Blogger Outreach: A Killer Guide

bloggingIf you spend more time building relationships with other relevant bloggers you will get more traffic, shares, sales and much more!

If you just write content and hope people will come you’re in for a surprise!

In this detailed article we look at the blogging outreach process and go through a selection of tools that can help.

What is Blogger Outreach?

Blogger outreach is mainly about building relationships.  It’s reaching out to other bloggers to find out how you can help each other.

Blogger outreach can be done online or you might meet bloggers in other ways such as attending conferences.

Of course you may reach out to sites where you’ve no intention of building a relationship and you just want a link to your content.  This is still useful if you provide really good content.  People will link to great content and they want to know about it!  But your success really depends on your approach!

 

A selection of great bloggers

A selection of cool bloggers

 

When I outreach what do you want?

There are many different reasons you may do blogger outreach.  Here is an example:

a). Guest Post – You see that they allow guest posts on their site so you reach out to offer a guest post.

b). Sponsored Posts – You want them to write a post about your product or service for a fee.

c). Build a relationship – You reach out to build a relationship and you have no short term agenda.  The longer term agenda is that you will get to know the person and then end up helping each other, sharing each others content, etc.

d). Invitation – You may reach out to influential bloggers to guest post on your blog, appear on your podcast or webinar or just contribute to an article.

e). Generate awareness of your content – If you provide good content relevant to the bloggers audience they may be interested in reading, sharing or linking to your content.

The Free Approach to Blogger Outreach

We have outlined some tools later on in this post which are useful for blogger outreach but there is a cost involved.  There’s also a free option but it’s more time consuming and is a manual process.  So here’s the manual process:

1. Find People for your list

Install the Moz toolbar on your browser.  When you are perform a search you will see the domain and page rank for any sites you come across.   The domain rank specifies how important the website is with a rating from 0 to 100.  The higher the number the more important it is.    The page rank is a similar ranking but just based on the actual page you see in the search results.

Perform a search on Google based on the important keywords for your business.  What appears in the top results are sites that Google thinks are the most important for those keywords.  These are the ones that you want to start reaching out to.

 

Moz Authority

The Moz toolbar will show you the domain and page rank for sites

 

Starting noting the sites in an Excel spreadsheet.  Keep a note of the website, domain rank, when you reached out, why you reached out, response, and anything else you can think of.

2.  Doing the outreach

Create a series of templates, write out your emails and if your email client supports this then create templates that you can re-use. This saves a lot of time.  On Gmail there is an add on called ‘Canned Responses’.  When you set this up you can create a series of templates you can select from when you write an email.

To set this up select the ‘settings’ option (top right) and then select labs.

Gmail Canned Responses

With this plugin you can save your email templates to re-use again

 

Spend some time on each person you are emailing out to. Make sure you make the email personal, relevant, short and make sure you show that you have put some effort in. Record your results in your spreadsheet!

NOTE:  I do not recommend that you blast out the same email to everyone.  A personal email is important but sometimes you have a paragraph or two that is the same for every email and that’s why a template is useful (e.g. details about your company).

The above process will work.  It will take you a lot of time but you will make progress.

What are the tools that can help?

There are a wide variety of Blogger Outreach tools.  For this article we’ve picked 3 that offer different types of functionality and different pricing.  By going through the 3 tools below this will also help you understand the process.

1.  InkyBee – Blogger Discovery and Campaign Management at an affordable price

Inkybee is a very affordable blogger outreach tools with a starting price of $19 per month.  The main features it provides are:

  • Blog search based on a database of 800k blogs – You can set up searches or add a ‘discovery job’ which automatically finds the latest and most relevant blogs.
  • Campaign Management – You can create a campaign and track your outreach process through the campaign. Once you add the relevant blogs to the list as you interact with the blog you can add your interactions to their profile on Inkybee (e.g. followed them on Twitter).
  • Google Analytics integration –  Through integration with Google Analytics you can monitor traffic back from the blogs you are targeting.

How does it work?

When you want to reach out to bloggers you need to create a list based on keywords you define.  You can set up a discovery job which searches for new blogs matching your criteria on an ongoing basis or just run a search.

For the search you use you can search through blogs for mentions of particular keywords, for posts that are ‘tagged’ with keywords or just search for blogs that are focused on a particular topic (e.g. the title of the blog has the keywords).

