Building relationships are the key to a successful marketing strategy. A content marketer’s ability to connect with key influencers in their industry plays a vital role in online success. This is where blogger outreach comes in. It refers to the process of reaching out to site owners and bloggers to find a common point of interest, exploit it and build relationships. It is a cost-effective way of reaching out to prospects with more readership.
Blogger outreach can be done online or offline at events and conferences. Whatever the case, a good strategy and approach are crucial to succeeding. It is how some blogs seem to emerge out of nowhere, even when your content is as good as theirs or better. Blogger outreach requires more than just emailing random site owners to let them know you exist. And while some learning is required to master the skill, you will find yourself with following once you do.
- More email subscribers and fans
- Increased social shares of any article you publish
- More inbound links from other websites in your niche
Blogger outreach is often associated with link building, but it has more uses. Other reasons to invest in this service include:
Otherwise known as a sponsored post, this involves reaching out to bloggers who review products for their readers. The idea is to ask them to review your product and share it with their audience. In exchange, you give them a product for free. The products could be anything i.e. fashion, beauty, health, and fitness, etc.
Broken link building:
If you come across broken links on resource pages on a site you want to get links from, you can reach out to the website owners to see if you can correct them. This sometimes offers higher success rates than other approaches.
Reach out to bloggers who accept guest contributors and pitch to write a post on their website. That way, you can tap into their audience and grow your online visibility.
If you have come across someone who shares the same ideas as you do, feel free to reach out to them and offer some value. You can comment on something they are working on. The idea is to build trust with that individual.
You can invite influential bloggers in your industry to contribute to an article or appear on a podcast.
The question that remains is how to tap into the unlimited potential of blogger outreach and drive a profitable outcome. The crucial steps to take are:
- Prospect and identify influential bloggers
- Find email addresses
- Send outreach email
- Track and follow up outreach emails
- Grow the relationship
Step 1: Prospect and Identify Influential Bloggers
One of the most important steps in outreach is prospecting because it involves finding high-value influencers in your industry to pitch to. Even with exceptionally high abilities and standards, everything falls apart if you target the wrong sites. There are different ways to identify and build a list of relevant influencers. Our favorites include:
· Advanced search queries
These will guide you towards richer results because they push the search engine to provide more relevant results. Anyone who is serious about blogger outreach and link building needs more focused results to find better blogs to connect with. Google’s Power Search Course teaches you to use advanced search queries to find what you need.
In-url search: Filters results of sites with preferred term or domain extension.
Exact phrase search: It is the most popular and filters results with the exact phrase you are looking for.
In-title search: It helps you find search results of sites with your preferred keyword in their title.
Other ways to optimize results with advanced search queries include blog author search and wildcard search.
· Influencer search engines
There are numerous influencer search engines that you can use to your advantage.
This tool allows you to find key influencers in your industry based on social media shares across the major platforms. It is designed for content marketers and allows you to filter results in the form of articles, blogs, infographics, interviews, guest posts, interviews, giveaways, and videos. You can filter influences by categories like companies, bloggers, journalists, influencers and regular people.
This is a Twitter-focused search engine that searches through Twitter profiles and helps users identify best targets for blogger outreach. It finds Twitter bios to connect with, compares them to find overlaps and target new influencers, analyzes your followers, and compares their relationships with your friends or competitors. The tool also optimizes the results by matching your activities to gains and losses in followers.
· Curated lists
There are thousands of done-for-you resources available online and it’s up to you to find them. It’s however important to make sure that the websites you decide to get in touch with have high domain authority. Consider the fact that the sites may not have published anything in a long time or are updated frequently. Using search queries like “Top Marketing Blogs,” “List of Finance Blogs” and site: twitter.com inurl: lists “health bloggers” will get you good results.
· Twitter outreach
Like Google, Twitter has its own search engine and you can visit it at search.twitter.com. It is a powerful tool to identify and connect with influencers. The results are generated in real time and like any other search engine, advanced queries are of paramount importance.
Step 2: Pre-Outreach
Now that you are armed with a list of quality and relevant prospects, the next step to warm them up to your presence. The idea is to build a relationship before sending a cold outreach email. This step includes things like commenting on blog posts, tagging prospects in your social media posts, following them on social media, replying to shared content, sharing the content they post as well as targeting them with brand awareness campaigns.
Pre-outreach efforts help make cold emails sound warm, thus increasing chances of success. Visit the influencer’s blog and comment on a post that best relates to the content you’ve already written or are working on. Mention something you found interesting about the article. Don’t forget to share the post on social media and tag the writer.
The author may not interact with your shared post or comment back, but that is okay. This stage is called pre-outreach for a good reason. The idea is to engage with the influencer’s content and let them know that you exist. It is about building a relationship, not just a transactional promotion.
Step 3: Find the Email Address
A frustrating part of blogger outreach is sending out hundreds of emails without a reply. Even when faced with a rejection email, you can use the opportunity to inquire why they aren’t interested in your proposal. You can build relationships out of rejection, but this proves more challenging when prospects don’t reply at all. It leaves one wondering what they did wrong or what you should have done differently.
One thing you can do to improve your odds is to find the right persons to reach out to. While it is very basic, it is something many content marketers overlook. Finding out the right person to reach out to is just as important as reaching out in the first place. It is not enough to use the site’s contact page and submit a pasted pitch. Take the time to find the right person to contact.
