When people think of blogger outreach they automatically think about reaching out to get social shares for their content!
This is so last year!
If you want to get a share from an influencer then you need to go over and above. You are in luck though because I am going to show you how not to sound like a sleazeball.
I know what it is like when you reach out and hear nothing back it is so disheartening. You have busted your guts creating content and now you are hustling to get it seen but still, your post is a ghost town!
What do you do?
You have to get out there and work your ass off some more. This time to get on the radar of influencers that can really make a difference to your exposure!
By fine tuning your strategy, you can make a strong connection and turn these bloggers into your friends.
This is worth so much more than a sleazy “please share my shit” email!
Let’s face it, who would refuse to help their friends?
So where do we start?
Let’s dive in and look at how blogger outreach can help you get shares from top influencers in your niche.
What Is Blogger Outreach?
Most new bloggers tend to have the wrong idea when it comes to blogger outreach, they believe it is a system, an asset to promote themselves!
This couldn’t be further from the truth!
I wouldn’t say that promotion isn’t an outcome but it should never be your only reason.
Think about it like this…
You are out with your friends, minding your own business. This person comes up to you and demands that you give him 100 bucks.
What would you think?
I know I would be like… SCREW YOU!
Let’s start again, the same dude comes up to you but instead of being totally inappropriate he asks if he can wash your windows. He puts all his effort into the task, he is polite and friendly…
At the end he doesn’t ask for money, he just says… Is that ok for you?
I would be thinking… Wow, great job here is some money!
The approach in the second example is more about building a relationship. The window cleaner offers free value, he takes the time to be friendly and at the end just asks what we think…
He acts like he gives a crap about us!
Blogger outreach is not an avenue to take take take. Reach out and help. By all means share your stuff but never ask for anything!
If you have done an awesome job people will reciprocate in the way you want!
Ian Cleary from Razor Social sums it up like…
To succeed with blogger outreach you need to take the system approach out of your head. A relationship can not be built from a system!
You Need To Be Worth It If You Want Promoted & To Get More Social Shares
If your content is crap, then you are on a neverending journey until you fix it! If you only have your own opinion then you will never be able to improve.
By reaching out to get feedback is much more valuable than getting traffic!
If your content isn’t good enough for someone to share, it stands no chance of generating traffic, shares, subscribers or sales.
Did your read my post about the ways you can promote your blog post?
In this, my first tip was to tell your friends, family and any connections you have.
These people want you to do well. Your relationship is at a level where they will be more than happy to check your post out without much persuasion.
It’s easy to get some feedback or a share from these people!
Get others to give you valuable tips. Then you can improve your content and then the rest of your journey will be easier.
An A-List blogger will have no interest in a shoddy article… It needs to be your best!
A Tip From Jon Morrow:
Getting search engine traffic isn’t about keywords. It’s not even about blog posts. It’s about creating something so amazing everyone talks about it and links to it.
It’s Not All About You!
Nobody really cares about your content. Well at this point. You have to give them a reason to care. If that reason is compelling then you can be sure you will know about it.
Have you ever been on a date with someone and their all about me, myself and I?
It’s freaking horrible, cringey and so annoying. Flip the coin, how would it feel if they started telling you how awesome you were. Sure it feels good for a while but that would get boring too.
So what do we do?
You give to them initially and then ask them for feedback. It’s soft, gentle and a friendly approach!
What if I told you though it didn’t have to be all business?
When you stop thinking about taking from the person, and stop thinking outreach is a system that can be gamed, what do you have?
You have a relationship to be strengthened. If someone cares about you and what you are up to, sharing your stuff is inevitable!
Do You Know Anything About The Blogger?
If it’s not all about business then what else is it about? It’s different for every blogger because we all have our likes and dislikes.
You go to a coffee shop with someone and the conversation is flowing. You only have one hour, what is more valuable?
A: Tell the person all they need to know about your business. Then hope that they act!
