Prerequisites for A Successful Blogger Outreach Campaign
As humans, we’re psychologically programmed to follow the crowd. We naturally look up to others for cues, guidance; for leadership. And that’s precisely why blogger outreach is so important in digital marketing.
‘Influencers’ have power. They act as digital leaders, helping others discover new brands, products, and ideas. They influence not just with their charisma but the brands they deal with, the free giveaways they carry out for their fans, and the potential learning curve they provide through their blogs and videos. Today, 81% of people trust the information on blogs. In comparison, 63% say their purchasing decisions are influenced more by blogs and social media posts about a product than by any other form of promotion. Reaching out to these influencers is hugely important, but blogger outreach can sometimes be tricky.
The 2 Stages of Blogger Outreach
Unlike other types of digital marketing, two very separate, very distinct stages combine to create a comprehensive and successful blogger outreach campaign. The idea is to create a win-win situation for bloggers and marketers who pursue outreach. However, many marketers don’t always realise this.
Blogger outreach is often thought of as identifying influencers, reaching out, and building links and relationships. However, that is only part 2 of the equation. Part 2 will likely fully succeed if you first complete part 1: the necessary groundwork. These prerequisites are things a digital marketer can do now for long-term success, ensuring that plans are in place to appropriately interact with and engage with bloggers.
Preparing to Reach Out
Imagine you’ve just spent a few hours working on a blogger outreach campaign. You’ve sent emails, and you’ve had responses…. Great! Now what? Reaching out to bloggers without having anything to offer them — or without having any plan on what to provide them — is unlikely to succeed.
So here are 5 prerequisites that all marketers should complete and be able to tick off their ‘to-do’ lists before starting to reach out to bloggers and other major online influencers within their industry.
Create a Plan
When reaching out to bloggers, it seems that the more people you contact, the more success you’ll see. But this isn’t always true. In fact, taking such an approach may actually hinder your campaign, not help it. The problem is that your time and resources don’t come for free, so putting your hard work, energy, and effort into less valuable prospects is somewhat wasteful.
Let’s take a look at the above chart, for example. We can clearly see that the primary reason why bloggers don’t respond to marketers (or provide a negative response) is that that particular brand doesn’t fit in with their own audiences. Relevance is a crucial consideration in a blogger outreach campaign.
Regarding blogger outreach, sending 10 emails to 10 carefully-selected bloggers (those that ‘tick all the boxes’) will often be more effective than sending 100 emails to 100 randomly-selected bloggers. Segmenting bloggers to the discipline or industry they belong to (the cause they represent over their website or social media) is necessary. If you want to see a rise in your acceptance rates, make a plan that considers the types of bloggers you wish to contact, how best to get them, and what sort of content or angle they may be interested in.
Customisation is a MUST.
Getting bloggers hooked on your content/product is challenging because 70% of bloggers intend to provide potential value to their loyal followers and thus retain their fandom. Thereby preparing different sample pitches for bloggers with other interests. Make sure you customise outreach methods for each kind of blogger.
Generate Great Content for Your Own Site
It’s all going great! You’ve got a positive response from a blogger, and you’re drafting up your content… but where will that content link to? If you’re making an effort to increase traffic to your website but have nothing of value to keep visitors around, what’s the point? Creating high-quality content for your blog is just as crucial as the outreach process later on.
Designing the website landing page with a lean user interface and user experience is essential. The influencers will make their audiences click your link, redirecting users to your landing page. Still, it is your job as a marketer to retain that user traffic on the website. If you are just starting with blogger outreach, having good content on your blog can be used as examples of your previous work, improving your pitches’ response rate.
If the above reasons aren’t enough to convince you, think of it this way – building links towards your blog is way more effective and a few times cheaper than building links to your homepage/features page/landing pages.
On average, you need at least 6 touches with your prospect to generate a sales lead. Content on your blog is an excellent way to build brand trust and authority to close the sale. Additionally, there are only so many keywords you can cover and optimise without having a blog. With a resource section on your site, your options are practically unlimited.
