How To Use Blogger Outreach To Boost Your SEO Rankings
Nailing your on-page SEO is an excellent way to start improving your visibility on search engines, but to really climb the Google rankings, you need to start using blogger outreach strategies to build quality links.
We’ve already talked about how link building is dependent on great quality content, but the reality is there’s simply so much content out there that just creating good stuff is not necessarily enough to cut through the noise – to really succeed in SEO you need to make a splash and give your content a head-start by letting people know about it!
This is why blogger outreach is essential; not only for building links, but for building your reputation and also gaining publicity for your business.
After all, if you don’t let people know about the awesome content you’re creating, how are they meant to find out about it? Instead of hoping that influencers in your industry will stumble across what you’re doing, you should be actively building relationships and spreading the word.
By following these 5 pointers, you’ll be able to put together an outreach campaign which will give your SEO the boost it needs.
1. Create Content People Will Care About
You can’t hope to build links and generate buzz without great ideas. I guarantee that any website worth pitching or getting quality links from, will receive dozens, if not hundreds, of pitches every day, so you need to make sure yours stands out.
Make sure that what you’re pitching is newsworthy and highly relevant. Be different and be controversial! No one wants to read yet another article making the same points as anyone else, or look at another infographic exclaiming the benefits of something everyone already knows is good. Make sure that what you have to say offers a new angle, a new perspective, or brings attention to something totally new and novel.
Above all, make sure that what you’re pitching will be useful for their readers, as that will always be any website’s highest priority. Before you pitch anyone, remember to ask yourself “why would their readers care?” If you can’t easily answer that question, you’re probably better off coming up with a new idea.
Lastly, if you’re purely using blogger outreach as a link building strategy, you need to make sure that your content is easy to link to and use. Will your prospect have to write their own accompanying post for a piece of content, or work hard to embed something on their site? If so, step up and offer to do all the hard work yourself.
2. Smart Prospecting
Finding good places to pitch is one of the most important parts of outreach. You should approach blogger outreach like you approach your sales and marketing; just as the best marketers and salesmen develop a detailed picture of exactly who they’re selling to, you need to have a good idea of what kind of audience you’re trying to reach, and who your content will appeal to.
There’s no quicker way to alienate and burn bridges with writers and bloggers than by pitching them irrelevant content; it wastes everybody’s time and makes you look incompetent and amateurish. Take the time to look over their website and make sure that whatever you pitch them is relevant and interesting.
There are loads of tools out there to help put together a list of cold prospects to pitch, but the most effective is still plain old Google searching. Search smart, not hard, by using clever queries to find the specific sites which your content will be invaluable to.
For example, let’s say you have an article on hair care which you want to outreach as a guest post. You can streamline the whole process and make sure that Google is doing all the heavy lifting for you by using search queries like:
1. “beauty” intitle:”write for us”
2. “hair care” intitle:”guest post”
3. “health and beauty” inurl:”submit”
Tools like Link Prospector can quickly spit out literally 1000s of prospects for you, and it is an affordable way to find huge lists of relevant websites.
Once you’ve found a website which you think would be open to your pitch, it’s time to find as much information as possible about who you will be pitching to.
Often, this kind of information simply isn’t available without pricey PR contact lists but, whenever possible, try to find out the name and role of your prospect, as well as any other publications they might work for.
Finding out little details about them such as hobbies and other little quirks, can also be immensely important, as it can help you develop rapport and get their attention further down the road. A good way to do this is by having a look at their social media profiles, or personal blogs.
Scott Masson manages PR and SEO for MyVoucherCodes and works with everyone from small blogs to national newspapers. He told us; “By using a tool like the Open Site Explorer, you look into the link profiles of websites you already know about. Similar sites link to each other, so every site you research will almost certainly link to other websites which would be interested in your pitch.”
3. Crafting the Perfect Pitch
A poor pitch can derail a fantastic piece of content and ruin your chance to get in with good bloggers and websites. Fortunately for us, the majority of spammers and low quality SEOs send out cringingly awful pitches, so just by the virtue of not being terrible, you’ll already stand out from the crowd!
The Subject Line
There is no subject line which will work across the board in every circumstance, but there are a few general rules and little tricks which can help your emails get opened.
