Blogging outreach explained
Any method of building links for your website comes with an element of risk, but blogging outreach is one of the safest ways to boost your ranking - providing you're selective in which blogs you reach out to.
If you're new to blogger outreach and want to create your own outreach strategy, we've shared everything you need to know to get started in this guide.
- Blogger outreach is the process of reaching out to influential bloggers in your niche and asking them to publish a blog post on their website that discusses your product or service.
- A good blogging outreach process to follow is:
- The biggest benefit of blogger outreach is that it's an effective way to target new customers, but the biggest setback is that you don't have complete control over the published content.
What is blogger outreach?
Blogger outreach is exactly as it sounds: when you reach out to bloggers and request that they publish a blog post that includes a link back to your website.
The standard blogger outreach process is to ask the blogger to review or talk about your product/service, so that a link to your website can be placed naturally.
The aim of blogger outreach is to increase brand awareness and promote your product or service to an interested audience that you may otherwise not have access to.
You can use blogger outreach for one-off campaigns or build relationships with bloggers and work on long-term projects that involve regular blogging about your brand, product, or service.
The internet is saturated with blogs in a variety of niches, so when it comes to blogger outreach, you have plenty of choice.
Of course, some blogs are better quality than others, and some attract larger audiences. These are factors to be aware of when choosing bloggers to reach out to and deciding who will best promote your product or service.
Benefits of blogger outreach
The benefits of a solid blogger outreach strategy include:
Easy way to target new customers
Blogger outreach allows you to tap into a new interested customer base in your niche. By promoting your products or services through a blog, you can target customers who might never find you through any of your other marketing efforts.
Boosts SEO with backlinks
Blogger outreach offers two benefits in one: product promotion and a backlink on a quality, established site. Building links is a quick way to boost your search engine rankings by telling Google that you're an authoritative site that provides valuable information.
Safer alternative to guest posts and PBNs
Placing a backlink on a blogger's website is safer than using a guest post or PBN link building service, which puts you at greater risk of being penalized by Google for unnatural links that manipulate the algorithm. Since blogger outreach involves placing a link on a high-quality piece of content, you're much less likely to be at risk of a manual penalty.
Cost-effective brand building
Blogger outreach is a cost-effective way to build your brand. You can spend only a couple of hundred dollars to reach new audiences with a genuine interest in your niche or industry. So, even if you're a new business, you don't have to stretch your budget too far for this service - and you can get the same benefits as a business with a huge marketing spend. Building a relationship with an influential blogger is an affordable long-term marketing solution.
Potential increase in social sharing
Many bloggers are also influencers on social media. Your blogger outreach strategy may involve blog post creation and sharing your brand or product on social platforms, giving you the opportunity to reach an audience that may spend a lot of time scrolling but rarely visits websites.
More traffic to your website
Unlike the cheaper link building methods, blogger outreach uses more natural link placement that encourages readers to visit the link to learn more. For instance, you might send your product to a blogger and ask them to review it on their website. After they've explained how the product works and what they love about it, their readers should be interested in learning more about it - and they can follow the link to your website, boosting your traffic.
Easy performance tracking
It's easy to track the effectiveness of your outreach efforts by tracking clicks to your link, article views, and other analytical data. You can evaluate the success of your outreach campaign and use the data to determine what you will do the same and what you will do differently in the future.
Potential setbacks of blogger outreach
Some of the setbacks of using blogger outreach are:
You don't have complete control over written content
One of the biggest disadvantages of blogger outreach is that, unlike guest posts, you don't write the content. This could also be an advantage if you aren't the strongest writer - but it does take away some of the control you would otherwise have over the context of the article.
Of course, you can tell the blogger what you would like to include, but if you have a really specific idea of exactly what you'd like to be written, blogger outreach probably isn't right for you.
Quality may vary
As long as you do your research and select reputable bloggers for your blogger outreach campaigns, you shouldn't have an issue with quality. However, there's no guarantee that the quality of a blog post is up to your standards, and a poor-quality post might tarnish your own brand's reputation.
