How Not To Suck At Blogger Outreach
As a marketer, you're not publishing content just for the sake of it. You obviously want to rank high in the search engines so you can bring in more visitors to your website every month, am I right?
Social media mavens and bloggers are today's dominant tastemakers, which is why it's more important than ever to learn how to employ such key influencers to enhance your marketing efforts.
What Is Blogger Outreach and How Does It Work?
Blogger outreach (also referred to as blogger relations), is the process of working with bloggers to develop genuine, authentic content that promotes your business, products, or services.
In other words, it’s all about putting your content or your product in front of relevant bloggers, journalists, social media authorities, etc. in your industry by sending them each a personalized email.
The main objective of this practice is to get those people with large audiences to talk about your business or products and link back to your site.
The question on most people's minds at this point is: How is that any different from spam?
Good blogger outreach involves giving real value to targeted prospects with the expectation of getting some positive return.
Spam, on the other hand, involves trying to extract whatever value someone can from massive lists of random recipients – oftentimes by tricking people into it.
To do blogger outreach the right way, you should always start with WIIFT: 'What's in it For Them?'
Answering this question will help you find great reasons as to why that person should care about whatever you are sending them. If you can answer this question in a compelling way each time you do outreach, then your outreach ROI is going to go through the roof.
The sad truth is that a lot of people delete outreach emails without even reading them, but you will be able to solve that problem if you have an irresistible reason why they should read yours.
Vetting Outreach Prospects
When doing blogger outreach, they are essentially 3 groups of prospects that are eligible, and these are:
Bloggers who've written articles on that same topic
Those who've linked to articles on that topic
The main thing to keep in mind during your vetting process is to try and identify if your content is actually going to add any value to what that the prospect has already written, linked to, or tweeted.
You need to clearly articulate this in the email you send if you hope to get that person's attention.
Just keep in mind that with the amount of content that is constantly being churned out by people all over the web, if you really want anyone to pay attention to yours then it has to be Outstanding! Controversial! Disruptive! - whatever, it just can’t be ordinary.
Asking people to link to your article just because it's similar, new, bigger, longer, or has more images is a lousy blogger outreach excuse. No one cares about any of that.
They care about UNIQUE articles.
Here are a few examples of good blogger outreach reasons:
My article takes a different stance/opinion on that matter.
These are just examples of some of the reasons that you can use for reaching out to different people, and you can see how it would be hard for someone to ignore such an outreach email.
The bottom line is that any good reason will do, but if you can't find one, then don't reach out it all.
When vetting prospects, make sure that you don't bug the same person too often.
I’ll bet even you would be annoyed if you received dozens of emails every week regardless of how perfectly relevant and well crafted they were.
There are a lot of free and paid professional outreach tools online, such as Ninja Outreach and BuzzSumo that you can use that will let you view your conversation history between you and your prospects so that you avoid becoming too intrusive.
How to Create Your List of Blogger Outreach Prospects
Getting back to the groups of people outlined above, let's look at how you can find each of them with ease:
Bloggers who've written articles on that same topic
This is an easy one.
All you need to do is plug some keywords that are related to your article’s topic into Google then make a list of the articles appearing in the results. You can also use Google's ‘Tools’ functionality at the top of the page to help you focus more on fresh content.
However, in making your list, copy/pasting dozens of URLs from the search results pages can prove to be quite tedious.
A better plan would be to use tools such as the Content Explorer from Ahrefs which allows you to easily export your list along with a lot of other useful features to help you narrow the list down.
On your list, you may find websites that have already linked to you, but as a general rule, you should try to earn back-links from those sites that haven't linked to yours before. So if your list is too long, then you might want to remove the sites that have already linked to you at least once.
The reason for this is that a link from a new site will bring you more value than one from a site that's already linked to you.
Bloggers who've linked to articles on that topic
Collecting prospects from the second group of bloggers will require the use of a back-link tool.
There are many of these to choose from on the market, including SEO PowerSuite, LinkResearchTools, and MonitorBacklinks, among others. But for the sake of keeping things simple, we'll just continue working with Ahrefs, from our earlier example.
