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The future of outreach: 3 essential components to add to your strategy

by | Sep 24, 2021 | Analysis, Public Relations

Outreach is a key part of most content marketing strategies, and running a successful outreach campaign can often feel like an empty pursuit in trying to get your brand or content out there by placing your faith in the helping hands of others.

For many businesses, both blogger and journalist outreach can help to pave the way for greater link building opportunities, far better exposure to relevant audiences and more conversions for specific products or services. However, the challenge of engaging with your outreach recipients can resemble preaching to an empty hall at times. Whether you’re offering free content, link exchanges or sponsorship, it can be profoundly difficult to win attention and build faith in your company.

So, with this in mind, how can we set ourselves up with a winning blogger or journalist outreach approach to help our businesses to gain the attention it deserves? Let’s take a look at three essential components of this unique facet of digital marketing and how to improve your chances of success:

What is blogger and journalist outreach?

Firstly, let’s define what blogger or journalist outreach actually is. This form of outreach is a strategy that involves partnering with established bloggers or reputable journalists in order to publish quality content on their blogs or news websites. This approach helps to build links back to your website whilst boosting your search engine ranking position.

You can conduct outreach based on a range of different content or sponsorship approaches. By writing content for popular websites with a high domain authority, your business can benefit from greater website traffic, brand awareness and lead generation to boot.

The future of outreach: 3 essential components to add to your strategy

(Image: Backlinko)

Above we can see an example of some of the most common content that marketers outreach websites with, and how common the response rate can be for each form of content. As we can see, there are no types of outreach content that’s a sure-fire way to evoke a response, but guest posting and roundups can command a response rate of almost a quarter. However, it’s also worth noting that your responses will be largely dependent on the reputation of your brand and your pitch.

Because of your potential in automatically getting your brand listed on reputable websites, blogger and journalist outreach can be a key part of your SEO strategy, and one that all ambitious businesses should consider. With this in mind, let’s look at three essential components of any successful blogger and journalist outreach strategy:

1. Discovering and acquiring prospects

One essential component of blogger and journalist outreach to consider is how you intend to discover and acquire your prospective links. Here, it’s worth making a list of website, blogger, or influencer criteria in which you want to generate links with. Consider the following questions:

  • Does the website have a good domain authority?
  • Are the individuals active on social media?
  • How regularly are their websites updated?
  • Does their content generate authentic comments?
  • Do they have stringent guest post requirements or guidelines?

As a means of finding only the most relevant bloggers and journalists to receive your outreach, consider looking for personnel who fit into the following categories:

Consider outreaching to anybody or any news outlet that has been featured in any content you’ve created. For instance, if you’ve linked to an influential site or referenced an influencer, it could be a good idea to let them know of your mention.

It’s also worth looking at bloggers writing on a similar topic to yours. If you find an influential blogger or journalist covering a relevant topic, they will be more likely to read fresh content in your field.

Once you’ve discovered your prospects (which we’ll cover in more detail in a moment), the emphasis should be on you to acquire them. There are many ways of doing this – you could approach them on social media informally or send them a personalized email. It’s even possible to call them in the right circumstances. Let’s take a look at a strong example of an email copy, offered up by G2:

Dear [NAME],

My name is [SENDER], and I’m reaching out today to ask you if you’d be willing to give [MY ARTICLE/WEBSITE] a look over and possibly add a link to your [PIECE OF CONTENT]. I saw you have experience writing about [X TOPICS], which is also my area of expertise. If you’re not looking to add links to other content right now, I’m wondering if you’re open to a content swap or guest posts. If so, I’d be more than happy to write for your website!

Let me know your thoughts. We can hop on a call if that’s easier!

Thanks so much,

[YOUR NAME]

[CONTACT INFO]

This template for a pitch is a great way of intensively demonstrating your value and offering your target the choice of how they can interact with you. For high potential prospects, it may be worth acknowledging that you’ve read some of their relevant work by referencing a recent article from them.