In addition to the blog editor, you should consider identifying writers who cover preferred topics at that website. Many of them have personal websites where their email addresses are open to the public. If their email address is not easily accessible, reaching them through their site’s contact form is more effective than pitching to a larger media outlet where you don’t know who checks the mail.
There are multiple tools that will come handy when finding email addresses of influencers. For instance, Hunter pulls the names of anyone associated with a website along with their email addresses. It also has an email verifier tool that excels where others have failed. It can be installed as a Chrome extension that builds your list as you browse.
Another tool that comes handy is called Clearbit Connect. It integrates with your Gmail account and allows you to check out a company from within your inbox. Clearbit creates a list of people complete with details like name, website, title, email, social media links, etc.
Step 4: Send Outreach Email
Now that you have warmed up to the influencer and found their email address, it is time to move in for the kill. Crafting a good cold outreach email is an art. And whether you get a positive or negative response, it’s important you treat the feedback as an opportunity. That said, there are a few things you should keep in mind at this stage. Understand that with a higher blogger level comes more outreach emails from content marketers like you. Influencers are busy people and as such, your emails should stand out from the rest. Personalization is the most effective way of setting yourself apart from the competition. The key is to use the influencer’s name and tell them why you are getting in touch. Mention that you’ve interacted before and explained why your content is important to their readers.
There is no such thing as a perfect outreach email that will land you every guest post. Some sites receive so many pitches that they post guidelines, so make sure you adhere to them in this case. Each influencer is unique and it’s crucial you familiarize with them enough to strike their psychological triggers.
I’ve been following your blog for the past year and I’ve learned a lot.
Thank you for (specific compliment).It struck me that your readers might benefit from a post about (topic).
I’d love to provide this information to your audience. This idea came to me because (talk about personal struggles or connection with that topic). Here are some potential Titles for this topic:[2-3 GOOD HEADLINES FOR YOUR POST]You might not be interested in having this on your site, and that’s ok!I’d still love to hear any thoughts you have on this topic either way.
If you’re wondering if my content would be a good fit for your blog, please see some other things I’ve written:
(Links to good articles on your blog).Thanks for taking a look! (YOUR NAME)
From the above email template, we learn that a good cold email should include:
- A clear and relevant subject line
- Your introduction in the first or second sentence
- Offer the blogger a benefit
- Social proof of people you’ve worked with before
- Links to your work
- Call to action
- Credibility with a branded email signature
You can find more email templates here.
Step 5: Track and Follow Up Outreach Emails
Not whether an email reached the prospect or if he/she opened it can be frustrating. If they did open it, there is always the question if they clicked on any links or took the action you wanted them to. The best link builders use email tracking to improve their odds and realize measurable productivity gains. Many email tracking tools offer standard functionality like notifications when an email is opened, templates and reminders to let you know when to follow up with an influencer.
Sidekick: This is an email tracking tool offered by Hubspot. It has a great interface and the free version is compatible with Outlook and Gmail. You can integrate it with CRM if using the paid version. What we love most about Sidekick is that the profile contact insights offers comprehensive data including your email contacts’ professional history, mutual contacts, where they live, email history and more. It tracks opens and clicks of sent emails, allowing you to know which pitches work best. The downside is that it doesn’t have scheduling or reminder features.
Yesware: What sets this tool apart from the rest is that it tells you which subject lines and email templates are read most. It helps users fine-tune their email templates and maximizes open rates. It is an incredible tool for anyone who is serious about link building.
Whereas the outreach email has to be personalized, the follow-up email can be a template. Below is an example that worked for us.
I know you are busy, so I wanted to follow up on my last email proposing a post on (Topic). I think your readers could benefit from the article. I’d love to write about my take on it, but I might have to post it on my blog or elsewhere if I don’t hear from you soon.
In case you missed it, here is what the article is about and a few examples of my work.
(Few sentences about the problem description and solution)
(2-3 links to previous work)
Thank you. I look forward to your response.
If you receive a response, there are a few things you can do to foster the relationship. Start by showing appreciation for their response and help. Take the relationship to the next level by asking them to review your blog posts and provide feedback. Be sure to keep your requests short and precise. Ask if there is anything you can help them with. Even though they may not, the most important thing is that you offered your help. After all, blogger outreach is a two-way street.
Step 6: Grow the Relationship
Having added value to an influencer’s website, it is time to turn your one-off transaction into a lasting relationship. Thank them for sharing your posts on social media. Adding them on Skype gives you an opportunity to a real conversation that is more personal and warm. Get them to relax and open up on Skype without asking intrusive questions. Another way to grow your relationship is to partner up on a joint venture. You can start small with a co-authored post or infographic before delving into more involving projects.
The most important thing is to make sure meeting the objectives and seeing the results you set out to achieve. Keep track of metrics like total visitors to your site, the number of Facebook likes bounce rate and a number of re-tweets. A tool like Google Analytics will help you track the impact blogger outreach has on your site.
What Are You Waiting For?
It may seem old school, but blogger outreach offers plenty of benefits for link builders and content marketers. Taking a few minutes each day to comment on the right blogs and email to influencers goes a long way towards separating yourself, other bloggers. You will stand out from the rest and with time, your blog will be the one that arrived out of nowhere.
That said, identifying the right websites, contacting owners and launching a successful blogger outreach campaign takes time…a lot of it. It is also costly, especially if your efforts don’t pay off. This is where using a professional blogger outreach service comes in. Our campaign strategists work with you to identify ideal influencers, manage your campaigns and deliver optimal results. Contact us today to get started.