I cringe every time a blogger says "content is king". I don't think content has ever been king because the cliche implies that content trumps all and we all know that just isn't true. Content alone does not drive traffic to a new blog. In fact, great content is only self-sustaining when you already have a strong backlink profile, thousands of readers a day, and a strong social media following.
Nowadays, amazing content is simply a prerequisite; it gets you in the door and facilitates your marketing strategy. If you aren't an absolute authority or the current owner of HuffPost, you need a killer outreach campaign to earn links and grow traffic. Here's how!
Choosing Content to Promote
Now before you email every blogger asking for links to your landing pages, you need to know that certain types of content will significantly increase your success rate.
First, don't try to market an overtly commercial page. Call it self-interest, but bloggers in your niche are not interested in helping you make more money by linking to reviews for affiliate products/services or pages loaded with ads.
When developing content that will be at the heart of your outreach campaign, you need to build something immensely useful, informative, and beautiful. Bloggers like to share intelligent, insightful content because it reaffirms their status as an authority. It's like a manager who takes pride in hiring a particularly talented employee because he was able to "recognize" the talent and skills before anyone else.
Moreover, "beautiful" content incorporates imagery, color, and appealing structure. This is the reason infographics have been and continue to be excellent link bait. Plus, infographics make it easier to approach bloggers because there is a tangible exchange a link for valuable, quality content.
Ultimately, choosing the right type of content as the foundation of your outreach campaign can improve your rate of success in placing links and building a blog.
How To Find Potential Outreach Opportunities
Finding potential blogs interested in linking to your content should be the easiest step of the process because there is already a company out there whose sole job is to return relevant blogs and websites on specific topics.
Start by taking a phrase related to the content you are promoting, and search Google. When search for websites worth approaching, consider how big the publication is and skip through the Entrepreneur, Inc., and Forbes listings. Afterwards, open the next 200 blogs in separate tabs (Right Click and "Open Link in New Tab").
(For more on how to build outreach lists, click here)
Evaluating Your Prospects
As you start the process, you will start to quickly get a feel for the types of websites you have the highest chances of hearing back from. Solo bloggers offer you high conversion rates, while large sites with staff writers won't give you a link generally without a contribution.
You will need to open 3 important pages:
- "About Us",
- "Contact Us",
- "Contribute", "Guest Post", or "Contributor Guidelines" page, if available.
The significance of the "About Us" page is that you will be able to customize your email pitch with the blogger's name. I get about a dozen email pitches a day and I delete any of them if they didn't spend five seconds to find my name on my "About Us" page. Furthermore, it gives you a chance to learn a little more about the blogger, possibly a tidbit of information that you can bond over and at the minimum, doesn't make you a spammer who is copying and pasting the same message to hundreds of blogs.
The "Contact Us" page is essential for obvious reasons, but it also gives you a chance to read whether this blogger is expressly asking others not to contact him/her for guest posts. If a blogger has banned guest posts, then your chances of getting a link are slim to none and you should just close the tab and move on.
Finally, the "Contribute" page gives you an idea of how strict a blogger is. If the guidelines require you to jump through many hoops or that all outbound links will be marked "nofollow", then skip that website too.
How To Pitch Bloggers
While you have dozens of blogs open in one browser, you should have a separate browser open with your email, preferably Gmail. Your template email may look like this proven one:
Hi [Blogger's Name],
My name is [Your Name] and I am the editor of [Your URL].
I found your site while looking for [Search Related to Your Resource]. You even have a great post [Another Niche-Related Post Description].
I've actually developed a great [Type of Resource i.e. Infographic, eBook, etc.] on the subject of [Broad Overview of Resource] that I think would be relevant to your audience. In it, I [Describe a Compelling/Unique Part of Your Resource].
You can find it here: [Insert Resource URL].
If you'd be interested in sharing my resource with your readers, I'd be happy to send over a unique intro to go along with it!
The reason this email pitch is so effective is because:
- it starts off mentioning something specific about their site, demonstrating you took a few minutes to look around
- it's short and to the point, and will not intimidate a blogger into dealing with it later
- shows the relationship between an existing post they have and the resource you are pitching, so it's a natural, easy choice for the blogger to accept
If you do not have an eBook or infographic to pitch, then this same process and approach can be leveraged for finding guest posting opportunities.
You can even tweak the pitch to suggest that the blogger may want to link to your newly published content as an addendum or additional resource to their older, possibly outdated post. While not all bloggers are willing to give you something for nothing, some are helpful enough to include your link at the end of an existing post.
If you treat your blog like a business with a product or service, you'll realize that marketing your blog as you continue to "manufacture" your content is critical to growth and a well-executed outreach campaign is your first step. Take the proven steps of the guide above and apply them to your niche, and enjoy the amazing results!