Blogger Outreach: How To Build Relationships Online The Right Way

To this day, blogger outreach remains as one of the best ways of getting inbound links from high-authority websites. But it does take a lot of work, and one wrong move could land you in hot water.

But with the right approach and mindset, you could see your site rise in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

In this post, we’ll look at some ways you can improve your relationships with third-party sites you reach out to for backlinks. With this guide, you will have more fruitful interactions and create partnerships that will last years.

Let’s begin.

What Is Blogger Outreach?

The concept behind blogger outreach is simple. You want to contact bloggers with high-authority and traffic and ask for a backlink. In exchange, you provide exclusive content or help them out in other ways, such as pointing out broken links that may have gone unnoticed.

But why go through all this trouble?

It’s because Google considers backlinks when they rank your site. The more links you receive from established domains, the higher your site will rank in the SERPs.

The Challenge with Blogger Outreach

While blogger outreach does have its perks, it too has some drawbacks.

This tactic is no secret to most online marketers. It’s quite common for bloggers to receive backlink requests from people they’ve never met. If you want to stand out, you’d have to do something special.

To make matters worse, some marketers have gone on to send generic emails. They make no effort to research the blogger and their audience. They barely personalize their messages — in some cases, they don’t even know the name of the person they’re sending their emails to.

The combination of these two truths makes blogger outreach seem like a disingenuous process.

Changing the Way You Reach Out

Most blogger outreach emails seem cold and insincere. And that should never be the case. This is not how you build lasting relationships.

Both parties know that the nature of blogger outreach for backlinks is purely transactional. But it doesn’t have to feel that way.

Later in this guide, you’ll see what strategies you can implement so that recipients are comfortable interacting with you.

If the sender and the receiver can establish a good foundation, both parties can benefit from this link building strategy.

The Benefits of Blogger Outreach

We’ve already discussed the potential of earning backlinks through blogger outreach. But what other cases are there for focusing on this strategy?

Below are just some of the other benefits of blogger outreach.

Grows Your Online Visibility

In a BrightLocal survey, local SEO experts gave their opinion on whether link building helps boost local businesses in the SERPs. They all responded in the affirmative.

blogger outreach - benefits - brightlocal 1

And if you look closely, this survey reveals that more people believed in linking building in 2019 than in the year prior.

Let’s say you have a local business, and you want it to be more visible in your target market, link building is the way to do it. You’d want to get in touch with prominent bloggers in your area and have them link back to you.

The same survey points out that the majority of local SEO marketers puts link building on the top of their list. About 84% of them rates link building as an essential task, with 5% claiming that it’s the most critical task they focus on.

blogger outreach - benefits - brightlocal 2

Link building through blogger outreach is, therefore, an integral part of any online marketing plan.

But we’re not only referring to visibility in search engines.

When other bloggers add your links in their posts, you are also exposed to their audience. That means you get referral traffic from sources outside of search engines.

Can you do this through social media?

Sure. But social metrics are just one part of the equation. You’d still want blogger outreach to play a pivotal role in getting eyes on your site.

Improves Trust

Every backlink you get is like a stamp of approval. When trusted bloggers and influencers start linking back to you, their audience will see that as an endorsement.

And when people start to realize that you’re getting linked to that often, they’ll know you are a source that they can look up to.

Earning people’s trust is essential, especially if you’re running a business. Users are wary of buying from online sellers with minimal reputation. That’s why smaller companies seek out bloggers for backlinks. Not only does it get your brand name out there, but you also increase the chances of selling your product or service.

According to a 2019 report by Edelman, one of the larger PR firms in the world today, consumers trust influencers than they do the brands themselves.

blogger outreach - benefits - edelman

To be more specific, about 63% of Edelman’s respondents say that they’re more trusting of recommendations made by people they follow as opposed to the ads they see.

When you get backlinks, you’re getting an influencer’s vote. This makes it easier for their audience to trust what you have to say.

Increases Your Profile

Getting people to trust you is only the beginning. If you’re featured in other blogs and sites, you will start attracting attention. People will begin to seek you out.

The Upper Ranks published a case study about how they managed to increase the traffic of a new site. They used blogger outreach and managed to secure 103 links. And thanks to those links, the site experienced a 2,000% increase in organic traffic.

blogger outreach - benefits - upper ranks

Blogger Outreach Campaign Examples

Here are some notable examples of what blogger outreach can do for you.

