Updates: New screenshots and relevant links added; outdated advice and obsoleted tools removed.
Blogger outreach is an essential aspect of content marketing that will bring your brand exposure and quality back links for search engine optimization (SEO).
However, it is a tedious and time-consuming process that will face you with a ton of rejections.
Just think about it, as an established blogger, you’ve probably received hordes of emails asking you to write, review, or share something on your blog.
And where do most of these emails go? That’s right – the trash.
Still, blogger outreach is a must-have component of your online marketing strategy.
Pro players like Brian Dean use it to build their authority, extend their online reach, and earn the status of thought-leader by distributing content through different channels.
Blogger outreach also mobilizes your link-building efforts since it is a surefire way of gaining links from authoritative sources. Take note that, in modern SEO, link-building is the key to being discovered and indexed in search engines. It also helps determine the relevance of any website in a particular niche or industry.
Most importantly, blogger outreach will help you leverage the credibility of the linking site. According to studies, 77% of internet users read blogs and 61% of consumers in the U.S. actually made a purchase after reading recommendations on a blog.
If you manage to earn a link from a blog that people trust, then there’s a good chance they’ll trust your content as well.
Outreaching Blogger the Right Way
Now that you understand the importance of blogger outreach, the next challenge is to devise a strategy that will minimize rejections and ensure you get the most value out of your links.
Without further ado, below are the essential steps you need to take for an effective blogger outreach strategy:
Step 1: Specify Your Goals
Any endeavor is impossible to scale and extremely difficult to accomplish if you don’t have a list of goals.
In blogger outreach, it typically boils down to building your reputation, generating more leads, and increasing sales.
But if you want to set goals effectively, you need to make them more specific.
For example, your goal can be to bring more traffic to your product or landing page. To do this, you can reach out to authoritative influencers and ask them to share your content through social media. But if you want to reach page one of Google’s search results, then you should ask for a link from one of their posts – preferably something relevant to the content you’re trying promote.
On the other hand, asking for a guest post will help you gain more traffic, rank higher in search engines, and earn some of the online community’s trust. You will, however, need to invest more in content development for this.
Learning the differences between a share, link, or guest post is all there is to this step. But it will help you stay focused throughout your blogger outreach campaign.
Ideally, you should strive to gain shares, links, and guest posts to make the most out of your outreaching effort.
Step 2. Look for Influencers
Targeting the right influencers is one of the keys to a successful blogger outreach campaign.
As mentioned in Pankaj Narang's Twitter influencers guide:
You can only find the right influencers for your brand, if you know your target audience. That is why, the very first thing you need to do to kick start your influencer marketing campaign (or as a matter of fact any marketing campaign) is to define your audience.
So here are a few tactics you can use to identify the right influencers.
First, you should create a simple spreadsheet using a tool like Google Sheets. Label the top columns with the name, email address, URL, status, and notes. You can change the terms as you like, as long as you fill the same information.
Now that you have your spreadsheet ready, it’s time to look for influencers. One of the best tools for this step is BuzzSumo – a content research tool that helps you find the top-shared content on the internet.
Buzzsumo is one of my favorite tools for content research. Depending on your goals, you can search for key terms or the most popular articles on a particular website. Once the results come back, you’ll be able to see the social network it performed the best on and the people who shared it.
Daniel Ndukwu, 21 link building tools
Simply key in any topic or domain address on the search bar and hit the go button.
Take a look at the results and gather the necessary information to fill your spreadsheet. The blogger’s name and URL can be directly obtained from the results. For the email address, visit the listed and website and go to the “Contact” page or anything similar. To obtain more results, try to modify the filters to the left.
About the first step, you can note which influencers are for shares, links, and guest posts. Feel free to play with the app and use formatting options such as cell colors to help organize your list.
Remember that one of the known traits of influencers is that they’re easy to find. A simple Google search should help you find a number of them. To quicken your search, look specifically for blog roundups using the keywords “top,” “bloggers,” and “blogs.”