B: Learn about the person, show them you care, talk about their business and share yours. At the end, you get invited to their party at the weekend because you’re a cool guy!
The second of course, who doesn’t want to party?
This is a second opportunity to get to know this person, why should the relationship stop after coffee? At the party, you might meet other people that can help you!
When you get to know someone then you have a lot more to offer.
You will also get invited to more PARTIES!
People want to connect with people they are interested in and that reciprocate that interest!
So How Can You Get A Social Share From An Influencer?
I think blogger outreach is about building relationships but at the start, it is ok to be a little strategic. You can target influencers in your niche that have a larger audience than yourself.
Starting this way is great but you need to think about building a better relationship with every person you connect with!
Who are you more likely to help… someone you know and trust or a complete stranger that only bothers you when they want something?
Of course the friend you know and trust. Now I am not saying you should be taking your new blogging buddies for a meal every night of the week.
Unless it’s me!
You should, however, be focusing on building a relationship with them.
I have connected with some pretty awesome people and I have made some great friends this way!
Let’s look at how you can get some love from top influencers in your niche through blogger outreach!
Step One: Create A Hitlist Of Bloggers For Your Campaign
When I first started my journey I knew exactly who my audience was. I had a fair idea of where they would hang out. When you know this you will know who you should connect with.
Let’s look at an example…
You have content about baking the best cookie in the world. Who would have a similar audience?
Food bloggers that write about sweet treats!
So head over to Google and type in a broad keyword like…
“Best cookie recipe”
This will return a list of blogs that feature a similar recipe.
Head over to Buzzsumo and check each of the blogs out to see what their engagement is like. If they have no traction then it isn’t a good use of your time.
If you see that they are getting a good amount of social shares then add them to a spreadsheet. This doesn’t have to be complicated. Just have the following columns…
- Email Address
- Blog Title
- Similar Post Title
- Similar Post URL
- Facebook Fans
- Twitter Followers
- Is Blog engaged
- Type Of Blogger (More on this in Step Two)
If you see a lot of social shares and comments on their posts, simply write yes or put a Y in the, “Is Blog Engaged” column
Now check their Twitter and Facebook for the blogs. You want to see how many followers the blogger has. This is your estimated reach from connecting with this person. Also, check if they are engaging with their audience on these platforms too.
If you’re hoping for a share then you want to see engagement!
Do this for all the results on Google’s first and second page. Next, add blogs that you read on a daily basis. These will be easier because you won’t have to do as much research because you are already hooked on them.
This spreadsheet is you hitlist!
Step Two: Categorize Your List So That You Know How To Connect With Each Person
Your blogger outreach strategy has to be laid out so that you can target people correctly. Some bloggers will not require much to get on their radar but others will require a bit more effort!
If you want to connect with Neil Patel you will have to work a lot harder to get on his radar. He has thousands of people trying to get his attention!
Now if you wanted to connect with Sue Anne Dunlevie you would have to work at it but it would be a lot easier than Neil!
For that reason, I suggest dividing your hit list into categories. Me and Andy Crestodina at Orbit Media have come up with 5 categories of bloggers…
The Celebrity Blogger
Andy describes this type as bloggers that would be famous with or without a blog. They’re NYT best sellers, TED Talk speakers or famous business people. For the celebrity, the blog is a useful way to keep in touch with their many fans and a place to link back to from social media.
If you want to reach out to this group you have to make sure that time is on your side. It will not be on theirs. A simple outreach email or a tweet in most cases won’t cut it, it is not an impossible task, though.
You will need to think outside the box to get on their radar.
Neil Patel, Gary Vaynerchuk, Pat Flynn and Seth Godin would definitely fall into this category!
The A-List Blogger
They’re well known for blogging and they have a very large and faithful audience. They write a lot and it’s consistent in style (you know the voice when you read it) and substance (the quality is always there). These bloggers are committed to their audiences and they never disappoint.