Here is an example of results returned when you run a search like this.

 

Inky Bee Search

The results based on a keyword research

 

When the results are displayed you can do the following:

  • Filter the results based on the ‘Domain rank’.  This is a proprietary ranking system developed by a company called ‘Moz’ and it’s a good gauge of how important the blog is.  The rank is from 0 to 100 and the higher the number the better.
  • Filter based on the last blog post – If this blog has not posted for months it may not be as relevant as a blog that has posted recently.
  • Add to list – If you think the blog is an ideal candidate for your outreach process you can add it to a list.

When you view your full list you can view and filter on a lot more detail.  Here’s an example of another list based on the search ‘social media tools’.

 

Inkybee Detailed list

A lot of great detail provided on each blog and you can sort based on any column

 

When you have your final list of blogs this forms the basis of your campaign.  The campaign summary shows you the list of blogs with the overall campaign stats.

 

Campaign Monitoring

Based on your targeted list you can manually track your interactions and automatically track traffic to your site

 

For each of the blogs on your list you can track interactions with the blog.  For example if you mentioned a blogger in a tweet you can add this on to the campaign.

 

Inkybee Relationship Status

You can manually track your interactions with the blogs

 

The campaign can also be linked to your Google Analytics account so Inkybee will start to track if you get any traffic to your site from the blogs in question.

Summary

Inkybee is a very affordable blogger outreach tool. Ideally it would have a much bigger database of blogs and more options related to campaign tracking but the database is expanding and there are plans for more campaign tracking functionality.

 

2. Group High – Extensive Content Discovery Engine based on 13 million blogs

Group High outreach marketing software has an extensive discovery engine which consists of 13 million blogs and can be used to automate research and track engagement.

  • Extensive discovery engine – Group High has an extensive, ever growing database, of 13 million blogs.
  • Significant detail picked up on each blog – When it retrieves blogs it retrieves an impressive amount of detail on a lot of the blogs (e.g. Twitter details, Facebook page, link to contact form, contact page, recent posts, etc).
  • Crowdsourcing of contacting information – Over 60k contacts are updated monthly by users of the system and everyone gets access to this.  This means you get a lot of accurate up to date information.
  • Activity management – ability to track activities on each of the blogs you track.
  • Keyword monitoring so you can monitor mentions of keywords in any blogs
  • Enter in a URL where you have been mentioned and Group High will track comments, shares, likes, etc.

 

How does it work?

1. Set up your list and/or group

In Group High you create a list and this is where you add relevant blogs.  You can also have a group and have many lists within the group.  For example, if I wanted to track social media tools I might have a group ‘social media tools’ and have a list for ‘social media management tools’, ‘social media monitoring tools’, etc.

2. Find blogs to add to the list

When I have the list set up I perform a search on the blogs.  Here is a sample of the results returned based on social media tools.

 

Grouphigh List

Perform a search to find the most relevant blogs

 

  1. Over 10,000 blogs were returned but out of them 36 blogs were identified as ones that focus a lot on social media tools.
  2. If you want to add items to a list you click the ‘star’
  3. Social media profile details are returned
  4. The latest blog post titles are retrieved

3.  Research your list

When you ‘star’ items, which adds them to the list,  Group High will retrieve more detail on the blog and display this.  You can do a lot of filtering based on the list and you can also view a record for each individual item on the list.

Here is a selection the columns you can add/remove to your list:

  • Blog Information – Most commented topics, frequency of posting
  • Traffic Stats – Alexa rank, Unique visitors (retrieved from compete.com)
  • Social Network stats – Klout score, Facebook Fans, Twitter ID
  • SEO Status – Domain rank, inbound links
  • Tactics – Giveaways, contests (this shows the blogs that use these tactics)
  • Outreach – last activity, outreach stage

The full list is very impressive and extremely useful.  When you open up an individual record this is the type of information you see:

 

GroupHigh Individual Record

View details and track interactions with each contact

 

4. Performing the outreach

Group High does not have any facilities for email templates and for performing the outreach directly within the tool.  You can, however, track and monitor the activity of the outreach.   You can also view the activity stage.

Group High Monitoring

You can set up ongoing monitoring to track any blogs in your list that mention specific keywords.  This is useful to keep track of any new mentions that might be very relevant to your business.

 

Grouphigh Monitoring

Set up the keywords you want to track, keywords you don’t want to track etc.

