Inbound marketing is about building relationships, and so is blogger outreach.
Blogger outreach is how you cultivate strong relationships with existing voices in your niche.
Laying the groundwork for these relationships early on makes it much more likely that you’ll be able to develop mutually beneficial partnerships in the future. Adding value to the relationship builds trust and rapport, the real currency of success on today’s web.
Blogger outreach is just one important aspect of your blogging strategy, but it's important to understand why you need to do it before you dive right in. You might reach out to a blogger for all kinds of reasons:
Many bloggers accept posts from guest writers that can link back to your website.
Some bloggers are willing to write a guest piece touting your products for a fee.
Long-Term Relationship Building
If you have no immediate plans to work with someone, you can still say hi – that’s how a relationship works, after all. It doesn’t hurt to share your quality content with an influencer. They might just decide to promo you or link back to your work without even being asked.
Many bloggers will be glad to submit a post to your site for free or show up on your podcast.
No matter what you have in mind, blogger outreach will accelerate your growth by making your content more visible. Influencers who share an audience with you will usually be glad to expose others to your outstanding insights as long as you’re not in direct competition.
Luckily, there’s a repeatable process to use in your outreach efforts:
- Choose the right influencers for your outreach.
- Make the pitch in a targeted, one-to-one way.
- Solidify the relationship and promote it.
Let's dive into each of these steps:
Step 1: Choose the Right People for Your Outreach Campaign
First things first, you need to know which influencers can help you find a wider audience.
While there may be thousands of voices in your niche, you always want to focus on those that have a bigger online footprint than you do. If you take this in a gradual, step by step way, you’ll soon find yourself in a position where your offers have greater pull with influencers.
Luckily, there are tools that can help you see which influencers have the perfect platform.
Try the Free Moz Toolbar.
The eggheads over at Moz have a number of apps that will knock your socks off. One of the best is the Moz Toolbar, which you can add to your browser to get a fix on how influential a given site is. It uses the proprietary MozRank, a replacement for old-fashioned PageRank.
All you have to do here is type your target keywords into Google and check out the top-ranked sites. You’ll soon see which ones have the most pull. Then, you can drop by the contact page to get in touch, visit social media, or use your favorite prospecting app to grab emails.
Check Social Media.
Almost any blogger worth their salt will also be found on social media. Influencers with a social media pipeline can direct traffic to your site in minutes by sharing the right content.
While you can get a fair sense of big names in your topic area just by trawling social accounts, there is a faster and more elegant way to get the job done.
Followerwonk, another free Moz tool, will help you get a quick snapshot of Twitter influencers in your niche when you enter a keyword. You can also narrow things down with other identifiers.
Hootsuite is another great selection here. It’s also free, and one of the sleekest and slickest social media management tools. It has workflows for finding, viewing, and contacting social media influencers that can help you adapt your strategy across multiple platforms.
BuzzSumo is a phenomenal suite of content marketing tools that includes, among other things, a built-in module just for blogger outreach. The app’s consolidated view allows you to see which influencers have the most clout in your niche and move seamlessly into the outreach phase.
Step 2: Make Your Pitch to Your Chosen Influencers
You can reach out to influencers on social media or through email depending on your style and what you learn about them. Either way, remember that you’re there to show a genuine interest in what they do. When you make contact, you’re in it for the long haul.
Here’s how you can cut through the clutter and make a real connection in your pitch:
Study the Blogger’s Blog.
Most bloggers pride themselves on the quality of their writing. Sure, it might not be Hemingway, but they usually have a unique perspective or distinct voice they’ve been working on for a long time. And writers, as a rule, love concrete feedback about their writing.
If you want to make inroads with a blogger, definitely get a good sense for what they write about and why their writing is unique. This is one of the most straightforward ways to figure out what makes someone tick, and the more feedback you can include in your pitch, the better.
That said, you don’t want to overwhelm a busy influencer – especially on the first message!
Keep your pitches down to 100 words and four sentences or less. This will help you strike the balance between personalized messaging and the volume you’ll want to achieve to get your site off the ground faster. Aim to put your main takeaway at the top of your message.
Bloggers are constantly on the lookout for interesting new things to show their audience.
You can be one of those things – but you have to bring energy and passion to the discussion.
Your company’s values and story are usually more important to a blogger than the features of your solution. Of course, you should have your unique selling proposition down to a T, but don’t expect to share it all in your pitch emails. Pique curiosity, then stoke the fire.
Step 3: Solidify the Relationship & Promote It
Influencers have plenty of people vying for their attention. What do you have to offer them?
You don’t have to give an influencer money, a product sample, or a bigger platform to get them to work with you. No matter what your situation is, you always have two of the most valuable resources of all: time and attention. So, use them!
There are plenty of ways to invest effort and foster a relationship with a blogger:
- Leave comments on their posts. Again, bloggers tend to really enjoy feedback.
- Share their content. When you do, you’re helping them cultivate their audience.
- Point out broken links – these little buggers can mar a website’s performance.
- Offer to expand or improve on a resource (this can lead to backlinks, too!)
- Send a complimentary email long before you have a partnership in mind.
Each of these shows influencers that their work matters to you. That means they’re much more likely to see you as someone they want to collaborate with and give something back to.
Once you have an established partnership with an influencer, promote it on all your channels so they see the results, too. Your site, social media, and email are all fair game.
With these methods, you can hit a home run on blogger outreach every time.