These bloggers are similar to celebrities and have a lot of people that want to connect with them! You will probably have to work your butt off to get on their radar. You should think of ways that you can help them.
Jon Morrow, Jaime Masters and John Lee Dumas are examples of A-Listers!
A Tip From Tim Soulo:
There’s a good chance to reach them with a nice personal email, but never with a template.
Asking Big Fish for tweets and links is unproductive (and silly), you will get much more value by asking them to critique your work or validate your ideas.
And if what you’re doing is worth attention, they will tweet it and link to it anyways.
The Company Blog
There isn’t one main contributor. There is a team of marketers behind the company blog. It’s not thought leadership from one leader. It has many voices and puts out a lot of content.
When it comes to getting press from companies you should spend your time creating a relationship with the writers and editors.
These are the people that can help you!
I included Ben Sailer from CoSchedule in this expert roundup. From there I have built a relationship, with him. By taking the time to connect with Ben I have managed to get a guest post on the CoSchedule blog, which gets emailed to over 100,000 people.
Company blogs should be a part of your strategy!
The Growing Blogger
They’ve built a name for themselves, but they write about several topics with broad appeal. They’re usually aren’t focused on one specific niche. A lot of people know who they are, but they don’t have huge traffic, social followings or email lists. Their content bubbles to the surface several times per year. They are usually active in many channels.
Targeting these people will open you up to a larger audience than your own! However, it will be a little easier to get in front of them.
The easiest way is to contribute to their community, share their posts, comment on their blogs and feature them within your posts.
This helps them grow their community and if you make it about them they will start to take notice and help you!
The Fresh Faced Blogger
The fresh-faced blogger is an expert, but their blog is still fairly new. They are consistently growing their audience and looking for ways to get more exposure. As they are a growing species you can jump on their efforts as they will promote their blog like crazy!
It might sound crazy to do a guest post on a new blog with a smaller audience. Would it still be crazy if they nailed their promotion and cruised right past you?
This group is the easiest to connect with and depending on their efforts can sometimes yield some truly awesome results.
Nobody stays in this group, we all grow eventually!
Look at their engagement and look at the work they are putting into their blogs. If they are nailing it get on their side when it’s easier!
Being part of their community and a simple outreach email should be enough to get on their radar.
As you can see all the groups are very different, they have different needs and your strategy for getting noticed is different for each group too. Categorize your bloggers in your spreadsheet so that you can have a clear view of what needs to be done.
Thank you so much to Andy for contributing and helping with the descriptions, you can see more of his work at Orbit Media.
Step Three: What Would Matter Most To Them?
Once you have segmented your blogger outreach hit list it is time to plan a strategy. You want to personalize this for each influencer on the list. Everybody has different goals and projects they are working on.
Start by visiting the blog in question!
Have a look around, read their latest blog posts and share them if they would resonate with your audience. So many people nowadays just hit share to get noticed. If you take the time to actually read and leave a valuable comment on the blog the influencer will value you a lot more!
By getting involved on their blog you are providing engagement! This is the best way to start to get noticed by an influencer. If you see that the blogger replies to comments then you know they are going to read your stuff!
This is exactly how I got Neil Patel to contribute to this roundup I done. I would suggest you do this for most bloggers!
Feature Expert Quotes On Your Content
Next is to introduce your audience to their work. This shows the influencer that you value what they say. It shows that you trust them and what they say.
It also is some free exposure for the expert!
Nobody will complain about free exposure.
Imagine you are writing a new blog post on homeschooling a child. You see that your favorite blogger made an amazing point. Copy and paste the quote and highlight within your post. I do this…
Link back to the influencer and you are good to go. When you do this you are giving yourself an opportunity to reach out to them and let them know.
