It doesn’t matter what you call it – blogger outreach, influencer outreach or content promotion, it’s a superb way to get more eyeballs to your content.
With blogger outreach, you simply find influencers – people with a large following – and reach out to them in the hope that they share your article.
As writers, it’s a way to get your content in front of more prospects in your industry and can even be an extra service you offer your clients as part of a package. You could, for example, charge $300 for a blog post and $600 for both a post and outreach.
But be wary, blogger outreach can be a painstaking process: You have to find the influencers and their emails and, even then, there’s no guarantee they’ll share your content.
The good news? Do outreach the right way, and the odds of these influencers sharing your article will increase, tenfold.
In today’s post, Abass Sahrawi shows you how to do precisely that.
Take it away, Abass.
You’re probably wondering: “Who’s the guy in the photo?”
He was listed as one of the top 100 most influential Arabs on Twitter in 2012. HuffPost says he’s one of the world’s most innovative minds in marketing and communication. He’s Khaled ElAhmad, a Social Media Instructor in the Middle East and he’s kickin’ ass in the social media world. Just look at these stats:
- Winner of Best Social Media Trainer for the Middle East, 2015
- Over 50,000 active followers on Twitter
- Social Media Manager for Zain Jordan
- Awarded Influencer of the year in Jordan for the year 2016 by Living Well Magazine
Oh, and did I mention that he is the go-to social media consultant in the region? Khaled is one of the few influencers who walks the walk.
He’s kind of a big deal, so how could I get him to share my work?
I had to do my homework if I wanted to impress him. He gets a CRAZY number of email pitches from bloggers like me every single day. That meant I needed a unique pitch so that I would stand out from the crowd.
But, before pitching him, I needed to make sure my work was worthy of Khaled’s attention. I had to show him a solid article otherwise, why would he (a) read it and (b) share it?
How could I be confident of my article’s worthiness?
Start Your Blogger Outreach by Writing Your Best Article
Bloggers publish over 2 million blog posts every day. You’ve got to write an epic article to stand out.
There is no specific definition of “epic content.” If you asked the world’s best bloggers, they’d give you many different answers:
- Neil Patel and Sujan Patel write long-form and in-depth content and back it up with fresh data
- Benji Hyam writes customer-fit content that solves your ideal persona’s problems
- Tim Soulo writes strategic content – every article you write should have a visible impact on your business — otherwise, don’t write it
- Brad Smith writes long-form and data-driven articles
Despite every professional blogger having their own approach to writing epic content, they all agree on this: your content should teach the reader something or offer a solution to a problem.
This blog post goes into content creation in depth and includes examples of what the author believes is epic content. Have a nice read! 😉
In my case, I spent a WEEK reverse-engineering a successful tech company’s content marketing tactics.
I studied their strategies then explained them in a very detailed, 3,000-word article. I’m convinced that it’s the best piece I’ve written. I even showed the article to experienced marketers and writer friends before hitting publish, and they were like, “Wow, that’s a solid article!”
Checking with third parties validated that my article was worthy. But even the best article in the world is useless unless you put it in front of the right audience. I selected Khaled El Ahmad as my main target because he is a marketer and always on the lookout for good content. And one tweet or share from him will bring me a TON of targeted traffic.
Give Influencers a Reason to Read Your Article
As I’ve already shown you, the key here is to offer your best work. Otherwise, why should your chosen influencer care? Give them a reason to read your masterpiece.
Honestly, I wasn’t sure that my article would make it past Khaled’s inbox because he has no idea who I am. How did I fix that? By getting to know him better. The more I knew about him, the better he would resonate with me, and the better chance I would have of convincing him that I had something to interest him.
To find a reason for reaching out, you’ve got to do your homework.
Find a Connection — or Build One
Check your chosen influencer’s Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn profiles. See if they’ve watched a movie you like, reviewed an ebook you read or even if credited the work of someone else you follow because you love their work. Anything that can help you find a connection to personalise your email is better than nothing.
I found that Khaled loves epic content. He has even created a page on Scoop.it and curated the best content he’s seen. That was additional validation for me to reach out to him. Maybe he’d list my article there, too. Hey, you’ve got to have dreams, right?
