So, you’ve decided to build a few backlinks to your website.
These days, it’s become impossible to rank on Google without backlinks.
Yes. It’s been like this for years.
But in the post-penguin days, it’s become more and more difficult.
This also means you might think of two options:
1. Hire someone to build backlinks to your website.
2. Take the reins yourself and try the sweat-breaking process.
You may try paid links, web directories, web 2.0 properties, or a little bit of luck with guest posts.
(Image Courtesy SEMRush)
Will these strategies help you with better rankings?
I wouldn’t be surprised if you said no.
Let me now introduce to you another set of people.
They live in a false reality where they believe “content alone can help me rank.”
They constantly hear a little voice in their heads saying, “Maybe we’re not ranking on Google because we don’t have the right backlinks.”
Their inner voice is right, and that’s why I’m here talking.
I hope you’re ready to embrace a paradigm shift.
Whatever you know about backlinks is about to change completely in the next 20 mins.
No more wasting of time.
What is Blogger Outreach?
We are done with the era of link farms, comment links, and even guest posts the way we knew it.
SEOs used these link building strategies so enthusiastically in the early days that Google just decided, “That’s enough! We’re in charge now!”
So, what do you have to do to earn links?
It’s simple. Blogger Outreach.
You may have already heard about the Skyscraper Technique and other link building practices such as broken link building, link reclamation, and unlinked brand mentions.
Benefits of Blogger Outreach
Blogger Outreach incorporates the benefits of all these strategies.
It provides value to the bloggers you reach out to, their readers, and ultimately to your website.
You might think this means sending emails to people.
Is this yet another strategy that will make yourself look like a spammer?
No, that’s not true at all.
Sure, you have to send a few emails but that doesn’t have to be at the cost of your credibility.
Listen to the Podcast we recently did with SEO Guru Neil Patel on the topic “Building the Perfect Backlink”
Think about it this way:
You have great products and services, software, or some content and you want people who really care about it to use or consume it.
Creating a buzz around such assets has been the core of digital marketing since its inception.
Nevertheless, you do require social media shares, links, and many other digital marketing essentials to send the message across.
The usual hurdle most people come across is when they decide to send mass emails.
They think the whole world exists only to endorse their content with a natural link.
They send mass emails and eagerly wait for a response.
They dream of that much-needed marketing boost.
The next day, their inbox will be filled with prospects saying “Don’t send any more emails” or “Not interested.”
That’s not how blogger outreach works and this means no more heartbreaks.
How to Do Blogger Outreach
The success of any blogger outreach campaign relies on four steps:
- Finding the Prospects
- Segmenting Prospects
- Reaching out to the Prospects
- Building a Relationship
1. Find the Right Prospects
Here are four ways to go prospect hunting for your blogger outreach campaign.
Contact the People Featured in Your Content
As I said earlier, Blogger Outreach is not about sending bulk emails to unknown people and asking them to publish a blog post on your behalf.
It’s more about finding influencers and niche bloggers.
The content or the page that you’re targeting for the outreach must, of course, be comprehensive.
What makes it extensive could be the external links to resources or mentions of brands and people (influencers).
Here is one such post where I’m talking about a research-piece written by Dr. Peter J Meyers.
You need to reach out to publications and influencers that you have linked to.
Let them know that you have done an informative and interesting piece of content with mentions to their content, brand, or research.
Can’t find the contact information of your prospect?
These are people within your niche, and if they find value in the content, they will definitely link back.
Additional tip: If you’re able to show the results that your content is driving in terms of traffic and shares, your prospects will be more interested to link back.
Find People Who Have Written Articles on Similar Topic
Here is the thing with the internet. It’s an ecosystem that survives on collaboration.
Thankfully, there is enough content out there written about almost everything under the sun.
That’s one reason why even the strangest of small business ideas find competitors online.
Coming back to our topic. With a lot of content already written about your niche, it’s easy for you to identify people who really care about what you have already written.
Getting endorsements from them for your article can be of great value in multiple ways.
It’s possible that they may give you a natural link to the article.
They might even share it among the social media channels, and who knows, a good number of people may pass it forward after that.
All of these add up to building the authority for your content.
Now, it’s just a matter of time before Google recognizes this and ranks your content on top of the search.
This is an endorsement we received from Search Engine Land for our evergreen article on Google Algorithm Updates.
But here is another question that might be troubling you:
How do you find these people?
I’m going to discuss with you two strategies that we use here at Stan Ventures to identify like-minded people who can help us reach our goal.
A Simple Google Search
Even though this whole process is to rank on Google, you need to start the strategy with the help of this search behemoth.
So, here is what we do.
