How to do blogger outreach and get influencers to write about your products? (Step-by-step Guide)

If you’re looking at different digital marketing strategies to grow your online business, you’ve probably heard of blogger outreach.

The idea behind a blogger outreach campaign is that a company, in seeking exposure for a product or service,  leverages influencers who have established a substantial following, asking them to write about it in exchange for free access to the product or service.

Blogger outreach is also a very popular tactic among bloggers. It happens when one blogger, who wants to increase his web traffic and popularity is reaching out to another blogger and asks them to share their content. But in this article, I will focus on the use of blogger outreach by ecommerce companies and brands.

Table of Contents

What is Blogger Outreach?

Blogger outreach is a digital marketing strategy involving reaching out to bloggers and journalists to present them your website content and products. The primary objective is to convince those bloggers to write about you on their blog and link to your website.

What are the benefits of Blogger Outreach?

Very often, blogger outreach is presented as a win-win strategy. The idea behind is quite simple: a company that offers a product or service will contact bloggers and ask them to write about it and include a backlink to their site.

In this way, the company will increase their exposure, connect with a wider, well-targeted audience and receive a backlink to their website. So the goal of a company could be to increase brand awareness, increase website traffic and conversions.

The blogger who is accepting to publish the content will receive a financial compensation or a product for free and will write a unique piece of content that’s valuable for their audience.

What businesses use Blogger Outreach?

There’s a common misconception that blogger outreach is mainly useful for business in the fashion, cosmetics and travel industries. This is not true. Businesses in almost all niches can benefit from a blogger outreach campaign.

As far as there are influential bloggers in your niche, there will be opportunities for you to explore. There are marketing bloggers, technology bloggers, career bloggers and even survival skills bloggers! Whatever your business niche, there is someone who is blogging about it and has an established audience. What matters the most is to identify the right bloggers with audience and to reach out with a value proposition. 

Types of Blogger Outreach Campaigns

When blogger outreach by companies and brands to grow their online business, there are four types of campaigns that are most popular.

1. Sponsored posts

The most popular tactic in blogger outreach is sponsored posts or sponsored article. This is content that the blogger is paid to write about you and most often, it will include the mention of your business name and links to your website.

It’s in the best practices for the blogger to always declare when they’ve received money for a particular post, so usually sponsored posts are published with a disclaimer stating it or with the mention “Sponsored articles”.

The price of a sponsored post will depend on the popularity and the traffic of the blog.  The more influential, authoritative and popular the blog, the higher the price can be.

The price of a sponsored post will also depend on the type of post the company is looking to publish. For example, a do-follow backlink to the company’s website may make the sponsored article more expensive. The same stands for the length of the article, the tone, etc.

The exact price and article details are negotiated upfront.

2. Product reviews

Another popular blogger outreach tactic used by businesses is to send their products out to bloggers for free in return for an honest review. In this case, the company/brand will gain exposure, tap into new audiences and earn a backlink. The blogger will receive a product or a service for free.

3. Product features

A product feature is similar to a review but is less orientated towards your specific product. The blogger will write an article on different topic and will occasionally mention your company or product. For example, a digital marketing blogger might write a post about the top 10 keywords research tools he prefers, and mention your keyword research tool as one of the 10. Or, a travel blogger might write about their recent trip to Paris, and mention your restaurant based in Paris as one of their recent discoveries.

4. Giveaways

This tactic is very popular among vloggers (YouTube bloggers). In this case the blogger or influencer will host a competition on his blog, youtube channel or social medial account and the brand will provide the competition prizes. The givaways will help the brand to gain more exposure and awareness and the blogger will increase the engagement with their audience.

5. Co-produced content

Co-produced content (or a joint venture campaign) happens when a company and a blogger join forces to produce a specific piece of content together. Most often, these are more in-depth articles, such as niche studies or analysis.

The blogger benefits from the inside information and resources the company or brand can provide, while the company benefits form the influencer’s unique knowledge, expertise or writing style.

Also, by promoting the content together both parties will benefit from a wider audience reach. 

The benefits of blogger outreach

From the point of view of an eCommerece company or a brand, blogger outreach will help them to:

  • Increase brand awareness,
  • Gain more exposure by reaching out to new audiences,
  • Reach out to a new, very narrow targeted audience,
  • Build high-quality backlinks,
  • Establish a relationship with an influential blogger or an industry expert.

