A No-Nonsense Guide to Successful Blogger Outreach

A couple of weeks ago, I received a guest post pitch from a young lady at a large, well-known digital marketing agency.  She was requesting a guest post for her client.

Sadly, her pitch was like most that end up in the trashcan – she didn’t address me personally, the grammar was shaky and she didn’t follow my guest post guidelines. Not to mention, she didn’t even suggest a blog post topic or offer why she thought her client would be a good fit for my blog.

Admittedly, this woman is young in her career and it might be that her agency doesn’t realize she is approaching blogger outreach in this way.  Either way, the pitch was incredibly disappointing and it made me feel bad for her client.

And, it’s just one more example of PR and marketing professionals approaching blogger outreach the wrong way.

6 Steps to Successful Blogger Outreach

Blogger outreach can be an incredibly effective way to get your product or service in front of a new audience. But, you have to approach it the right way. Blasting out mass emails or sending template pitches just isn’t going to cut it.

Is it a lot more work to go about blogger outreach this way? Yes. But, it will also be far more fruitful.

Whether you want to conduct blogger outreach yourself or you’re hiring a PR or marketing firm to help you, it’s important to understand what a successful outreach campaign looks like.

1. Start with goals.

You’re probably sick of hearing me say this, but you must always start your campaign with goals.

What do you hope this blogger outreach campaign will do for you? Do you want to build awareness for your company? Drive website traffic? Grow your email list? Increase free trials of your service?

Defining your goals will drive how your approach the rest of your outreach campaign and the type of content you pitch – whether it be a guest post, a review, interview, sponsored content, etc.

2. Identify your target audience.

Most people think that blogger outreach begins with building a list, but the work really starts before that.

You need to identify whom you are trying to reach with your campaign. Is it influencers in your niche? Or, maybe you want to go after adjacent industries where your audience hangs out.

For example, if you are a financial planner who primarily serves doctors and lawyers, you might not want to only focus on other financial planning blogs but also blogs in the medial and legal industries that would cater to your audience.

3. Find the right blogs.

Now that you know what kind of blogs you are looking for, there are a number of tools you can use to create your list based on your needs and budget.

If you’re looking for a free option, you can use Google blog search, Technorati’s blog directory or List.ly’s curated lists to find blogs on a certain topic.

There are tons of paid options on the market too – such as Inkybee, BlogDash and GroupHigh – which often offer tracking as part of their software. Here’s a good overview of some of these blogger outreach tools.

4. Research the blogs and narrow down your list.

This is where most blogger outreach programs fall down. Instead of researching the best blogs and contacts, a database with hundreds of blogs is created and pitched en masse. Don’t do this.

Instead, you should narrow down your list to determine which blogs would be the best fit for your campaign. That way, you can take the time to build relationships with the right people and blogs.

Some of this is based on the content, but it also makes sense to look at other factors too – blog traffic, social media shares, blog comments, etc. If a blog doesn’t get much traffic or traction, it probably isn’t worth your time to send a pitch that way.

5. Connect with bloggers.

Once you’ve built your targeted list, you should take the time to actually read the blogs you want to pitch. It sounds silly that I have to mention that, but so many people skip this step. Reading the blogs on your list will help you determine the topic, type and tone of the pitch you submit.

Also, if you want to get noticed by bloggers you MUST take the time to connect with them. This means follow them on social networks, share their content and leave comments on their blog. If you do this, it will substantially increase the likelihood that your guest post or pitch request will get published.

6. Create a targeted pitch.

The key to a successful blogger outreach program is to send a unique pitch that is well suited for each blog.

If you’ve been doing your research and connecting with the bloggers on your list, you should already have a good idea about what the blogger writes about and the type of content that would be a good fit for their blog.

And, because the blogger will likely have noticed you in the comment section or on social channels, he or she will be much more likely to open that email and actually respond to you.

Have you been on the receiving end of a bad blogger outreach program?

What blogger outreach tips would you add to the list?

Image credit: Taro Yamomoto

About Laura Click

Laura Click is founder and CEO of Blue Kite Marketing, a Nashville-based integrated marketing firm. In addition to being the lead blogger on the Blue Kite blog, Laura is a proud Mizzou alum, avid runner and dog lover. You can connect with Laura on Twitter at @lauraclick, on LinkedIn or Google Plus.

  • Margo R. W. Winter

    Love the specific “to dos”, Laura! It all comes down to doing your homework and targeting your message as tightly as possible – which is the basis of any good marketing effort, period. Mass marketing is SO last century!

    • http://flybluekite.com/ Laura Click

      Thanks for the kind words, Margo! You’re right – if people just did their homework, their overall marketing efforts would be far more successful!

  • http://robskidmore.me/ Rob Skidmore

    Well put Laura. I think number 5 is one of the most important steps and the one that most people skip because it takes a lot of work.

    Plus if you follow someone’s social accounts and leave comments on their blog you can also develop friendships that are much more valuable then a business relation. :-)

    • http://flybluekite.com/ Laura Click

      You are so right, Rob. If you take the time to connect and make the relationship, the rest is easy. And yes, a lot more fruit can come from that too as you know! :)

  • http://blog.forthmetrics.com/ Hugh Anderson

    Nice post, Laura. And thanks for the Inkybee shout out. It should all be simple, and largely it is, but from what I’ve learned I’d say the biggest thing that people need to get their heads around is that it’s a medium-term win that requires an investment of time to succeed. No quick wins. No silver bullets. Building meaningful relationships takes time, but done right, it’s worth it.
    Also, if I may be so bold, I’d add point number 7: measure your results to see if your campaign goals were achieved and assess what worked and what didn’t … and I know a tool that can do that bit too :)

    • http://flybluekite.com/ Laura Click

      Hi Hugh – Thanks for taking the time to stop by and weigh in! You’re right – this approach definitely takes time. But it’s more likely to get results too. And, it’s definitely more effective than firing off hundreds of template emails to bloggers!

      Great point about measurement! I didn’t realize your tool had that. I tested it awhile back – I might need to take another look. Whether you use your own tool or track in a spreadsheet, tracking is indeed valuable!

      • http://blog.forthmetrics.com/ Hugh Anderson

        No worries, Laura. I’ve re-opened your Inkybee account until the end of October if you do want to take a look. There’s a few shiny new things in there since you last looked.

  • Frank Limpus

    This is good stuff Laura. Timing for me on this is good as I’m looking at a blog project for a client. Thanks.