In today’s digitally-driven world, it’s essential to leverage every opportunity to garner exposure for your business and products. One of the opportunities that shouldn’t be overlooked is blogger outreach which is a type of Influencer marketing.
What is blogger outreach, you ask? Traditionally speaking, blogger outreach was the act of selecting bloggers and asking them to write about your products/services, usually in exchange for receiving that product/service free of charge.
However, blogger outreach can be used for a variety of purposes.
For example, you can have an equal exchange with a blogger where you promote their blog and the blogger promotes your business, perhaps by sharing a post of yours, hosting your guest blog post, etc. You can also choose to offer the blogger monetary compensation for exposure to their social media following, a popular blog, or help with building links.
The specifics of your arrangement will differ based on your objectives and the blogger’s requirements. In short, your business will receive valuable publicity and the blogger will also receive something valuable for their efforts.
Influencer marketing is the fastest growing online customer acquisition method, with 49% of consumers depending on Influencer recommendations, and Influencer marketing campaigns earning $6.50 for every dollar spent.
It’s clear that Influencer marketing should be included as part of your marketing strategy, and outreach is an excellent place to start.
Blogger outreach will not only increase your brand exposure, but it can also help you garner more leads, get more targeted traffic to your site, build quality backlinks, and achieve more social shares.
However, in order for your blogger outreach endeavors to be as effective as possible, they must be performed correctly.
The following guide will provide helpful suggestions on how to plan and execute the best possible blogger outreach strategy.
Planning Your Blogger Outreach Campaign
First things first decide what you want out of the campaign. You need to determine what it is you want from the bloggers you’ll contact.
What do you hope to gain? Perhaps it’s as simple as wanting them to link to your website within their blog. Or maybe you’d like them to share your content via social media every once in a while. Or perhaps you want them to review your new product before it’s released.
There’s a wide variety of reasons you may like the help of an Influencer, and these will be the foundations of your outreach process. Keep these goals in mind as you complete these steps.
Find Bloggers & Influencers
You want to find bloggers that are most relevant to your brand and objectives you want to seek out those in the same niche as yourself or in niches where your audience already exists: It’s essential that you ensure the bloggers you contact are relevant to your industry and will be able to help you with what you wish to accomplish.
This will lead to the most beneficial relationship for both parties. Contacting an irrelevant blogger is simply a waste of your time and theirs. If you’re in the automotive industry, for example, you wouldn’t reach out to a tech or beauty blogger— you’d want to find a blogger who writes about things that are related to your business, like cars.
If you’re objective is to have them share your blog post(s), look for influencers with large social media followings.
If your goal is to build links, look for a blog with a strong Domain Authority.
If you’re wanting to be featured with a guest post, look for sites that accept submissions.
So how do you find other bloggers and influencers in your niche?
There are a few different methods you can use, here are some of my favorites.
You can use tools like Buzzsumo to identify relevant bloggers. All you have to do is visit the website and search for some of your broader keywords and search, this will then find lots of relevant and authoritative bloggers you can contact. There is a free version that offers limited results but at least this way you can try it and get access to some data.
With Buzzsumo you can order the results based on their number of followers or their retweet radio (a better metric) if you want to work your way through and prioritize people with the most influence. Once you find your results you can export them from BuzzSumo to use in your spreadsheet.
Once you have collected their details keep track of the bloggers and influencers you want to network within an organized document so you can refer back to it later when you come to start contacting them, you can also use this sheet to keep track of if you have already contacted them, how many times and whether they have responded to any of your messages.
I recommend using Asana or Google Sheets to keep these records orderly because despite some mass email tools giving you access to basic internal reporting it’s always good to have your own copy.
Another great source of bloggers is to go to AllTop a curated directory of bloggers organized by niche. This website has pretty much every niche imaginable so you should easily be able to find people relevant to your industry here.
They have sections for SEO, health and fitness, tech, business and lots of subcategories.
Use the big G, that’s right Google! The best way to find influential bloggers, podcasters and anyone else with authority that might be worth reaching out to is to just use Google.
Search for informational keywords, the kind of keywords that are teaching people something.
Then filter through the first 5-10 pages of Google excluding any authority websites as we are only looking for bloggers or podcasters etc that are approachable and within reach.
While you are there, look at the related searches and follow some of those search results and repeat the above steps to gather more data.
The final way I recommend you research bloggers is to search Google for specific phrases like:
Best <Keyword> Blogs and search by year to find results from this year, last year or other years but filter out anything that is past its sell-by date.
With the above methods, you should be able to easily populate a long list of bloggers to connect with, in a spreadsheet.
When you create your spreadsheet I recommend you use the following data sets as columns.