Since you already know the keywords that are popular in your industry or within the article that you have written, you just need to Google the same.
Method 1: Find Top 20 Websites
Collect the list of the 20 websites that are currently ranking on Google for your focus terms.
The top 10 are usually the elite players in your industry or it could be a Wikipedia page.
Leave them out to save time.
In these situations, check the content that is appearing on the second page, and the rest of the SERP positions.
These websites have genuine content and they like adding more information to it to rank higher than the ones that are already on the first page.
Now you have a good list of websites and people to reach out to.
But what if they aren’t bothered to update the content with the new information that you have provided in the article.
That’s when you have to use the second level of filtering.
Method 2: Filter the Recently Updated Posts
People who really care about the content will try to keep the post updated frequently.
This helps you filter out people who will take time to read your outreach email, (which we will discuss in the next step) and update the content.
Here is how you do this:
Step 1: Go to Google and type in the keyword.
Step 2: Select the tools option on the right side of the search bar and change the selection from “Any Time” to “Past Month.”
Step 3: This will display the content that was recently updated, so you can add them to the list of your prospects.
Method 3: Use Google Search Operators
Your content is comprehensive and unique in many ways.
And you already know the USP of your content.
You probably would have done in-depth research and found something that nobody in the industry has talked about.
Your intention is to let people know about that wonderful work.
But to do this, you need to find people who have written about the same topic.
They may have missed important points that you have added to the content after in-depth research.
Consider Google Search Operators as your trusted tool for doing this in-depth filtering.
We have an extensive blog post about Google Algorithm Update.
We update this content quite frequently and it’s attracting a lot of natural backlinks.
What we usually do is when a new update is launched by Google, we add the details of the websites impacted, and the overall SERP fluctuation it caused.
It’s common among websites that have already written about Google Algorithm updates to missing out on a few incremental updates.
We consider these sites as our link prospects because we help them with the information provided in our article.
Here is the simple process that has been working magic for us.
Step 1: Use Google Search Operator -intext
Example: google algorithm update -intext:”May 2020 Core Update”
Step 2: Find authority sites that missed the topic “May 2020 Core Update”
Step: 3 Cross-Check the Content
WebFx hasn’t added the Google Algorithm Updates that happened after January 2020.
This makes WebFX my prospect.
We will reach out to WebFx and request them to update the content using the tons of information and podcasts that we have added to our page.
The link comes naturally.
Pretty easy, right?
Through Social Media Search
Social channels are often overlooked while looking for the prospect.
People or influencers who frequently tweet about the topic that you have covered are the right prospects for you to target.
We tried multiple platforms and found that Twitter is the most useful social media platform for mining outreach prospects.
Here’s what you need to do
Step 1: Log into Twitter and feed in the keyword
Step 2: Click on the latest tab
Step 3: Check the people who have tweeted about the topic recently
The problem with this method is you may end up finding people who are not influential within the niche.
You now have a great tool – SparkToro that you can use to check if the prospects you are filtering out really get the views from your target audience.
By the way, SparkToro is the latest tool developed by Rand Fishkin, the founder of Moz.
And by far, this is one of the best blogger outreach tools that you can find in 2020.
This is a great tool when it comes to mining the influencers who are read by your targets.
Here’s how the process goes:
Step 1: Log into SparkToro
Step 2: Go to Profile Search
Step 3: Enter the social link of the person
Step 4: Analyze the data to decide whether to add the person to your prospect list.
2. Segment Your Prospects for Outreach
Think of this scenario: the content you have written is about “100 Hidden Secrets Within Windows OS.”
This doesn’t make Bill Gates the prospect for your content.
It’s very important to segment your prospect for a successful blogger outreach campaign.
With the strategies that we discussed above, you now have a solid list of people to reach out to.
But you have to segment this list as granular as possible to get the best results.
In blogger outreach, the segmentation happens with respect to the influence of the person or website that you have shortlisted.
These are people who have a large influence over their followers and readers.
They are known to anybody within your industry by the mere mention of their name.
They are either the face of their organization or have achieved some tremendous achievement in their area.
To put this into perspective, let me take the example of SEO.
Here are a few such people within the SEO industry
- Neil Patel
- Rand Fishkin
- John Mueller
You might think that reaching out to such people may not yield any outcome.
However, with the right approach, it can be made possible.
For example, John Muller is someone who is quite active on Twitter.
He is known to share with the SEO community some quirky tools that make the task on SEO so much easier.
Here is something that he recently shared via his Twitter handle that became a talking point in the community discussions.
Here is the thing, you may not get a direct link from these influencers as they have tons of other things to do.
But a single retweet or share can result in more like-minded people seeing your post and increases the chance of getting natural backlinks.
