It’s time to ditch everything you used to know about public relations. Times are changing, and we all need to hop on board with the more modern ways of PR, with blogger outreach being a big one.
1. What is outreach marketing?
Outreach marketing entails reaching out to online sources (be they blogs, news sources, or websites in a similar industry) with the goal of getting your content (and name) published. For example, do you regularly read marketing blogs like Moz, MarketingProfs, or Top10SM? There are many blogs like these that allow third parties to submit useful, relevant, and innovative content. It can be hard to get a submission through the door, though. Don’t worry – I’ll throw you some tips in just a bit.
2. Who should do this?
- Companies who want to increase their brand presence
- Companies who want to better their overall reputation
- Companies who want to increase awareness and attract prospects
- Companies who want to generate leads and gain sales
- Companies who want to improve their organic rank
I’m fairly certain that your company’s goals fall somewhere in the list above, so the answer to the question of “Who should do this?” is you! Oh, and if your goals don’t include some of these, it may be time to re-evaluate them, eh?
3. How will this benefit me?
I won’t lie to you – outreach is super time consuming and can be frustrating, but don’t let that steer you away. There are plenty of benefits to blogger outreach.
Did you know that 81% of users online trust the information they read on blogs, and, better yet, 61% of those users have made a purchase based on a blogger’s recommendation? I know that when I read an article on one of my favorite blogs, I rarely question if I should trust them or not. Blogs work hard to earn readers’ trust.
Another bonus, 63% of people are more likely to be influenced by a blog post over a magazine when making a purchase. I can hear your wallet screaming joyously all the way from my office. Magazines are expensive to advertise in, and blogger outreach is much cheaper!
4. Where do I start?
First things first: your company should have a blog. If you don’t already have one, then get started now. With content management platforms like WordPress, you can backdate publication. So, if you write twelve articles and publish them, then backdate them, you will have 6 or 12 months worth of posts on there (depending on how you spread it out). Go ahead, I’ll wait… If you are going to pitch an idea to post to other blogs, then you should have some examples of your writing to show them; i.e., your blog. How else will they know they can trust you? You might be Joe Schmo who is just looking for some backlinks. Don’t be Joe Schmo. No one likes Joe Schmo, especially Google (more on that later).
Here are some tips on how to begin your outreach process:
Do your research
You should already be a fan of the blog’s content. Its posts should be relevant to what you write about on your company blog, or have something to do with the industry you or your customers are in. Read a few of its recent posts so you’ll be able to correctly reference them when you create your customized email.
Consider outreach tools
Since outreach is tough, some smart companies have created blogger outreach software options to help with the process. Some really great options include sites like BuzzStream, InkyBee, and GroupHigh, however they will cost you some decent cash. They are worth the splurge, though, as they allow you to search through thousands of blogs based on keywords of your choosing. These keywords can be as vague or as specific as you’d like. You can then compile your own database of blogs to contact, email them directly from the site, and track your progress. It’s simple, organized, and effective.
Personalize your emails
Here is the area where I could give you some sort of “template” that you can customize a little bit for each blog that you contact. But I don’t want to give you one of those because each email should be fully unique. Keep in mind that these bloggers receive dozens of emails a day from people just like you, so here are some pointers to think about when crafting your email:
Use their name and an example of their content
Personalize your subject line to something you would open yourself. Don’t be a crazy salesperson here. These are real people who have to manually go through each email. You better make sure that you carefully word your email so that it’s something they won’t want to delete. Include their name and a reference to something they posted about (people love to hear about themselves). Then give them a reason you’re different by telling them all about your vast writing experience with a link to your blog full of your relevant articles.
Offer something they can use
Here’s where your research comes in handy. Your article should be about a topic that they would normally post. For example, don’t go to a marketing blog and pitch an article about car mufflers. Think outside the box, but make sure it makes sense.
Offer exclusive content only
Good blogs aren’t going to be interested in an article that has been posted somewhere else already. They want an exclusive post that they can offer their readers, and they’re also likely mindful of the fact that duplicate content makes Google irate. Remember, this isn’t all about you!
Don’t talk about backlinks or SEO
YIKES, this is a big no-no. You don’t want to be a spam outreach blogger. Google will catch you and Google will be angry. Craft an awesome article that will benefit others, not just yourself. You’ll win readers’ and Google’s trust this way.
Focus on building a relationship
If you focus on building trust, respect, and reliability, these bloggers will be much more likely to accept future guest posts from you without the push back. You’ll create an “in”, and you’ll be able to reach more readers with each piece of content that gets published.
Follow up with them
If you don’t receive a response, don’t get down on yourself. It happens. Your email gets lost in the clutter. Send a follow-up email next week to check in and see if they read your article or topic suggestions and what the next step might be.
Blogger outreach is important for any forward-thinking company. You’ll open all kinds of new doors and see traffic that you wouldn’t have had before, and having content all around the internet will increase your domain authority and make you the coolest kid on the block. Stick with it – you’ll get better with each new relationship that you build. Now get to it!
A version of this article was originally published as The Beginner’s Guide to Blogger Outreach by Liz Hoscheid on October 14, 2014.