In the medieval web (about 5-6 years ago I mean), writing epic content and sharing it on social media was a great way to get it noticed and shared further, leading to increase in traffic.
But today this is not the case, primarily because of two reasons:
- Organic reach of social posts has diminished due to algorithm changes.
- The market is saturated with brands promoting their content this way.
For instance, here’s how much organic reach on Facebook declined after Jan 2017.
So it’s obvious that if you don’t want your content to be lost in oblivion, you’ll have to look into alternative options. And one of the best alternatives is reaching out to bloggers in your niche.
You need persistent and strategic blogger outreach to get your content seen, shared or linked to.
So you need to understand what is blogger outreach, and how you can make it work for your business.
In this article, we’ll discuss everything from how to get started contacting bloggers to real examples of what a content promotion outreach campaign looks like.
What is Blogger Outreach?
Blogger outreach is the process of finding and reaching out to bloggers in your niche. The goal for a brand doing blogger outreach is to build relationships, seek win-win partnerships and figure out ways to help each other.
In order to get the bloggers in your niche to collaborate with you, you need to reach out and build a relationship in such a way that makes them more likely to help you.
If you have been writing epic content, then by reaching out to sites and authors and building relationships, you can get more backlinks, traffic, social shares and other benefits in the long term.
While the process of blogger outreach to promote your content does take significant effort and time, the results can be impressive if done right.
Blogger Outreach Use Cases
Before you start a blogger outreach campaign, you must have an outreach plan in place. And a crucial part of this plan is your blogger outreach objective. In other words, when sending emails to bloggers, what do you want?
There are so many possibilities with blogger outreach that brands often get stuck in this first step.
Here are some use cases of blogger outreach.
- Link Building - You create an epic piece of content and reach out to bloggers to see if they’d link back to your content from one of their pages.
- Guest Posting - You reach out to bloggers in your niche offering to contribute or update content for their blog, with one or more links to your own business.
- Sponsored Posts - You offer an incentive such as money or free samples in order for the bloggers to share their experiences with your product or service.
- Content Sharing - You reach out to bloggers making them aware of your piece of content that will interest them, and prompt them to share on social media.
- Product Feedback/Reviews - Share an exclusive free trial, sample or subscription of your product with relevant bloggers for them to review on their blog.
- Interview Collaboration - You can ask bloggers to appear on your podcast/webinar, or answer a few questions for your blog post. Or you ask them to feature you in their upcoming episodes/interviews.
- Partnership/Joint Venture - Reach out to bloggers inviting them to join your referral/affiliate program, teaching an online course/webinar or consider other forms of win-win collaboration.
- Run A Contest/Giveaway - Partner with bloggers to promote a contest in which you are giving away a prize sought by the audience common to your brand and theirs.
- Conduct A Survey/Research Study - Get bloggers who have the audience you’d like to fill your survey to promote the survey for a fee or the right to display survey results on their blog.
- Paid Advertising - Many popular blogs offer advertising options for businesses such as banner advertising spots on popular pages on their blog, or email advertising to blog subscribers.
- Get/Provide A Quote - When writing a new piece of content or creating a round-up post, you can reach out to experts for their opinion to be included in your post.
- Start A Conversation & Build Relationship - Even if you don’t have any motive yet, you can reach out to relevant bloggers with a compliment or helping hand to forge friendships.
- Learn/Pick Their Brain - Top bloggers are usually very knowledgeable in their fields. You can invite them for an online call to discuss a topic, or even for coffee, a meal or to hangout if you’re in the same location.
7-Step Blogger Outreach Process
Now that you have a good idea for what purposes you can use blogger outreach, let’s take a look at the basic process. There might be slight modification in each step based on what your objective is, but the gist remains the same.
Find Niche Bloggers
Depending on the goal of your blogger outreach campaign and nature of your business, you want to find and collaborate with bloggers with topical relevance.
In other words, find other blogs and articles related to the topic of the content you want to promote.
If there are very few blogs on your chosen topic or keywords, you can try going a bit broad, but don’t take it too far.