 

Grouphigh Tracking

If you get mentioned in any blog posts and you want to track engagement on that blog post you can set this up in Group High.  It will track how many comments you get, Facebook updates, Twitter updates, etc.

Summary

Group High has a very extensive database and retrieves some very detailed information on the blogs.  The filtering available for the results is extremely useful.  Their campaign management is very basic but the strength of the discovery engine makes this a very compelling option.

I think it’s very smart that they crowdsource some of the content.  Their user base adds in various details for blogs that they monitor and this information is shared amongst all their users.  This is something that should be adopted by all blogger outreach tools.  You will never get a complete database so crowdsourcing will help!

 

3. BuzzStream – Blogger outreach management

Buzzstream has 2 parts to the product, an influencer outreach package and a link building package.  For this review we are focused on the link building.  What’s interesting is that the old world of SEO link building was very much a shady practice.  But now link building is all about relationships and more authentic blogger outreach.

Buzzstream does not have a database of blogs.  Although there is ‘Link Prospecting’ functionality to discover blogs, most of the functionality is based around the management of the outreach campaigns.

Buzzstream‘s main features are as follows:

  • Link Prospecting – Searching through Google based on Google search operators to identify relevant blogs to reach out to. So instead of their own discovery engine they are using Google for finding prospects.
  • Full outreach management – You can create email templates for outreach, send and track all communication through Buzzstream.
  • Link Monitoring – Once you get a link from an external website Buzzstream will monitor it in case it is ever removed.
  • Automatic tracking of communication – If you set up the Twitter/email address (or it’s automatically retrieved) Buzzstream will track any @mentions or direct messages on Twitter or email communications, and add this to your profile.
  • Quick addition of websites – You can add a button to your browser’s toolbar so when you find a site you want to track you just click on this button and it will automatically retrieve information about the site and create a profile in Buzzstream.
  • Social Media Search – Ability to search through blogs, Twitter, etc, to find possible websites to add to your database.
  • Task Management – assign to team members.

 How does it work?

1. Define your groups

This is an optional step but you may want to group your blogger outreach programmes.   If you do outreach for multiple clients you may want to separate the programmes for each client.  In my case we were testing with one client but we created groups based on the type of outreach we were performing.  The groups were as follows:

  • Competitor Links – Websites that were linking to competitors that we wanted to get links from
  • Blog Post Link Outreach – For any blog post we write we reach out to relevant people
  • Link Roundup – To reach out to bloggers that do weekly roundup posts (e.g. top 5 posts for x)
  • Broken Links – Reaching out to bloggers that have broken links to help build a relationship with them.

2. Build your list

You have 3 main options to build your target list:

  • Import your list – You can use another tool for discovering your list of prospects
  • Add manually – You can add items within Buzzstream or add items using the browser plugin.  Using the plugin you click a button and Buzzstream will get as much information off the site as possible.  You can then update relevant information and save.
  • Search using Link Prospecting –  Whatever search you run on Google you can run within Buzzstream.  The only difference is that Buzzstream produces a nice list with very useful information relevant to blogger outreach.  Based on the results you can remove inappropriate items and keep ones that are useful.

For examples:  If I type in intitle:”social media monitoring” this produces a list (similar to the following) of blogs that have ‘social media monitoring’ in their page title.

 

Buzzstream Link Prospecting

Very useful list produced for you to remove the inappropriate items

 

3. Build your email templates

When you perform blogger outreach it’s likely that you’ll resend a lot of similar emails.  To make this process less painful you should create some email templates in Buzzstream.

When you first select the option to create an email template Buzzstream will let you connect to your email of choice.  This is really helpful because once you connect Buzzstream will track email correspondence with any contacts in your database even if you send the email from your normal client.

 

BuzzStream email template

Build a selection of email templates that you are likely to use.

4.  Start your outreach

Select the website/person you want to outreach to and select email. Now select the template, update the content and send.

 

BuzzStream Send email

Pick off the relevant template and update.

 

5. Monitor and update progress

If you get agreement for the link you can add details of where the link comes from, where it links to, anchor text, etc, into BuzzStream.  Buzzstream will then monitor this link to make sure it doesn’t disappear.

 

BuzzStream Adding Link

You add details of the link

 

Summary

BuzzStream is a really great tool for managing the blogger outreach process.  It doesn’t have a full discovery engine but the link prospecting module is very useful.  If you are going to do a lot of blogger outreach this is a very effective tool for managing it.

