What is Blogger Outreach?
Blogger outreach is a popular buzzword that can be an important link building tool when performed correctly. When it is done incorrectly, it will lead to a penalty. Take note of these tips, tactics and warnings before launching a blogger outreach campaign.
It is important to define a common target before embarking on a blogger outreach strategy. It is generally the acquisition of specific and contextual (page or domain contextual) links for SEO campaigns. In the case of online reputation management (ORM) campaigns, this is usually the suppression of the negative through ranking or link building.
The purpose of the campaign is to drive the specifics, so it is crucial to know what you want to achieve.
Blogger Outreach Definition
Blogger outreach is a process of reaching out to bloggers via email, social media or other media and asking them to do something for you. The normal request is to publish content or to connect to a particular website.
Successful outreach bloggers always have an exchange that can add value to others.
Blogger Outreach Strategies To Consider
Around half of the work my company does is to feed their alter ego, and half is about the actual customer. This is a discussion I have with each of my clients, and I can also help them decide on the best course of action based on their job, future employment, age and expectations.
ALTER EGO EXAMPLE
I have an ORM client who doesn’t mind what appears on the web for his name, as long as it isn’t negative. In situations like this, we build an alter ego (persona) with a good biography, social media accounts, and online profiles. My client is a communications specialist living in London. My alter ego for the same client is a travel writer who loves Asia and Europe.
ALTER EGO PROS AND CONS
PRO: The outreach is made easier because we can pick the sector we want to hit. Broad industries, non-financial industries and low entry-type barriers are working well.
PRO: No presence of the company. The client doesn’t need to check or approve any material. It isn’t about them, so they don’t mind what it says (as long as it’s positive).
CON: None of them!
REAL PERSON EXAMPLE
We can’t use the alter ego for most clients. The client has a public profile or would like to have a public profile. The deciding factor is generally whether or not the customer is going to be searched for a company in a constructive way. As an example, a real estate agent needs real information so potential buyers and sellers may want to know who the agent is before they agree to work with them. When we used the alter ego, the client wouldn’t know much about the real estate agent, so they may want to deal with someone they consider as more trustworthy.
REAL PERSON PROS AND CONS
PRO: Recognition of a name. When the client is well known to the industry blogger and website owners, they may want to talk about him, interview him, and write a guest post. Same goes with his company. If they are well known, you’ll have a great opportunity.
CON: The company may want to check the content and approve it and make adjustments to it. It slows down the process.
CON: The client may deny an article or website. This is a waste of opportunity and has a measurable cost.
My preferred method is to use a hybrid approach. We do both the alter ego and the real content of the person. It gives the searcher a little uncertainty about the outcomes of the real individual and the alter ego.
HYBRID PROS AND CONS
PRO: outreach to simple sectors as well as to the company sector. All the pros of the alter ego and the actual individual.
CON: The client may want to review the content and approve it and make adjustments to it. It slows down the process.
CON: Client may want to see more personal outreach for him/her. You’ll find that a wide variety of connexions and information is easier to secure in. This leads to further exposure in those sectors that take away from the individual person’s material.
How to Do Blogger Outreach
Blogger outreach can be as easy as sending an email. This can be as complicated as a multi-part strategy designed to get your target’s attention, start engaging, start a discussion, and ultimately lead to your request for them.
Before I started blogger outreach for myself about eight years ago, I just contacted some SEO and marketing bloggers online that I knew and asked if I could write a guest post. Nearly all of them decided to go ahead because we had a friendship. Some of them never replied so I would follow up on Twitter to make sure they got my comment. It is the best way if you already have a friendship.
Everything I do today is more complex than that. For each client, I write customised emails with a subject line designed to trigger them into opening the email, and the body of the email is meant to get their attention quickly. Most cold outreach emails (they’re certainly “cold” because we didn’t have a previous contact, so they don’t expect my email) get trashed and never open. You want to conquer this urge to miss emails by using what you know about human nature. I’m going to dive into human actions later in the guide.
Your email could be as simple as this:
Subject: Can I Write You A Guest Post?
