7 Blogger Outreach Best Practices (We Learnt The Hard Way)

Jake Sheridan
Feb 17

Let’s address the elephant in the room:

Most people HATE blogger outreach a lot. Most marketers hate it even more than that.

But effective blogger outreach is more than just spamming blogs begging asking for links.

It’s about building relationships with the right bloggers and creating a mutually beneficial arrangement.

In this article you will learn:

  • What blogger outreach actually is
  • How to build blogger relationships (+ how to find great blogs to contact)
  • The outreach best practices you need to follow

What is Blogger Outreach?

Blogger outreach is when you send annoying emails to strangers on the internet begging them to link to your post.

Blogger outreach is when you contact a site with the intention of asking for something in return. And let’s be honest, most of the time it is a link back to your site or your clients.

Successful Blogger Outreach Campaign

The outreach process of a successful blogger outreach campaign looks like this:

  • Find the right blogger (en masse) to share your content marketing efforts with
  • Get the website owners contact details
  • Craft your pitch and winning subject line then contact bloggers
  • Land your link, sponsored post or whatever your goal was.
  • Repeat until you can retire early and count all your beautiful backlinks…

Like a lot of things in digital marketing, it sounds simple on paper. In practice, things are a bit more difficult than the process outlined above.

Blogger outreach is the practice of utilizing known influencers or bloggers and have them write about your brand on their site in exchange for your payment or free services/products.

Alternatively, you can also reach out to brands and propose writing guest blogs on their site. If done this way, you would usually create a high-quality article that would add value to their site through organic traffic.

Both methods are great ways to reach new target audiences or create relevant links back to your site.

What are the benefits?

Not only can blogger outreach increase your followers and traffic, but it also has other valuable benefits:

  • Build your brand awareness.
  • Improve customer trust and overall reputation through blogger endorsement.
  • Create credible backlinks as part of your link building plan.
  • Grow your network and relationships within the industry — you never know when that might come in handy.
  • And, when it comes to guest blogging, you’ll create more brand visibility on various platforms.

Real Example: Blogger Outreach In The Wild

An example of blogger outreach can be seen in the form of a guest post we recently landed with Woopra.

Through our Outreach team’s hard work of building a relationship with Woopra, we proposed a mutually beneficial blog article written by our founder, Adam Steele.

The deal was that they would receive a high-quality article on a topic they needed to be fulfilled based around a high-traffic keyword.

In exchange, Loganix would receive relevant backlinks and create further brand awareness with Woopra’s audience — a target audience for Loganix.

As you can see, this is just one example of landing a guest article on another site, but you can also propose a blogger write an article for you.

We will take you through some best practices and tips for setting up your outreach campaign strategy to achieve both of these.

Why Should I Even Outreach to Bloggers?

Let’s get into the nitty-gritty of why blogger outreach is essential.

We already mentioned some benefits like growing brand awareness, instilling trust in your customers and even creating more quality backlinks without buying links.

But did you know that the average buyer consults up to 11 product or service reviews before even making a purchase?

It makes sense now why it is important to plan out your campaign so you can enlist an army of sites to speak on your brand.

Here are some other statistics of why you should probably consider blogger outreach in your marketing efforts:

Written content is still the most popular form of content.

(source: Zazzle Media)

Even better is that of those B2B consumers, blog posts are the highest shared type of content.

(Source: Demand Gen)

Still not convinced? Here’s some more stats:

  • In the US alone, people spend 3X more time on blogs than they do on their emails (Optinmonster).
  • 70% of consumers would rather learn about a business from a blog than an advertisement, and after reading that content, 82% have a more positive view of those businesses (D. John Carlson).
  • A 2020 survey by Demand Gen found that in the B2B market, 56% of participants engaged with blogs during their buying process.
  • Blogs build trust in consumers; 81% of the online population trusts advice they get from bloggers, with 61% of consumers making a purchase based on a blogger’s recommendation (blogher).

Find Relevant Bloggers to Contact

  • Bloggers you’ve featured in content – have you mentioned a particular person in your content? Reach out to them and let them know.
  • Bloggers creating content on similar topics – if someone has written an article on a similar topic to you, they may more open to your outreach (hint: use Google, Ahrefs Content explorer and your own personal network to find them)
  • Review sites that link to your topics – drop in a popular and similar article to yours in Ahrefs and see what sites link to it. Chances are they may be open to linking to you to, or at least more open to your pitch.
  • Find bloggers on Twitter – see what kind of content people are sharing

7 Blogger Outreach Best Practices

Now we know what blogger outreach is and why it can be useful, let’s look at some best practices to follow:

1. Testing Makes Perfect

Now wouldn’t it be amazing to know what works and doesn’t work right from the get-go?

