I am a pretty prolific writer online. My work has ended up on dozens of sites over the years, including some big names. On the other hand, I have also had some incredible, influential bloggers writing for my site, or participating in other content I have created.
With both side of the coin, I can attest to how beneficial this can be. It is a practical boon for any website to have a well known influencer writing a post, even if it is just an occasional guest post. Just one contribution from the right writer can be a serious boost for traffic and link bait for social media to boot (the good kind, not the shady kind).
So how do you get one of these writers for your own site? It isn't nearly as hard as most people believe and definitely worth the effort.
Narrow Down Your Choices... Intelligently
Having a list of bloggers to approach is your first and most obvious step. Unfortunately so many people botch this part that it brings no results. Why? Because they go into a frenzy, trying to latch onto every blogger who has 100k+ visitors a month without any thought as to how to approach them, or even if they would be a good fit.
Make sure you are more selective with your targets. Find a few that really embody your brand or website tone. Don't just cast the net out to catch anyone you can. Remember that every post on your site is a chance to connect with your audience. Don't put out bad feelers!
Here are a few practical tips to help with this step:
- Social Outreach: The Perfect Complement To Search Marketing
- 5 Useful Tools for Twitter Bio Search: Smart Relationship Building
- Free Awesome Blogger Outreach Tools You’re Probably Not Using
- Social Media Tagging Cheatsheet: How to Tag Users on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram, Google Plus
Find a Unique Angle to Make Contact
Influential bloggers get dozens of pitches on a daily basis. You need to make sure your pitch isn't lost in a pile of emails. You need to stand out. Therefore take your time to find a unique angle to reach out for the first time, for example:
- Browse their blogs and find something that can be mentioned in the email to stand out. Is there a recent blog post on a new position, award or anniversary? Start your email by congratulating them!
- Fix something for them! Broken link building technique can be applied here too! Use a tool like Majestic to find a broken link and reach out to help them fix an error. No need to offer your link (it's not the purpose of this particular campaign) but offer a genuine feedback instead.
- Find a common connection and ask for the introduction. Personal connection goes a long a way! I usually run a company search on Linkedin to check if I happen to have a common connection in the company that particular influencer owns or works for.
- Monitor their site and reach out when you notice that have changed their design or About page. This will show them that you've been an attentive follower. I use Topvisor to monitor home pages of all influencers I plan to reach out to at some point.
Make Contact, But Have An Offer
Another mistake that can be made is not having a clear offer for the blogger when you contact them. Know what you can give:
- a set flat rate
- a minimum amount of visibility with traffic possibilities thanks to a linked byline
- a chance to advertise their site or product, etc.
Having a policy already in effect for influencer collaboration can be helpful here.
Mind that different influencers will be fall for different incentives. Some will prefer free exposure to their projects, others will ask for a cash reimbursement.
Don't use cookie-cutter offers: Be flexible. Use tools to organize that campaign to track what worked for who and which tactic turned out to be most successful
Try Other Media First
Maybe guest posts aren't the way to go right away. Perhaps you should start out a different way and try to build a relationship that could potentially lead to guest posts later. When dealing with influencers you need to get creative, after all... they have plenty of other offers.
Some ideas include:
- Asking them to take part in a section of a webinar to help others learn from them.
- Recording an interview using a video calling program, to post later on YouTube.
- Sending them a couple questions and using them to expand in a blog post you write yourself.
- Requesting that they be a guest on your podcast.
- Hold a Twitter chat with them as a special guest.
You are only limited by your imagination, so go crazy! After you have built up a connection with them they may be much more willing to put in the work of a blog post on your site. They don't just want to give that to anyone, after all!
Begin Socially Connecting
The simplest way to get a hold of influencers is to put yourself on their radar through social media. Twitter and Facebook have traditionally been the big two for this task. But Instagram, Tumblr and even Reddit are becoming big platforms for influencers these days, where they are a bit more casual in their interactions.
It may take some time before you build up a repertoire, but keep at it! Once they recognize you and have been interacting with you for some time it will be easier to make a business connection with them. You may even want to try commenting regularly on their blog, offering something of value to themselves and their readers. Which has the added bonus of subtly attracting the attention of their readers.
Gather Content For Collaborative Posts
This is personally one of my favorite ways to get guest posts without really getting guest posts. I will put together a list of influencers and experts in my niche and contact them with a single question that can be answered via email or social media.
Once I have a good list of responses I gather them all into a single post. I call it an expert interview or a group interview, giving credit to each of the contributors complete with a link to their site. These experts love this as it gives them a solid backlink and visibility, helps establish them as experts and all for very little work.
Quite often I will be able to use these roundup posts and the attention their bring to influencers to convince them to write a full guest post or contribute to some kind of digital content I am creating. Plus, they end up often asking me for my own expertise so the benefits come full circle.
Use Promotion to Develop Relationships
Your influencer collaboration doesn't stop once your piece or your contest is live. Ideally, you want to keep in touch with them to be able to have them contribute to your future content or participate in your other contests. Use your content promotion routine to remind your participating influencers of your brand again and again.
- Incorporate influencers' branding into your social media visuals any time you promote the piece
- Tag those influencers whenever you share your article and encourage your readers to do the same by incorporating tweetable and visual quotes
- Use influencers' quotes and personal branding throughout your site (with their permission, of course). Look how Neil Patel used influencer-driven visuals for his site banners, for example:
These visuals are really effective and very easy to put together: You can use simple tools like Overgram or Bannersnack banner generator to put together professionally-looking images that incorporate influencers' branding:
Influencers: Your Site's Secret Weapon!
I can't tell you how much I have gained from asking influencers to write for my site, or from writing for theirs myself. It is a fantastic way to help one another build a more solid audience, all from an existing pool of interested parties who you know will enjoy the content we provide.
Have a tip on landing a great blogger? Let us know in the comments!
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* Adapted lead image: Public Domain, pixabay.com via getstencil.com