Now to the more exciting part. Why is building links toward your blog cheaper? Well, the reason is quite simple. Most editors do not have a problem if you link valuable content on your website. However, if you decide to put promotional links in your content, any good blog will give you one of these 3 responses:
- your content is declined because it contains promotional links
- your link gets no-followed
- you have to pay a sponsored fee if you want the article to be published
Paying £100+ for each article and the time spent on the whole blogger outreach process will quickly blow through your budget.
Strategic Plan Based on In-depth Research
The importance of good research should always be considered. When it comes to blogger outreach, here are the main things you need to analyse:
- Target audience (so you know what your potential prospects might be interested in)
- Keyword research (when you are creating content for your blog)
- Competition analysis (to see what kind of content works well in your niche and what has been covered so far)
To make a good plan, you must know where you are now and where you want to be in a year or two. Only then can you plan how to get there.
For example, let’s say you created content on your blog around some keywords you want to rank for. If you’re going to get that post ranking, you need to systemically build links. You can’t let your link-building team in the dark and just focus on getting links on random anchors to random posts because you might never get to increase your organic traffic.
Suppose you begin a blogger outreach campaign without the necessary tracking, monitoring, and analysis tools. How do you know if your efforts are working? Quite simply, you don’t. It can be challenging to see the results of your campaign unless you have the data in front of you. That’s why thinking about analytics before getting started is essential and why this is a crucial prerequisite.
First of all, you need to define what you want to track. Here are a few recommendations:
- Domain rating, authority, and traffic (something that can affirm you on the direction you’re taking.)
- Referral traffic you get from your guest posts.
- Time on site and bounce rate for the content on your blog (to see if the referral audience you get is interested in your content)
- Open rates and click-through rates of your pitches
- Positive responses to your outreach emails
Tracking these things can let you know if you are targeting the right audience with the right type of content, and it can also tell you if your pitches should be drastically changed. Through analytics, you can inspect consumer behaviour at a 360-degree angle.
As always, tracking aims to see where the potential problems lie so you can improve the effectiveness of your overall outreach and content marketing campaigns.
Leverage Some Tools
Today, you can find a tool for anything and almost everything. Blogger outreach is no different. In fact, some tools are indispensable for any more significant outreach project.
First on the list are outreach tools. Some of these tools can:
- Track which email templates have the best open rate
- Track which email/post/page gets the most positive responses
- Track who you have already contacted
- Help you find potential opportunities.
- Help you find necessary and relevant contact info.
- Vastly simplify all incoming and outgoing communication by helping you to personalise your pitches and send automated follow-ups.
As you can see, the benefits are enormous. If you want an outreach tool, here is an in-depth comparison of the best blogger outreach tools.
Another tool you want to have ready before you start sending suggestions is something that can let you analyse the backlink profile of the websites you want to publish your content on. We like to use Ahrefs, but numerous tools can do the job.
A backlink analyser tool lets you:
- inspect the strength of the domain (of the website) you are reaching out to
- check the website’s organic traffic
- review its backlink profile
Those are all important things that tell you whether a particular website is a good match for your business and whether it is worth reaching out to.
The last tool is a project management tool. It might not seem important at first, but when you have 5 content pieces already in production, you’re pitching new topics to new sites, have to follow up with old opportunities, and working with 2 other colleagues on the outreach project at the same time…it is very easy to lose track of a potential opportunity, order 3 articles on the same topic or simply forget to send a finished article on review.
Having a project management tool ensures these mistakes don’t happen. You can try any of the below recommendations:
To try and test more tools, here is a list of 50 project management tools by Zapier.
Deriving More Value from Your Campaigns
In viewing blogger outreach as a 2-phase system comprising a prerequisites stage and a separate outreach stage, digital marketers can derive much more value from their campaigns. This can boost return on investment by reducing overall time and effort, increasing positive response rate, amplifying click-through rate, and ultimately improving sales/profits/conversions.
Regarding blogger outreach campaigns, a bit of preparation before starting the campaign in earnest can go a long way towards ensuring the campaign succeeds. It can also help marketers identify possible challenges and obstacles they may encounter further down the road, plan for the possibility of these events, and create strategic plans to minimise potential issues.