal = Guest Post
If your goal is to land a guest post, then you'll want bloggers who have accepted guests in the past.
You can find this out by browsing their blog page.
> Goal = Expert Roundup
If your goal is to get participants for an expert roundup, you'll have to choose the experts that are really experts in your roundup topic.
For example, if you're topic is "coming up with the best guest post pitch", then you'll want bloggers who have a nice guest posting track record.
You can find these guys by visiting some of blogs you found in the "top industry blogs" posts and check if they've featured contributors.
I found Basic Blog Tips in one of those "top blogs" posts.
So, I checked it out. Browsed around. And I saw that they do feature guest bloggers. A lot, actually.
You can also find blogs that accept guest posts through Google search with the "write for us" search strings.
Then check them out to see if they've had expert guest bloggers.
> Goal = Relationship Building
If your goal is to simply build relationships, you can choose to reach out to almost anyone. Well, particularly, bloggers on the rise and established experts.
You can find these guys everywhere...
And remember, the 2 major things you need are their names and email addresses.
When you have your hit list put together, it'll look something like this:
Step #3: Pre-Outreach: Get on Their Radar
As soon as you have your list of bloggers and influencers, you'll need to get on their radar.
They will more likely open and read your emails if they know or at least recognize you.
You can call this the pre-outreach stage.
So how do you get on people's radars?
I'll show you 4 easy methods...
Method #1 - Share Their Content
Head over to their blog, pick a post that interests you and then share it on Twitter. But make sure you include the "via @user" so that they'll see it in their notifications.
The only way to share it on other social networks is if you're friends or a follower.
So, if you don't use Twitter, go to the one you do use, find their accounts, follow them or befriend them, and then share + tag.
Method #2 - Connect With Them on Social Media
Follow them. Like their posts. Re-share.
The best way to connect with them is by asking them for help and advice through chat.
Method #3 - Comment on Their Posts
Blog commenting is one of the best ways to getting an influencer's attention.
But it can't just be any old "hey guy, great post. It really helped me a lot. Cheers!"
You won't stand out that way.
You'll have to leave a comment that gives them a compliment, adds value to the post or discussion, and gives the blogger some sort of help (like a tweet).
Method #4 - Subscribe and Reply
Subscribe to their email list. Everybody likes new subscribers.
And when you receive their welcome email, hit reply and send them something. This can be a compliment, a question, or a friendly greeting and introduction.
Step #4: Get to Know Them: Who are They?
At least a little bit.
People are more likely to hook you up if they see you've taken your time and got to know them and their business/blogs.
How exactly are you supposed to get to know them without looking like a stalker?
I'll tell you...
#1: Read Their About Page
Some bloggers will tell their story on their about page. Or even a small section where they share random facts about themselves.
This is gold for you and your outreach strategy.
You can mention one of these in your outreach email. And if you can relate to it, it'll be that more meaningful.
You can also pretend, you know. If you have a good imagination.
#2: Read Their Social Media Profiles
Like in the about pages, some bloggers share personal facts on their social profiles.
Again, if you can relate to them, you have a better chance at making the connection.
#3: Read Their Content...Everywhere
Some people like short and sweet blog posts. They don't write more than a few hundred words.
While others, perhaps most, love long content that goes into insane detail. I'm talking 2000+ words.
Also, take note of the type of content they frequently publish. Are they case studies, infographics, ultimate guides, list posts, etc.
But whatever they're into, you can write something like, "I know you're into long, detailed case studies, so here's one I know you'll love..."
Step #5: Make Them Like You: Do a Favour
Now it's time for some more fun.
Step 5 of this blogger outreach strategy is all about helping the blogger out.
So what exactly can you do to help them?
#1. Link Out to Their Content
This is one the best tactics to getting on an influencer's good-side. So...
Browse around their site and look for a post that is relevant to one of your posts, upcoming or published.
When you find it, add it to your post.
And, this is crucial, let them know about it.
You can do this via email...
Or even Twitter...
#2. Be Active...
Share and comment on every new post they publish.
Subscribe to their email list. Most bloggers and influencers send their subscribers an email every time they publish a new post.
#3. Use Their Advice
Another awesome way to get on their good-side is to take action on what they teach.
For example, let's say an influencer wrote a guide on how to score your first guest post.
You read it. Take action. And eventually, land a guest post on a blog with a medium/large following.
You would then let him know about it via email or social media.
BAM. Now he likes you. Relationship started.
Other Ways to Help Them Out...
Now just keep doing this for a little bit.
And after about 3 or 4 times you help him and he notices or thanks you, you can move onto the next step.
Step #6: The Ask: Get What You Want
Let's take a quick look at what you've achieved so far:
Now it's time to ask them for help. Reach out.
So open up your email and follow these:
i. No BULK
Do NOT send email in bulk. In other words, email each of your bloggers and influencers one at a time.
ii. DO NOT Use Email Templates
These bloggers and influencers get a ton of emails everyday. They can spot a template from a mile away.
Sure, templates were great in 2014/15. But we've just overused them, you know.
Yeah, you can look at them for inspiration. Just don't use them, ok?
iii. Personalize Every Email
No one likes a "Dear Sir/Madam" or a stupid "To whomever it may concern" at the top of their email. 9 times out of 10, they go straight to the trash bin.
Good thing for you, you learned all your influencers' first names in step 1.
You also found out what they're really into in step 4. That's good. Mention it in your emails.
And they'll see that you've taken the time to learn about him. This can make him feel like an ass if he doesn't reply. *wink*
Another personalization tactic is using their first name in the subject line. Try it.
iv. DO NOT Send Them a LONG Email
Keeping your emails short is a good way to get them read. No more than a hundred words.
v. Always Add Value
If your goal is something other than feedback or a relationship, then adding value is a must. If you don't, you won't achieve your goal.
If your goal is to get a backlink, then your post will have to have something better than the rest. This can be a certain tool that hasn't been mentioned, an extra step that no one knows, or even a better formatted/designed post.
You've helped them out a lot. They know who you are.
So now it's time you get some of their help.
And make sure you're not telling them, either. It's got to be a question.
If your goal is to get a share... "Can you share my latest blog post?..."
If your goal is to get links... "Would you include my guide as a resource on your post?..."
If your goal is to get expert roundup participants... "Would you like to participate in a roundup?..."
But, if your goal is to build relationships, you can either skip this step until you're ready OR ask him for feedback on your site/content.
Pro Tip: If your promoting your content, use the 2-step email outreach technique for greater results.
i. Ask them if they want to see your content.
Look at the line above my name.
Notice I did not add the link to my content straight up?
(If and) when they give you the OK, send them the link and you're done.
Simple, right? Try it.
Step #7: Stay Connected: Keep Networking
After you've got what you wanted from your blogger outreach, it's best to keep the ball rolling.
In fact, it's an absolute must. If you're nowhere to be found, after you've gotten what you wanted, you will look like a dick and end up with a bad reputation.
Stay connected with the blogger. Keep building that relationship. Help each other.
You can do this by repeating steps 5 and 6.
Also, make sure that it's easy for them to learn more about you. A link to your about page in your email signature will work just fine.
Wrapping it up...
Blogger outreach is one of, if not the best growth tactic you could ever use.
Doing it right, however, can be quite difficult. There are many mistakes you can make that can cost your whole outreach campaign.
But with the step-by-step guide I showed you above, you'll be a blogger outreach master in no time.
So let's wrap things up with a quick overview...
If you have any questions, leave it in the comments below. And don't forget to share this with your friends and followers. Maybe they need help too.