For example, let’s say you are trying to find blogs about the paleo diet, and let’s say there aren’t many. So you can try going one level up and look for weight loss blogs.
As long as you have some keywords related to your niche, there are a number of tools and hacks which can help you find relevant blogs and articles:
For each piece of content or blog you find, the next step is to check if they are a good target for your approach. I cover this in the next section.
Assess Blogger-Campaign Fit
Not every relevant blog you find will be a good candidate for email outreach. Keep an eye out for signals indicating how popular and active a certain blogger or website is.
Ideally, you want to target bloggers with some level of recognition in your industry. Here are some parameters you can use to assess influence.
- Number of followers on social media.
- Domain Authority and Page Authority of the website.
- Number of backlinks pointing to the root domain.
- Alexa rank and monthly traffic volume (number of visitors).
- Number of social shares/comments on their content.
- Recent activity on blog and social media channels.
You can easily view much of this data by manually observing their blog, website and social media pages.
For data such as domain authority and monthly traffic, you can install these free chrome extensions: Moz Toolbar, SimilarWeb and Alexa Rank Checker.
Once installed, you’d be easily able to view traffic and rank metrics for each page you visit.
To get a sense of how influential a website or blogger is based on these metrics, also visit some of the popular websites or blogs you already know in your industry and check the numbers for them.
At the very least, your target blogs should be the ones still active in their space.
You can check for this by identifying the published date of the blog’s latest blog post and social media updates. If the latest post is too old, there’s a good chance the blog is no longer active.
Whether a blog is a good fit for your campaign or not will also depend on your content strategy and objectives. For example,
- If you want backlinks, you need to narrow your list to own those blogs which have high domain authority.
- For guest posting, you would want to consider blogs with high traffic and engagement.
- To get your content shared on social media, you’d need to check how many followers and how much engagement the bloggers have on social media.
To keep track of all this data, make sure to create a spreadsheet with columns such as Blogger Name, Blog Name, URL, Email Address, Blog Authority, Social Media Links, Location and other information as you see fit.
By the end of this exercise, your spreadsheet should be filled with several hundred entries. Remember, promoting content via blogger outreach is more of a numbers game than anything else.
The more blogs and authors you can find without compromising on relevance, the better results you can expect.
Find Email Addresses
Now that you have identified the blogs you want to reach out to, the next step is to note who is the author behind the content.
If it’s a large publication or company’s website, you need to find the person who has the authority and access to write or edit content.
This information is usually available in the blog sidebar, author bio below most blog posts, website about page, or linkedIn company page.
Another column you need in your spreadsheet is contact information of each blogger, so you can reach out to them.
Most well known bloggers don’t make their emails obvious on their blogs or elsewhere. They do this to prevent outreach from spammers, time-wasters or other people who are not serious enough in their outreach.
So you may have to try a number of techniques for each, as we never know for sure which technique will work better for which blogger. Some of the simple ones are:
- Check their website pages, like About, Contact, Terms and footer section.
- Check their social media profiles, especially Facebook and LinkedIn.
- Use email finder tools like Hunter, Snovio.
My favorite technique is the Hunter chrome extension, which identifies email addresses associated with a blog/website you have opened in your browser.
Note that some of the tools and techniques you use to get someone’s email address may return a guessed email address.
So it’s important that you validate your email list to check whether it’s correct. One way is to cross-reference your list with a tool like Rapportive.
If you have not been able to find a blogger’s email address, you can also try asking them on Twitter, consider sending a LinkedIn inMail, or fill in the contact form on their website.
However, for this approach to work, it’s so important to connect with them on social media first to build a relationship, which brings me to the next section.
Get On Their Radar
Once you have a spreadsheet of target bloggers as described above, you must be getting eager to start approaching them to promote your content. But this is not what we’re going to do as of now.
The more familiar they are with you and your brand, the more likely that they will open, read and act on your email to promote your content.
For the bloggers in your outreach list, think about how you can help them, appreciate their work and add value.
In other words, figure out ways to make them notice you. Here are some ideas:
- Share their content on your social media with their handles mentioned.
- Subscribe to their newsletters and participate in email conversations.
