How to Craft a Killer Blogger Outreach
This article discusses three key areas of attention for B2B blogger outreach: (1) finding blogs, (2) pitching ideas and (3) maintaining relationships. Before diving in, always remember that publishing high-quality offsite content is imperative for virtually any B2B SEO campaign. Algorithm changes over the last couple of years have caused most other link-building techniques to fall by the wayside; what’s more, offsite content (executed properly) increases brand awareness and credibility – two items that B2Bs can never have enough of.
Theoretically, finding relevant blogs for B2B content is rather simple. A Google search for “blogs about widgets” should reveal a fairly comprehensive picture of the terrain. From there, individual blogs can be evaluated on fairly obvious criteria such as:
- Frequency and recency of published content
- Relevance of content
- Quality of content/authors
- Number of social shares posts received
- Number and quality of comments posts received
- Domain age
The big problem for many B2Bs is that very few bloggers care about the company’s widgets. For example, if a company manufactures mounting devices for mobile computing, few blogs have readers interested in posts about those devices or how they are made.
A manufacturer in this situation needs to broaden the theme of its content to find a market big enough to support an ongoing SEO campaign. Instead of writing about its products and processes, it could write, for example, about driving safety. The theme is relevant, and thousands of blogs would likely be interested in posts about distracted driving, teen driving safety, texting and driving, etc.
The best formula for pitching B2B blog content is not to have one. Any email pitch that smacks of mass marketing tells the blogger, rightly or wrongly, that the firm is interested only in links and that its submission will be mediocre at best.
Pitching B2B content is exactly like pitching B2B prospects. If a B2B mirrors its sales philosophy in its blogger outreach, it will blow the socks off most publishers, because the pitches they see all day long are mainly the mass marketing, spammy variety. A few key pitching points to keep in mind:
Know the publisher. Study up, just as you would for an important prospect. This enables you to speak the blogger’s language and tilt the key benefits of your article to his or her audience.
- Communicate like a professional. Don’t write as if you’re the blogger’s best friend. Use coherent language and make sure your pitch is grammatically correct. Be brief. Don’t let a college marketing intern with no business experience handle the communication.
- Ask for the order. Make sure your pitch is clearly a pitch, and ask for a yes or no response. If the blogger has to pause and figure out what you want, he or she will conclude that your submission will be equally confusing.
- Follow up diligently. “No” doesn’t always mean no, and no response doesn’t always mean no interest. Just like prospects, bloggers sometimes need prodding – or, they may be giving you a negative response just to see how interested you really are.
As these points illustrate, whoever handles B2B blogger outreach should have a sales mentality, and preferably sales experience. Creating – and then maintaining – blogger relationships is above all a sales activity.
Just like pitching, maintaining relationships is an area of outreach where a B2B can excel, if it is treated like a sales challenge. Here are some ways you can get on the good side of a blogger, and stay there.
Use your social media sites to enthusiastically share all of the blogger’s content, not just your own.
- Extend an opportunity for the blogger to write on your blog.
- Respond quickly and thoughtfully to comments on your posts.
- Contribute thoughtful comments to other posts on the blog.
- Communicate, share and like content on the blogger’s social media sites.
- Check in from time to time, not just to say hello, but to ask serious business questions such as:
- Are there any topics you’d like us to cover?
- Do you have any suggestions for how to make our next submission even better?
- Would you be interested in a series or a regular column?
Put Personality into the Process
Too often, SEO outreach campaigns take on the feel of a mass marketing campaign. While having an efficient process and workflow is important, results suffer when B2Bs lose sight of the fact that bloggers are business people, and as such, do not want to be “victims” of mass marketing. Just as every customer wants to feel like a B2B’s only customer, every blogger wants to feel like he or she is a B2B’s only publishing outlet, or at least the most valuable. The best way to accomplish this is by adding value: producing high-quality content on topics that really matter to the blogger, helping the publisher promote his or her brand, and conveying an overall sense of professionalism. These are all areas where B2B sales departments excel – all that needs to be done is to apply them to blogger outreach.
Brad Shorr is the B2B Marketing Director of www.straightnorth.com, a Search Engine Optimization firm with headquarters in Downers Grove, IL. Brad writes frequently on B2B marketing and business.