If you’re trying reach new audiences for your online business or website, one of the most effective ways is by getting exposure on popular blogs in your niche. Who wouldn’t want to be exposed to a highly relevant blog of 10,000 unique visitors a month and a mailing list of 5000+?
The challenge is in initially building a relationship with the blog owners to get that exposure. Most successful bloggers are less likely to initially see any value in collaborating with you because they get 100’s of introductory messages a week. You’re just a needle in a haystack!
There are ways to work around this.
By making a few tweaks to the way you approach your blogger outreach, you can start seeing better results. The following tweaks will make you stand out among the many marketers who send messages to popular blog owners.
(1) Build credibility
You must get those random emails from people asking for a meeting or an introduction for whatever reason. Imagine if Tim Ferriss emailed you asking to publish a post on your website. You would instantly jump at the opportunity. Why the enthusiasm for Tim but the reluctance to answer to anyone else? Credibility.
Most of us have to prove our credibility and build familiarity and relationships from scratch. We could make our lives a lot easier if we implemented some principles from well known influencers.
- Creating our own high-quality content which adds value to our readers.
- Participating in online conversations around the web on the topic of the blogs we are contacting.
- Having a solid presence on social media platforms to show there is a face behind the name. People they know are also engaging and following you.
- It helps if you have built relationships with other bloggers and familiar names in your niche ecosystem. This could be through guest posts on their blogs.
- A credible looking website with relevant and non-generic pages.
These factors will put the blogger at ease that you are not some random spammer or dark-hat marketer. You are credible source.
This rule applies even more when you are trying to reach the audiences of well-known blogs and news journals. I see it as best practice to have a few remarkable blog posts on your website which add value to readers before trying to reach other bloggers.
(2) Start thinking about building win-win relationships
A better way of looking at blogger outreach is to perceive it as building meaningful and lasting friendships because you both share a similar audience. You can both collaborate to create amazing experiences for your audience personas, write amazing guest-posts on each other’s websites, and also introduce other dedicated bloggers in the same area to each other.
Once you start making friends with bloggers it becomes second nature to guest post, collaborate and possibly (if things go well), get an influential friend becoming an advocate of your brand.
By approaching a blogger with the intention of getting only a link or blog post is an obsolete practice and can only be seen as a short term SEO hack. If the blog is any good, he is likely to get plenty of templated emails from marketers and SEO’s asking for a guest for their own business or client, offering no value in return.
(3) Be patient and don’t expect too much
Like anything that involves persuading people, there will always be mixed outcomes. You might think that you have built a solid relationship with blogger A but then you email and mention writing an amazing post for his blog. He doesn’t reply. On the other hand blogger B, who seemed less invested in the interactions, instantly publishes a post that you sent him.
With such a dynamic nature to blogger outreach, it’s easy to get into pushy salesman mode and send reminder messages and never hear from the blogger again.
There is no rule for how many follow up emails to send. But my general rule of thumb is to politely follow up a few days later. If you don’t hear from them again, take a step back. Let them be. Carry on with what you do best – blogger outreach and building relationships with bloggers. You can politely tell the blogger that you are publishing the blog post that you sent him somewhere else. If he does want a publish a post, he will be more than happy to get in touch.
I’ve had bloggers not reply for various reasons e.g. illnesses, death of a loved one, or just being extremely busy. These same people that had “ignored” me, eventually returned my emails and we did some work together.
(4) Be honest and transparent
No one likes a bullshitter! Once that feeling of uncertainty that someone is trying to use manipulative tactics creeps in, it’s game over!
Let me give an example. You tell them that they have an awesome blog or you send them a generic email which you have already sent to another 100 blogs! They see through these disingenuous attempts to get something from them. Put yourself in the same position – imagine you had that many people seeking value from you? Your bullshit radar would have strong detectors.
Start being honest and you will find it easier to win these bloggers over.
A simple way to be more honest is by following their blog. You will then find it easier to send an email which will pass the lie detector test, just by the genuine language of being someone that reads and enjoys the blog.
I would normally allow a 2 to 4 week window to slowly get used to their blog:
- Read the latest blog posts.
- Read older and most popular content.
- Follow and engage on Twitter and on other social networks.
- Join the newsletter.
- Make contributions such as posting useful comments.
- Post a response (agreeing or disagreeing) to an idea on your own blog.
By doing these things, you will be separating yourself from the other 95% of outreach marketers who didn’t bother reading the blog and sent an insincere post.
Note: Some people will disagree here, but if you still can’t get yourself to be interested in their blog, then maybe the blogger might not be the best fit for you. Move on!
Over to you!
By applying these four simple tweaks to your blogger outreach you will start adding value to bloggers and get better responses.
What are your thoughts? It would be good to hear your ideas.