You’ve probably been there a hundred times. You work on an awesome and holistic piece of content, and you put your heart and soul into it.
And at the time you publish it, you get …
No shares, no comments, no rankings. Yes, quite frustrating. But the truth is: no matter how great your content is, it still needs links and promotion.
Sadly, the outreach skills of a majority of people leave much to be desired. This is why I came up with this short guide to SEO blogger outreach and how to get the most out of it.
Ready? Let’s get started!
Rule #1 – Choose The Right Objective
If you’ve already settled for a few sites you think are a good fit for your content, be mindful of how you approach them. Or better yet – who you approach.
As in real life, the first impression matters a lot on the internet. Maybe even more because you might not have a chance to amend it afterward. And this happens a lot with the people that fail at outreach.
One unwisely sent letter and your email address will be marked as spam.
To avoid a disaster like this, ensure you’re pitching the right person. Don’t attempt to contact anyone just because you managed to find their address.
Even if you are not going to be ‘banned’, the odds you’re getting a reply are low… very low.
The efforts you put into your research can make all the difference between being noticed and being ignored.
Visit the company or team page or the about page and locate the person who owns the blog or has access to it, such as the Head of Content.
Note that not everybody eagerly discloses their contact information, and for obvious reasons. No one likes being bombarded with spam.
So it may take some effort for you to find the right email address.
Luckily, it’s not that complicated to find someone’s email address. And there are tons of ways to achieve it.
In a few cases, you may just need to check their Twitter. But most of the time you have to be more persistent and creative about it.
Trust me, it will pay off eventually.
Rule #2 – Get To Know The Person On The Other End
This rule is so simple and yet, so overlooked.
Sure, you can’t study each blogger you contact in detail. But taking some time to gather basic information about them will uplevel your outreach game.
So how can you benefit from this information?
Right off the bat, you make your life a whole lot easier, as that information can provide you with the perfect lead-in for your outreach email.
Personalization matters a lot. And if you give your outreach email a personal touch, you set yourself apart from the majority of bloggers doing outreach.
Second, while doing your research, you can find out the ‘donts’ you should avoid. For example, sometimes it’s enough to check their ‘Write for us page’ where all the no-nos are listed.
And if one of those mistakes slips into your email, that would be kind of a red flag for the site owner, because it tells them you haven’t done your homework.
And last but not least, it’s always flattering when someone takes the time to learn more about you.
And the fact that you took the time to learn something about the blogger you’re getting in touch with is a nice personal touch.
Plus, it’s a good sign that you take them seriously. And everybody likes that.
Rule #3 – Write Catchy Subject Lines
Don’t judge a book by its cover, the saying goes. But we still do, don’t we?
And the cover of your email is its subject line. Regardless of how short your email is, it can say a lot about the content and its author, for that matter.
Compelling and catchy subject lines are a huge part of your email outreach campaign. And those who mastered them already accomplished 30% of the job.
So what makes a good subject line?
A couple of things…
First, it has to be handcrafted, without using a cookie-cutter style approach. Each outreach email you send needs to be personalized. So does the subject.
Don’t try to kill all the birds with one stone. Instead, think of what the blogger is likely to be interested in. And that doesn’t necessarily have to be your content.
You can mention one of their recent posts and share your opinion on it. Something like:
‘A few words about your outreach guide’.
This line is good for two reasons:
- you’re talking about something that person cares about
- you don’t ask for anything (at least not upfront)
The latter is so important. Being needy can ruin everything. Make sure you don’t come across as somebody who just came to ask for a favor.
Your goal here is to give away enough information to make sure the recipient HAS to open your email, but not too much that they don’t actually click on it.
Don’t let your imagination get the better of you. One way or another, you have to combine your actual intent and the subject line.
Otherwise, your subject line will turn out to be a complete lie and the blogger will feel tricked into opening your email. Again, not a good thing.
Rule #4 – Make Sure Your Email Is Top-Notch
Your first email is your visiting card. You have no right or excuse to mess it up.
Personally, I start with a greeting and introduce myself briefly, which is just a polite thing to do.
Then, I will explain why I’m writing this email. Whatever reason it can be:
‘I listened to a podcast with you, and I liked your take on long-tail keywords. A lot of people seem to overlook their importance. Nice touch!’
See how I complimented them on their expertise without fawning over it. Exaggerated flattering is a big fat NO. Don’t fall for that trap.
Now it’s time to get to the point and make a slight transition to your goal. If you want to have your post published on someone’s blog, find a good reason for THEM to accept it.
To give is to receive. That’s the tacit rule of outreach.
If you can’t think of any benefit for the blog, you should probably reevaluate your content. Or find a more suitable blog.
The easiest way to go is to offer something they didn’t write about yet. A different perspective or an entirely new topic.
Again, there has to be a link between why you are contacting them and what you are offering. The smoother that transition is, the higher your chances to see the ‘green light’.
Here’s my example:
‘I wanted to write an article on how to use free tools to find long-tail keywords. It should be a solid piece of content for people that struggle with their first steps in marketing. Seems like it should be up your audience’s street.’
Short, yet informative.
Lastly, give them a call-to-action button to press on. In doing so, you are low-key nudging them to the next step. Quite an effective move:
‘Let me know if you are interested, and I will be happy to send you a draft.’
Not only the structure but the way you word your email plays a crucial role.
And grammar is never overrated, so make sure you don’t make a single faux pas. Proofread your text a couple of times before hitting the ‘send’ button.
Email outreach is a true art that takes dedication and a certain set of skills. As building connections is an integral part of any business, you need to cultivate those skills on a regular basis.
All in all, it’s a mixture of painstaking research and creativity. Make every shot count by crafting personalized and to-the-point emails.
Over to you now. What outreach techniques and tricks work best for you? Let me know in the comments and feel free to ask any questions!
© 2018 – 2022, Vlad Koval. All rights reserved.