A Tip From Donna Moritz:
Write genuinely good content about others – don’t just write list-bait posts where you list influential people as influencers and then hope they will share it. Write genuinely good content about them. Did you hear them speak at a conference? Include them in a post with the other influential speakers you loved. Tweet their quoteable comments. Review their company’s product/tool/service.
Most influencers will share but don’t just do it for this reason! This could be your first contact with them. You want to let them know that you think they are helpful, not that you just want their traffic.
Create A Kick Ass Expert Roundup Post
I won’t go into these too much because me and some of my blogging buddies created this post to help. Basically an expert roundup post is a list of expert quotes.
Reach out to a group of influencers and ask them to answer a specific question. Once you have all the answers you create a list post. Create a killer headline, intro and conclusion and you are done.
To get the most results (which I am sure you want) really put a lot of effort to show you are not just using this to get free content.
Make it super easy for users to navigate by providing navigation. You should make the design as clean as possible. This is for the experts, make sure their points stand out.
Create click to tweet buttons, infographics and promotional banners for social media!
Your hard work will not go unnoticed!
These powerhouses are great to provide value to your influencers but they are also a great way to start your relationship with new bloggers.
Link To Their Content
I am not going to go into the SEO benefits for external linking, check out this post by Sean Si if you want to see how they help your search engine rankings.
A Tip From Sean Si:
Be mindful of your outbound links. Add the nofollow attribute when necessary. Otherwise, give some link love. Take the time to write out a good anchor text and anchor title for other people’s benefit. You’ll never know who might return the favor.
Most people will be over the moon that you are sharing some link juice to them. It will help them rank for their target keywords.This means more traffic from Google. If a page has lots of high-quality links, Google will reward them by moving them up on the search engines.
You can really make your external link stand out, though!
Say you are sharing a link to back up a statistic you are sharing, why not create a graphic to go along with it?
This will make the link stand out and provides more value for the influencer.
A Tip From Julian Sanakee:
A backlink is worth a lot on the internet. Especially if it’s from an industry-relevant blog.
And, it’s worth even more if it’s from an authority site (but, let’s not talk about that right now).
Linking out is easy. You can do this the regular way with just a plain old hyperlink.
Or, you can do it by using the influencer as an example in your post.
Again don’t forget to tell them that you have. Don’t rely on trackbacks to do this, be proactive and tell them.
Promote Their Content & Get Them More Sales
It is so easy to share a post on Twitter and Facebook! It opens the reach up for them, but you can do so much more.
If you really want to get on the influencers side pushing their projects further than your own reach will make you stand out in the crowded room.
And Will Blunt…
If your new blogging buddy is pushing something to their audience, then lend a hand! Create a Tweet and a Facebook that tags yourself and the influencer. Load up Quu Promote and schedule a promotion, it won’t cost that much.
The influencer is going to get a lot of shares and your name is beside them… They would have a hard job not to notice you with this tactic!
Again reach out and tell them you have done it. When the shares start rolling in they will be delighted!
Step Four: Find The Email For The Influencers
Finding someone’s email address isn’t hard nowadays. There are some tools that can help but some will even publish their email.
So the first thing to do is to make sure that the blogger hasn’t published theirs!
No Luck? Then you can reach out on Twitter and ask. This will work sometimes but not all the time. This is how I found Larry Kim’s email and he has participated in a roundup for me!
Still not found it then try a tool like Hunter.io. Sign up for a free account and then search the domain of the influencer. This will return all the emails on that domain!
Some people just don’t want to be found that easily, if this is the case try reaching out via their contact form. These sometimes lead to email accounts that aren’t monitored but some will take you to the influencer!
Add the emails into your spreadsheet!
Step Five: Create A Beautiful Outreach Email That Is Impossible To Ignore
This part of your journey can really make or break your efforts and I have seen some pretty poor examples. I feel like I need to say it again…
“It is not about you!”
If I don’t know you why would I want to promote you to my audience? If I do and you screw up that leaves a bad impression to my audience about me. However, if you nail your outreach and show me you care I will be more than happy to connect with you!
