9 Blogger Outreach Tips for Epic Email Success

Blogger outreach guide

If you’re into blogging and wanting to make a real success of it, I’m assuming you’re aware that you need to make great content. But are you aware of the importance of blogger outreach?

You need great content to rank in search engines, and you need it to keep hold of your readers.

Keeping people coming back and building a loyal audience is probably the most important investment you could make as a blogger looking to hit the big time this year.

I’ll admit it:

It’s so hard to bring in readers to a new site.

Good content is nowhere near enough on its own.

Great content is still pretty far away from enough – it absolutely won’t happen by chance.

The single greatest piece of content in the history of the world isn’t even enough if you can’t get eyeballs onto it.

The best piece of advice I ever received – something that you’ll often see me shouting about here on Intergeek and across the internet – is the 80/20 rule.

20% of your time should be put into content creation, and 80% should go into promotion.

Make this your mantra.

Seriously.

Great outreach is the form of promotion you need; it can transform a distinctly average blog into one with a bustling community and a lack of outreach is what can leave an incredible blog trailing behind with just a few fans to show for the work.

The downside:

Outreach is time consuming, and can be tedious.

On the plus side:

It’s the best use of time you could spend on your blog.

I’d rate it a 5/10 in terms of difficulty, 8/10 in terms of effort required and 10/10 in terms of potential rewards.

Compare this with social media use, with which I’d rate all three a 1/10.

Outreach can help with your social amplification, it can generate links back to help build your search presence and referral traffic, it helps to build your brand and there are even more benefits than this too.

However, it’s not as easy as you might think.

In fact, it’s so easy to get emails wrong.

I’ve brought together nine of my favourite outreach tips to ensure that you’re getting it right.

 

Use BuzzStream

First things first, here’s where I drop an affiliate link on you like a tonne of bricks.

GET YOUR FREE TRIAL HERE!

The ONLY paid product I recommend (and get a small commission for) on Intergeek is BuzzStream.

The reason it’s the ONLY product I’m an affiliate of is because it’s the only product I genuinely use every single day.

For as little as $19 a month, you’ll save literally hours every time you conduct an email outreach campaign – which should be often!

I’d estimate you save two hours for every 50 people you want to contact, including the time of scouting out sites to contact and finding their contact details.

For me, this works out to saving WEEKS of time every year.

Three quick reasons why it’s perfect for you:

1) Prospecting

fishing-blog-search

Thanks to the BuzzMarker, you’re able to go to Google, bang in a search for relevant sites that you want to contact and then select the ‘Create a prospecting list’ option after right-clicking.

After this, select the green ‘Start prospecting’ button that will appear.

This will pull up your Google search results in a unique way – allowing you to go through each page one-by-one and add them to an outreach list:

Fishing Blog

BuzzStream will look to pull in contact details automatically, but you also have the chance here to add in any notes about the person you wish to contact.

Simply click on the ‘Save to BuzzStream’ option, and then you can move onto the next site via the arrows on the overlay that is now at the bottom of your screen.

 

2) Templates

You can create templates within BuzzStream, meaning you no longer have to copy and paste your email from one contact to the next.

In your template, you can include shortcodes like [First Name] and [Primary Website] to automatically pull the name and URL of the person you’re contacting into your email – making each email you send unique.

 

3) History

If you’re using Gmail or Outlook, you’re able to pull your email account into BuzzStream so that it will track every email you send (only to people you have on your outreach lists) and every email you receive from these people.

What’s so great about this?

Well, when you’re contacting thousands of sites – which you will as time progresses – it’s easy to lose track of people you’ve spoken to before, especially if conversation has been brief.

If you add a site into a project that you’ve already had correspondence with before, even if they’ve ignored you (which they do quite often!), you’ll be able to see it.

More importantly, it stops you looking a fool when you introduce yourself to someone that you’ve already spoken to three times in the past year.

 

Know Who You’re Emailing

Okay, BuzzStream talk is over now.

(If you don’t use it now, or other alternative outreach software, you are nothing, you are a fool and you are a waste of time, good night).

One of the most important tips I can give you is to know who the person is that you’re emailing.

I don’t mean know them personally, and I don’t mean go to the lengths of stalking them so you’re given some kind of restraining order either.

Make sure – at a minimum – that you refer to the name of the person you’re contacting.

Everyone will make mistakes during outreach, and trust me – you’ll feel like a massive tool when you do.

Sometimes, you’ll mess up an email to one of the biggest blogging sites out there, and you’ll want the world to swallow you whole:

Bad Outreach Attempt

Yup, that was a response to an email I sent to Greg (just kidding, Glen!) over at Boost Blog Traffic when I’d just started out on this site.

It was my second post ever.

