Back in the day I was working in a call center, pushing stocks and bonds.
Yeah, I was that guy. Don’t blame me, the paycheck was good.
So, if your business was based in Europe, there is a high chance that I or one of my associates contacted you at one point. We were working with companies such as Danone, Caterpillar, Shell, Mol, Avia, Lenovo just to name a few.
Basically, as long as you were a commercial entity with a phone number, there was a high chance that you would be contacted by our team of professional spammers. Sometimes, it took me 10 to 15 phone calls just to reach a person in his spare time. Never stop believing, eh?
However, through all of that I learned a valuable lesson.
Almost anyone can become a believer if you push just the right buttons.
I can’t even recall how many times I closed a deal just by talking about puppies, kittens and babies. No matter how serious businessmen might be, there is always a way to make an emotional bond which will sell your product.
One of the guys in the office was a passionate football fan (for US readers). In 2014, Germany won the FIFA World Cup which led to his most profitable day ever. As you can presume, he was only calling Germans.
Anyway, I will explain it in more detail in upcoming chapter.
Back to the blogging
If you think about it, phone sales and blogger outreach have a lot of similarities. Both of them are based on satisfying customers’ needs and adapting to their persona. In fact, the biggest difference is the method which we use to make an initial contact.
Marketing journeymen are usually awestruck when they perform their first outreach.
All they have in front of them is a list with the names of editors/owners of famous websites. Furthermore, most of marketing assistants will choke on their first attempt believing that they are communicating with Martians.
However, no matter how big an organization is or how wealthy an individual may be, he is still plagued by the same limitations as any other individual.
In other words, he is a human.
And if he is a human, you can close him.
Most bloggers believe that blogger outreach starts by sending an email.
Well, it doesn’t.
It starts with you being able to communicate with another person. Trust me, I am a married man and I know what I am talking about.
In today’s society, communication is almost a lost skill. Some people even see it as a degeneration of sort. Nevertheless, if you wish to be successful at this job (and marketing in general) you will have to learn to communicate with different types of people and to adapt to their character (note: stumbling on random people while hunting for Pokémon doesn’t count as a form of conversation).
Basically, there are three main ingredients that will allow you to establish a good rapport with another person:
- Knowing your audience and finding the proper way to address it
- Structuring a descriptive but simple message
- Learning how to listen, being objective and stimulating further conversation
Like most things in life, good communication is based on patience and respect for the other party.
We are all egocentric beings. Majority of the things we do are led by our own arrogance and our own perception of comfort. If we do not like something, we will quit it or avoid starting it in the first place. When it comes to approaching other bloggers, first thing that you have to realize is that you should never place yourself in the limelight. In fact, you are only an intermediary that should convince other blogger to support your project.
This is even more emphasized if you have a new website.
Compromise is the name of the game. You cannot beat a person with a stick until he gives up; in certain situation you will have to take what the other person is offering you. It is important to be a flexible negotiator.
With that, we come to the next chapter.
Finding a common ground
It is safe to say that most bloggers are not into Chatroulette.
That being said, it is safe to say they will not be interested in chatting with you unless:
- You are quite a charming person
- There is some professional curiosity involved
- You can peak their interest with a product, service or website content
As we mentioned before, being charming has nothing to do with some inherent talent (although the talent may help). In fact, it is nothing more than a mastered communication skill.
Person who is a good talker has to possess at least some level of charisma so that the person on the other side can remains interested in continuing conversation. But, charisma is just a minor element.
Simply put, you have to read a person in order to charm him.
As I previously said, family person will always be interested in talking about his children or grandchildren. Animal lover will love talking about pets. Even if the guy looks like a hard nut to crack, you can always exploit his arrogance and talk about his professional success. It worked for me. No matter how good your pitch is, you require something more to keep a person interested. With that, we come to point number two.
Professional curiosity is another reason why a blogger will be compelled to talk with you. In fact, it is something that usually goes together with your charm.
All of us have a personal story (get back to chapter one if you were impolitely skipping pages!). Now, it is only a matter of how you present that story. Always remember, everybody on the Internet lies (especially on Instagram) so don’t be shy and make sure to present yourself in the best light possible.
Again, be careful when telling your story. Blogger still needs to be in the center of attention, not being overshadowed by you. In the end, if you are asking for a favor, you shouldn’t be trying to outstage the person on the other side.
Lastly, we come to your products, services and content.
Again, it is important how you present things. If you wrote a thousand pages long article on a popular topic, he will at least take a peak (If not to commend you than at least to laugh in your face for being an overachiever).
Nevertheless, when pitching to a blogger, you need to show him something really remarkable. Regardless of your ultimate goal, blogger outreach is performed so that a blogger would share something of yours with his audience. Have in mind that he will do so only if there is a potential benefit for his own audience or blog.
Here, you can and should exaggerate a little bit. Make things look better. In the end, you are into marketing, aren’t you?
Creating the initial list for blogger outreach
Before you can do anything else, you need to create an initial list.
It should include the names and personal data of all the bloggers who may be interested in a specific content or a product and a new one needs to be made prior to every campaign.
Of course, I would recommend that you also create a general list which will not be connected to any particular project. Instead, you can use it to track relationship status with major players in your niche, so that you can remember who did you a favor, who doesn’t like you etc.
It’s always the best solution to have everything on the paper. If you wish to use blogger outreach as an ongoing part of your strategy, you need to be careful. Worst thing that can happen is contacting the same guy for the same thing. And let’s be honest, it is a dumb way to lose a potential contact.
Unless there is some new cool program on the market, I suggest using Google Sheets. They are the perfect solution for all those working on the Internet (which is everybody reading this article) as they allow you to store the data on cloud.
If you need additional data make sure to download our free EBOOK!