Yes, but it usually doesn’t work like that, so have fun testing out your outreach methods.

Test out different types of bloggers for your target audience, various ways of pitching and what you say in those pitches, or even what kind of posts you or your blogging partners write. These are all just examples as you can have free range with A/B testing everything.

Remember to keep track of your testing meticulously. You don’t want to be trialling something twice, and remember the second time, it already didn’t work.

2. Use Tools

We can’t express this enough, use tools.

Sure, if you are reaching out to a few bloggers periodically, then doing all the outreach manually without tools might work out fine.

However, for a successful outreach campaign with many moving parts, complex workflows, and people to manage, then you’ll want to utilize tools to keep track of your campaigns.

We’ve compiled a list of our outreach, SEO and email tool recommendations.

NOTE: From each category, we would recommend choosing at least one tool; however, you’ll also have to determine what will work best for your company and team based on budget and outreach needs.

Check them out:

Outreach Tools

Outreach tools can help you find relevant bloggers and sites for proposing articles.

Beyond just finding sites and bloggers, outreach tools can help keep track of your outreach emails, have A/B testing abilities, and filter out sites not related to your preferred metrics.

Here are some tools we recommend:

SEO Tools

Using SEO tools is highly recommended for your blogger outreach strategy, as you can better qualify sites before reaching out.

Ideally, you’ll be aiming for sites with high domain authority and traffic, along with other important link building metrics.

There are many SEO tools out there that range in prices; however, these are the ones we would suggest:

Email Finder Tools

If you want to make things easier for you and your outreach team, an email finder tool will be your new best friend. These tools will assist in finding who to make the first contact with when starting your outreach.

Most are in the form of a browser plug-in or extension, making them even more conveniently easy to find details such as names, job positions, and sometimes even links to social media profiles.

Here are a few recommendations:

3. Approach it Like Networking

Similar to when you are making a connection with someone at a networking event, you want to share your value, and usually, they would do the same, ideally becoming a mutually beneficial relationship.

Beyond that first meeting, you typically want to nurture the relationship in an ongoing manner. Use this same tactic when it comes to reaching out to bloggers — mutually beneficial and lasting.

Oh, and just remember, bloggers and editors are likely to get A LOT of pitches each day. In fact, the majority of editors get up to 10 pitches per day:

Source: https://www.pointvisible.com/blog/how-to-write-a-perfect-guest-post-pitch/

So make sure your outreach efforts stand out (for the right reasons) and get take it personally if you get ignored.

4. Segment Your Bloggers

During your blogger research, you will come across many bloggers and most likely end up with an extensive list.

But what do you do with that list and decide which ones to reach out to? That’s where segmenting them will come into play.

Source: https://www.custify.com/segment-your-customers-for-more-effective-customer-success

You can segment your bloggers into various groups, with your best starting point being by niche and SEO metrics such as domain rating (Ahrefs) and traffic.

Other ways to segment can be based on social media followers, their audiences, or engagement levels. Once you have segmented out your list of bloggers, you can prioritize who to reach out to first based on your specific outreach campaign’s goals.

For example, if you have an online eCommerce shop that sells outdoor gear with both fishing and hiking equipment, then your blogger segments and outreach strategies would likely be different to suit those sites and people.

5. Personalize Your Outreach Pitch

When it comes to sending out your pitches, it is usually not best to send out the same generic email to every blogger you approach.

Although it may not be possible to personalize every email or every part of it, you can aim to personalize aspects of the email based on the chosen segment.

Your outreach tool can help automate some of this process and the emails themselves.

The general rule of thumb in your pitch email is to include:

  • Their name
  • Background on your brand and products/services
  • Why you would like to work with them and think they would be a good fit
  • What you are asking of them
  • What they will receive from you
  • And anything else that will help them understand your brand and its personality better

And, remember, when it comes to highly valuable bloggers (VIPs), put in that extra personalization to win them over.

6. Keep Your Team on the Same Page

With blogger outreach, there can be a lot going on at times, which is why it is important to standardize your workflows and keep everyone on the team updated with the latest developments.

This also reduces the risk of multiple people working on the same thing and, in the end, avoid wasting valuable time.

Some ways you can do this is by ensuring:

  • Everyone on the team knows and understands their role.
  • Proper notification happens when someone has completed a task. For example, once the blogger segments have been chosen, the outreach person knows they can begin.
  • The type of metrics is known for a site or blogger to qualify (social following, domain rating, organic traffic, keyword rankings, etc.).
  • They are tracking the outreach’s content creation side to know if they are on time or not.
  • Who the lead is on the project in case issues arise and need to be dealt with.