Hey, Joe, I hope everything is all right! Last week, I saw a Tweet that you wrote an article on why cats are better than dogs. I loved your story, and my mom (a pet lover) was sure to agree.
As a dog lover, I decided to write a rebuttal that I hope your readers would enjoy. What does that sound like?
19 Reasons why dogs are much better pets than cats
My dog does that, but your cat will never do it.
I Grew up with seven cats, so I’m never going back there the reason? Well, if you think any of those posts sound like a lot of fun, let me know, and I’m going to get it sent to you for review.
Thanks again, Joe! Oh, I love your blog!
How to Scale Blogger Outreach
Reading the last segment appeals to people to get acquainted with the outreach of bloggers. You simply need to send an email! It was manageable because I wrote all my own guest posts. I will write about 2-4 a month, so it would only take an hour a month to email bloggers to find a couple of websites that are interested. Folk already knew me from forums, other guest posts, Facebook, or reading my blog, so it was easy to sell.
Once I started doing company outreach for writers, you don’t have any control. You literally start from scratch.
This is what my company is doing from start to finish.
Build the backstory.
You need a reputable website, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and then an industry-specific website. This history is actually the alter ego. It needs an image (Pixabay.com is perfect for this) and a full profile. I’ve also got one of my authors to create the first biography to be written on the website. All the other writers refer to this bio in order to maintain consistency. The website needs to look nice. I employ a graphic designer to create a logo in multiple sizes so that we can use it across each network.
Consistency serves to portray the alter ego. I still use free WordPress themes on my pages, but make sure my team knows they need to be personalised with a sidebar and a couple of seed articles. Social networking profiles need followers and action. It’s different with every site, but having 5,000 Twitter followers and 25 Facebook followers seem strange. Make sure that it makes sense to a real person because a real person will determine whether or not to publish your post.
Decide On A Direction To Go In.
I wouldn’t use an alter ego client, an electrical engineer or an aircraft mechanic, for three reasons. First of all, most of my authors will not be able to write intelligently on these subjects. Second, there aren’t a lot of aircraft mechanic blogs, so I want to be able to have a higher number that only hits a total of 200 websites on the topic. Third, a plane mechanic will spot a writer who doesn’t know what he’s talking about. If he thinks it’s fishy, he’s not going to publish your content. Choose your alter ego carefully and do not be afraid to play around until you find a successful industry.
Don’t send emails individually.
If you send less than 50 emails, just do it manually. If you’re going to send more, get some help. I don’t mean paying a man $2 an hour to deliver your emails. There are resources for that. My favourite one is PitchBox. I used Hubspot for a client campaign, too, and liked their interface. They’re not identical, but they’re two that I’ve used lately. I sent more than 20,000 emails last month (2018 Update: we’re now sending more than 50,000 emails a month!) via Pitchbox. You don’t want to do it one by one!
Get Someone To Help You – Hire An Assistant
When I first started my Blogger outreach mission, I had to learn the process so that I could train new workers and create videos demonstrating each part of the process. Now when we get new workers onboard, my senior outreach team will show the new hire a couple of videos and give them a quick rundown of how things work. They’re sure to have concerns, but they’re always going to help ease the load.
I mean, literally, everything. If there’s a way to get a 1% boost in the number of people who open my emails, I want to know. In the end, I practically check it all. It is much simpler in Hubspot, as A / B split checking is integrated into their email framework. It’s still very limited, but better than Pitchbox, which doesn’t offer any split testing.
All Outreach is an Exchange of Value
You have to think to yourself, OK, What am I going to get out of this deal? What’s in it for me? You’ve already heard those questions before. Before I commit to doing something for you, I need to know what you’re going to do for me. It is considered an interest swap. I’m going to do ABC if you do XYZ.
The easiest (and least effective in my experience) exchange is monetary. If you publish this article, I’m going to pay you £50. A lot of bloggers don’t like to accept (or recognise) that they have a price. Most of the time, the amount you’re offering won’t even grant you a response which is pretty lame but, if you were a legitimate corporation, would you like to publish an article on your business blog for £50? I sure wouldn’t do that. Keep in mind that like myself, bloggers have customers who purchase hundreds of posts at a time from them, they aren’t going to respond if you’re just asking for one or two. I wouldn’t even reply to emails from people asking for a single post. There’s almost no amount of money on my company pages that I’d take to publish an article. I say “almost” because they all have a price!