Offsprout

blogger outreach - outreach examples - offsprout

The Offsprout team recently concluded a blogger outreach campaign and wrote a post about it. In it, they wrote about their whole methodology and the tools they used to achieve their goal.

To summarize, the team used a combination of lead generation software (Hunter.io) and research tools (Ahrefs, SEMrush, Buzzsumo, Ubersuggest, Postaga).

They researched blog topics and found relevant bloggers to contact. Using lead generation software, they found out who they’re supposed to contact for each site along with their email address.

Using email templates, they sent out link building requests after personalizing each one to make them unique and compelling.

They sent follow-up emails to recipients who did not respond.

Their main goal was to get included in weekly roundup posts. They eventually found six bloggers that focused on their niche, which is web design. Of the six, two gave them backlinks. The next two did not provide a response. And the last two replied but said Offsprout’s post wasn’t a good fit (one of them considered adding the link to an upcoming post instead).

Offsprout got a 67% response rate and a 33% success rate.

The team implemented other link building strategies like the Skyscraper Technique (as popularized by Brian Dean of Backlinko), Mention Outreach, and Related Blog Outreach.

In the end, Offsprout contacted 20 bloggers and got five backlinks. They had an overall success rate of 25%.

And while five backlinks don’t seem like a lot, do note that the team intentionally targeted fewer domains because they wanted to focus on-site quality instead of quantity.

Webology

blogger outreach - outreach examples - webology

Webology’s case study saw the group try a different blogger outreach tactic. They focused on broken link building.

What was their approach?

First, they had to look for opportunities. In particular, they wanted to find pages that no longer existed but still had thousands of resources linking to it. They found their answer in the form of Yahoo Site Explorer, a defunct webmaster tool similar to that of Google’s.

Now all they had to do was build a resource page that could replace any link that references Yahoo Site Explorer.

After publishing that post, they’ve gone ahead and contacted blogs with pages that needed the update. They were able to send out 250 emails in about 2 hours of work using SEMrush (more on that later).

In the end, Webology managed to acquire six high-quality backlinks. Not bad for a couple of hours of work.

We Love Dates (via Get Blogged)

blogger outreach - outreach examples - we love dates

Get Blogged released a case study for one of their clients, We Love Dates. The dating site had an issue with their pages. While they do have a strong homepage (lots of sites linking to it), the rest of their pages do not see views. Also, the company is getting fewer transactions.

To solve the issue, Get Blogged started reaching out to influencers and bloggers. However, this time, they wanted the bloggers to link to subpages instead of the homepage.

In one month, Get Blogged managed to secure 90 featured links pointing to a variety of pages within We Love Dates. The site started appearing on the SERPs for keywords that they haven’t appeared in before.

These examples go on to show the importance of reaching out to bloggers and secure backlinks.

Now the question becomes: How do you do it?

How to Do Blogger Outreach?

Contacting bloggers is not as hard as it may seem. However, you do need to be thoroughly prepared to make every interaction a positive one.

Also, it’s crucial that you learn how to manage your expectations. To make blogger outreach work, you’ll have to contact a lot of people. But not all of them would reply.

As you have seen in the examples above, marketers see a 25% response rate as a success. Some have even gone on to say that they expected lower numbers.

Remember:

It’s not about quantity though getting more backlinks is better. What you want to focus on is receiving links from high-quality sites. You want to work with influencers with good domain authority and tons of followers.

Let’s go through all the steps that will move you closer toward this goal.

Step 1: Identify the Most Influential Bloggers in Your Niche

The first step involves finding the most influential bloggers surrounding your niche. If you’re in the automotive business, for example, you’ll need to find bloggers that review cars, aggregates the best deals, or other forms of bloggers in your circle.

To make this process more efficient, create a spreadsheet where you can store the information you collect.

blogger outreach - how to outreach - sample spreadsheet

The spreadsheet above is relatively simple. However, you can add more columns to include subscriber count, domain authority, and other factors you’d like to consider. What’s important is that you have a means of contacting the blogger, whether it be through email or social media.

You can find a blogger’s contact information in their respective About pages. There are instances though when these are not disclosed. In which case, you may want to consider a tool like FindThatLead or Hunter.io (which we mentioned earlier).

There are also bloggers who prefer communicating through contact forms, so do keep that in mind.

So who do you go to first?