Getting Your Email Opened
Getting sent to the trash from the get go is the worse case scenario. Unfortunately, it is also the most common for new outreachers. This is why you really should get on the radars of your potential buddies first!
I am a lot more likely to read an email from someone if I have an idea of who they are! For a blogger who receives thousands of unknown emails a day you need to stand out.
If they have seen you about then you are already above the majority of emails that they receive!
The subject line is the next chance you have to get their attention. Don’t think because you left a comment that they owe you a response. You need to stand up and own your subject lines.
They should be simple and straight to the point. Experts don’t have the time for curiosity. If they have a VA then you will have to show them the value you offer.
When I was collecting responses for my link building roundup I reached out to 100 bloggers and got 59 responses back.
Just over a 50% conversion rate!
Why didn’t I close more, I wasn’t engaged with the other 50% as much!
I used a combination of 3 subject lines…
Name, Can I Feature You? – This worked for people I didn’t know as well!
Name, Got a Quick Question For You? – This performed better with bloggers I had a relationship with.
Can I Feature You – This was the poorest performing subject line!
Personalizing your email is a great way to get it opened, I did this with Jon Morrow. He will be featured in my next roundup!
When you browse your emails and you see your name it gives you a sense of ownership! It draws your attention to the email.
The next thing I normally do is ask a question. These influencers do want to help you and a quick question is not a big ask. Again it goes back to how much effort you have done to get on their radar.
Spend your time crafting a subject line that speaks to your influencer. Make it clear and straight to the point.
A Tip From Gregory Ciotti:
Email subject lines should be as direct as possible.
“You’ll enjoy this new diet research”, works…
“Thought you might like this…” … does not.
Similarly, asking for “3 quick interview questions” is more likely to get opened than, “I thought we might do an interview…”.
Quantify the time commitment if it’s small, state exactly why they will enjoy what’s inside (remember to do your homework on the person it’s being sent to), and don’t try to be mysterious in the subject line, that’s a red flag for spam or deletion.
Your introduction is your first win, you have managed to get their attention!
Now tell them who you are and why you are emailing them! Keep it plain and simple… The meat of the email is just around the corner.
How are you?
It’s Joe here from One Man Wiki, I just wanted to reach out and say thank you…
Joe here from One Man Wiki, I just wanted to reach out and ask you a quick question.
It’s Joe here from One Man Wiki, I just wanted to run something by you…
All of these are brief enough to keep the blogger engaged, which is perfect!
This is the easy bit now let’s get into the actual email…
The Friendly Hey Email
A lot of people think they should only contact someone when they are in need of things! This is why there is so much blogger spam, it is why it is so tough to get your email seen.
When I write this type of my email I make sure the receiver knows from the word go that there is no pitch. This is about showing them why you love their content so much. Tell them why you appreciate them. Show them that you have read their content that they have worked their butts off to create.
If your email gets opened then this email should signal to the blogger that you care about the work they do.
If you want to make a connection and build a relationship with the blogger this is the type of email that will help.
Expert Roundup Outreach
When you are creating a roundup post it can be really hard to create an email that doesn’t sound like a template. Personalize your email for every blogger, if some sniff a template you could blow your chances!
Most people will be ok with a small bit of template but for celebrities and A-listers, you defo want to make it 100% unique. The question should be your only template!
With the other types of bloggers, you want to make sure your email is around 85% unique.
Your intro should state why you feel they are a good fit! Include examples of their work but be careful it doesn’t sound like the…
“Hey you were awesome here, you would be a great fit for this”
That is just cringey!
It really does help if you have had the friendly email with them first because you have a more friendly relationship! Without this you really need to dig into their blog find out about what they like and what they don’t, just make sure you stand out.
Once the intro is unique add the question, sell the benefits that contributing can do for them!
Do you have some big names already, this is gold and adds social proof to your email.