The best way to exchange value (also in my experience) is through content. Data is the foundation of web marketing (who knew it?). I start every email conversation with the awesome content that we build to post on the target site. I provide clear examples of titles that can be written, and that is good at a response rate of at least 25%. Your emails will not be answered if the value exchanged is of no actual value.
Your content needs to be outstanding. Fiverr’s not going to cut it. It doesn’t have to be costly, but it does have to be outstanding. There’s a significant difference here.
Some bloggers have the directions they’re asking you to obey. The guidelines are unimportant and totally meaningless. However, they expect the rules to be followed. If you just don’t, most of them are going to reject your post. It’s human nature. They’ve worked hard to create these rules and see it as a sign of disrespect if you can’t follow them. Follow what they’re asking, and then tell them you’re trying to meet the rules, and you’re going to get a new best mate. You’ve given them respect, and they’re going to do the same thing for you – again, human nature.
Depending on the type of the link you are asking for (ghostwriting vs bio link) you may want to include an authority link. Many people still live in the dark ages where they feel that communicating to other places will harm them. In that case, you don’t want to connect out, but most people are Fine with outbound links as long as they are appropriate.
Also, provide at least one related picture. It is a difficult thing to do in some situations, but at least have one picture that is Appropriate to use under the Creative Commons licence. Send the link to the image along with your article and tell them what CC licence it has. They’ll ask if they can legally publish the picture they have received.
High Volume or High Quality?
My standard method is to identify targets, find the best person to contact (with their first name if possible) and then start sending an email series.
I’ve recently tested this theory with an alter ego client. In total, we sent 889 emails and received a response rate of 25.5 per cent. It is a lot smaller than I’ve seen in the same industry. By contrast, another company in the same industry has a 53% response rate, more than double that for personalising emails.
This proves that personalisation is essential.
What’s the answer to the quality or volume question? The response to that is yes. Yes, you need to customise, and yes, you need to work in high volume. Many campaigns would require a personal touch, while others do not require any customisation.
Can I Buy Outreached Guest Posts?
Yeah, but it’s not easy or affordable. I get about five emails a week from people with a list of “true blogger outreach” who claim to have visited each of these websites and can now publish an article. It’s a complete lie. Ninety-nine per cent of blogger outreach is a lie! These lists are very similar, and you can even find high-profile sites like Forbes. No one reached out to Forbes, asking for a guest column. Someone found an author, and now everyone’s going to resell that guy until his account is blocked.
I get about five emails every week from people with a list of “real blogger outreach” who claim to have contacted each of these websites and can now publish a post. It’s a complete lie. Ninety-nine percent of blogger outreach is a lie.
The rest of the list is generally made up of low-quality PBN sites. If you can’t find a PBN, you may think it’s a good connexion. They’re going to cost anywhere from $5 to $100 per article. They are of very poor quality and are more likely to end up with a penalty rather than an improvement in ranking.
For the last 10 + years, I’ve shown my clients that I know what’s effective because I’ve tested everything possible. Naturally, I also bought a lot of these “outreach” posts, which are nothing more than a PBN. I’ve also purchased from every business so I can figure out who’s selling blogger outreach posts and bundles. The most I spent was about £500 per post, and I’ve never ever found a vendor who actually does outreach and secure posts based on that outreach.
These vendors often sell a good product, but it’s not a true outreach blogger.
What If It’s Hard To Get Links In This Industry!
I definitely get that! For some sectors, it is very difficult to locate the appropriate sites and much more difficult to get them to publish an article. There are certain industries that blogger outreach is not a viable solution. Over the years, I’ve turned down a few clients who really wanted outreach, but we were unable to find out a way to do it.
Blogger outreach is still feasible much of the time, however challenging it may be. It is where tangentially similar keywords come in.