Potential for mistakes or poor feedback
Again, because you have no control over exactly what a blogger writes about, or what they include in their blog post, there's a potential that a blogger might make a mistake in describing your product or share negative feedback about a specific aspect of your product that you can't do anything about. This could affect your reputation and turn people off your brand.
No guarantee of views or clicks
No blogger can promise you so many views to their article or clicks to your website from their post. Even if you choose to work with a reputable blogger with a high domain authority and thousands of monthly readers, your outreach post might flop for reasons that neither you nor the blogger can control. So, there's no guarantee that your investment will pay off.
Potentially lengthy process
Finally, working with a blogger on an outreach campaign often means working to their schedule. The blogger will outline a time frame to write and upload the article, which may take several weeks or even over a month, depending on how many other outreach posts they have lined up already. You'll need to have patience and accept that it might take a few months for your article to be uploaded to a popular blogger's website.
How to develop a blogger outreach strategy: 7 steps
Now we know the pros and cons of blogger outreach, let's look at the 7 steps you should take to run your own successful blogger outreach campaign.
Step 1: Establish Your Goal
Before you jump straight into formulating your outreach strategy, ask yourself what you want to get out of the venture.
Setting a clear, tangible goal will give you a formula for success, and you'll find it easier to measure your results if you know exactly what you want to achieve.
A few possible goals for a blogger outreach campaign are:
- Increased brand awareness
- Building quality backlinks
- More sales
It's fine to have more than one goal, but try to pick one priority that you want to be the main outcome of the process.
The above goals are a good place to start, but they're not specific enough to get started with. You'll be more motivated and better able to measure the success of your project by setting specific goals, such as:
- Run blogger outreach campaigns with 10 bloggers in the next 12 months.
- Build 10 quality backlinks from blogger outreach within the next 6 months.
- Increase my website's traffic by 10% by the next quarter.
- Get at least 100 clicks to my website from my next blogger outreach campaign.
You can't move forward until you've defined your goal, so start here. Write your goal on a post-it note and stick it to your office wall to remind yourself of what you're aiming for every day.
Step 2: Define your ideal blogger
Not all influential bloggers will be right for your particular outreach campaign.
To make sure you have the highest chance of achieving your desired outcome from blogger outreach, take some time to determine your ideal blogger for the process.
Businesses in different industries and selling different products/services will have different preferences for blogger outreach.
Your goals will also determine which bloggers are best to target for outreach.
For instance, if your main goal is to build quality backlinks from blogger outreach, you'll prioritize high DA (domain authority) bloggers, since getting backlinks from high DA websites gives you a better likelihood of ranking because Google sees that you've been linked to from an authoritative source.
Or, if your priority is to increase your website's traffic from your blogger outreach, you'll want to look for bloggers with high engagement stats, including visitors and click-through rates.
It's a good idea to analyze your prospects with a list of criteria. Here are some valuable features of a blogger for your outreach campaign:
- Audience engagement - Including comments, social shares, and click-throughs. The higher a blogger's audience engagement, the more interested and loyal their audience is, and the more likely they are to trust their recommendations.
- Traffic - You can search for blogs on website analysis tools like SimilarWeb to get key data on their traffic, including the overall volume of visitors the blog receives, the organic and paid traffic, the keywords the blog is ranking for, and an overview of the blog's audience. We've shared an example of SimilarWeb's results below.
- SEO - There are a few SEO metrics you should also consider for your shortlisted bloggers, especially if your goal is to increase brand awareness or boost your rankings with high-quality backlinks. We recommend looking at domain authority and page authority to see how Google rates a particular website. Also check the website's spam score, which determines the spamminess or trustworthiness of a blog, and the relevancy of including a backlink on a given blog or website.
These metrics will get you started - but they're not the only ones you can consider.
If you don't currently pay for an SEO tool like Semrush or Moz, don't worry. You can either sign up for a free trial for one of these tools or use their free features, or install a Chrome extension like MozBar, which shares the most important insights and metrics for any web page you visit on Google.
Again, try to be as specific as possible when pinpointing what you're looking for in bloggers for your outreach campaigns.
