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5 Common Blogger Outreach Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them)

I’ve been on the receiving and the sending end of blogger outreach countless times, and it seems the same mistakes keep creeping up over and over again, to the point that it made sense just to write them all out and settle it once and for all.

Writes David Schneider is the cofounder of NinjaOutreach. This post was written by a guest contributor, opinions his own.

reachphoto credit: How far will you go for a peanut? via photopin (license)

Here are the 5 most common blogger outreach mistakes you don’t want to make.

Not Personalizing the Email

I think this is pretty much the golden rule of outreach in general. You have to at least personalize the name, or you’re going to get nowhere.

Seriously, you don’t want an email like this, do you:

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Note that the subject here is…the sender’s name?

Now there are ways around sending an awful email like that, even if you aren’t sure of the first name.

For example, I have a blog called SelfMadeBusinessman. If someone was to write an email to me and say “Hey Self Made Businessman!”, I wouldn’t be overly offended. At least it doesn’t look completely templated.

But the best option is to use their name.

What are some common places to find a blogger’s name?

a) Bloggers About Page

Although bloggers might not directly say something like “Hi, my name is Dave”, often their about page will have references to their name in one way or another.

For example, through testimonials.

Here’s what my about page looks like, and as you can see, it’s quite easy to deduce that my name is Dave.

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b) Blogger’s Twitter Profile

Another pretty obvious place to look is their Twitter profile, since it has a name field:

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c) Their RSS Feed

Lastly, check out their RSS feed, because that will usually pull the author details of the post. It may also provide you with additional names from other authors.

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BTW, if you’re wondering where this screenshot is from, it’s from NinjaOutreach Lite, which is a free chrome extension for blogger outreach.

Beyond that, more advanced personalization involves referencing a specific article or part of an article, or maybe a tweet that they recently sent out.

Not Offering The Blogger Value

It’s amazing how many people are after something for free.

The fact is, if you don’t value the blogger’s contribution enough to actually offer them value them something for their time and effort, then why are you bothering to reach out to them in the first place?

If you want to skyrocket your blog’s growth, you need to either you recognize that blogger outreach is going to be an effective channel and you compensate the blogger in some way (doesn’t have to be money), or you try another channel.

For example, not too long ago my girlfriend, who runs a popular food blog AvocadoPesto, was contacted by Uber.

Not only did they not offer to pay her for the review they wanted, they didn’t even offer her free credits on their own platform (which is usually the most cost effective way to offer something).

Last time I checked, Uber had a valuation in the billions – come on!

Don’t be like that – find something that you can do to provide value. If you’re on a budget, maybe you can give away a free license/account or free swag, or at least try to barter with some other skill or contact you might have.

Get creative! Here’s a list of things you could offer them:

  • Money (note: make sure you don’t pay for links, that’s black hat SEO, if you pay you need to no-follow these links)
  • Free license/account
  • Free product
  • A book (like one of these inspiration must-read books)
  • Affiliate program (opportunity to earn money)
  • That you’ll share it (if you have a large following this could carry weight)
  • An introduction to someone that would be beneficial to them
  • Trade a skill (like video production, editing, etc)
  • Offer to write/publish on your website

If you’re wondering how this looks in the form of a template, this is what we send out for product reviews:

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Hopefully that’s given you a few ideas!

Not Offering Their Audience Value

It’s typical to get obsessed with providing value to the blogger.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with that – you should be providing value to them.

But remember that their goal is ultimately to please their audience, which means if you’re just focusing on them you’re missing the point completely.

As a general rule, if I offer something free to a blogger I offer the same deal to members of their audience.

Personally, I like to couple this with a giveaway. The reason is that their are some nice plugins which help get giveaways awesome exposure, such as KingSumo and RaffleCopter.

These plugins incentivize more people to share the giveaway because it allows them to essentially get more ballots in the box, so to speak.

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For more inspiration regarding giveaways, check out this awesome case study from Pat!

Not Engaging After The Work Is Done

Bloggers expect that if they publish something about your business, you’re going to share it through your channels and also engage with their audience.

This means:

  • Promoting it on your social media channels
  • Commenting and responding to comments/questions

And if you want to go the extra mile, I would consider linking it and/or sending it out to your newsletter as part of a general update.

Really, it’s to your benefit.

For example, Brian from VideoFruit found that comments led to a 523% increase in traffic

That’s pretty huge when you consider how much effort it takes to write a guest post and how few great opportunities there really are.

Related post: 10 Commenting Power Players to Watch

I can’t tell you the number of times that I’ve read a guest post, only to see people in the comments attribute it to the author because they skipped the beginning or end. Commenting helps solve this.

Oh, and make sure these comments are thoughtful – not just a simple “thanks”.

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Commenting should be like a discussion.

Not Following Up

I started taking follow ups a lot more seriously after I read about them on Stelli’s Close.io blog.

Of course I knew what follow ups were, and for very important leads, I was doing it.

But for 90% of my opportunities, I wasn’t following up – and that’s a huge mistake.

From my experience a proper follow up series can increase the reply rate by over 100%, if done right.

And here’s the thing – follow ups are NOT just for people who don’t respond, they’re for people who agree to do something as well.

For example, we do a lot of outreach for product reviews, and believe it or not,  a lot of people agree and then NEVER fulfill on that.

They just forget – but it doesn’t mean they aren’t interested anymore.

So now I keep track of all the people who agreed to do something for us, and I follow up with them too – not just the people who don’t reply.

It’s definitely increased my overall conversion rate.

In fact, from time to time the blogger does actually do them and just forgets to tell me about it!

This was the case with a recent guest post we published:

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And you know what else resulted from this follow up?

We realized that both of us were attending Inbound, Hubspot’s conference for marketers, which gave us the opportunity to meet in person!

Had I not bothered to follow up, this conversation never would have happened (or happened too late).

Conclusion

Whether you’re outreaching to bloggers, leads, podcast invites, you name it – these are some standard rules to live by.

Most people are used to outreach having response rates  in the single digits, but when it’s done right it’s possible to get spectacular results. Just check out this case study of how Eugene got an 80% response from his top influencers campaign!

What else do you recommend we remember for our outreach campaigns?

Next read: 9 WordPress Design Tricks to Grow your Blog Engagement

3 replies
  1. Adam Connell
    Adam Connell says:

    Hey Dave,

    You’ve shared some spot on advice here.

    Not getting in touch after the work is done is the quickest way to earn a bad reputation.

    Not emailing back, replying to comments or even sharing the post is crazy. Not just for the impact on reputation but for the fact that people aren’t pushing their post to do better.

    Glad you mentioned offering value for bloggers, this is so important.

    Every relationship has give and take, but so many people don’t give anything in return and expect bloggers to give up hours of their time.

    Thanks for mentioning Eugene’s case study. Just goes to show that nobody has to settle for single-digit response rates.

    Cheers,
    Adam

    Reply
  2. Mark
    Mark says:

    Great points Dave. I think the personalization piece is probably the most important. I receive several similar types of emails each month and I immediately disregard them if they aren’t personalized or if there are excessive typos.

    Reply

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