The most obvious candidates would be the sites in your niche that you visit frequently. Not only are they related to your website, but there’s also a good chance that you’re already familiar with who they are and what kind of posts they expect from contributors.

Then you move on to similar blogs. You’ll find them be doing extensive Google searches, usually with the help of search operators. For example, you can search for “car reviews” and add “inurl:blog” to only reveal blog sites.

blogger outreach - how to outreach - car blog

Alternatively, you can use “inurl:write-for-us” to bring up sites that offer guest post opportunities.

blogger outreach - how to outreach - write for us

There are other operators you could use. Find ones that are right for your goal.

At this point, you don’t have to eliminate candidates. Just keep on finding blogs and add them to your list. You will trim it down later on.

If you have access to SEMrush, use it to get the blog’s authority and determine how many visitors it receives per month, what keywords it ranks for, and other useful information. These figures can help with reducing the potential candidates to a manageable list down the road.

blogger outreach - how to outreach - top gear

Try to find at least 40-50 blogs in your niche. This should be enough for now.

Step 2: Organize Blogger According to Priority

Next, you have to rate the bloggers and figure which ones to prioritize. You need to give the highest performers the V.I.P. treatment. That’s not to say that you should treat the rest terribly. It only means going the extra mile for bloggers you want to work with.

How should you prioritize bloggers?

Your main criterion should be domain authority. The primary purpose of blogger outreach is to improve your search engine rankings. So you want to get backlinks from credible sources.

However:

You can make exceptions. If you find a blogger that has a low domain authority but has a massive following on social media, you could argue that this blogger belongs in the V.I.P. category.

The same goes for blogs with significant interaction with their community. If that blog’s posts have tens to hundreds of comments, it could mean exposure for your brand.

Whatever the case, identify which bloggers you want to contact first and rearrange your list as needed.

Step 3: Warm Up Your Prospects

What do you do now? Is it time to send bloggers some emails?

Not so fast.

Before you reach out, you should make your presence felt first. You want bloggers to recognize you by name even before you make your pitch.

Fortunately, there are many organic ways of introducing yourself to bloggers. Below are just a few.

Promote Their Content

Bloggers keep an eye out for people who share their posts. If you share their recently published posts on social media (works even better if you tag them or their pages), then they’ll eventually take notice you.

When you share their posts, mention what you liked about it and maybe give your take on the subject.

Reply to Emails

If you signed up for their newsletters, you can respond to their emails to ask questions or share your insights.

Note: There are times when newsletters go through an email automation tool. So it might not be possible to send a reply. Or, if you can, it might end up in an inbox that’s not monitored.

In cases where you already have their email address, you can send your feedback directly.

Comment on Their Posts

You can also spend some time commenting on their posts. However, your replies should feel genuine and natural.

Don’t just say “Nice post.” and leave it at that. Do better.

Explain what makes it great. Leave insights that the blogger may have left out. Interact with other commenters.

Integrate yourself into the online community. And do so regularly.

blogger outreach - how to outreach - backlinko

Sites like Backlinko often get useful and amazing comments. Check these out if you want a better look at how users interact with comprehensive blog posts.

Don’t reply to ten posts in one sitting. It’ll make it obvious that you’re gearing up for a big ask. Take a week or two, if possible, to comment on posts. By slowly working your way in, you’re making it easier for the blogger to notice you.

Point Out Errors in the Blog

Now, this may seem counterintuitive, but we promise you that it’s not.  How does pointing out the blogger’s mistakes help endear yourself to that person, you ask?

Believe it or not, bloggers like it when you let them know about inaccuracies in their posts. Why? Because it gives them a chance to make corrections before other people take notice.

But we’re not just talking about factual errors in blog posts here.

You can use SEMrush to find other site errors like broken links, duplicate content, or crawl errors. SEMrush has a list of site audits that it can perform along with explainers on how each one works.

Step 4: Develop Your Blogger Outreach Templates

Once you’re able to establish a rapport with your target bloggers, you can move on to creating an email template to use.

Now, you’re not supposed to use one email for all bloggers. You should have a couple — all based on the type of link building you want to implement.

Guest Posting

Guest posting is the most commonly used link building strategy. You approach bloggers and offer to write a post for them in exchange for a backlink.

However:

This is not for everyone. For one thing, you need to be able to write well to pass as a guest post contributor. If you’re not comfortable drafting content, this approach is not for you.