For instance, you might specify that you're looking for:
- Bloggers with 70,000 monthly visitors or more.
- Bloggers with a domain authority of 45 or higher.
- Bloggers with an average of 20 or more reader comments per post.
When you're specific about what you want, you'll be able to better evaluate your shortlisted bloggers and target those that are ideally suited to your requirements.
Step 3: Build a list of bloggers
By now, you should know the aim of your outreach efforts and the engagement, traffic, and SEO stats that you want your bloggers to have.
The next step is to build a list of prospective bloggers. We recommend making the list on Google Sheets that you can easily access on multiple devices and edit when necessary.
You could include the following columns on the spreadsheet:
- The blogger's name
- The website URL
- The blogger's email address
- The blogger's social links
- The blog's monthly traffic
- The website domain authority
Feel free to add any more columns that will be helpful to define and compare bloggers based on your requirements.
Making a spreadsheet means you have a single location to collate and access information from all the bloggers you find online.
Once your spreadsheet is ready, you can start building your list. We recommend a few different ways of doing this:
Find bloggers on Google
The easiest way to find bloggers in your niche is simply to search for them on Google.
There are several search queries you can enter, including;
- Top blogs in your niche
- Bloggers in your niche
- Best websites in your niche
We've shared an example below for fashion bloggers.
The top search results for these queries are typically lists of the most influential bloggers in your niche. Visit these articles and look through the recommended bloggers, making a note of any who fit your criteria.
Keep in mind that these articles share the most popular blogs, so you can expect the featured bloggers to have high engagements and good DA scores - and, therefore, expensive rates for blogging outreach. If you want to start with more affordable bloggers, find articles that share lists of 50-100+ bloggers, so you're more likely to have a mixed batch of websites to choose from.
Use blogger outreach tools
A great way to target bloggers that are actively looking for outreach opportunities is to use blogger outreach tools.
A few top tools for blogger outreach are BuzzSumo, Traackr, and Pitchbox.
These tools have their own features and formats, but they all share the same purpose: to provide a platform to discover top-performing content in your niche. You can use them to find relevant bloggers and key influencers across a variety of platforms.
Just search for a relevant keyword and look at the top bloggers recommended by the platform. Add them to your list if they're a good fit for your requirements.
Step 4: Learn more about your blogger prospects
Depending on how long you've spent on steps 1-3, you probably have a list of at least 10 bloggers by now.
How can you narrow down these bloggers to a select few to begin your outreach process?
We recommend doing a deep dive into each of your blogger prospects and finding more information that will help you to decide on who to start with.
Don't just assume that you know your prospects - do your homework!
You want to have a proper understanding of your blogger's demographics, attitudes, aspirations, and any other contextual information that could help you to create tailored messaging for each prospect to deliver.
Yes, this will add extra time to the research process when you probably just want to email your prospects straight off the mark.
But putting in this extra effort at the start will help you to get better results. After all, it's better to have a small selection of high-quality blogger prospects than a large number of prospects that don't quite fit the mark.
Plus, having an in-depth understanding of the bloggers you want to contact will help you to tailor your outreach message, which, in turn, should improve your response rate.
Some of the information that can be helpful to find out about your blogger prospects is:
- Age range
- Average income
- Beliefs & interests
- Top outreach channels
How can you find this information? There are a few different research methods you can use:
Check their LinkedIn profile
LinkedIn is the best place to start when looking for information about your shortlisted bloggers.
The social media platform collates a bunch of useful information about a professional, including their background (schools they attended, previous jobs, etc.), degrees and qualifications, and connections (many of which are likely colleagues and employers).
You can even use LinkedIn to get an idea of a blogger's personality by seeing which posts they like, how they interact with others, and which influencers they follow.
If a blogger doesn't have a LinkedIn profile, you have to wonder why. LinkedIn is a great place for bloggers to showcase themselves for free, so if somebody doesn't have a LinkedIn presence, they might not take their job seriously.
Read their blog "about" section
Your blogger prospects should all have an "about" section on their blogs that gives an overview of who they are and why they're an expert in their niche or industry.
This short profile should give you specific information about your prospect's professional background, as well as their interests and passions in their niche.