If you can’t find a logical connection, build one. Read some of your targeted influencer’s articles, comment on them, share them and use your activity to show them that you’re a follower. That’s how you build a connection.
Listen to Their Interviews or Podcasts and Take Notes
Remember that top people are very picky about what they share on their profiles. They’ve spent years working hard to build their following, and they won’t ruin their reputation over weak, barely relevant content.
To get to know them even better, listen to interviews they’ve done in past. See how they talk and how they view and do business. Hearing them speak will give you insight into their personality, which will help you select the tone and voice of your email pitch.
Now, you’ve done the homework that most other bloggers won’t do because they’re lazy. They want a one-size-fits-all email template to send to a massive list of people, which is why their email reply rates suck.
Select the Best-Fit Influencer
It’s obvious, but many people do it wrong.
It doesn’t make sense for an influencer in the cooking niche to share an article about keyword research. The same concept applies to your influencers. If your article is about content marketing, reach out to influencers who are interested in that topic and have regularly shared related content before.
An easy way to do this is by using a tool like Buzzsumo.
Head over to buzzsumo.com, sign up for a free trial or log in if you’re already a member, then go to the Influencers tab and use Search Content Shared. Type in your article’s main keyword(s). In my case it was “content marketing”:
There’s a lot of information, so I recommend creating a sheet on Google Docs to organise things. Keep things simple. You may want to use columns like:
- Influencer’s Name
- Influencer’s Niche
- Influencer’s Twitter profile
- Influencer’s Email
- Total Twitter Followers
Notes are essential for tracking the personalisation information from your background research, above, to use in your cold pitch to each influencer. You might have some influencers in mind but doing the research will help identify only those influencers who are a best-fit.
Step 1: Find the Influencer’s Email
I won’t go into this in detail because the topic’s been saturated with articles. But I’ll make it easy for you, read the following articles:
- 5 Simple Techniques to Find an Editor’s Email
- How to Find Anyone’s Email Address for Free by Name
- How to Find Someone’s Email Address By Siege Media
I use a tool called Lusha for this step.
Step 2: Write a Personalised Pitch
It’s critical to write a personalised email to hook your influencer. Fortunately, there are hundreds of cold email templates on the web to help you craft the perfect pitch:
I was inspired by this email from Tim Soulo of Bloggerjet.com:
As you can see, he managed to get Buffer to queue his article on their newsletter. How awesome is that?
Remember what I said earlier. Your influencer’s inbox is constantly bombarded with emails, most of which are just copy-pasted. Don’t be foolish. To stand out, write your own from scratch so that it doesn’t look familiar to your influencer.
As I told you, I was inspired by Tim’s email. You can see my email below, and you’ll notice that it’s very different from Tim’s.
Hint: Although my email impressed Khaled, I wrote it quickly and sent it without proofreading. Don’t do that — edit your email before you send it!
Let’s break down my email and analyse why it worked:
- This is not an empty compliment: I do read his articles, and I love his advice. The point here is to show him that I know who he is and what he does, a.k.a. personalisation.
- He is short on time, so I gave him an overview of the article.
- A kind and clear call to action. As you can see, I didn’t ask him to share it — I asked for feedback, nothing more.
Two hours from sending my initial email, I got a notification on Facebook (as you can see, it’s Khaled’s sharing my article) – He shared my article without even replying to me:
Thank Them When They Share Your Article
You are supposed to be in this to build a long-term relationship. To do that effectively, thank your influencer first, then offer them a follow-up to complete the connection. For example, you could offer to write a guest article of their choice for their site, for free.
When I sent my thank you email, he replied back with this:
So, long story short, my email impressed him, and that’s largely due to my background research.
The Three Takeaways
- Share only the best article you’ve written with an influencer. Otherwise, don’t reach out.
- Use email pitch templates as inspiration – don’t copy-paste them. Add your own personal touches.
- Make your email short and finish it with a clear CTA.
Over to you. Have you managed to get an influencer to share your article? How did you do it?