While this is not an exhaustive list, it highlights the importance of having everyone on the blogger outreach team on the same page to keep things running smoothly.

7. Know When It’s Time to Outsource

When it’s all said and done sometimes, it’s not feasible for every business to do this on their own, especially when it comes time to scale up the production of outreach blogs.

While these best practices will help smooth out the process, it is just as valuable to know when to outsource link building and blogger outreach.

Consider using something like the Outsourcing Decision Matrix:

Source: https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newSTR_45.htm

The Matrix shows the two most important factors to consider when thinking about outsourcing a task:

  1. Importance of the task – Does the task give your business a competitive advantage?
  2. Impact of the task (on operational performance) – How much does the task contribute to the running of your business (or in this case; link building campaign)?

Before you get lost combing through a spreadsheet full of blogger contact details, think of this matrix.

How To Build Blogger Outreach Strategy (That Works)

By this point, you should have a pretty good understanding of blogger outreach, some of the steps to the strategy and key best practices.

Now it’s time to set up your blogger outreach strategy properly.

Let’s layout the basic steps:

Building a Blogger Outreach Strategy

  • Set goals – No marketing strategy, including an outreach strategy, will be as effective unless you set goals. Get specific on your buyer persona(s), which audiences you want to target, your niche(s), your qualifiers for sites and bloggers and what tools you will use.
  • Identify your bloggers – Take the time to get to know the bloggersphere and create a list of potential bloggers; this is where your tools will come in handy. They can help segment, qualify and prepare your list for outreach.
  • Outreach – Now that you have determined who you want to reach out to, it is time to begin the process. Remember to personalize where possible and put in extra effort to those VIP bloggers.
  • Track your success (+ make adjustments) – Use your outreach tools and other analytics to determine your successes and losses. Where you are doing well, keep replicating that. Where you do not see as much progress, then don’t be afraid to adjust your strategy. Remember to test along the way.
  • Maintain relationships – Once you’ve won over a blogger or website, remember to foster that relationship. Again, we are looking for a mutually beneficial relationship. As well, you never know when these new contacts will be helpful again, whether for another blog post or in some other way.

Sidenote: 5 Stages of Blogger Outreach

When blogger outreach is done right, it works wonders but takes a little more effort than just reaching out to a blogger and asking them for a shout-out.

There are five integral steps you’ll want to take in setting up a blogger outreach campaign:

1. Map it Out

Map out your plan of action for your campaign well before you begin reaching out.

During this stage, you will set goals and KPIs to know if you have reached significant milestones and determine the campaign’s success. By planning, you can also ensure you are adequately guiding the campaign and hopefully avoid getting sidetracked.

One element some people forget to do is determine the target audience you are looking to attract by assuring you have a strong buyer persona — that way, you know which blogger will be most helpful in attracting them.

2. Discover

In the discovery phase, you will begin the process of looking for the best bloggers that will help you reach your goals. Base this on your campaign plan and buyer persona(s).

You can search for sites and bloggers in your niche by asking your network, using a blogger outreach tool, or doing manual searches.

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This step is essential for getting to know the bloggersphere and creating lists of various types of sites and bloggers you’d like to work with now and in the future.

3. Pitch

In the pitch phase, you will start making contact with your chosen list of bloggers.

Your pitch will include what you are looking for from them and what you will be offering in return. In other words, why they would want to work with your brand.

Remember when to personalize your pitch emails.

Campaigns, where many pitches will be sent out, can have the same template with areas personalized. But when going after a higher stake site, you’ll want to personalize it to that person and their business (we’ll go into this more below).

4. Offer Resources

To help your bloggers out, provide them with helpful resources to effectively write about your brand and their experience with you.

Many brands fail in this department and leave their blogging partners to fend for themselves.

Make sure you are giving them what they need to make their post as beneficial as possible for you.

This could be free products or services for reviews, infographics or any other helpful asset for them to fulfil your ask properly.

5. Share, Share, Share

Guarantee you get the proper exposure for the content written by you or the blogger by sharing on your social channels.

Not only does this help your exposure, but your blogger’s too — and don’t forget to ask them to do the same!

Summary

If you are looking to branch out and build different types of backlinks, then a blogger outreach strategy is something you’ll want to consider.

We wish we had implemented such an approach much earlier on, as once we did, it has been a great way to create more contextual backlinks back to our site and build meaningful relationships in the industry.

Written by Jake Sheridan on February 17, 2021

Founder of Sheets for Marketers, I nerd out on automating parts of my work using Google Sheets. At Loganix I build products, and content marketing. There’s nothing like a well deserved drink after a busy day spreadsheeting.

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