From the blogger’s point of view, they will:

  • Receive a financial compensation for the content they produce,
  • Receive a free product or service,
  • Receive an exclusive access to a new product or service,
  • Receive an opportunity to provide their readers with valuable, useful content,
  • Increase the audience engagement,
  • Establish a relationship with a company or a brand.

How to do Blogger Outreach (Step-by-step guide)?

Step #1: Identify Influential Bloggers

The first and very important step of the process is to identify the bloggers you would want to reach out to.

Start a simple spreadsheet

You main goal, at this step is to build a simple Excel file with the following columns:

  • Blog URL
  • Blogger Name
  • Twitter Account
  • Facebook Account
  • Contact details

No need to be too picky about the blogs you include in your spreadsheet at this stage. This will be your first spreadsheet draft that you’ll detail later.

The easiest and cheapest way to build your database and populate this Excel list is by using Google, Facebook and Twitter.

Start by doing a Google search with a long tail keywords related to your business. For example, if you’re selling herbal tea online, you can look at the websites that are ranking on the first page for “herbal tea recipes”, “herbal tea benefits”, etc.  

Look at Google’s autosuggestions and the related searches:

Check the websites that are ranking on the first page and identify the blogs among them.

Once you’ve found an interesting blog, look for their Facebook and Twitter account and write down the number of Facebook likes and Twitter followers they have.

Or use tools to identify influential bloggers

It’s important to mention that there are many paid tools that specialize in influencer marketing and blogger outreach. I will briefly mention some of them.

BuzzSumo

BuzzSumo is one of the most popular tools for influencer marketing. It has a free and a paid version.

The tool helps you to find top performing content in a particular niche, find trending topics, or to identify the top influencers in a particular niche. I’ve found out that their free Link Building Tools can be useful as well.

BuzzStream

This is another very popular outreach tool that allows you to manage your entire blogging outreach campaign: from identifying blogs and influencers to contacting them, follow-up and measuring results. This is a paid tool.

Ninja Outreach 

This is another an all-in-one influencer and blogger outreach tool. With a huge database of over 25 million websites and over 2 million Twitter profiles, Ninja Outreach can help you find the right bloggers in any niche and country. This is a paid tool as well.

GroupHigh

According to their website this blogger outreach software’s database contains “more than 15 million 360 degree profiles of bloggers that write about any topic”. Similar to the other an all-in-one tools, on GroupHigh you can research, filter, contact, pitch and monitor your campaign’s progress.

Follower Wonk

This is a twitter Analytics tool, which allows you to find and connect with twitter influencers in your niche. Most of them would have a blog as well.

Step #2: Asses the Bloggers

At the end of step #1 you would have a long list of potential bloggers to contact. But probably, you shouldn’t reach out to all of them. In your initial list, there might be some bloggers who are not interested in sponsored articles and product reviews. There might be others, who haven’t been blogging in a while or are not that well connected to their audience anymore.

At the second step of the bloggers outreach process, you’ll need to gather more information about these influencers, about their readers and you should add more information to your initial spreadsheet.

At this step you need to answer the following questions:

What is the domain authority of the selected blogs?

You can look at website’s domain authority on tools like Ahref.com or SEMRush.com. Filter the data and focus only on the blogs with a domain authority higher than 40.

Do they have a high number of backlinks and referring domains?

Another criteria for the popularity of a blog is the number of backlinks they’ve receives over time. This shouldn’t be the most important to choose, but a popular blog should have at least several dozens of backlinks pointing at them.  The number or referring domains will show you if these backlinks are coming from many different websites.

Are the selected bloggers still blogging regularly?

Look at the date of their last publication. Check how often they write. Do they still receive a lot of comments and social shares?

What topics and articles are the most popular among their audience?

For example, if you’re looking at travel bloggers you may notice that they receive more comments and shares when they write about a specific destination. If you’re looking at hi-tech bloggers you may find out the most shared articles are product reviews or top 10 lists.

All this information will help you decide what type of partnership you can build and if the identified blogger is a good match for your campaign.

Are the identified bloggers open to partnerships and have they made a statement regarding this?