The result should look something like this:
If your specific goal is to generate more shares, you need to make sure that your target influencers have substantial social reach. To measure this, just check out their social media profiles and look at their follower count.
Otherwise, you can use a tool like Followerwonk to specifically look for people in your niche with a large following.
Step 3: Reach Out in a Personal Way
Now that you have identified your key influencers, the next step is to reach out to them in a personal and friendly way. Unfortunately, a lot of marketers fail to do this by using mass-produced, pre-made templates.
Take note that key influencers deserve something more than generic-looking emails. Besides, they probably receive a dozen requests every day. The last thing you need is your email address in their spam list.
If you want to be taken seriously by influencers, you need an email outreach strategy that centers on relationship-building. You need to approach them as a friend – someone who wants to form a close and mutually-beneficial working relationship.
However, influencers can be a little picky on who they want to be affiliated with. Before they choose to work with you, you must first offer them something valuable in return. One strategy is to check an existing content for a broken link. This can be done using a tool like BrokenLinkCheck.com.
You can also prove your good intentions by putting their advice to the test. Once you have actual results, you can tell them about your experience through a blog comment, social media, or an email.
When it comes to writing the actual email, remember to be straightforward, genuine, and patient. You should craft every email personally and tailor the message to the influencer you’re reaching out to. Sincerity is crucial, so you shouldn’t try to make things up. For example, don’t tell a blogger you’re a huge fan if you’re not even subscribed to their email list.
Note – It's always good to setup a custom email account when reaching out. Not only it reflects the identity of your blog, but it also helps establish trust with other influencers.
Step 4: Use the Skyscraper Technique
In the case of guest posting and social media sharing, the value is packaged as the content you want to share.
Since these influencers have a reputation to uphold, they want first dibs on the best content available on the internet. That’s why there’s no better way to offer value than to provide them with high quality, updated, and well-researched content.
A great strategy to use is the Skyscraper technique, which is popularized by Brian Dean. It works in three steps:
1. Look for popular, link-worthy content.
Just like when looking for influencers, you can look for great content using BuzzSumo or performing a Google search.
2. Rewrite it into something more thorough.
It must have more detailed instructions and updated information. In other words, the new content must have more meat.You can also spice it up with different content formats such as infographics and videos.
3. Promote it to key influencers.
Try the bloggers who linked to the original content you “borrowed” your idea from. Since they only want to provide the best information to their readers, they should be more than willing to link to your repackaged content.
To check for influencers who linked to the original content, you can use a simple tool like Ahrefs.com. It’s not free, but it can provide you with a complete list of domains that linked to the content.
In one of his case studies, the Skyscraper technique successfully helped increase Brian Dean’s search traffic by 110% in just two weeks. This feat was accomplished with an acceptance rate of 11% over 160 emails. It may not look much, but it’s far more efficient than your average blogger outreach campaign.
Step 4: Track Your Progress
Without tracking your goals, it’s difficult to tell if your strategy is working or not. It will also cause you to miss out on opportunities to improve.
At this point, it is important to go deep into details and identify key performance indicators (KPIs). For example, if your aim is to generate more traffic with your content, use a tool like Google Analytics and check where your visitors are coming from.
There are also other tangible KPIs you should look at depending on your goal. For example, if your goal is to generate social media shares, also look at the level of engagement the post receives such as the number of comments, likes, and re-shares.
From an SEO standpoint, the end results of blogger outreach can be measured by looking at two things – the domain authority (DA) metric and your backlink profile. The DA is affected by the authority of links. To measure both, you can use a tool like Open Site Explorer by Moz.
Launching your Blogger Outreach Campaign
Regardless if you are an experienced or a new blogger, you should have a clear direction for your blogger outreach campaign by now. Starting a blog is easy, but growing it is a different story. Networking with established bloggers and influencers provide a faster way to put your brand out there and reach your goals – so be sure to try strategies I mentioned above.