Over the last decade, blogging has evolved from a way to share your life’s adventures and experiences into something that both businesses and nonprofits can use to promote their brand and reach out to large sections of target audiences at almost no cost.
Where online marketing strategy is concerned, you cannot deny the benefits accrued by blogger outreach.
With an increasing number of customers trusting and depending upon online influencers, social media commentators, columnists, and bloggers, the best way to increase exposure for your business (beyond growing your social media presence and optimizing your website for Google search) is through guest blogging and blogger outreach.
You can explore avenues and gain new platforms to connect with potential customers like never before by using blogger outreach. You get to reach your customers on a personalized level, more like door-to-door marketing.
However, things are easier said than done because if the blogger outreach program begins on the wrong note, it is not going to get you anywhere.
To truly leverage a blogger’s influence in the industry for increasing the awareness of your brand or product, you require detailed and meticulously thought-out steps.
This guide will lend you an insight into blogger outreach and walk you through the precise steps required to get started on this innovative digital marketing journey.
Why is Blogger Outreach Necessary?
For quite some time now, brands have been treating bloggers as equivalent to major media outlets, and in fact integrating them into their PR strategies.
It is now understood that while getting PR coverage in major publications (like the New York Times) is fantastic, your brand can get better results with a number of smaller blogs.
This is because in the aggregate, multiple smaller blogs command the same audience as major publications.
The reason blog networks have reached their pinnacle is because the followers of multiple sites create one huge audience which can be easily swayed to any direction with the help of an influencer.
This fact is leveraged by PR opportunists to get their message out by connecting with dozens of smaller blogs.
A major undeniable advantage of this strategy is that the likelihood of success exponentially increases by reaching out to various small blogs as compared to one large media outlet.
The fact that most major media outlets are difficult to convince to cover a small business and sometimes, even a large brand, is another reason for blogger outreach to gain immense popularity.
You would require something exceptionally special or truly newsworthy and use it as a hook or bait to have a major media outlet cover your brand.
While the PR moment is definitely a lot smaller with regular blogs, the coverage is justified. You can attain a lot of exposure, depending upon you niche, with a basic contest or in-depth article.
How Can Blogger Outreach Help You?
Reaching out to bloggers can result in powerful SEO benefits. It can help you increase your brand’s visibility while introducing you to a whole new audience. Here are some of these benefits listed out:
1. Increase Brand Visibility
Brand presence among consumers is as important as ranking high in the search engines. Branding is a traditional concept and you can use the same strategies to work for you in digital marketing as well.
Bloggers who have a vast following are a great way to increase your visibility.
Most brands start with guest posting. This refers to the practice of posting articles and blogs on websites other than yours. To make guest posting really work, you need to find a blog which drives the same level and type of traffic.
You can significantly increase your visibility and even grow your personal brand with a well-written and researched guest post.
Outreach, on the other hand, is a lot different, and can be clubbed on the same lines of link building. The only difference is that instead of having a blogger link back to your site, you get them to write about you.
You can get a blogger to dedicate the entire post or part of a post to you by gifting them a product, giving insider information, or any other type of exclusive access.
Coverage from a blogger can go a long way in driving the online presence of your business by acting as a testimonial for you and your brand.
There is no denying the fact that you will require tremendous amounts of ingenuity and hard work to convince a blogger to write about your brand. However, in the end it is worth it because consumers tend to trust their favorite bloggers.
2. Search Engine Optimization
Search engines look at a number of metrics when they rank the importance of a webpage as compared to its competitors. These elements can be categorized into on-site (coding of your site) and off-site (visitor interaction with your site).
Inbound links are one of the most important elements in off-site search engine optimization. These links are like thumbs up or a vote to search engines in regards to the popularity of your webpage and its content. A professional blogger outreach company can help with this.
These links state that your content is important and necessary to satisfy a searcher’s intent.
Hence, when more people ‘vote’ for your page through inbound links, Google begins to consider it important and brings it up the SERPs. By working with relevant bloggers and connecting with them on a routine basis you can get more visibility for your brand.
You can inform them about new campaigns your business is doing or forward them a copy of any content that you are working on.
This kind of outreach does not just stop at giving you SEO benefits but also helps you turn into a known authority in your industry. You can be labeled as an expert in your own niche with the help of the valuable impact blogger outreach can provide.
3. Influential Network
The relationships you make and build with people from your own industry is an often overlooked (and just as important) aspect of blogger outreach.
Pick up any old-school marketing strategy and you will find the stress placed on networking and building connections.
In fact, businesses would scramble to be on first name basis with PR journalists of major publications.
Bloggers are influencers and thought leaders too. Overtime they develop a loyal audience and subscriber base.
They connect with their readers on their level, which is why they are labeled as an authority or an expert. Compared to journalists who only reach their readers through a publisher brand, bloggers are popular on a personal level.
This is important to your branding and end business goals because majority of your consumers would quite possibly be from this target group.
Hence, by creating a relationship with an influential blogger and getting them to write about your brand, you not only build brand awareness, but also succeed in gaining brand trust from potential customers.
By befriending a blogger, you automatically befriend their community who are more open to your thoughts and marketing efforts.
You can ensure maximum coverage for your next event, sale or promotion by keeping in touch with a blogger through emails and social media channels. This way you are never without a workable consumer base within easy reach.
How to build an Outreach List?
You need to make sure you are organized before you start reaching out to other influencers and bloggers in your industry. The first step to being organized is creating a list of prospects.
This should include all influencers in your industry and blog owners that you think may be able to help you.