 

Final Comments

If you are producing content it’s really important to have a blogger outreach program in place.    It’s not enough just to write your content you need to get out there and promote it.

You can do a direct approach and use the blogger outreach tools or go indirectly and find people on social media channels like Twitter using tools such as Twtrland.

I have outlined some tools and some useful practices to go directly to the bloggers.  Will you use the tools above?  What is your outreach process?

I really hope this guide is very useful to you.

 

  • http://www.mittray.com Mitt Ray

    Thank you for writing this amazing post Ian. They all seem like great tools. I really want to try out Group High.

    Cheers

    Mitt

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Thank you Mitt. Group High is pretty cool. Ian

  • http://socialnotz.com/ Kimberly Reynolds

    Ian – all of your content is amazing and incredibly useful, which is why you are one of the very few people I have on an automatic feed to share as soon as you publish this article. This post takes it to a whole new level. I can’t thank you enough for outlining your process. I know you are one of the best at outreach and now I have an idea of how you do it. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    After meeting you in April at Social Media Marketing World, I predicted that you would be the one to watch over the next year. From what I see, I was spot on. I’m so proud of you!

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Hey Kim, thank you so much for your wonderful comment. It’s been an absolute pleasure to get to know you and I’m honored that you think my content is good enough to automatically share.

      Delighted you like the post. You are certainly one to watch also!! I’ll be looking forward to hearing you speak at a conference soon!

      Ian

  • Katherine Kotaw

    Thank you, Ian,, for sharing these tools — and for explaining each in such detail. Your generosity is refreshing and, happily, rewarded as well.

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Hey Katherine, thank you so much for your feedback! Ian

  • venkyiyer58

    Thanks, again. Two of these three tools are new to me.

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Great, glad it’s useful to you! Ian

  • http://malharbarai.com/ Malhar Barai

    I liked the way you use Inkybee and BuzzStream sounds like are pretty advanced version of MyBlogGuest.

    Thanks for sharing Ian!

  • http://www.sierratierra.com/ Lisa Kalner Williams

    Great roundup, Ian. I just looked at Buzzfeed and its price point is pretty decent. Group High, however, didn’t list prices. Is it one of those “If you have to ask, it’s too expensive” type services?

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Hey Lisa, thanks for the feedback. Grouphigh is $7,500 per year.

  • http://about.me/kirsten.lambertsen Kirsten Lambertsen

    This is indeed a *killer* guide. Thank you for a truly informative and useful post. I haven’t used any of these yet, and it looks like it’s time to try Group High.

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Hi Kirsten, thank you, glad it was useful!

    • Marcos Martinez

      Hey Kirsten, Here’s my email: mmartinez@grouphigh.com – Happy to show you around if you’d like! Thanks again Ian!

  • Joan Stewart

    Inkybee is great for finding bloggers you don’t know about. They offer a free 30-day trial.

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Thanks Joan!

  • http://blog.forthmetrics.com/ Hugh Anderson

    Hi Ian, just a personal thank you for including Inkybee in this great post. Inkybee is the youngest of the 3 tools – it’s been out of beta for less than 6 months – so we’re working on lots more cool stuff. If anyone wants a personal run-through of it, just ping me on Twitter, @hughforth . Thanks again. I hope you are enjoying Content Marketing World. Next time around I’ll buy you a beer there :)

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Hey Hugh, you’re welcome! Looking forward to tracking Inkybee as it grows. I’m sure we’ll have a beer soon!

  • http://ideagirlmedia.com/ Keri at Idea Girl Media

    Ian,

    Really good, solid guide for those looking to know more about blogger outreach!

    A few cool things I learned – Thank you.

    Thanks also for including me in the main image. :)

    ~Keri

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Hey Keri, delighted to include you as you’re fab!!! Thank you so much for your lovely feedback, really appreciated. Ian

  • http://jbdcolley.com John Colley

    Great post Ian. Real food for thought. Enjoyed your recent podcast appearance on Social Media Marketing with Mike. Have to get you on my podcast sooner rather than later !! Best regards. John

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Hey John, thank you so much for your feedback! I’d love to go on your podcast! Ping me anytime!!!

  • http://windmillnetworking.com/ Neal Schaffer

    Awesome content as always Ian – keep it up!