The worst thing? It was a GUIDE ON OUTREACH.

Ergh, the irony was excruciating.

Okay, so my mistake wasn’t strictly what I said above – I of course knew of both Jon and Glen at BBT – but I’d forgotten to customise my email and ended up linking to the wrong post on the wrong site.

Mistakes happen. Learn from them.

My tip?

Make sure you know exactly who you’re emailing at any given time.

Never rush the process.

This is time consuming but more than worth it – there’s no room for avoidable rejections.

 

Build A Rapport

Before you ask someone to do something BIG for you like linking back to or sharing your content, why not engage with them beforehand?

Start with something small, such as simply asking them to check out your content and leave a comment with some feedback if they wish.

Or, before this step even begins, why not comment on their blog?

Why not share their article?

If you manage to speak to them on one platform or another before asking for a favour, you stand a better chance of getting something out of it at the end.

Building a rapport with people has led to me developing contacts (and genuine friends) on a scale that I never thought would be possible before – a benefit you wouldn’t typically think of when trying to achieve content amplification.

 

Tailor Your Email To The Recipient

I recently received a pitch (I hope he doesn’t mind me sharing it here as I know he’ll be reading) which had this as the introductory ‘customised’ paragraph:

“Hi Luke,

First of all, I like the way you write.”

Now I would almost certainly always ignore an email like this, because I know it’s gone to a chunk of people and no effort has gone into personalising it to me other than my name.

However, for a change, I decided to get in touch and told him bluntly what the situation was, and then shot him a few tips across for improving his outreach success rates – it was this email exchange that actually inspired this post.

I would honestly have preferred his initial email to have said something like:

Oi Luke,

First of all, I think you’re a sarcastic c*** and I really don’t understand what is going on with your weird, pale, melon head – also why do you have the hairline of a pensioner yet the beard of a six year old girl?

It might make me cry a little, but at least I’d know he was actually wanting to contact me and not a hundred other people that he’d fired a generic email to.

Let me point out:

I’m NOT one to advocate an in-depth brown nosing session to start off your email.

It used to be a common trend (and it still exists) to start an email with a generic lovey-dovey comment about how much you loved reading their blog and it is just SO fake when done the way most do. I prefer genuine compliments or general chit-chat about a person’s interests.

Here’s a tip that I love:

Simply following someone on social media a week before contact can go a long way to helping your success rate – allowing you to say something like “I’m glad to be in touch, I actually follow you on Twitter!” in your email.

 

Keep It Brief

Your email should be three or four paragraphs at most.

If you’ve found a big website that you want to email as you think their audience might like your content, chances are that fifty other people that day will also have wanted to email them.

Which ones stand out most?

The ones that aren’t a total ballache to read.

Be brief.

Be personal.

Be genuine.

Remember:

You’re emailing extremely busy people.

If they sat and responded to emails all day, they’d never get any of their own work done.

 

Include An Incentive

What’s in it for them?

A lot of people will be expecting something in return for helping you out.

That’s just the way of the world – you give, you take.

However, my priority is to never have to offer anything to people other than the value of my content and perhaps some of my time. Hey, I take pride in my content – you should too.

I’m usually also willing to share their content, if it’s awesome and if they ask.

I usually just roll with something like:

I’m sure it would be something your audience would love if you’d share it on social media.

What’s in it for them here?

They’d be keeping their audience happy, entertained and engaged.

Is this enough for people? You’d be surprised – most of the time, it actually is.

If you have a good rapport with someone, the incentive is much less of a deal breaker.

Great content can be enough to get the deal done*, but without the rapport/incentive you’re much more likely to be ignored.

*Unless you’re emailing a ‘mommy blogger’ who will always want money – meh, they’ve got nappies to buy after all. And no, I never hand over the cash. 

 

Lose The Sales Pitch

Businessmen giving a sales pitch

First of all, remember why you’re outreaching:

Have you forgotten already?

It’s because you want to achieve something.

You want to achieve a backlink out of it, you want to get a social share out of it, you want a review out of it…hell, you should know better than me for why you’re outreaching.

There’s no reason to oversell your content.

You’re not looking to convince them to hand over any money. All you want is a *little* bit of their time.

If you’re looking for feedback, there’s no need to tell someone how amazing your product is and how much they’ll love it – because it’s their opinion you’re after, not their approval.

If you know who you’re contacting, personalise it to them effectively, keep it brief and include an incentive – this is genuinely more than enough to get them to at least view your content. The sales pitch tends to have a negative effect; it’s not a press release you’re sending.

After they’ve viewed it, I guess it comes down to how much you can walk the walk (after talking the talk in your email) and how good a day the recipient is having.