- Web Address
- Number of social network followers
- SEO Authority / Moz DA Score / Ahrefs DR.
- Contact Details
The covers the essentials but you might also want to include an A-D rating system.
When it comes to filling in their contact details you can check their blog for their email, you may want to just copy the contact form page if they don’t list their email address or you can use websites like hunter.io as described in our recent cold email outreach guide.
Then you can move onto researching them and finding out which people have the most potential, this will help you prioritize your campaign, this is where you would use your rating system to re-order the data.
Researching Bloggers and Influencers
So you have a nice long list of websites and individuals you can contact, but which are worth spending time contacting and building a relationship with?
There are a few reasons why you want to do blogger research after you have collated your list of potential bloggers.
To find this out you want to go through and do some blogger research.
- You want to save time and avoid emailing everyone under the sun.
- By learning more about these individuals you can use it to your advantage when personalizing your emails and making sure they don’t look like a copy and paste template.
- You will end up with a much higher success rate.
If you have created a spreadsheet like the one I have outlined in the previous step you can now start going through each website or social media account in your list and start adding the data.
Start by visiting the web page and if it’s a blog take the URL and run it through Moz Link Explorer or look at it in Google Search results with the free Moz Toolbar extension to see what the domain authority (DA) score is and add this to your authority field.
If you are a user of Ahrefs or willing to invest in a pro SEO tool then you can use their Domain Rating (DR) score instead. They do differ quite a bit and I personally like to refer to both.
This metric is important because it tells you how powerful a backlink would be from that website.
You could also use a free or premium SEMRush account to get a rough idea of their search traffic and the keywords that are driving people to their blog or website.
Next, you want to navigate to all of the social media accounts you can find and add their followings together or create columns in your spreadsheet for individual social networks like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and so on.
Find out the best way to get in touch with these bloggers (usually via email or social media direct message) and make a note of this by adding it to your spreadsheet.
Now that you have this data organize them into one of the 4 grades A-D.
- Grade A should be for the elite bloggers and sites bringing in hundreds of thousands of unique visitors per month or influencers who are extremely influential.
- Grade B should be for the bloggers who are doing well but they are by no means in the elite category just yet.
- Grade C is for the smaller bloggers who still have an audience, a decent DA and are likely still worth working with but you can be more selective.
- Grade D is for the smaller bloggers who lack a real audience or a DA score worth putting the effort into getting a backlink from.
Once you have your list filled in with this grading system prioritize them accordingly and consider ditching anything that falls into Grade D and maybe pick and choose your favorites or research further with the Grade C group.
Sending Outreach Emails and Make Contact
If someone has already heard of you when they receive your message then they are far more likely to respond.
So there’s a step in this blogger outreach process that involves you doing a few things ahead of sending anything.
- Follow them on all of their social media accounts. This way they might see your name or if they go back to look after you pitch they can see you are a follower.
- Comment on their work: This could be on their blog if they have comments on, or it could be on their YouTube videos or social media accounts.
- Share their content on social media and if possible @ tag them in it to increase the chances of them seeing it. This works especially well if you expand on the article with your own thoughts in the description.
- Reply to their newsletter – Don’t just do this for the sake of it because they might be busy but sending congratulations or some kind words in response to one of their email newsletters is another great way to get your name seen. If the message doesn’t require a response, include that at the bottom to save them time and as a gesture, they will likely appreciate. Remember you don’t want to ask for anything, you are just trying to get your name noticed ahead of time.
Next up it’s time to start the email outreach process.
The first thing you need to do is go back to step one and recall what your main objective is, as this will impact how you approach your outreach emails.
It will usually be one of the following:
- Guest posts
- Share request
- Link request
Guest Post Outreach Email
Each requires a unique approach when it comes to writing the email, if you are looking to write a guest post for their blog then you want to look at what has performed well for them over the years and then suggest 3 or 4 potential article ideas you could write for them and allow them to choose.
Just send a short email introducing yourself and sharing an example of your work, then list out your blog post ideas you thought would be a good fit for their audience and sign off politely thanking them for their time.
Some websites display the fact they accept blog posts and sometimes they will even display their editorial guidelines which will help you in crafting the best pitch possible and listing headline ideas that are more likely to get approved.
Keep an eye out for these pages when you research the bloggers you are considering contacting.
Share Request Outreach Email
If you are writing with the aim of getting them to share your article on social media then it’s best to email them first and say that you saw they write about X and Y and that they might like your new article on X or Y and ask them if they would like you to share it with them.