"About" sections are usually written in a friendly tone of voice and don't have the professionalism of LinkedIn, so they should give you more insight into a blogger's personality and virtues.
Check their other social channels
LinkedIn is the best place to get your blogger prospects' professional stats, but a blogger's LinkedIn profile is often more curated and professional than their other social profiles.
We recommend taking a look at other social media platforms, like Instagram and Twitter, to learn more about how your blogger prospects interact with their followers and friends.
These more "casual" social platforms will also tell you more about a blogger's likes and dislikes, and give you a better insight into their audience and insight.
Step 5: Work on your pitch
Now you have a list of all the relevant bloggers you want to contact, you need to work on a pitch that will entice these bloggers to work with you on an outreach strategy.
Consider what you can offer that your blogger will value. This might be:
- A free product or service
- An affiliate link that allows the blogger to earn commission from any sales they make
You'll need to tailor your offering to suit the blogger you're contacting.
For instance, if a blogger only has a couple of thousand monthly website readers, they might be happy to receive your product for free in exchange for an honest review on their blog.
On the other hand, a blogger with 50,000 monthly readers will expect payment for the privilege of putting your product in front of their audience.
See if the blogger has a "media pack" (also called a "media kit" or a "press kit") on their website or LinkedIn profile that outlines their pricing for branded or sponsored blog posts.
This will give you a better idea of the payment the blogger expects, so you can tailor your pitch accordingly. That way, you're more likely to receive a response when you get in touch with your proposition.
Step 6: Draft and send your emails
Now it's time to draft the initial email that you'll send to a prospective blogger to introduce yourself and your outreach opportunity.
This is perhaps the most important stage of all, since the written copy of the email will determine the blogger's likelihood to respond.
You need clear messaging to give you the best chance of good results.
Your main goal is to clearly and concisely outline the purpose of your email and the proposition that you're offering.
Once you've introduced yourself and got the pleasantries out of the way, include the following in your email:
- Your goal - What you intend to achieve from the blogger collaboration.
- Your reward - How the blogger will benefit from working with you.
Keep your email as short as possible. This will prevent the above two messages from getting lost in the noise.
It's possible to outline your goal and your reward within a single sentence. For example:
"Would you be interested in reviewing my new PRODUCT X in a 1,500-word blog post in return for $X?"
It's a good idea to add that you're happy to negotiate, which should prevent a blogger from deleting your email instantly because your reward is too low.
Here's the structure we recommend for an effective blogger outreach email:
- Start with a pleasantry ("I hope you're well!).
- Introduce yourself in one sentence.
- Compliment the blogger. Mention one of their recent posts that you were impressed with.
- Follow up with your pitch.
- Ask a direct question to gauge the blogger's interest ("Would you be interested in this?")
- End with your name
The simpler, the better. Try not to ask more than one question, since the main goal of the email is to determine whether or not the blogger will work with you. You can ask any further questions later on down the line if the collaboration goes ahead.
Again, you will probably need to send personalized emails to different bloggers, based on what you've learned about them in the research process.
Once you've got your emails drafted, send them out and wait for the responses to come in.
Step 7: Optimize your strategy
Hopefully, because of all the effort you've put into researching your prospects and drafting your emails, your response rate should be pretty high.
However, there's likely still room for improvement, and often, you won't know what can be improved until you've sent out your first batch of emails.
That's why it's a good idea to analyze your results using an email tracking system.
A good email tracking software will give you some important stats about the emails you sent out, including email opens, link clicks, attachment downloads, and other actions that are linked in some way to the success of your campaign.
There are a few different email tracking tools available today, at different price points and offering their own unique features.
One of the best tools for basic email tracking is Hubspot's Free Email Tracking Software.
Or, if you want to learn as much as possible from your outreach strategy, you can pay for a tool that offers more detailed insights and analytics.
Once you've analyzed the important metrics, see if you can spot any trends that will help you to determine the reasons why a particular email was successful or unsuccessful.
From here, you can optimize your outreach strategy and begin the process again with another batch of bloggers.