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Thank you Neal!!! Have a great week-end. I’m in Charlotte trying to get home to Dublin…flight in an hour hopefully!!

  • http://www.postplanner.com/ Scott Ayres

    Don’t you think this takes the human and relationship element out of it though?

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Hey Scott, I found some great people by identifying their blogs through these tools. These were people I probably would not have come across before and these are people I can now form a real relationship with.

      When I find sites, reach out to people in a nice, friendly and genuine way they respond to this. This means they start interacting with me on the social channels, sharing my content and I share their good content.

      So the tools don’t replace the human/relationship element but they help you identify the people to interact with and ensure you don’t mess up by reaching out to he same people all the time, forgetting to reach out to them again when you have new content that they might be interested in etc.

      Ian

      • http://www.postplanner.com/ Scott Ayres

        I suppose. I can see value in using a tool to perhaps finding a blog and etc. But I’m not sure about creating an email template you blast out to everyone. Those normally aren’t received well. Or at least I’ve never seen it done well. The thing you would have to be very careful of is sending that email out to blogs that happen to be run by the same people… For me I’d rather make the connection via social media and then see if blogging on there site is a good fit.

        • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

          Hi Scott, If I ever use an email template I always personalize the email and I don’t ever recommend an e-mail blast using e-mail templates. I should have made that clear in the blog post. I only use the e-mail template because there’s a section of an e-mail that is standard which explains my background and blog. The rest is personal. So I agree with you! (e.g. No point in always writing about ‘what is postplanner’ in any email outreach! Ian

  • Jitendra Padmashali

    Hello Lan, According to me Blogger outreach to widen your audience, partnering with authority has always been a great strategy for driving interest and traffic to your own content and business.

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Absolutely Jitendra!

  • http://www.marketingstream.io/ Craig Cherlet

    These are great tools Ian. I especially like BuzzStream

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Thanks Craig, Buzzstream is working on some cool new functionality, coming soon!

      • http://www.marketingstream.io/ Craig Cherlet

        Cool. Looking forward to it.

  • http://www.woodstone.nu/salive Amma Rany

    Hi. Its really a nice post, the content of this blog is really awesome and extraordinary. waiting for other interesting posts at a time when that will come.
    From bvba Woodstone

  • Aaron

    Great suggestions Ian (as always). I have read all of your articles regarding blog outreach and social media marketing, but I just want to add one more thing. Most guides are stating that you need to write custom requests from each blogger.and make relationships. Now with the super high authority bloggers, this is true. But people also need to keep in mind that becoming a brand is a marathon, not a race. Therefore, the Mom Blog Wire is a pitch wire that goes out to 2,000 mom bloggers with a pre-approved template. These bloggers are not top Alexa properties, but they make up quite a big community of readers and social media profiles. I co-founded this company, and we only charge $250 to send out a pitch. Do the math, and you realize that we have the fastest, most economically efficient blog outreach offering to the most receptive audience of bloggers. Just something to chew on….

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Thanks Aaron, a good targeted list is great and $250 is not a lot of money for this considering the amount of time it will save, Ian

  • Colin Fox

    Hi Ian, great stuff.

    I’m wondering about what happens if say, 4 people want to use your content and duplicate content issues…? Also, can I use this content on my own blog as well or would all have to be re-written and unique or only one person gets the content and you write a sort os summary of it on your blog and link out…?

    Basically I guess I’m asking can you have multiple guest posts on different blogs as the same content – what do you say to the other bloggers if you can’t put your content on multiple blogs? Thinking that in your email you say something like: “I have a piece on xyz that I think your readers would really like, I can send it y=to you if you like?”

    Then one person says yes and you give it to them but then another person asks for it, can you give the same piece to them or have to re-write it so it’s unique?

    Also, do I putsaid piece of content on my blog as well?

    Hope you got what I’m trying to say haha! – duplicate content issues…?

    Thanks in advance,

    Colin.

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Hey Colin, I never put an article of duplicate content anywhere ever!!! In theory if you write an article on your site and put the same article on multiple sites Google will index yours and ignore the rest. But if Google starts seeing a pattern of this happening a lot they may eventually penalize you. I write a guest post and then rewrite the guest post for my own blog. When you have the initial post it’s quite easy to come up with a variation with the same structure! Thanks for your feedback, Ian