This way you aren’t force-feeding them a link, you are introducing yourself and then asking if they would like to see your article and telling them the title and maybe 1 sentence of information about the piece max, nothing more. You want to always remain respectful of the recipients time especially if they are an authority and likely a busy person.
Link Request Outreach Email
With a link request, you want to compliment the recipient on a particular piece on their blog ideally one that you want a link from and then introduce them to your useful resource and ask them if they think it would be useful to include in their article or anywhere else where they see fit.
This is a harder sell than asking for a share or offering a blog post unless you have something truly high quality for them to include. If you don’t have this kind of top-level cornerstone content then you might be wasting your time.
Maybe consider broken backlink building as an alternative to a pitch that straight out asks for a link.
Partnership Outreach Email
When it comes to a partnership you need to build a lot more rapport before you can execute so it’s often best to start with an introduction email and let them know a little about you while complimenting them on their work before pitching them on your ideas. If you can help them out in some way or do them a favor in the meantime this will improve your chances of success.
Despite the fact that partnerships take time to nurture they are one of the marketing tactics that have the most potential.
If you have a small audience in the health niche and they have a massive audience, this can allow you to tap into the ideal buyer persona instantly and turn them into email subscribers and followers of your own.
How to Send Email Outreach Emails
Now, once you have your template it’s a case of deciding how you want to send your emails.
You can do this manually one by one using your email provider like Google Apps or whatever client you use but that is a labor-intensive process.
Outreach is a numbers game and to achieve scale without losing days and weeks of your time it’s much wiser to use a bulk mail service like MailShake.
MailShake is a premium tool that lets you import your list of contact details so you can use a template with some personalization to send the emails in bulk. This saves a LOT of time.
Other benefits of using a bulk email tool like MailShake include the ability to split test, track opens, clicks and schedule your emails to go out gradually and not all at once.
Other tools offering bulk email outreach include PitchBox, NinjaOutreach and BuzzStream, all have their unique pros and cons and vary in some way but for most users, I think MailShake is a good place to start.
There’s no harm in doing it manually to start with and will give you an appreciation for how much time this saves.
You want to make sure you are emailing from your web address and not a free Gmail or Hotmail address as this looks amateur.
Getting That Pitch Right
When it comes to your pitch. The following are things to keep in mind when crafting your message:
- Be direct: Bloggers are busy and won’t have the time nor the patience to read through lengthy paragraphs. Keep your messages to-the-point so that receivers can quickly identify your reason for writing.
- Be enthusiastic: Show genuine enthusiasm for your business and what you do. Remember that you’re trying to get bloggers as excited as you are about your brand! Displaying a passion for your business will make bloggers more likely to want to work with you and be a part of something special.
- Tell them what you can do for them (this should be a benefit to both parties remember): Let bloggers know why they should care about your brand and why they would want to work with you. What will you give them in return? What can they expect? Ensure your offer is solid so that they’ll be tempted to accept. Once you have told them what they can expect, you can make your requests.
Don’t be annoying: Constantly pestering bloggers will immediately turn them off and could end up blacklisting your business. It’s OK to follow up on your initial email if they haven’t responded after some time, but if they still aren’t receptive, don’t contact them beyond that.
I think two follow-ups is enough, any more than that and it’s just plain annoying and I’m speaking as someone who has been hounded with 4 or 5 follow-ups and know how frustrating it can become.
Tools like MailShake will allow you to follow up with a response to either people who did open the email or didn’t and also based on whether they clicked the included link or not. That gives you a lot of control and it’s a lot easier to keep track of how many times you have contacted the person.
Once you work out an arrangement with a blogger, be sure to open the lines of communication and keep them informed on any important business strategies, products, or other developments.
Blogger outreach is a wise tactic to help grow your brand, but it’s essential that you go about it the correct way. The above recommendations will serve you well if you are just starting out.
But what if YOU are a blogger? That’s fine too. Use the same approach to reach out and find guest posting opportunities and even just networking with other bloggers in the same niche can help you make friends and learn a lot in the process and help you advance your visibility in the space.
You can also use the same outreach strategy with other types of internet influencers too, for example, you can reach out to podcasters if you want to be featured on their podcast and because most successful podcasters also have websites and email lists you can tap into those as well. You can do the same with established YouTubers.
Essentially, anyone who commands an audience online regardless of the medium or platform can help you grow your audience a lot faster than if you isolate yourself.
Remember the saying, “No Man is an Island”! A very apt quote from the seventeenth-century English author John Donne that means no one is self-sufficient and everyone relies on others.
If you would like some further reading on other ways to increase your website traffic and improve your search engine optimization with the best SEO software and SaaS services then sign up for the email newsletter and you will get access to all of my resources and the best content I find once a fortnight (usually).