How To Increase Blogger Outreach Response Rate
There are a few different ways to boost your blog outreach efforts and improve your blogger response rate.
- Get on their radar. Make your name known to a blogger before you contact them. Respond to one of their social media posts or send them a DM replying to a question they've asked in their stories. Once they know who you are, they're more likely to take interest when your name pops into their email inbox.
- Be realistic. If you're contacting a blogger with 50,000 monthly readers, they won't be happy with a $10 payment. Be realistic with your pitch. If you're not sure what payment your blogger prospect will expect to receive, check out this article on how much bloggers charge for sponsored posts.
- Learn from your failed attempts. Try to spot trends in the emails that weren't answered by bloggers and amend your future emails to increase your likelihood of success. The blog outreach process will begin as an experiment, so note down everything that you learn along the way.
- Get straight to the point. If your email rambles on about your business or is 70% compliments to the blogger, the message of the email will get lost in the noise. Get straight to it - the most important information is what you're asking from the blogger and what you'll offer them in return.
- Use a direct subject line. Your email subject should also explain, as concisely as possible, the purpose of the email. Don't be too vague (e.g. "outreach opportunity" or "collaboration request"). It's best to explain precisely what the blogger can expect when they open the email, such as: "COMPANY NAME paid blog post request".
- Follow up. How many emails do you get per day? Probably at least 7. If you have a business email address, the number is probably between 20 and 100. It's possible that your initial email might have gotten lost amongst the hundreds of spam and advertising emails that flood your blogger prospect's inbox every day. Follow up once with a gentle nudge. We don't recommend more than two follow-ups, though - you'll probably be wasting your time.
Blogger outreach mistakes to avoid
If you've never worked on a blogger outreach strategy before, you might make a few mistakes the first time around. That's okay - you're only human. But mistakes can reduce your likelihood of success and might potentially affect your brand's reputation, so you want to avoid them where possible.
Some of the blogger outreach mistakes to avoid include:
- Not sharing all the relevant details for the proposed blog post. You don't want to frustrate the blogger by sharing incomplete information, then editing until they've written the blog post before asking them if they can revise 50% of the copy.
- Sending generic emails. It's obvious when you've sent the same email to a bunch of 10+ bloggers. A blogger may feel insulted if they can tell you haven't put any thought into your outreach email and don't have a genuine interest in their work or website.
- Being impersonal. On a similar note, you won't win any points for sending an impersonal email that shows you haven't bothered to research the blogger or even learn their name. If you start the email: "dear sir/madam" or worse: "dear webmaster", you're unlikely to receive a reply.
- Not proofreading your email request. You want to put your best foot forward and look as professional as possible, so make sure your email is proofread before sending it out. We recommend using a free plugin like Grammarly, which will automatically check for spelling mistakes and grammatical errors as you write.
- Sending too many follow-up emails. Once you've sent your second follow-up and heard no response, assume that the blogger you're emailing isn't interested. Don't nag them for a response or you'll just end up in the spam box. The same goes for if the blogger has responded but you don't hear back from them for a few weeks. Give them time - many bloggers are spinning multiple plates, and will get back to you when they have a free minute.
- Not checking the article thoroughly before publishing. The blogger should give you access to the article draft before it goes live so that you can check for mistakes and inconsistencies that could paint the wrong picture of your brand.
- Not agreeing on or clarifying terms beforehand. For instance, a blogger's terms might be that they provide honest reviews when working with brands on blogger outreach. That's all well and good, but if the blogger decides that they don't like your product and published a negative review to an influential audience, it could stain your brand.
- Not respecting the blogger or honoring your word. You don't want to get a bad reputation in the blogging world. If you hope to work with bloggers in the future, practice fairness and don't go back on your promises in your initial outreach efforts. Once the work has been completed, deliver what you initially promised in terms of payment.
If you want to completely avoid the potential for making mistakes in the outreach process, consider outsourcing your blogger outreach strategy to a professional link building agency with experience in manual outreach.
Blogger outreach vs guest posting
Guest posting and blogger outreach are often confused, but they have their own purposes and benefits.