- Engage with their blog and social media posts with thoughtful comments.
- Link back to one or more of their content from your own content.
- Find issues with their site and help them solve the problems.
Not only will this make you a familiar name in their eyes, but also help you get to know them better and get more information about them. You will then be able to use this information to personalize your email message.
Craft & Send Your Email Pitch
By now you have identified bloggers, and hopefully interacted with each of them somehow at least once.
Before you write and send your email pitch, you want to spend some time on learning more about each blogger you are reaching out to.
This is because the subject line and content of your email should be personalized to each blogger. You can use a template to send a mass email, but a part of the template should be modified based on research you did on each blogger.
Your email needs to have a subject line which entices them to click and view the body of your email content.
Top bloggers get dozens of pitches a day. So you need to make sure your pitch is ticking all the right boxes. Here is an example of what a content promotion outreach email may look like:
Subject: New Research: 2019 Blogger Outreach Statistics
Hey [blogger first name], hope you’re having a great week. I found you while searching for experts on [topic] and became a fan of your content. It’s also amazing that we both know/do [commonality]. It’ll be great to catch up sometime.
Anyway, just wanted to let you know that we just published [your content with link] on [your website], and thought you’d be interested.
So if you’re working on a new or updating a previous piece of content and there’s a chance our content is a good fit for you to refer/link to, that’d be great.
In any case, if you find this useful and deserving of a social media share at least, I’ll really appreciate it.
Apart from following blogger email best practices, the most important rule you need to remember is this: Add value.
Your cold emails should never be all about yourself. The more you can empathize with the needs of the blogger you’re reaching out to, the better your odds of success.
Your email should be focused on the blogger and how they will benefit from what you’re proposing.
Tracking & Follow Up
Follow ups are so important that they make a majority of responses that you will get. The real success in any kind of blogger outreach doesn’t come in 1st or 2nd attempt. It’s always in follow ups.
So for the emails that you don’t get a response within 3-5 days, it’s crucial that you follow up.
Getting any kind of response, even a rejection, is better than no response. This is because rejections tell you the objections a blogger might have which you can address in order to work together.
The goal of your follow up should be to prompt a blogger for more information, as well as to keep the conversation going. Here’s an example:
Hey [First Name], I’d love to know your thoughts on [content] I sent a couple of days ago. Did anything stand out to you?
Let me know if you mentioned it in one of your upcoming stories, and I’ll be happy to spread your story on my social channels too.
It’s easy to feel let down when you’re not getting many responses, but if you just keep at it and follow up, I am sure you’ll be pleased with the results.
However, keep in mind that following up is not about spamming and annoying someone with repeated emails that talk only about you and your needs. Keep the email’s focus on the blogger and his benefits.
Also, if you have been sending a lot of emails to bloggers, it can quickly become difficult to track and follow up on the status of your email conversations.
That’s where a bulk emailing and tracking solution (such as Ninja Outreach and MailShake) can help.
As I said, approaching bloggers for content promotion isn’t a short term deal. Blogger outreach should never be treated like a one time thing.
You need to approach this process with a long-term, relationship building mindset. Once a blogger has responded to your content promotion request, you need to keep the conversation going.
Stay in touch with bloggers who helped you and keep making investments to strengthen your relationship with them. Try to interact, connect on shared passions, help and add value in their lives whenever there is an opportunity.
Once in a while, have a quick call to catch up on how they are doing and what you can help with. If you are in or visiting the same region as them, for example, invite them out for coffee to meet in person.
If you are blogging to promote your business, it’s really important to have a blogger outreach program in place. All the parts of your blogger outreach have to be done right, and in sync for the whole system to work as a cohesive whole.
Since collaborating with bloggers can be a time consuming process, consider automating parts of the outreach process if you can.
Blogger outreach tools like GroupHigh, Ninja Outreach and BuzzStream can help you make prospecting and reaching out easier and faster.
By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can make sure to execute a successful blogger outreach campaign.
Did I miss anything? Did you try these steps? Do you have any questions or comments? Share your thoughts below in the comments section.