 

Follow Up Within A Week

You should always follow up to an outreach pitch if you don’t get a response.

I like to wait a week, but anywhere between 2-7 days can be appropriate.

Keep your follow up EVEN MORE BRIEF than before.

There’s a pretty high chance that they saw your original email and simply ignored it, so you don’t need to repeat the whole shebang.

A great tip is to put your subject line as ‘Re: [your previous subject line here]’.

This helps plant a psychological seed that they actually did reply to you in the first place, or at least makes them more aware that they’ve seen your name before, making them even more likely to open your email this time around.

 

Keep The Relationship Going

It’s really important to keep a relationship going over time – especially if you build that rapport that I spoke about previously.

Don’t make this seem harder or more long-winded than it really is; you don’t need to be emailing them every other week asking how they are and what they’ve been up to.

Some tips?

  • Sign up to their newsletter if they have one; be aware of what they’re working on at any given time
  • Comment on their articles every now and again
  • Follow them on social media and like/retweet/respond where appropriate
  • Link to their site in an article and drop them a line to let them know

Most big bloggers or editors out there don’t have time to respond to every email they receive or every comment they get.

However, if you stay in touch, they’ll tend to do the same.

On the other hand, I definitely do have time to respond to my comments, so please leave your thoughts below!

Do you have any outreach tips to add to this list?

What’s the worst email you ever received?

JOIN INTERGEEK'S ARMY OF LOYAL SUBSCRIBERS
Learn how to drive huge traffic to your site every single day.

If you want massive, targeted traffic from Google to make a killing online, I welcome you to join thousands of other loyal subscribers that learn from me for free.
No SPAM. No BS. Guaranteed.
About Luke Jordan
I craft posts to help you get more traffic - both through SEO & through the quality of your content. Founder of Intergeek, influencer of the future, idiot of the present. My Google+

23 Comments

  1. De ja vu, I feel like I’ve been here before…

    All right, so I’m back in the comments on this post with a pretty blunt question. How do you (“you” being you, Luke, or anyone following a strategy like this) have time to do all this AND produce content, AND do all the other sundry stuff that comes along with whatever particular end game “you” happen to be playing?

    • I’m fortunate that I can write content quicker than many others *blows loudly on my own trumpet* – last night I got 3308 words (to be precise) written between 6pm-10:30pm, whilst cooking and eating my dinner in the process.

      However, my main advice would be to remember that content is NOT the be all and end all. Making sure you have written one awesome guide and promoted it to the extreme is much more important than writing 10 awesome guides, emailing them to your subscribers each week and thinking your job is done.

      My ideal process is something like:

      – 7 hours: research, write and do images for blog post
      – Half an hour: create and schedule newsletter
      – 8 hours: prospect potential linkers/sharers
      – 10 hours: contact potential linkers/sharers

      That’s 25.5 hours, or 1.8 hours a day over a fortnight, or 3 hours a day with 5 and a half days off.

      Or, you could just do the first two on those list, and never make it big. 😉

      • lol, nice work on the writing n’ cooking multitasking 🙂

        Okay, so… say you’re a freelance who provides a specific skill/service, for which you’re hoping people will shower you in money. (We can dream.) For example, a freelance coder, WordPress designer, editor, writer, and so on. You need a fair bit of time available to actually do that coding, designing, editing, or writing work when people do hire you to do some of it for them. And of course that work comes in peaks and flows, so sometimes you’re swamped and sometimes you’re not (though ideally you want to be booked up, if at all possible).

        How do you fit everything in when clients are keeping you doing that sort of work?

        And when, say, you also can’t do extra hours on top of what you already do, for fear of exploding?

        (Am I making sense in this reply? Is it relevant? My brain is slush today. What *am* I listening to on Spotify?)

        • I don’t think the situation is any different whether you’re freelance or in any other line of work. I work 40 hours a week in a regular digital marketing role. Make it 45 including travel.

          This gives a freelance (assuming they work from home) 45 hours to do work in, and still have 112 hours free for additional work each week – that’s after subtracting a generous 8 hours a night for sleep.

          Personally I like to keep a good work/life balance, I make sure I use as much free time as I can to hit the gym, go out for food, go shopping, visit friends etc.

          By breaking time down and prioritising tasks using something like Todoist, you end up with more spare time than you think.

  2. Great post, Luke. I really didn’t know about BuzzStream and that might help very much in the future especially when it is also saving time. Great tips!

  3. Thanks for these tips! I think that it’s interesting to consider in what circumstances you are including somebody’s name in an email like this. In some cases I think it can be so obvious that the email is scripted and sent out impersonally, so I wonder in that case if it would be more genuine not to personalize the email?

  4. These are great tips! I think it is really important to include the name of the person you want to make contact with, it makes it more personal.