Influential bloggers receive dozens of e-mails per day! It’s very possible that they’ve already made up their mind about the types of companies they want to partner with or the type of articles they are willing to write.

Most often, this information on their contact page or on a dedicated “Partnerships” page.

Have they already published sponsored posts or reviews?

This requires some more digging but, as I said many bloggers will include a mention “Sponsored content/article”.  If you see it, look at the number of social shares and comments the article has received.  

Refine your spreadsheet

After fining the answers of all these additional questions, you’ll be able to populate your spreadsheet with some new columns:

  • Domain Rank
  • Domain Authority
  • # Backlinks
  • # Referring Domains
  • # Facebook likes
  • # Twitter followers
  • Blog Comments
  • Last publication date
  • Open to partnerships: YES/NO

Step #3: Get noticed

At the end of step two you’ll have a shorter list with bloggers you are interested in contacting. My advice however, is not to email them directly. First try to get on their radar. Your outreach e-mail will have more success when it comes from a familiar reader or follower and not from a complete stranger.

There are many ways to get noticed by an influential blogger besides e-mailing them:

Follow them on social media

Everyone receives notifications about their new followers on Twitter or Instagram. In addition, social media is another channel you can use to contact them later.

Comment on their blog post

Leaving insightful comments is probably the best way to establish a form of a direct contact. Make a comment that includes your opinion and adds value to the topic. Most bloggers will be happy to publish your comment and reply.

Point out broken links

It’s always nice and helpful when someone points out broken backlinks on your website and improves the user experience for your readers. Use a simple page crawler or a Chrome extension (ex. Check My Links) to identify the broken links.

Then send the list by e-mail simply by saying that you’ve been reading the blog and found some broken links they should replace.

Share their content on social media

Hit the social share button and don’t forget to include use @ on Twitter so that they receive a notification. Don’t overdo it by sharing several of their articles in the same day; it looks spammy.

Include a link of their content on your blog

This is not a way to establish but it will help you to get noticed. Most bloggers are regularly checking their online mentions and new backlinks. It’s unlikely if your backlink stays unnoticed.

Make a suggestion to improve their content

The most useful comments come from readers who have read, researched the topic and can add value to the conversation. Suggest an article improvement by elaborating a point or adding interesting sources as a comment.   

Step #4: Reach out with a proposition

Shortly after you’ve established the first contact with the blogger you can reach out with your request.

Ideally you have found their email address in Step #1 and now it’s time to shoot them an email. This is a very important step and the exact message (e-mail) you send may determine the success of your campaign.

The e-mail you’ll send depends on the type of Outreach Campaign you’re planning to do. Below I’m sharing one example of a blogger outreach e-mail I’ve used to ask bloggers for sponsored posts.

Hi {{name}},

My name is Velizara and I work as a digital marketing manager for {{company name}}. I’ve been following your blog for a while and I really like how you {{say something about their writing style here}}.

I especially liked your article on {{article topic}} and you may remember me commenting on it.

I wanted to get in touch to see if you would be interested in being sponsored to write a post on your blog for {{company name}}? We are {{type of company}} and we would like you to write a blog post on {{give a broad article topic}} in your own style. Of course, we’ll compensate you for the time you’ve taken to do this.

You have the creative freedom to do whatever you want – the only thing that we require is that we have a look at the article before you post it and that you link to {{company website}}.

If this sounds like something you would like to go forward with, let me know. Or, if you have any other ideas as to how you can partner with {{company name}}, I’d love to hear them!

I look forward to hearing from you,

Here’s why I think this e-mail is a good example of blogger outreach:

Write personalized e-mails

The e-mail is very personalized: by including information about the bloggers writing style of habits I show them that I haven’t found just now, but that I’ve taken the time to actually read it.

Point out that you’re a familiar reader

By recalling the article I’ve commented on (or that I’ve shared on Twitter), I show them that I’ve been a blog reader for a while.

Say who you are and why you’re reaching out

The e-mail starts by clearly stating who am I and which company I represent.

Point out the benefits

It clearly states what the blogger will receive in return (in this case it’s a financial compensation).

Don’t be very specific about your requirements yet

The goal of this first e-mail is to establish a direct contact and to understand if the influencer is open to a partnership with your company. Do not send all you’re campaign requirements at this point.