By the way, don’t forget about the social signals as well.
When more people talk about your content, you get a chance to get a ranking boost.
These are not people who are as famous as the ones mentioned above.
However, they have substantial fan-followers and are on track to grow to the next level.
Unlike the earlier list of people, you can easily get in touch with these influencers through email.
But you need to make sure that the email is unique and doesn’t look like just another link request mail we get almost every other day.
Once they identify the value of the content, they will definitely give you a shout out or a positive reply at least.
In blogger outreach, establishing the initial connection is very important and you must make sure that the opening conversation is vibrant and engaging.
So, if you’re asking, “Should I reach out to them?” My answer would be an emphatic yes!
The traction you get from the link and tweets of these experts definitely will make the difference in the way people and search engines will look at you.
In the beginning, the macro and mega influencers we saw earlier were all roaming here.
These are people who are actively engaging in conversations within your industry.
They may be writing a great deal about the things happening or they may be attending a lot of events as guests or even participants.
Looking down upon them would be the biggest mistake ever if you are doing blogger outreach.
These are people who put the majority of their time into finding and exploring new things within their industry.
Though they may not have a huge fan follower now, the future’s not ours to predict.
Apart from this, they engage with more people who are their peers, which again gives a lot of exposure to your content among the targets.
These people don’t hesitate to answer most of the emails they get.
Even if the email looks templated, they will open it and reply if they find value.
They currently won’t have millions of page views or thousands of followers on their social handle, but they are within your niche and Google understands this.
Getting a link from such micro-influencers is gonna help you more than getting a link from someone who is a total stranger to your niche.
So, anyway, why would our friendly neighborhood celebrity Tobey Maguire, who is a vegan, tweet about the juiciness of KFC Chicken?
These are people you can ignore from reaching out. They have just started trying out and there are not many people who listen to them.
Since these are people who are beginners, their websites and social handles will have less authority.
But these people will give you a reply even if you sent them an error-ridden outreach email.
Now that you know how to find the prospects and how to filter them based on authority, we can come to the most important aspect of blogger outreach – the Pitch.
3. Pitching Your Segmented Prospects (Outreach)
A personalized email is a key element that makes blogger outreach stand apart from other link building activities.
But this is one thing that most people get wrong.
The reason is simple:
They fail to understand the prospect and use the same old templated email.
We talked about the people who accept templated emails.
These are nano influencers whose mention or link to your website doesn’t add any value.
The emails that you craft for blogger outreach is the crux behind the success of the campaign.
Getting it wrong is the worst thing that you ever want.
Here’s an example of a templated email and a genuine outreach email to make the distinction clear.
Genuine Blogger Outreach Email
As you can see, the first one is bound to be ignored.
The best influencers within your prospect list are getting tons of such emails every day.
For them, it looks outrightly spammy and templated.
The second one is most likely to receive a response from the influencer.
It talks a great deal about the effort that you have put in to read and know about the work done by the influencer.
Additionally, the resource highlighted in the pitch is directly related to an article written by the prospect, which presents a value addition.
Here, between the two emails, you can find one basic difference:
The first one is a shoddy work of a lazy and selfish email broadcaster.
The other one is the smart work of an expert who respects the prospect’s time and expertise.
Unfortunately, more than 80% of the emails that land in our inboxes are similar to our first example.
This means they are terrible and not worthy of getting a response from any experts we saw earlier.
These two emails fall under to trades of thoughts – The Guided Missile Approach and the Cluster Bomb Approach.
What is the Guided Missile Approach?
Guided Missiles are precise and hit targets with accuracy.
However, you have just one target and the course is corrected to hit just one specific target.
This is exactly what you want to succeed in blogger outreach.
What is the Cluster Bomb Approach?
Cluster Bombs spray smaller submunitions to hit multiple targets at one go.
While this strategy works in war, when it comes to outreach, this strategy is likely to miss almost all the targets, just like the templated mail we just saw.
While we may think the cluster bomb approach is easier because it reaches more people, the reality is contradictory.
The prospects you are sending these emails have already learned to intercept these mails and they keep it out of the radar intentionally.
So, let’s identify the vital elements within a perfectly crafted outreach email that lures your prospects to open, read, and finally accept your link.
Elements of a Good Outreach Email
- Subject Line is Your Barkers
In ancient Babylonia, merchants used loud-shouters often named barkers to attract potential customers.
Now, the barkers have given way to attractive subject lines.
Getting your subject line vetted is more important than what you write inside the email.
A boring subject line is the nemesis of any marketer as the message will never reach the target.
The same with blogger outreach.
Your subject line must invoke curiosity and it must entice the target to open.