Warming up process
When it comes to blogger outreach, most people use it as a way to promote their content. Each one of these influential bloggers (otherwise known as influencer) is an invaluable source of links and may share your content with their followers. It is something that can boost your traffic immensely.
But, here is where majority of people make a mistake.
They think that one email or social media message is enough to make a connection.
Regardless of an opportunity that lies in front of us, we all require some sort of a backup. To be more precise, it is an emotional need. Without trust, it is really hard to do business with a person. That little nudge in the right direction can give us enough confidence to continue dealing with an individual.
Naturally, the bigger the job, the more trust is required.
As previously mentioned, blogger outreach is usually performed so that we can promote various things on other blogs. Unlike some high-profile investments, risks involved are minimal. In worst case scenario, you will ruin your article or lose some advertising money. Nevertheless, it is much better to build at least some form of trust. As I said, it is more of an irrational, emotional need than the real business necessity. Nevertheless, it is much better to have it.
This is why we perform warm up.
Generally speaking, warming up represents creation of an initial contact without any strings attached. Comment on a blog, joining a discussion on a forum, liking a social post are all strategies that may work. But, make sure that the person noticed your activity. In practice, best way of engaging a blogger is through a comment section on his blog.
And yes, make sure to post something relevant that has to do with his content. Don’t go for xoxo, I tried, it doesn’t work.
Ok, let us presume that you warmed up your contact. You are all friendly and it’s time to send an email.
Email is the best way of doing business communication. Of course, if a person responds and you make an initial contact, you can go for social media messages or some other sorts of informal communication. Nevertheless, emails are the best way to start.
So, why emails?
Unlike other forms of communication, emails are the most official. They make an impression as if you are sending a regular mail to a business organization. Also, when presented on a PC screen, they are usually much bigger than any other message sent or received on Facebook or LinkedIn. By using them, you are able to present yourself as a professional organization serious about its business.
Ultimately, people pay much more attention to them.
In case of a blogger outreach, we are doing it in order to create new marketing opportunities. These campaigns are usually massive and you will likely contact several hundred bloggers. Nevertheless, although it seems as a time saver, never use automated programs to send emails.
The thing that can make or break your campaign is personalization. If influencer thinks that you have sent an email with some software, he can see it as a sign of disrespect refusing to do business with you. It is something that can easily close the door forever.
Each email needs to be personalized addressing the blogger by his name.
Here are some other tips you might wish to follow:
- Email needs to be simple and unique
- It needs to have a catchy but descriptive title
- Avoid putting URLs in your first email as it may lead to email being sent to spam folder
- Emphasize benefits; if there are no benefits, be polite while asking for a favor
- Add signature as it makes it more professional
Even though your first email needs to be direct, you shouldn’t pitch immediately. It can easily deter a person from doing business with you. Instead, the business is done on the second email after you tested the waters a bit.
Have in mind that this is not a flawless system. As we said in the first chapter, different people will see things differently and will perceive multiple emails as a waste of time. However, if you do manage to send two or three emails and they are all met with a response, you can bet that that guy will remember you and that you will be able to do some other things with him in future.
Given our friendly culture here at Niksto, we always give advantage to making a nice contact instead of only getting a link. Nevertheless, we wouldn’t object to getting both.
Lastly, you will have to follow-up on every email. Similarly to sales, it is all about persistence. Millions of emails have lost their lives in spam inbox; make sure that their sacrifice is not in vein.
So, in spirit of follow-up, make sure to download our free E-BOOK which will teach you how to run a successful blogger outreach, the same way we are doing it.
Social media outreach
If you ask any SEO professional, everybody will tell you that the blogger outreach is based on email campaigns. This is our preconception given that these campaigns are much more efficient than any other method. However, if you wish to build a long-lasting presence within your industry and to create meaningful relationships, social media is the way to go.
Why do we prefer emails instead of social media?
Again, we come to personal preferences and differences in character. Basically, different people like different platforms.
If you were to outreach a large number of people through social media, you would have a logistic nightmare on your hands. First of all, you will have to modify your template as every network allows specific messages (imagine a blogger outreach campaign on Twitter with 140 characters at your disposal). Secondly, you will constantly have to switch between networks, whether you are sending messages or checking if you received any replies. Thirdly, social platforms are perceived less professional which can be a deterrent in certain industries.
However, there is a big upside to social networks.
And that’s the power of a like!
Blogger’s grandmother made him a carrot cake which he posted on Instagram. You like it. Blogger types: “It’s so hot #melting” on Twitter. You retweet and respond: “I am also #melting. Btw, check my newest article!” I pray to God that no one had such a conversation.
Anyway, social platforms provide you something that you do not have when emailing and that is an intimate insight into blogger’s personal life.
Like everything else in marketing, this can and should be exploited. With a click of a mouse, you are able to build relationships with other people propelling your website to new heights. And in the end, by using social platforms, you may accomplish set goals faster than you would through an email campaign.
Final words about blogger outreach
Regardless of your industry, same rules apply everywhere.
In every marketing campaign, we are dealing with real people. These individuals may have their quirks but most of them are approachable. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be a part of internet society.
Like in real-world business, not everybody is your competition. We are taught that everybody is an enemy as we live in a cutthroat world where only the most successful are able to get rich. However, these rules fall into water when it comes to the Internet.
Here, cooperation is the name of the game and unless you are a big multinational company, recognized all over the world, you will require assistance from other people to build your business. And this is precisely how you should treat other bloggers. Even though they might help you develop your brand, you should never forget them.
If you base your business on fairness and reciprocity, you will never be alone and your business will bloom.
What are you issues performing blogger outreach? Share your thoughts bellow!
This article was written by my colleague Stefan Stevanovic – content writer & strategist at NikSto.com. This is his personal professional experience which he decided to share with our readers.