In fact, Ahrefs is one of the most popular back-link tools on the market today. They have made things a lot easier for marketers through the integration of back-link data into their Content Explorer.
To identify the articles in your list which have the highest number of back-links, simply set 'Referring Domains' to show you only those articles that have two or more sites linking to them. You can then sort the results by the number of referring domains from high to low.
Now it's just a matter of placing each article’s URL into your Website Explorer to gain an in-depth look at your back-link profile so you can determine if there are any opportunities for outreach there.
Although this seems like an extremely tedious process in the beginning, once you gain a bit of experience, you will get good at quickly and easily identifying outreach prospects that are the most promising simply by looking at the linking page title as well as the text surrounding the link.
You will grow adept at being able to spot opportunities at a glance, but it does take a bit of practice.
Bloggers who've tweeted articles on that topic
This third group of people is also the least effective when it comes to getting results from your blogger outreach. The people who simply tweeted articles on related or similar topics usually tweet out way more content than they actually link to or publish.
In addition to that, a lot of people just don't read the things they tweet!
However, it doesn't mean you should ignore these prospects altogether. It just means that you need to cherry-pick carefully and reach out only to the best prospects. You also need to invest quite a bit of time into personalizing your outreach.
To find people that tweeted certain pieces of content, simply conduct a Twitter search of the content URL and Twitter will show you, by default, the top tweets.
This is extremely convenient when it comes to prospecting for outreach opportunities. You can also click on the tab labeled ‘Latest’ if you want to see everything they have.
How to Automate Blogger Outreach
The three lists of prospects mentioned above are representative of existing opportunities for blogger outreach.
However, there are new opportunities coming up all the time and you need to be able to take advantage of them too if you want to make your efforts as successful as possible.
There's a lot of new content that gets published each and every day. As a marketer, you need to keep a finger on the pulse of your particular topic so that you can reach out immediately whenever new opportunities arise.
Here’s how you do that:
1. Get alerts for mentions of any relevant keywords
Many marketers and SEOs have been using Google Alerts and other similar tools for years.
All you need to do is input a few keywords that are related to your content into an alerts tool of your choice (there's quite a lot of free ones to choose from online). You will then be notified any time someone mentions those keywords online.
You will have to decide if it's worth reaching out to the article author so you can show them your content depending on the context of that particular keyword mention.
2. New links to articles relevant to your topic
Any article that is ranked number one on Google gets a consistent flow of new back-links. This happens because oftentimes people simply settle for whatever the first result is in Google, and they rarely bother to do additional research.
If they need to reference a particular resource on that specific topic, the top ranking article gets yet another link, which helps it to stay on top. It's a vicious SEO circle.
You can use this to your advantage by monitoring any new links received by that top-ranking result.
For an article that you would like to keep an eye on, just enter its URL into a back-link alerts tool such as Ahrefs Alerts, and you'll receive an email notification when it gets a new link.
Timing Is Key
One of the best things you can do to make your blogger outreach activities as effective as possible is to not spend a lot of time sifting through old prospects, but rather to work with 'new' outreach prospects.
For instance, if someone wrote, linked to, or tweeted something over a year ago, it's possible that they might not be interested in the same topic today.
Because of that, even the most sophisticated outreach email might smell a bit spammy just because the timing wasn't right.
However, as soon as you notice a brand-new opportunity in your inbox, you will want to react very quickly while the topic is fresh in the author's mind. This is the time when most authors will be open to discussion.
Of course, that's not to say that you should completely ignore older prospects, just be picky about who you decide to contact and be ruthless when filtering out those prospects that do not look promising.
Like all other online marketers, you are obviously in this game for the links and exposure.
However, if you make these your only outreach objectives, you will likely annoy a lot of bloggers and influencers with your impudence. That's why it's never a good idea to ask people for links, tweets, etc. directly.
Your sole goal here is to make that person develop a genuine interest in your piece of content so they read it all the way through. If you can achieve that goal, chances are high that the person will then decide to reference or share your content without you even having to request it.
And if your outreach doesn't work out, at least you won't ruin your relationship with that outreach prospect by being pushy and aggressive.
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Updated: Originally published June 14th 2019