The main difference between blogger outreach and guest posts is that blogger outreach is when you reach out to bloggers and ask them to write a post about your product/service, while guest posting is when you write an article for somebody's blog.
The benefit of guest posting vs blogger outreach is that you have complete control over how you present yourself, your business, your branding, and your product/service on somebody else's website.
However, the downside of guest posting is that readers of somebody else's blog will be less likely to trust you compared to the blog author, or they might be disinterested in reading a blog post from somebody they don't know.
Also, if you're not careful about vetting the websites you reach out to, you might end up placing guest posts on Private Blog Networks, which exist solely for building links and don't offer guaranteed value to the reader, so you're at more risk of getting into trouble with Google.
We recommend trying your hand at both blogger outreach and guest posts, since both have a good success rate. Just make sure to carefully choose the websites you contact for both practices. Only reach out to high-quality websites that share valuable content in your niche.
Blogger outreach vs influencer outreach
There's a key difference between blogger outreach and influencer outreach: influencer outreach tends to be promotional and doesn't have the aim of building links, while blogger outreach is predominantly done for SEO purposes and builds links from quality, reputable websites back to your own site.
All bloggers can be classed as influencers because they have an influence on their audience - but not all influencers are bloggers.
Many influencers have a presence on social platforms like Instagram and YouTube, which don't have the same function as blogs on search engines. You can't build links on social media because Google doesn't read and rank social media influencers' content as it does with blog content.
So, while influencer marketing and outreach is a great way to promote your products and services to an interested audience, unless the influencer is a blogger and you're working specifically on a blog outreach project, it won't directly affect your ranking as a result of link placement.
You'll probably want to work on a social media influencer marketing strategy alongside your blog outreach efforts since each of these strategies has its own unique benefits for acquiring customers.
There's no denying that blogger outreach is an incredibly lengthy process. It's often the case that the more time you put into your blogger outreach strategy, the better your results and the higher your likelihood of success.
We've shared everything you need to know to ramp up your blogger outreach game in this guide.
But if you simply don't have the time to commit to the process, consider hiring a professional link building agency to handle blogger outreach on your behalf.
An experienced, reputable agency will have the skills and knowledge from previous outreach strategies to know exactly how to source the best bloggers for your outreach projects.
The SEO experts at these agencies often have contacts in a range of industries and can source better bloggers for your outreach efforts than you'd probably be able to secure yourself.
If you're unsure whether or not an agency is suitable to work with for blogger outreach, request to see evidence of the agency's previous outreach work, and ask them to share a story of their most successful outreach campaign.
What is the best strategy for blogger outreach?
The best strategy for blogger outreach is to email bloggers directly with a targeted email that concisely outlines your project goal and the blogger's benefit of working with you. You should spend a lot of time researching your blogger prospects and learning about each of them so that you can tailor your emails to increase your likelihood of success.
What is the benefit of blogger outreach?
The biggest benefit of blogger outreach is that you can get your product or service endorsed by an influencer in your industry, which gets your name out there and reaches a target audience that you may have otherwise been unable to tap into. By working with bloggers to promote your products, you'll attract a new pool of interested customers to your business.
What is guest blogging outreach?
Guest blogging outreach is when you reach out to bloggers and enquire about posting a guest post on their website. A guest post is exactly how it sounds: when a guest blogger writes an article on the blogger's website. Guest blogging opportunities allow you to have more control over the information that's shared about your brand on somebody else's blog, but not all bloggers allow guest posts.
What is a blogger outreach tool?
A blogger outreach tool is a tool that helps you to source relevant bloggers and contact them to discuss a collaboration. Some outreach tools feature bloggers that are open to outreach projects, which makes it quicker and easier to find interested influencers to work with.
Why is blogger outreach important?
Blogger outreach is important because it helps your brand to acquire targeted exposure. Without blogging outreach, you'd potentially miss out on targeting audiences that you don't currently have access to. Blog outreach enhances visibility and helps to spread your name further across the internet in relevant niches and industries.
Meta description: What is blogging outreach and what's the best blogger outreach strategy for success? We've shared everything you should know in this complete guide.