Even if you hire freelance writers, you’ll have to cover that expense out of your pocket. This is not ideal, especially if you’re just starting.

Another thing:

Guest posts are usually written by experts in the field. If not that, then you should at least be able to offer insights that are uniquely yours.

How unique?

Being able to provide statistics that belong to you would be a good start. Or maybe you could tell stories that nobody has covered. Have you visited a location that nobody else has? Then that would be a great guest post for a travel site.

Do note that you can’t reuse the posts you submit on one blog on another site. That means you’ll have to compose a new post for each blogger you do guest posts for.

And each post has to target the blogger’s audience. Having an idea of the blogger’s tone and message would be to your advantage.

Tip: The best time to inquire about a guest post opportunity would be when the blogger mentions your name or brand in a post or right it’s published (meaning they are currently accepting inquiries).

Think guest posting is the way to go? Here’s a template you could use.

Subject:

Would You Want to Work Together?

Body:

Hi [Blogger’s name],

I’m an absolute fan of [blog name]. I’ve read [blog post title], and I couldn’t agree with you more.

[Share your thoughts on the blog post you mentioned. If you’ve made a comment or shared the post on social media, mention it here.]

I have a lot to say about [your niche or topic]. If you’re currently accepting blog posts, I’d like to contribute.

[Say a few things about yourself and why you’re qualified to write a post.]

Here are some examples of posts I’ve written before.

[Link to several examples. URLs would be fine.]

If you’d like to work together, here are some topics that I’d like to cover.

[Provide topics for your guest post. Two or three should be enough.]

I believe you and your audience would benefit from this type of posts because [explain how your content could help the blogger’s audience].

Let me know what you think. Looking forward to hearing from you.

[Your name]

Why does this email template work? Let’s break it down.

The first section of the body not only introduces you to the blogger, but it also establishes that you’re familiar with their work.

You then shift the conversation to what you’d like to do for the blogger, establish your credibility, and show how this collaboration would be to the benefit of the blogger’s audience.

If the blogger accepts your offer, ask if you can include links going back to your site.

Broken Link Building

For those that are not as opposed to content writing, broken link building might be a more suitable substitute.

This strategy only requires that you find links that are no longer working and publish an alternative on your site. You contact the blogger to let them know that they have a non-functioning link and offer your page as a replacement.

If you recall our Webology example from earlier, this is the exact strategy they used.

Why would bloggers care?

Google penalizes sites with broken links. So it’s in the blogger’s best interest to remove dead links. Unfortunately, finding replacements can be time-consuming. By offering an alternative, you save them time. They can move on quickly, and you get a backlink for your troubles. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.

Here’s a template you can use for broken link building.

Subject:

Your Link Isn’t Working

Body:

Hi [Blogger’s name],

Just read one of your posts, [blog post title]. I noticed that one of the links isn’t working.

Here are the details:

Post: [URL of blog post]

Anchor text: [Insert anchor text]

Links to: [URL of dead link] [Screenshot of the section where you found the broken link.]

I’d suggest changing the link as soon as possible, so you don’t get penalized by search engines. If you’re interested, I found a similar post that also talks about [topic of dead link].

[Additional information on why the replacement link is a good substitute.]

I hope I’ve helped.

[Your name]

Again, let’s dissect this email and see why it works.

By addressing the recipient by name, you’re personalizing your email, which is a good thing. The email then immediately goes on to point out the issue, the broken link in the post.

The email goes on to give the details. It shows what the broken link is and where to find it. A screenshot also helps, especially if the blog in question is a long one.

There’s also a section that’s dedicated to explaining why it’s important to change the dead link (remember, not all bloggers are savvy when it comes to SEO; they might not know the consequences).

By the end, you subtly recommend changing the link to your resource. It will help if you explain why your link is a good substitute.

Resource Page Link Building

Resource pages are blog posts that list down resources—whether it be tools, tutorials, apps, or other useful elements—for interested users.

This is an example from Creative Boom.

blogger outreach - how to outreach - creative boom

In this post, it lists down resources for free stock images. If you’re running your very own free stock photo site, you’d probably want to be on this list.

Through resource page link building, you can send requests to bloggers asking if they could include you on their list.

The blogger gets to improve their post by adding one more resource for their audience, and you get your backlink.

Here’s a resource page email template.

Subject:

Mind Adding This to Your Resource List?

