This guide is for you if you want to strengthen your brand without having to master the skill of walking on water to achieve it. Following this guide, you’ll learn how you can harness the power of blogger outreach to benefit the online visibility, and reputation, of your brand.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- What is blogger outreach?
- The objectives of blogger outreach
- The psychology behind blogger outreach
- The process to follow
What is blogger outreach?
Let’s unpack the terminology; what is blogger outreach? If you invert the words, the phrase slides into focus - blogger outreach is simply the act of reaching out to bloggers.
The aim is to find relevant bloggers to your business and persuade them to work with your brand to promote a product or improve your online presence. If you understand the work of influencers, the concept is the same. You seek bloggers with authority and a large audience in your field or niche and you convince them to talk about what you do.
The objectives of blogger outreach
Blogger outreach can be a strategy for any size of business. It is affordable, accessible, and very effective. It fulfills two primary objectives:
- The placement of quality links to your site
- Improving your online presence and brand reputation
Statistics show that online commerce continues to grow massively. We can purchase everything we need to live without leaving the house. Forecasts show that by 2025, online shopping revenue in the U.S. will exceed 1.3 trillion dollars.
Retail e-commerce revenue in the United States from 2017 to 2025 (in billion US dollars)
Although we do most of our shopping online, one thing hasn’t changed in thousands of years since the earliest barter systems: people buy from people. We typically consult at least 3-4 sources of information before buying a product or service online, and the sources we trust the most come from real individuals.
It’s not just planned purchases either, as buyers will also make a spontaneous transaction in response to a quality post. From product reviews to forum posts and social media channels, the personal connection is a crucial component and shouldn’t be ignored.
Imagine your brand as the spider at the center of the web. A spider without a web is going to starve pretty quickly. No web means no way of catching flies and other tasty morsels, and that means no lunch. Repeat on a daily basis and the spider is going to wither and die pretty quickly.
Similarly, your brand needs a web of authority bloggers and backlinks surrounding it. This will help to bolster its defenses and catch more customers, enabling you to flourish and grow. An effective blogger outreach strategy will help you build these connections with people who can enhance your presence online and boost your search rankings.
You don't need a massive budget for an effective blogger outreach program, you just need time and energy. Its simplicity is attractive, no matter what size your business is.
In order to yield results, a haphazard approach will be inefficient. An effective blogger outreach strategy should be systematic and planned.
The psychology behind blogger outreach
Emotion and storytelling
You’ve already got a handle on your business statistics and, whilst the figures matter, not everything in life can be distilled to a crisp, rational number. Whilst we like to think that we make decisions on a rational level, the truth is they are always based on emotion. Research shows that where individuals have sustained injuries affecting the emotion-generating area of the brain, the ability to make decisions is profoundly affected.
Your sales are dependent on you being able to generate the desired emotion in your customers, and the most effective way of doing this is through personal connection and storytelling. When you use a blogger outreach program, you are working with individuals who can tell your story to their audience. As you will have selected bloggers who are relevant to your niche, their public will already be primed and ready to listen.
Borrowing trust from the bloggers you connect with
When a consumer believes in the reliability of someone, these beliefs can quickly short-circuit any buying objections. Trust is why people buy from people. Working with selected bloggers means that you can piggyback the trust they’ve built up in their field and have access to their audience, with whom this emotional connection has already been established.
In summary, it’s about identifying bloggers and seeking to form mutually beneficial relationships.
The blogger outreach process
Follow the steps shown below to save time and maximize your effectiveness when setting up a blogger outreach program.
Set an intention
Before identifying the bloggers you want to reach out to, the first step is to establish your intention. What do you want to achieve?
- Increased sales
- More website traffic
- Email list building
- Improved search engine rankings by building quality backlinks
- Increased social media presence
Identify your bloggers
Once you’ve identified your objectives you need to find the bloggers who can help. There are two ways to proceed with this: in-house or via an agency.
If you choose to do this in-house, make use of apps and tools that can help. Be aware that blogger outreach can be a time-consuming process, but it’s worth spending the time, as working with the wrong person can damage your reputation.
Do the research
Create a systematic list of bloggers in your niche or market. Some of these you may already know and follow as authorities in your field. You can also use the following sources to help:
- A basic Google search
- Social media platforms (including Twitter, LinkedIn, or YouTube
- Ninja Outreach
Identifying suitable bloggers doesn’t have to be a job you do alone:
- Make it a team activity and ask colleagues who they follow
- Talk to clients
- Research competitors
- Make the blogger hunt easier to coordinate by using some of the best apps for small businesses, including communication and survey platforms.
- Keep accurate records and notes of your progress and ideas.
Choosing the right blogger/s
With such an extensive pool to choose from, it can feel overwhelming to select a shortlist of bloggers. Some recommendations to bear in mind:
- Select bloggers in your niche, but who are not direct competitors (overlapping business interests are fine though).
- Ensure they have an adequate following but don’t automatically discount micro-bloggers. The combined audience size of multiple smaller bloggers can be a valuable strategy to try. A blogger with a .IO registration can be just as valuable as one with .com, depending on your niche.
- Check their existing content carefully and research their personal online presence to ensure it fits your brand.
- If you already have an idea what you want to focus on in terms of content, make sure your target bloggers haven’t already covered this for competitors. For example, if your aim is to showcase a new recommendation engine as a service offering, it would be futile to contact a blogger who has worked extensively and positively with competitors on this subject recently.
Make contact with your chosen bloggers
The next step is to get in touch and create a connection. The keyword here is connection, not pitch, as you want this relationship to be built on mutual benefit. It’s not a hard-nosed sell.
This step is generally done by email, as you can scale the process and contact multiple bloggers simultaneously, having done the research in the previous step. Some of the platforms listed in the research section can facilitate this process, giving you easy access to templates and contact details.
For a list of handy tools used to find the email addresses of bloggers or individuals withing companies check out this list.
When constructing an email to a potential blogger:
- Be genuine, not sycophantic - never start your email with “I love your blog!” (unless you genuinely do)
- Be curious and informed, and explain how you think they can help you and what you can offer to them
- Make it personal and take the time to read their blog, or at least fully understand what they do
- Ensure any message is addressed personally to them
The pain point
Blogger outreach can be time-consuming and require a lot of input before it yields results. Don’t be disheartened. Blogger outreach is a numbers game and requires perseverance, but generally, once it takes off, will create its own momentum.
If you know you can’t spare the resources to do it yourself, there are agencies out there who can help, connecting you to suitable bloggers who are receptive to offers. The great thing about these agencies is that they already have a deep list of bloggers which can mean a much faster start.
A couple to try include:
- Marketers Center
- Outreach Mama
Like most things in life, blogger outreach can be very successful when you pair up with the right person but can be a bit disappointing when it’s the wrong one. The answer to this is continued perseverance.
A blogger outreach strategy should always include multiple bloggers—whether simultaneously or in succession—to maximize your gains and continue building your online presence and quality backlinks.
Like the spider, don’t settle for a web that can only catch a couple of flies and little else, keep on making those connections and spinning your web, until it’s big enough to snare a tiger.