November 16th, 2016
Quality content marketing is one of the best strategies for increasing your company’s exposure and building up your website’s authority. Writing and sharing guest posts on widely-read blog and influencer sites, in addition to your own blog, is a great way to increase exposure to an established audience and build your own. Many marketers, however, love writing but cringe at the thought of outreach. That’s why we’ve put together a list of outreach tips and techniques for beginners to overcome shyness and start outreaching with blog content.
One of the main concerns with outreach is putting yourself out there by asking for something. While this is a reasonable concern, remember that everyone had to start somewhere. Today’s most popular bloggers didn’t start off with thousands of readers; they had to build their audience and reputations just like you.
When you’re first starting out with your blog or content strategy, nobody knows you or your business. Why should people listen to what you have to say? What gives you the authority? Build your guest posting strategy around the unique knowledge your CEO and other executives have about your industry and business. Blogs can cover news themselves – what you have to offer is your business’s unique perspective and expertise. Develop your guest posts to focus on that offering of thought leadership and original thought, and veer away from summarizing industry news or generic topics.
Though you can take the route of building your audience from scratch, the truth is this could take a long time. Guest posts give you both needed and quality exposure. The established blog already has an audience, and the blog’s audience will then be more likely to trust your information since it’s coming from a source they already know.
If you know of a few bloggers you’d like to connect with, start off by showing your interest in what they have to say. Leave a meaningful comment on their latest blog post. Follow their Twitter account and engage with likes, mentions and retweets. When it’s time for direct outreach, these actions show you’re not just reaching out for your own benefit; you’re interested in what they have to say as well.
There’s one other crucial benefit to engagement: research! When reaching out to a blog, you should know as much as possible about their website. Understand who the blog’s audience is and the type and frequency of content they’re posting. Editors will ignore your email if they see your message doesn’t show a clear understanding of their blog or their audience. Make sure that the topics you propose are original and have not been covered before by the blog – no one wants to post two similar articles about the same topic.
When sending emails to editors, make sure that they are each personalized. Put yourself in the contact’s shoes: what type of message would they want to reply to? Mention their name in the greeting. Remember that these people are likely receiving hundreds of emails and only have so much time to go through them. Brief emails with substance do so much better than drawn-out emails only ending with the same request. It is an added bonus if your CEO or executive has contributed articles in the past or wrote something for your blog; be sure to include some samples of previously published work.
Your brief email must also present your pitched topic in a way that catches an editor’s attention. You should weave industry insights into your message and present a unique angle on your topic. Again, consider the recipient’s point of view: wouldn’t you give extra consideration from someone who clearly did their homework?
If you haven’t heard back from a contact, continue following up on an email until you hear a flat-out “no.” Even after you’ve heard no for a specific pitch, you should continue to engage with editors. “No” might mean “not right now,” or “this topic won’t work.” Keep pitching new topics and focus on the unique perspective you bring to differentiate yourself from the hundreds of other pitchers.
Even for the most experienced of us, outreach is an artform that needs to be learned. Building and maintaining meaningful relationships is key; bloggers and influencers can sense any lack of authenticity a mile away. Stay focused, dedicated and always speak to your experience; it’s the best road to success.
Author Bio: Amber Whiteside is the Media Relations Manager at Main Path Marketing. Amber grew up using Myspace and Xanga, which soon led to her passion for following social media trends and a love affair with writing. Amber went on to receive a BA in journalism with an emphasis in public relations from California State University, Chico. If she is not at home playing with her black cat Robb, she is typically out at a local music venue enjoying the sounds of one of her favorite indie bands.
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