As we covered in #1, your content should be attention grabbing and newsworthy, and this sort of content will make crafting subject lines much easier. Depending on what content you’ve created, highlight either the benefit or the most newsworthy aspect in the subject line.
If you’ve come up with a killer headline for your content, it can also double up as a fantastic subject line too. In this case, the more intriguing the headline, the better.
If, on the other hand, you’re pitching to a publication or blog which you don’t think will be likely to open up any pitches at all, you could consider using a vague subject line.
By using something like “enquiry”, you can increase your email’s chance of getting opened. If you’re feeling really cheeky, you can even call it something like “RE: Enquiry” to make it seem as if it’s part of an email thread they’re already talking to. However, when using a trick like this, you had better make sure that what you’re offering is good enough to justify it!
Your pitch might be vying for attention alongside hundreds of others, so you need to make sure that it is short, to the point, and highlights how it will benefit the readers of the site. In this respect, your pitch should be very similar to a short sales email – benefit driven with a clear call to action.
All well as not having the time or patience to read long emails, it’s worth remembering that most people now read their emails on mobile devices, so three sentences or so should be enough, perhaps accompanied by some bullet points about the core aspects of the piece you’re pitching.
Don’t litter your pitch with empty or false compliments as they are transparent and come across as disingenuous. If you actually do follow someone’s blog or website then by all means bring this up, but be specific in your praise so they know it’s genuine. If you’re really willing to put the time in, take the time to read your prospect’s blog and mention specific pieces and what you thought of them in the email.
If you’ve already got a pre-existing relationship with a prospect, or you are familiar with their work, it’s best that you write them a bespoke, personal email. This is where those little pieces of information you dug up on their hobbies and interests can make a huge difference and forge a connection.
For all your other prospects, however, creating a bespoke email for each individual is just too time consuming. However, you can still make your template appear to be personalised by using mail merges. Mail merges allow you to personalise mass emails to include names, companies, roles and almost anything else you could want to mention.
If you use Microsoft Outlook, you can learn how to set up a mail merge here.
If you use Gmail, you can learn how to set up a mail merge here.
Before you send out a merge to all of your prospects, check that your merge is working correctly. I can’t emphasise the importance of testing enough, so set up a bunch of your own email addresses and practise sending mail merges to them until you are confident that you won’t make a mistake.
4. Use Your Head
Buying or selling followed links, whether as part of a link scheme or in an “advertorial” article can get you in serious trouble with Google. Despite this, whole blogging niches have sadly become dependent on making money from selling links and other very dangerous and unethical practises, effectively shutting them off from legitimate marketers.
“Mommy blogs” and some smaller lifestyle blogs can be particularly bad for this, refusing to even look at anything, without a big budget attached to it. You could offer some websites an exclusive interview with Elvis Presley himself and they’d still try and charge you £300 for the trouble!
There are clever ways to get around these sorts of charges by offering bloggers other things besides money. I once read about an SEO who wrangled a content placement out of a parenting blogger by redesigning her logo for free.
However, whatever the cost and form of payment, you need to ask yourself whether you want to take the risk of associating yourself with these kinds of sites, as the consequences can be disastrous.
When you’re prospecting links, keep an eye out for the tell-tale signs of link selling sites, such as targeted anchor text and low quality or overly promotional content.
As well as protecting yourself, you should also conduct your link building ethically. Treat bloggers well and be transparent in what you want. They aren’t idiots and will be able to see through any attempts to trick them into giving you a link.
Similarly, don’t offer exclusives to one place and then give a spun article to someone else as well. No amount of links can undo the damage acting unethically will do to your online reputation.
5. Be Organised
You’ll likely be dealing with 100s of prospects and dozens of conversations with interested leads, so keeping track of everything you do is crucial if you don’t want opportunities to slip through the cracks.
If your business already uses CRM software like Salesforce, you can use it to keep track of your outreach efforts, but if you don’t have access to those kind of resources, at least keep an excel document which covers who you’ve contacted, what they’ve said and any dialogue you’ve already had with them.
Keeping on top of your blogger outreach strategy makes it much easier to build relationships with websites and bloggers which, in the long term, will result in more organic and natural content being produced and is more likely to result in referral customers.
By following these 5 tips, you will be able to put together blogger outreach campaigns which will get you noticed by the right people, giving you the opportunity to reach new potential customers, build your reputation online and, crucially, attract links to your website which will help improve your SEO.
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