You might have already found a few irresistible subject lines in the starter pack you downloaded from us.
There is a reason why we included it.
According to SEMRush Keyword Analysis, the term “best email subject lines” has more than 3K search volume, which means it’s a hot topic among marketers.
So when conducting your Google search, you may find a few articles that are worth a read but again, using the same subject lines may not yield any benefit.
The subject lines you downloaded are just examples, so you have to use the best of your assumptions and intelligence to craft the best subject line for your niche.
The best subject lines are often the ones that talk about the reason behind sending the email.
- Thank You For Spilling The Beans on Blogger Outreach!
- I Owe You For That Great Content on Keyword Research
The best way to start with a subject line is by thinking that your prospect is part of the professional community and the intent is purely to share knowledge.
This approach gets the best results for doing blogger outreach. This is also one of the reasons why blogger outreach will stand the test of time.
2) Build a Personal Connect
Reaching out to your prospects like a stranger could spoil your outreach campaign.
It’s critical to understand the person that you’re reaching out to and you must try to build a personal connection.
We noticed the emails that try to establish a connection get a higher response rate.
Additionally, if you already know the person via social handles, the chances of positive responses are high.
We recommend building connections with these influencers online through social channels. In the next step, send the outreach pitch.
A common element within templated emails is the empty compliment.
“Hey, I just read your article about %topic%. Super stuff!”
Yes. We’ve all heard this one before, and the next thing that I do is pat myself on the back and continue with what I was doing.
Eulogy and praises are important for the success of outreach emails but you must substantiate it with facts and how the contribution of the prospect really helped you.
- Don’t be sleazy, but Convey Your Message
When you’re carrying out the entire process, you shouldn’t forget the reason why you are doing this.
You want to introduce the magnificent work that you did recently.
Weave this message as naturally as possible within the outreach email.
It could be as simple as:
“I saw you tweeted a post with the latest algorithm updates, but I wanted to share with you an even better post that is currently ranking on #0 position of Google.”
However, this explanation is something that most outreach emails fail to have.
This is what most outreach emails end up with:
“You recently updated this post, and I wrote a similar one. Want to take a look?”
So, why would anybody read a post which is similar to what he has already written?
There must be some USP that makes the person read your content.
And most outreach emails miss mentioning about this USP.
Another debatable question is about pitching for the link in the very first email.
We usually don’t do this as we always try to build an initial rapport with the prospects.
It’s only in the second follow up email that we pitch for the links.
Don’t get me wrong.
Blogger Outreach is not guest posting.
These are people who are experts in the industry, and they are least bothered about giving you a link unless they see the value.
The first two emails will mostly speak about the value proportion, and once we convince them of the depth of the work, we pitch the link aspect of the outreach.
Adding to this, you must also make sure that the concluding lines of your email are open-ended questions.
This way, you can expect more replies for your email outreach.
4. Build Lasting Relationships with the Bloggers
Once you get a response from the bloggers, you have the opportunity to seize a long-term relationship.
This is especially important if you are an SEO agency owner.
If you have impressed the blogger or the influencer with quality content, you can again reach out to them for a new client.
This can help in maintaining the relationship in such a way that both you, the client, and the blogger gets the benefit.
But one thing we don’t do in Stan Ventures is not to reach out to the same blogger for the same client.
Multiple links from the same site don’t add substantial value to organic growth.
This is especially true when people are investing in blogger outreach.
So, your effort and time must be used for finding new bloggers, and also more time must be invested in creating link-worthy content.
A content piece that was popular two years ago will not get you or the blogger the desired results.
You must make sure that the link-worthy content that you’re about to share is something that is fresh or evergreen.
This will dramatically improve your relationship with the bloggers and the response rate will multiply.
By the way, if you are doing outreach yourselves, don’t ignore your old friends completely.
Keep sharing the new content that you’re producing with them, and you’ll get a few more links that will not harm your website.
So, are you ready to kickstart your blogger outreach campaign?
Looking at the extensive topics covered in this masterclass, it may seem intimidating for you. But don’t worry. Once you start implementing these strategies, you will find all things falling in place.
However, that doesn’t mean that blogger outreach is easy.
The truth is, it isn’t.
However, the results that this link building strategy can get you is worth the effort you put in.
If you focus on the ROI, getting a resource, or doing blogger outreach all by yourself may not churn the desired results.
Unfortunately, it may take months to put these strategies up and running if you don’t have a dedicated team of outreach experts.
To make things easy and simple, you always have the option to get in touch with the blogger outreach experts – Stan Ventures.
We have already excelled in strategizing the blogger outreach campaigns for hundreds of websites and brands.
Do that, and you’ve got the power to attract all authority links out there in the world to rank your website.