Want to take your business to the next level?
Then you’ll need the help of influencers.
Specifically, you’ll need the help of other bloggers and site owners to link to your content, share it, and help you grow.
And this isn’t just for consumer products. In 2017, 87% of B2B buyers said they give more credence to influencer content. No matter what industry you’re in, outreach can help.
But how do you do that? How can you get the attention of some of the biggest players in your industry with cold outreach? It isn’t easy, but it’s doable.
Today, you’ll learn how to ask bloggers the right way for favors that will help your site grow, whether that’s a backlink or positive review of your site.
Those small actions can lead to valuable coverage that can make or break your success.
Don’t go after the A-listers
This point might sound a little bit counterintuitive, but hear me out.
Have you ever tried to get a review or coverage from an A-List blog? You probably found it to be a frustrating and most-likely fruitless exercise.
The truth is that most top blogs are inundated with requests from people and companies who want coverage. Because their audience is so big, they’re on the top of everyone’s mind.
But what you might not realize is that smaller blogs get a fraction of requests of the bigger blogs, if at all. And oftentimes, they’re better influencers for your audience.
You might be the only person to reach out in the course of a week, and these bloggers are much more likely to pay attention to you. They’re just more accessible.
The best part is that getting coverage from five or ten mid-list blogs can easily exceed the amount of visibility you’d get from an A-list blog.
The other bonus here is that once your product gets some coverage on smaller blogs, the larger blogs will often pick up the story. Oftentimes major sites look to see what’s trending in smaller circles before picking it up for their audience.
If your coverage goes well, you’re far more likely to get A-list blogger coverage by pointing to that success.
Keep up with what the blogger is doing
If you want to increase your chances of getting good coverage, become an active participant on the blogs you’d like coverage from.
It’s really bad form to jump in with no introduction and ask for a favor. Instead, comment on their posts, engage in discussions, and make yourself known.
Then, when you finally send an email with a request, they’ll (hopefully) recognize your name.
And lazy interaction, like saying “nice post” is almost worse than no interaction. Instead, offer your opinion on what they’ve said, or expand on some point in the post.
This will make you more memorable and also lead to a better relationship with the blogger.
Speaking of relationships, let’s talk about how to build them.
Cultivate your relationships
Before and after getting blog coverage, it’s important to continue to cultivate those relationships.
Monitor the comments section of any post you’re mentioned in, and address concerns directly and openly. Thank the blogger who wrote the piece for their coverage.
Track which blogs are giving you the best coverage and the most leads, and make sure you maintain those relationships.
But also work to keep up with the other bloggers as well—you never know who could make it big next.
Promote their content through your social media accounts whenever you feel that it’s relevant and helpful to your own followers, and you’ll likely find they do the same for you.
Offer something in return
For successful outreach with bloggers (or any type of influencer), it’s all about reciprocity.
In other words, don’t ask without giving. Offering bloggers something in return for a review can be a great way to get more attention and build rapport.
While a backlink is a great start, most beginning blogs just don’t have the kind of traffic or domain authority to make this a valuable offer.
A more interesting idea might be to offer a free copy of your product for a review.
This is how a lot of authors get so many reviews on Amazon when they first launch a new title—they give away tons of free books for advanced reviews.
If that’s out of your promotion budget, you might also consider providing a discount code to their readers or sponsoring a contest or giveaway on their blog.
These are great ways to increase the likelihood of getting coverage.
This should be obvious, but you’d be amazed how many spammy outreach emails major bloggers get.
If someone declines to write a review of your product or otherwise dismisses you, don’t keep emailing them. Just accept their “no” as final and move on.
Continuing to email is annoying and generally a waste of time on both sides.
An occasional email, if you have updates or news to share, is fine, but don’t send weekly updates unless the blogger has requested you do so.
The same goes for sending mass emails out to a bunch of sites at once. Be personal in your outreach and you’ll get much better results.
Always be professional and personable
Never, ever send an email that reads like a form letter.
If you didn’t take the time to correct for spelling errors or research the blogger’s name, why should he or she trust you? It gives the impression you’re too busy to pay attention.
And if you aren’t willing to take the time for a meaningful outreach email, why should they take the time to promote you?
Take a few minutes before pitching and understand what the blogger cares about. Double-check your email copy for mistakes, or even send it to a proofreader to review.
And most importantly, be friendly and treat them like a friend, not an anonymous business contact you don’t really care about.
Now, that doesn’t mean to avoid using blogger outreach tools. They can save you tons of time. Just be sure to include a personal touch when using those tools.
A little flattery can go a long way
This one might sound surprising, but it’s true.
If you have something nice to say about the blogger’s writing, site design, audience, or content, come right out and say it. It never hurts to share a compliment.
Check out recent pieces they’ve published and let them know your favorite. If you’re going to use flattery, though, don’t just use it as a segue into an ask.
For example, if you send an email with a compliment, wait for a reply, then respond to their reply asking for a favor, they’ll probably ignore you.
Not only is it annoying, but you’ll also ruin any goodwill you built with the compliment in the first place. It just looks like you reached out for the ask, and it sits poorly with any blogger.
Some sample email requests
We’ve gone over a lot of small details. Now, let’s put them together for a great email template for outreach.
As with all templates, don’t use this word-for-word. Bloggers are smart, and these scripts aren’t hard to find online.
But you can use the basic points for your own outreach campaign.
I just read your post on [topic] and thought you made some really great points. I especially liked your take on [whatever part you liked]. If you have a chance, I’d love it if you’d take a look at [my product]. I think it might be of interest to your readers. Thanks!
I’ve been a long-time reader of your blog (you might remember me from some of the comments I’ve left), and just wanted to give you a heads up about my new project, [project name/link]. I’m looking for help getting the word out about it, and would appreciate any mention you can make, either on your blog or elsewhere. Thanks!
I just read your post on [topic] and it reminded me of a post I wrote [or read] on the same subject at [blog name]. My company [company name] focuses on just that subject, and I thought your readers might be interested in a review if you had a chance. Here’s a link to our media page if you’re interested: [link]. Let me know if I can give you any more information or help out in any way.
Notice how all these examples are short and clear. They’re personalized and they close with a thank-you.
That basic structure is a great way to build any type of outreach campaign. Bloggers are busy, and the shorter your email, the more likely they’ll read the whole thing.
Remember, above all be friendly and respectful.
If you’re looking to find high-quality bloggers to help promote your content and grow your site, the steps in this guide will help you use the right kind of outreach.
To start, don’t reach out only to the biggest players. Sure, you might get one or two giants in your industry to respond, but it’s better to start with people just a few steps ahead of you.
Next, reach out with the right message. Work to build a relationship and provide value to them in return, don’t just spam and ask for one-sided favors.
Finally, use the right approach. Be polite and courteous. Compliment them, show you care, and use an email that appeals to their priorities and values.
At the end of the day, the secret to successful blogger outreach is the same as it is in real life. Be friendly, kind, and genuine, and you’ll go a lot further than going for the ask every time.
How will you get more blogger coverage with these strategies?
About the Author: Cameron Chapman is a freelance designer, blogger, and the author of Internet Famous: A Practical Guide to Becoming an Online Celebrity.