For example, the tone of the e-mail above is not very imposing and I say that the blogger has the freedom to write what they want in their own style. At the same time, I stress on the requirement to include a backlink.

Show you’re flexible

At the end of the e-mail I mention that I’m open to discuss other ideas of a partnership in case they don’t accept sponsored posts.

Step #5: Nurture your relationship

In case the blogger replies positively to your email you will continue the communication until the sponsored article is placed. But what happens afterwards?

While many people just leave it there, smart companies will try to keep in touch with the bloggers they’ve already made a partnership with.

Exchange more contact details

I’ve found out that Skype is a good way to keep in touch with professional contacts, without being too personal or intrusive channel.

Discuss other partnership opportunities

As previously mentioned, there are many different ways in which you can partner with a blogger. After placing your first sponsored post, you can discuss other opportunities, such as giveaways or co-produced content.

Take your relationship offline

If you’re based in the same city, you can invite them to visit your store and try your products.

Most common blogger outreach mistakes

Even though doing blogger outreach may sound like an easy job, there are many things that can go wrong over the process. For instance, identifying the wrong blogs and audiences will make you lose money and time. In some rare cases, contacting the wrong bloggers may deteriorate your company image and sales. Blogger outreach gone wrong.

In my opinion, the most common mistakes in blogger outreach are:

Blogger outreach mistake #1: Sending a template-based E-mail

It’s impossible to do outreach on a big scale without having some kind of an e-mail template. But this doesn’t mean you should send your exact template to everyone, by simply changing the recipient’s name and their website URL. You should personnalize your e-mail as much as possible

In this way, you you will also avoid common mail-merge mistakes, that can be done when using automated mailing programs; for example sending emails that start by “Hello [Name]”.

Blogger outreach mistake #2: Not Personalizing Your Approach

Use your template as a base for write an original, personalized e-mail. This is exactly how I use “template e-mail” I shared above. The final result is an original tailor-made e-mail that stands out among the all the mail-merged e-mail influential blogger receive each day.

Blogger outreach mistake #3: Not going straight to point

Sometimes, when we want to impress someone we tend to overdo things. As a result, instead of writing a short and sweet outreach e-mail, you may finis writing a long e-mail that presents your company, explains the values of your product and flatters the quality content the blogger writes and 

It’s true that a little flattery never hurts, but do not make it the main focus of your e-mail and get straight to the point: what do you want and what you can offer in return.

Blogger outreach mistake #4: Reaching out anonymously

In your outreach email you need to explain exactly why you’re contacting them and what are you expecting in return. It’s difficult to do that, if you’re planning to reveal your company’s name only to the bloggers that have expressed an interest. It also makes a bad first impression, as if you’re were doing some black-hat link-building campaign.

Also, don’t forget that, in the time of LinkedIn and social media, it’s easy to double-check someone’s professional or personal profile. Don’t use fake names or titles: it’s very unprofessional.

Blogger outreach mistake #5: Seeing blogger outreach only as a link-building strategy

As mentioned above, building high-quality backlinks is only one of the many benefits of blogger outreach. As a business, your main goal should always be to increase brand awareness and exposure by reaching out to new audiences. If you put the backlinks you’ll receive in the center of your blog research and you organize you entire narrative around the requirement of the backlink that will be placed, you’re doing linkbuiling.

Acquiring a backlink should be seen as an additional and not the primary benefit of an outreach campaign.

Blogger outreach mistake #6: Providing a too specific brief and writing requirements

As a blogger, I’ve personally experienced this. You receive an outreach e-mail explaining how much company ABC liked your blog, the topics you pick and your writing style. But after you agree to write a sponsored article for them, they send you a very detailed two-pages brief with the exact article title, writing style requirement, tone of voice, etc.

If you’ve really liked the content and style of a particular blogger, you should give them the freedom to write your sponsored article or product review in the way they see fit. 

Final thoughts

When it’s done right, blogger outreach can be a very successful digital marketing strategy.

Nevertheless, if you want to be successful you need to invest time and resources in it. Make sure that you are finding the right influencers and you’re building a meaningful relationship with them.

How to do blogger outreach and get influencers to write about your products? (Step-by-step Guide)

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