  5. Great post, some really cool tips for promoting content that I’d never thought of before!

  6. Hey Luke!

    I don’t know about your profile pic worries. Personally I’m more freaked out by the half-a-person on the right in the pic. I mean, is that person eating a cupcake or doing that thoughtful hand-to-mouth pose? And does he know you’re there, behind him?

    Seriously though, I have a quick question: in this post you mention that it’s easy to use an email template with Buzzstream, in which you can customise small things (e.g. names), but later on you make a big point about starting your email off with something personal to the person.

    If you’re using an email template, how are you thinking to personalise each email? Or is it as simple as sticking the template in, changing the first paragraph, then sending it off to people — and all done individually?

    • Hey Becca,

      I use a template which automatically pulls things like ‘Hey [First Name]’ and then I also usually have a paragraph that includes my reason for contacting, along with “Have a great day! Luke” or however I choose to end the email.

      Everything else I personalise, but it saves having to type that out hundreds/thousands of times!

      Glad to see you on the site 🙂

      Luke

  7. Hey Luke,

    Great post here, buddy.

    First off, ouch with that BBT thing. I double and triple check my emails like crazy when I’m sending it to an influencers or a big name or even just someone I want to connect with.

    I know I won’t get another chance to make an impression so I try to make the first one the best. But like you said, mistakes happen.

    Love your tip about building rapport. That’s what it’s all about. I’m trying to do that with a few influencers now that I’ve been connecting with for the past little while. I’ll see if it pays off down the road but you’re absolutely right when you said it’s a process.

    Great stuff here.

    – Andrew

    • Andrew, it still hurts! Fortunately I can see the funny side of things now and, as I emailed this post to Glen at BBT too, I think they see the funny side as well.

      First impressions are crucial which is exactly why I now do what you said – double, triple check each email before it’s sent. BuzzStream can save chunks of time but there always needs to be a human element to make sure nothing is wrong.

      Luke

  8. Say my name, say my name.

    Sorry.

    But seriously, including a person’s name in an email is REQUIRED. Doling out some specifics in there is also pretty damn important. It’s what separates you from the SpamBots!

    • “Whitney.”

      “You’re goddamn right.”

      Heh, fitting – it works as a reply to your comment on its own. Don’t be a robot people!

  9. Totally off topic, Luke, but what theme do you use for your website? I’m working on a website and I’ve been browsing all the websites I read regularly and yours stands out as one of my favorites.

    • I use MH Purity that I’ve customised a bit. Not a massive fan but it’s clean and fast, can’t ask for too much more I guess.

  10. I learned the hard way {uh, that’s pretty much the only way I learn} how not to be a salesy, marketing robot doucheasaurus in my outreach. THANK GOD, for those mistakes. Now I bask in being a sassy, sarcastic crazy chick…and weirdly it’s usually accepted rather well. There’s always going to be the occasional {at least} response that tears you a new one for having the nerve to email them, but those actually entertain the shit outta me. Outreach and building relationships always what success comes right back to. It’s where everything boils down. Nail that and we’re on the right road.

    I really need to dive into your BuzzStream strategy…I just need another 4 days in my week. I know, excuses, excuses. Ass kicking coming my way I’m sure!

    • Sort your SHIT out Dre!

      Just kidding, but why not just try setting an hour aside for contacting people? Spend 30-40 mins making a list in BuzzStream and 20-30 mins contacting them. Make it people you’ve not spoken to before.

      You won’t get many added to a list in this time – but at least it’s better than nothing – build those links yo!

      Heh, the mardy responses always crack me up, normally “YOU WANT ME TO PROMOTE YOUR CONTENT, FOR FREE?!” Oh shut up.

      Or the people that go “I KNOW YOU’RE JUST DOING THIS FOR SEO AND I REFUSE TO HELP YOU DO THAT!” Okay, fine, I genuinely thought my content would help entertain your audience, but that’s fine, another site can have it!

  11. Great info, Luke! I follow all these points and recommend them to my clients. I’ll now refer them to this article.

    Sue

  12. Great post, Luke. I made a similar mistake this week when doing some outreach. I don’t have Buzzstream yet, so I was copying and pasting my email, and I had “Hi, NAME” at the top. For one particular site, I hit “send” before replacing “NAME” with the person’s first name. You’re right. I felt like a tool.

    I’m so getting Buzzstream, now. I had no idea it could do all that.

    Great post. I’m off to share it on Twitter now.

    • Right on, Randy!

      I hate to feel like I’m pitching BuzzStream to people when all I’m actually trying to do is help them out. It’s the single greatest tool I use out there, by a long way. Loads of tools are useful, but very few are essential.

      Good luck using it!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


*