Target tangentially related keywords.
A tangentially linked keyword is essentially a keyword that is loosely associated but important enough to make sense of it. For example, rather than “debt settlement,” we target businesses offering certain forms of settlements. These included attorneys who settled estates, arbitrators who settled civil matters, and other similar (but not competitive) individuals and keywords.
Target related industries
Since debt is a financial commodity, we have targeted personal finance bloggers offering both free content and an opportunity to pay for placement. Personal finance bloggers are also able to spend 3 hours clipping coupons to save 35 cents. The attraction to this frugality and the need for more money helped pave the way for a mutually beneficial partnership.
In fact, personal finance is an incredibly convenient field to write about. It’s easy for any good writer to come up with creative titles and posts. We’ve had an endless amount of fantastic content to share.
Ghostwrite for websites.
This approach is much more complex and typically leads to less important relations. The idea is that you’re giving free content to the blogger. They can use it as their own, and they can even keep their own bylines. Inside the article, you add relevant links, which includes one to your client.
I don’t need a link
The argument is that you’re trying to create your own personal brand and want to be well established as a writer, so you’re only searching for great content to be published so you can tell people you’ve blogged on their website. You’d love an online connexion, but they can delete it if they want to. The key is to add a link to your client along with other contextually relevant and authoritative links. If your client link is one of the four links in the body of the article, and you have done well, it will be difficult to identify the natural from the unnatural.
Women’s names work best. I’ve been testing this extensively. If I send an email from “Stephanie” instead of “David,” I can get more than 10% more replies. I don’t care to speculate on the reason, but it’s a fact in my tests. As a result, at least 90% of the emails we send are from a female name. Some of my campaigns have a response rate (not an open response rate, a real response rate) above 60%. That means that more than 60 percent of the emails we send give us a response.
Think like a human. You’re a human being, just act like it! If you were sent an email with your subject line, would you open it? If not, check for new subject lines. Would you like to respond to your email? Think of these things. Which emails do you open to find out they’re spam? How did you know that it was spam? All of these questions will give you answers. Answers come from thinking like a true human would think.
Check the Mechanical Turk headlines if you’re uncertain. I did this a couple of times for blog post names. What title is most likely to be clicked on? What title gives an emotional response? You will get a lot of information about which of your titles people think is better for less than $5. Bear in mind that most of these workers are not in the United Kingdom and that English is not their first language.
If you don’t have English as your first language, outsource it. The best way to know if your email is spam is to study it. If you can quickly spot spelling or grammatical errors, it’s probably spam.
Real businesses are recruiting real people who know how to read and write in English. Spammers are looking for a fast buck, so they generally don’t bother with spelling and grammar.
You need to reach out from the domain you want to link to. Bloggers can instantly reject your free hosted email accounts so you can submit your alter ego or client domain.
Human behaviour is a very powerful ally. If you can get an emotional response via email, you can guide the reader to the path you want. That’s why reading a book will make you love or hate characters, even though they’re fictional. My favourite feelings to be manipulated are ego and guilt.
To target someone’s ego, you need to make a genuine compliment. I say genuine because someone can see a fake compliment a mile away and ignore you. To start a conversation successfully, you need to pay a compliment that is more than “Great Blog!” “Your compliment (on Twitter / Facebook is my favourite because it’s public) should be more like,” Your post about 11 ways to succeed in a new job is life-changing! Do you think the # 7 on making friends only applies if you’re a manager rather than an employee? You should Think again! “Oh! Do you imagine getting the compliment? You would definitely answer, and then the discussion begins.
Targeting guilt is as simple as asking if you offended them, but asking in a submissive way. For example, my final outreach email always uses this tactic, “Since you haven’t answered my other emails, I thought I might have offended you, and I’m sorry if I offended you. That was certainly not my intention. Please note this is the last email I’m going to send you. If you’d like to respond, I’d love it, but don’t feel like you need to; otherwise, you won’t hear from me again.
If you feel like this is a lot to handle then feel free to get in touch to see if we can help with your blogger outreach for SEO and ORM, we would be happy to help you achieve your goals!