From an SEO context, blogger outreach is the process of reaching out to key influencers in order to acquire high quality links from other websites to your own.
“There are many techniques for building links, and while they vary in difficulty, SEOs tend to agree that link building is one of the hardest parts of their jobs. Many SEOs spend the majority of their time trying to do it well. For that reason, if you can master the art of building high-quality links, it can truly put you ahead of both other SEOs and your competition.”
The Importance of link building
Firstly, let’s go further in depth with the importance of link building in SEO. Search engines primarily use links to discover new web pages and to help determine page rankings in their search results. The more high-quality external websites link back to you, the more likely it will be that you will rank well in search results.
Links from high quality, relevant websites can also lead to an increase in traffic to your website and can help establish your brand as an authority within your niche.
Why should you be doing outreach?
Now that we know why link building in itself is important for SEO, the next question is: where does outreach fit in with all of this?
Outreach is arguably the most important part of the link building process. Publishing a quality piece of content and sharing it socially will do very little to build links without doing proper outreach. While search engines do evaluate the quality of your content, you still need links to rank well in results. As well as gaining links, another goal associated with outreach is building long-term relationships with key influencers in your industry and increasing your authority.
Your blogger outreach strategy
Just hopping on your computer and sending out emails without an outreach strategy is a waste of time, energy, and will most likely leave you fuming in frustration. For this reason, there are steps you need to take in order to increase your chances of success. As long as you have some high quality content ready to go, here’s what you need to do:
1. Building your outreach list
The main question you need to ask yourself is: who will be interested in what I’ve written?
Go for a meaningful blog, with themes that fit in with yours. If you are an SEO blog, there is no point in outreaching to a blog about shoes and expecting them to link back. Ensure you know what kind of blogs you’re outreaching to so you are assured that your content will actually interest them.
In outreach, you want to acquire links from strong blogs. These are blogs which already have a decent authority and number of links pointing back at them.
It doesn’t always have to be a key consideration, however in some cases, you might have to consider whether geography matters. For example if a blog is aimed at an audience in a specific geographical location. You might also want to consider how trustworthy the blog is. After all, you don’t want to outreach to a low-quality blog full of spam links.
2. Structure the email
The key to outreach is thinking about reciprocity — do something nice for them and preferably, they’ll return the favour. With this in mind, you need to ensure that your emails are worth their time!
Leave some room for trial and error, however you can use the following email guidelines as a starting point:
- Keep it short and sweet: Bloggers are super busy people and they’re not going to read a lengthy email that takes an entire paragraph to get the point across. So keep the email short, simple and refrain from adding any unnecessary information. Think of the elevator pitch – the idea in which you should be able to pitch a full idea to someone in an elevator, which could be as little as a few seconds.
- Your email tone: The main rule is to keep the tone of your emails pleasant, as you will often have some leeway with being casual or professional depending on the blogger. Don’t forget to be as engaging as possible! Bloggers read a large number of emails in a day, so the last thing you want is to fail to capture their attention.
- Personalisation: Because you are pitching to different people, every email should be different, even if this means just a few changes. It is imperative during your outreach process that your emails don’t look like a template.
So what does a generic email look like? Here is an example of one featured in Ahrefs’ blog:
You can see how a blogger would immediately see this and think “template”, with their mouse going straight to the delete button.
You can weigh up how much personalisation you need depending on how important the influencer is. For more important ones you want to write fully customised emails, however for the less important you’re fine to use a template-style email. Don’t just copy and paste it over and over again though, you still have to make sure that you are changing them up to suit each influencer.
- The subject line: The subject line is also a big factor in the success of your emails. You never want them to look cheesy or generic. Just having their first name in the subject won’t be enough to save your email from looking generic. You need to ensure that your subject line is worthy of attention.
- Keep it open-ended: When sending an email, you don’t want the conversation to end there. Instead, you want to work for form and maintain relationships. You can do this by promoting a reply through implementing a call-to-action. This can be done by asking for things such as feedback or comments.
3. Your outreach options
So now that you know how to structure your email, what are your outreach options? There are so many different options out there, but here are a few simple ones just to get you started:
- Let bloggers know you’ve mentioned them in an article: A good starting point for outreach is having a look through blogs you have mentioned/linked to in your content. Shoot them a quick email to let bloggers know you have mentioned them and ask if they would be interested in sharing your article or linking back.
- Offer to write a guest post: Another great way to build links and relationships is by collaboration. You can do this by pitching a blog post which they will publish on their site. Not only are you sharing your expertise, but you are also helping them out by providing quality content.
- Pitch an improved version of one of their articles: Have a look at your content and the content on other blogs. You can pitch an improved version of their blog post, or alternatively create an updated version, while linking back to the original post.
- Replace a broken link with your content: If you find a broken link within a blog post, report it to the blogger, and suggest replacing it with a link to your content on the same topic. By alerting them of a broken link and providing them with quality material, it is actually beneficial for both parties.
4. Following up
The last step is following up the emails you sent out. A good rule-of-thumb is to wait around two days before deciding to follow up (unless it’s over Christmas or any other holiday, so be aware of timing). Remember that you don’t want to appear naggy or desperate, so if you follow up and still get no response, then just assume they aren’t interested. To help generate a response, it might even help to create a sense of urgency, stating that your deadline is approaching.
5. Don’t give up too easily
Remember that link building through outreach is by no means an easy process. It takes a lot of experimentation, and a lot of drawbacks, however in the long run you will surely reap the rewards of all your hard work!