“Neil Patel has agreed and given his answer, can I add your name to the list?””
When people see these names they will want in!
Before we look at ending the email we will look at the outreach email that goes wrong 98% of the time…
The Ask For A Share Email
Have you ever received this email…
My name is X and I love your blog!
I liked the article you done on Topic, you rock.
I actually just wrote a similar one…
If you like please share
If I got this, it has gone in the trash and I have no feelings of guilt!
The only thing it has going for it is how brief it is. This is outreach suicide!
Just don’t do it!
The truth is you really do not need to ask for a share but if you must then I would suggest you ask for feedback first!
This feedback is priceless and worth so much more than a share. A top influencer is telling you what you need to do to make the article epic. If it already is epic then you have an influencers blessing that you rock!
Make your first email totally friendly no URL but at the end, you can ask if you can send your content to get feedback!
After they agree send them the URL!
If a share is what you are after then it has to blow them away so they feel compelled. If you have to ask for a share then your post doesn’t merit it in the influencers eyes!
It could also be that the influencer has chosen not to share any outreach posts. Most will share your content if your article deserves it, without any push from you!
A Tip From Mary Fernandez:
Saying that you “like their work” in general doesn’t cut the mustard here. Too many people use this tactic, and you won’t stand out. You have to prove that you have a deeper understanding and appreciation for what they do.
Influencers love to hear that they’ve impacted someone’s life. The absolute best thing you can do is to follow their advice and give them your results. Be a case study for them, and your chances of getting a response will skyrocket!
The End Of Your Email
When you end your email I would say end with a question this is the best way to keep the conversation flowing. If you have a rapport going with the blogger then try and keep it going, the more you connect the stronger your bond will become.
Just don’t become the annoying person that just won’t go away!
Now your email signature is your next chance to casually drop links to your content. I have not tested click through rates to give any hard facts but it is defo an opportunity.
Most are used to seeing a signature that it will not come across as a promotional email. If your headline rocks they may even check it out, even if you don’t ask!
I use WiseStamp for this. I am in love with this tool because they just look stunning. Here is what mine looks like…
It is a breeze to set something like this up, head over to their main site and sign up. The setup process is a breeze, just fill in a form, choose a template and then get it on your emails!
I like these stamps for two reasons!
First, you can see my picture which puts a face to the name! This helps build your connection with the person because they now see a person to connect with!
Secondly, it has all my important links including my latest post from my blog (this is pulled automatically!).
Your link is there why would you need to ask them to share now?
A Tip From Sam Parr:
When I first started out, I thought emailing popular people more than once was nagging. Now I realize it’s essential. In fact, as long as you send a tasteful reminder every two days, I’d say you’re safe of being nag-free up to at least 7 emails. I don’t mind sending 7 to 10 unanswered emails or calls.
What Happens Now?
Ok, so you now have your share or whatever you reached out for but what should you do next. I mean we want to take our relationship further.
You need to settle into the friend zone!
This is where they will reach out to you as well as you reaching out to them. This could take weeks, months or even years.
The best way though is to do things that keep you in their minds, help them meet their goals or even become their test subject.
A Tip From John Hall:
You can do small things like share their content or things that you know they want to draw attention to, but also think about what’s valuable to them at the right time. For example I valued when people reached out to me recently to say “what can I do to help get the word out about your book”. It’s a perfect time to help me out with that since that’s a big goal of mine for 2017 and I remember the people who have offered help.
It’s Over To You…
Getting a share from an expert can really work wonders for your brand and to drive traffic to your content. Don’t make it all about you, build a relationship and sharing will happen automatically.
Once you have great contacts in your industry and your content kicks ass blogger outreach will become a lot easier. Like most internet marketing tasks you should work like a maniac in the beginning but as time goes on things will start to happen on their own.
No matter what, always work on building your relationship!
What does your blogger outreach plan look like? Let me know in the comments below…