Body:

Hi [Blogger’s name],

Just got done reading your post, [post title]. I can’t believe I haven’t seen it until now. I’ve been looking for a list like this for a while now. I’m a huge fan of [niche], so I’m always on the lookout for [resource list topic].

Anyway, I’ve seen another [tool, app, program, or whichever is appropriate] that you might want to consider adding to your comprehensive list.

It’s called [name of tool]. It’s a [description of the tool and why it’s awesome].

Here’s the URL: [URL to your page]

I hope this helps!

[Your name]

As with the other templates, you want to personalize the email. Next, state your proposition and explain why it would be beneficial for the blogger to honor your request.

After you send an email, give the blogger a couple of days to reply. If you don’t hear from the blogger, you can send follow-up emails. You could send more than two but you’ll risk annoying the blogger at that point.

Monitor Your Progress

Once your backlinks are live, you’re going to want to monitor your progress. But how?

There are third-party solutions out there. But if this is your first blogger outreach campaign, you’d want to stick to something simple like Google Analytics.

Inside Analytics, you’d want to set up a goal where you can monitor links coming from the bloggers you’re working with. Neil Patel has an extensive post on how to create goals in Google Analytics if you need more information.

Step 5: Send an Email

The final step is to send your emails out. This is a straightforward process. However, if you have a lot of emails to send, you may want to use an email outreach tool. SEMrush has a feature that enables you to monitor backlinks from the bloggers you contact.

From the dashboard, go to Link Building Tool > In Progress. Note that you’ll need to add your domain if you haven’t done so yet.

blogger outreach - how to outreach - semrush email setup

Add some prospects (SEMrush gives you opportunities if you don’t have any).

blogger outreach - how to outreach - semrush prospects

Connect your email account by clicking Mailbox: Add. You can use Gmail, Office 365, Outlook, Exchange, or set up an account using SMTP/IMAP.

blogger outreach - how to outreach - semrush connect email

After you connect the account, you can send out emails and monitor their progress. Once you get the backlink, you can mark the email to send it to the monitoring section of the Link Building Tool.

Best Blogger Outreach Tools

We’ve covered SEMrush in this post but there are other tools out there that can help you with blogger outreach. Here are a few.

Hunter

blogger outreach - outreach tools - hunter

Hunter gets you the names and email addresses of bloggers by entering their domains. It’s useful for collecting and validating your data.

Mailshake

blogger outreach - outreach tools - mailshake

With Mailshake, you can automate blogger outreach. Simply provide the necessary information in a spreadsheet, upload it, and watch the magic happen. The tool with send emails on your behalf. You just sit back and wait for the replies to fly in.

GroupHigh

blogger outreach - outreach tools - grouphigh

Similar to Hunter, GroupHigh lets you find the names and contact information of the bloggers you want to work with. It also helps you research their social media profiles and blog posts. You can also build targeted outreach lists.

In essence, it does what Hunter and Mailshake can do but rolled into a single tool. Aside from extract the email addresses of prospects, you can unearth their social media contacts to expand your outreach. Warm them up first by liking their Facebook status updates and replying to their tweets, for instance.

Blogger Outreach Strategy: Best Practices

Here are a few other pointers for reaching out to bloggers.

  • Focus on what you can do for the blogger and not on what they can do for you.
  • Don’t be too pushy when you send your emails.
  • Keep in contact after you get your backlink. Keep the connection alive.
  • For guest posts, do some keyword research. Make sure you’re covering topics that are popular for the niche you’re in.
  • Look at who the blogger follows on social media. Which influencer is the blogger retweeting? What kind of posts do they like? This will give you an insight into what kind of posts he or she likes. It could even be a talking point when you email them for the first time.
  • Use SEMrush to look at blogs that rank for the same keywords as you. This is an excellent way of finding blogs who may want to work with you.
  • Go to BuzzSumo and enter a niche. This will give you a list of trending posts that relate to your niche. Look at who shared the article on social media. Now you have a list of people who are very interested in your niche. Try reaching out to the bloggers on that list.

Conclusion

As you can see, blogger outreach isn’t that difficult. You just need to invest some time to make it all work.

So why don’t you go ahead and launch your blogger outreach campaign?

It’s one of the best moves you could make as far as building backlinks go.

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Craig Campbell

I am a Glasgow based SEO expert who has been doing SEO for 18 years.

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