By outlining an outreach list, you narrow down your list of prospects from a few thousands to somewhere in the tens or hundreds, depending upon your scope of outreach.
This also allows you to develop the right approach to blogger outreach, where you determine how to allocate your resources in order to reach most bloggers and create a large impact.
1. Secure Important Information
Your outreach list should contain as much information as possible. You can start off by including the blog title, URL, blogger’s name, and contact information.
You can easily get these from various online tools that are dedicated solely to finding influencers in an industry.
Try keeping things organized in an excel sheet. Or, you could make use of multiple other tools designed specifically for blogger outreach programs.
You need to understand that you would be reaching out to scores of bloggers at a time. It can be difficult keeping track of all the multiple conversations.
Therefore, aside from the basics, you should also make a note of conversations and reminders. It helps to include notes on a blogger (from your personal experience) and anything that you find about their blog.
As a business it is important that you are seen only with genuine influencers. You don’t want your brand’s name to be tagged with a blogger who is not appreciated in the industry anymore.
It is also important to understand individual bloggers and identify common grounds. This will help you make the right pitch which is sure to get you noticed and accepted.
Keep track of things like, whether they have worked with other similar brands in the past, or if there is something they truly dislike. Also, keep track of the kind of things they are writing about.
Overtime, you will get in a position to create tiered lists. You will be able to identify the bloggers which are more popular with your niche and with whom you can have a more personable relation.
Blogger outreach is not a one-time game and it is important you stay connected. You never know when you would require a blogger’s help again.
There are many influencers who prefer having an ongoing relationship with brands and businesses where they feature an article per week or month. This can be very good for increasing brand exposure and getting a steady stream of organic traffic.
2. Finding High Value Bloggers
The actual work starts once you have compiled your initial blogger outreach list. This should include names, URL, emails, and social media profiles of all potential influencers in your industry. It is important that you wait until step 2 before striking out names from the list.
Most people get cold feet while compiling a blogger outreach list and actually leave out a few names they feel are out of their league. It is always better to try before giving up. You may not really know how influential a blogger is until you have accessed their scores.
You would need to know their domain authority numbers and whether they really get as much traffic as they claim by using online tools.
Your list may include hundreds of names right now, but by the end of this step, you would realize that you only have a handful of professional and effective blogs to work with.
However, this is largely industry specific. You may just be lucky and have hundreds of relevant ones to reach out to.
Alltop and DMOZ Directory are two great places to start searching valuable blogs. Alltop is great for finding some of the largest blogs easily, since it’s a user suggested directory of blogs by topic.
It is also a great place to start looking for smaller and newer bloggers that are creating a ripple through your potential audience. Sometimes, smaller blogs pack a similar punch to more-established websites where traffic and visibility is concerned.
DMOZ Directory is another great tool for locating the right kind of blogs by being a hand-edited directory that is broken out by topics.
In fact, DMOZ is considered one of the top directories online in regards to blogger outreach programs. You can easily search for top blogs that are specific and relevant to your industry.
These two directories make a great starting point in identifying valuable targets. You can take care of the remaining list by reading your original blogs and seeing who they link out to.
Make sure you go through the comments to identify whether any influencer tried interacting with you.
With time, you will begin to understand who the new players are and know which bloggers receive the most attention. Outreach is a game of numbers and patience and you need to be thoroughly ingrained in the online community to identify the major players.
With time you would be able to develop a big enough network to result in simplified outreach efforts.
However, for now, your focus should be on reaching out to as many players as possible. Make sure these bloggers are considered high-value in your industry and can create a positive impact on your marketing efforts.
You are ready to pitch to multiple bloggers once you have at least a dozen valuable targets in your list.
How to make initial contact in blogger outreach?
You would be surprised to know that the easiest part of blogger outreach is the actual outreach. Don’t let horror stories about influencers turning down a blogger or blocking a brand simply because of a bad pitch, scare you off.
Most people hold back from going all out for fear of disappointment, or worse, rejection. Nobody likes bad pitches and you would be better off hitting the trash button than sending a mail, if you are not 100% sure.
A good pitch is really easy to make once you know the various elements and tricks of trade. The secret to writing a good pitch is to treat a prospect like your friend.
However, be careful that while you stress on writing a personal and informal mail, you don’t come across as rude or non-courteous. Remember, that bloggers may not be at the same level as major publications, but they are in no way low-class journalists, looking for a handout.
Keep your emails friendly and professional at the same time. Make sure you don’t make the rookie mistake of emailing a basic press release which has all the likelihood of getting immediately junked or sent to the spam folder.
Send an email which can be easily skimmed through and clearly states your purpose and other important information. Bullet points are great when you are pitching ideas.
Always remember that bloggers are hungry for new content that is relevant and viral-worthy to their readers. While it may seem scary to pitch something to bloggers, your brand has the capacity to give exclusive access to a blogger in regards to information about upcoming events and promotions.
This gives them the edge they require over their competitors in the industry while you get your publicity.
A blogger outreach program should be a win-win situation for you and the influencer. It should be designed to forge a symbiotic relationship between the blogger and the business.
Getting your content featured on popular blogs is one of the easiest ways to generate brand visibility while garnering some high-quality back links.
Blogger outreach is one of the best ways to find traffic for your offers and drive potential customers to your products or services.
Good blogger outreach programs can have an immense impact on your branding, search engine optimization, and online reputation. However, you are probably in for a big disappointment or rejection if you don’t get the right hook in while making the pitches.