2. Using the right tools to find prospects

The worldwide web is a vast place that’s filled to the brim with websites, bloggers, influencers and journalists all with varying levels of influence online. Finding the perfect websites and blogs to pitch for your business can be tricky.

However, there are plenty of great tools out there to make the process of discovering bloggers and journalists to outreach far easier.

Let’s take a look at the invaluable role that site explorers like Ahrefs can play in making it far easier to find prospects.

To show how Ahrefs works in helping your outreach efforts, let’s pretend you’re an online bookshop that has a domain authority of around 45/100. Market leaders like Waterstones have a DA of 80+, which may be a leap too far in terms of building backlinks, but a quick Google search throws up a competitor in the form of Wordery, which has a DA of around 70/100 – a rating that could be achievable for your business with a little SEO magic.

The future of outreach: 3 essential components to add to your strategy

Here, we can see that Ahrefs can tell us a lot about the quality of Wordery’s website in an overview. But how can we use this insight to help us to find the right bloggers and journalists to outreach?

The future of outreach: 3 essential components to add to your strategy

Near the right of the fold, we can see a table populated by the various backlinks that Wordery has accumulated. This list covers every single link that the website has built over the past years – including the ever-favorable dofollow links that are worth far more to Google’s SERPs. We can take a deeper look into these links to discover which websites have been willing to provide Wordery with links.

The future of outreach: 3 essential components to add to your strategy

By clicking on the ‘Dofollow’ hyperlink, Ahrefs can quickly fetch us a list of all the domains providing backlinks back to Wordery. This list can be made altogether more manageable by selecting ‘One link per domain’ at the top of the page and ordering the websites listed by their domain rating (Ahrefs’ version of domain authority).

These lists can be a great way of discovering websites that you already know will be willing to offer links to businesses just like yours, and so can be the perfect foundation for your link building journey.

Furthermore, it’s worth looking into websites that openly accept guest posts within your niche, and getting in touch with those responsible for it.

The future of outreach: 3 essential components to add to your strategy

To continue this example, let’s look deeper at one website that’s created 33 dofollow backlinks to our make-believe competitors, Wordery in Saga. If we’re unable to find links to the relevant staff linked to the website, we can use tools like Hunter.io to automatically scour the internet for email addresses linked to the domain.

Hunter is also adept at identifying email patterns, so that if you find a blogger or editor without an email address linked to their name, it’s possible to see what their address is most likely to be.

3. Success through trial and improvement

One of the most frustrating aspects of outreach is that you’re entirely dependent on an external website. If they agree to share content or exchange a link with you, there’s no guarantee that they’ll create a dofollow link—or even a link at all in a published piece of content.

You’re also entirely dependent on their website generating the relevant traffic to help ensure a flow of followers onto your pages. This can be particularly difficult for businesses that operate within specific niche industries. Because your product or service or website is supposed to be designed to be different from the rest of the market, it can be tricky knowing where to outreach.

Because of this, it’s essential that you monitor your progress and utilize analytics platforms to observe the power of the links you’re building.

Platforms like Google Analytics and Finteza can help to provide significant insights into the traffic that external domains are bringing to your website. This can be a vital part of the trial and improvement process of generating new leads through outreach. If a blogger or journalist within a certain niche isn’t bringing you the results you want, adapt your process. Try building a traffic funnel after you build links to a specific page and see how many users move to other pages after landing on the first page.

The future of outreach: 3 essential components to add to your strategy

Above is a sample from Finteza that illustrates how users behave after landing on the initial page.

Google’s algorithms are fickle to say the least, and for many marketers, trial and improvement is the only approach available to truly finetune your outreach to ensure that you target the websites that will bring you the best results.

Blogger and journalist outreach can be a difficult part of digital marketing to master, but with the right tools by your side, you can create a reliable process that will see your website climbing Google’s SERPs whilst generating a healthy level of traffic all at the same time.

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Rebecca Barnatt-Smith
Rebecca Barnatt-Smith is a UK-based freelance journalist and multimedia marketing executive.

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